Posted on: December 16, 2009 2:16 pm
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Texas Hasn't Earned It, Huh?

Alabama 28, Texas 20

Texas does a good job taking advantage of our secondary. That's right! Our secondary is going to be more exposed in this game than any other game of the season. Bear in mind, we haven't been very exposed so far, so I'm not necessarily saying we'll get torn up out there; I highly doubt that will happen.

Maybe Shipley will have a good return or two that sets up good field position, maybe even a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Good play calling will give Texas a shot. Ask Kentucky. Kentucky had fantastic play calling against Alabama. Granted the Wildcats can't execute, but Texas can. The Longhorns have playmakers catching balls thrown by a playmaker quarterback.

The Texas defense will be more aggressive than Florida's. Texas does not have as good of a general defense as Florida, but a lot of football is about mentality.  The Texas defense will be ball-hawking and physical. Look for McElroy to throw an interception this game.

Nick will have his boys and coaches prepared, but so will Mack. However, I bet the big difference will be the quality of the assistant coaches. Yes, Texas has good assistant coaches. But Alabama's are better, reference the Florida game. Texas has not dominated an opponent of such quality that I can recall in the last decade.

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People, people, people! Give me a break! I'm tired of people claiming Texas does not deserve to be in the national championship game. I'm tired of people saying Alabama will dominate the Longhorns. Sure, there is a chance we could, but don't expect it. Alabama barely beat Auburn and Tennessee. So what if Texas barely beat Nebraska? At least the 'Huskers were ranked. 

I should start by saying that Alabama's defense is no doubt better than Nebraska's. However, the mentality that Texas will have against Alabama will be more intense and more fired up than against Nebraska. GIven that knowledge, I do think Texas will score more against Alabama than it did in the Big XII Championship game. In the end, the difference in the game is going to come to down defenses. I find that Alabama has a clear edge over Texas in defense. Dispute it al you want in these forums, but you'll see that I'm right on January 7th. I might not be right that the game will come down to defense, but I guarantee our defense will outplay the Texas defense. Texas does has a legitimate shot to beat Alabama. We Crimson Tide do have weak spots. Saban will adjust mid-game, but teams this year have shown that our secondary can be lured deep and onto one side of the field, leaving thirty yards of empy space in a portion of the field. Florida did this a few times but didn't capitalize. Texas will capitalize. They are underdogs, and they want to win every bit as we do. All teams have a few weaknesses; what makes a championship team is being able to recognize and adapt.

One big uncertainty is whether or not Colt McCoy will be able to run on Alabama. We shut down Tebow, but number twelve is a different style. Tebow runs like a fullback, but McCoy is just plain fast, giving him an advantage over Tebow for making big plays. Alabama matches up well with brutal teams because we tackle so well. Given we're also a fast team, a fast team will match up against us better than a strong team. Do I really think McCoy's running ability will win the game? No. It's just one more weapon to help the 'Horns move the chains.

One huge difference between the Gators and the Longhorns is going seemingly unnoticed by many people on these boards. McCoy can throw the ball even better than Tebow, sure. The real difference between the two is who is catching the ball. Texas has great receivers who will be cause more blown coverage than the Florida receivers. Additionally, the Texas receivers won't drop as many balls. Shipley is the biggest threat but Malcolm Williams is an unsung hero of the Texas offense. He's tall. He's fast. He's going to beat Marquis Johnson. Not everytime, but Malcolm will have some airtime. Obviously Shipley will beat his coverage every now and then.

Unfortunately for the Texas offense, there is no real need to take running backs Foswhitt Whittaker or Tre Newton seriously (as a spectator). I'm sure that if Bama has blown assignments these two boys are capable of taking advantage, but quite frankly, Texas doesn't hand off the ball enough for it to be likely these two guys will even have possession of the ball if there is a blown assignment. Bama's front three will keep these guys contained for the most part on pure handoffs. However, when Whittaker trots onto the field, the play calling isn't terribly unique. A swing or screen pass is more common than a dive. Ro' McLain loves running down swing passes.

The Alabama offense, on the other hand, is a bit more questionable. We just haven't had the consistency this season for me to be really confident. I don't think Texas will be able to afford keep eight or even seven men in the box if McElroy plays anything like he did against Florida. If that is indeed the case, we'll run all over the Longhorns from the get go, and they'll never have a chance. But our offense will depend on which McElroy shows up, which I don't care to predict.

Nonetheless, I think Alabama is going to be ready. I think Alabama is going to be focused. I think Alabama will bring home the BCS National Championship. With three minutes left in the SEC Championship, some players were going to dump the gatorade on Coach Saban, but Rolando stopped them. He said we haven't won it all yet. We have one more.

 

RTR

Posted on: September 25, 2009 11:13 pm
 

Week 4: Tomorrow's Game Day, Baby!

It's Friday night, and I'm getting pumped up for tomorrow.

I'm very glad I have tickets for two reasons.

1) Bryant-Denny is awesome.

2) I don't have to listen to Verne Lundquist make Alabama sound like trash all day. Everybody always says all the sports broadcasters hate Alabama, but Lundquist is the only one who I think truly isn't fair to the Crimson Tide.

 

Over the week, I have grown completely confident that Arkansas won't be able to move the ball against Alabama - in general. Look to see the Razorbacks have a few breakaway plays that will make up for about fifty percent of their offense and lead to some scoring drives. Maybe this will be the first week we don't allow a big kickoff return, but don't be surprised if we do. We may yet need a couple more weeks to get the special teams coverage sorted out, especially as we enter SEC play.

Tomorrow you're going to witness Greg McElroy personally hand the Razorback secondary a major ass-kicking. Only the Tide's initial rushing game concerns me. I stand by what I said earlier in the week; we will eventually wear down the Arkansas d-line. Until that happens, however, Ingram and Grant might struggle a bit due to the generally powerful Arkansas line.

 

All-in-all, I both hope and expect Bobby Petrino to be embarrassed when he goes to shake Saban's hand after the game.

Alabama 31

Arkansas 20

Don't forget, double digit wins in the SEC are big. Wink

 

A reminder of things I'll be particularly interested in:

Mallett matching up against the toughest defense he has faced yet

Arkansas' ability to lock down Alabama rushing late in the game

Alabama trying to gain some yards on the ground before the opposing defense wears out

Alabama's special teams coverage

 

RTR

Posted on: September 20, 2009 10:14 pm
 

Week 4: Prepping for Arkansas

For my first blog post ever, I feel like I should have something special to say. Yet, as I continue to recline on my bed procrastinating from writing a paper (writing online is how I justify my procrastination), I really have nothing terribly special to say.


Good job locking down the victory against North Texas early. It's always extremely pleasing to see the Tide start a game strong and finish with big numbers. This isn't because I just like big numbers and beating the opposing team like a dead chicken (cough Carroll, Stoops, Brown…), but because in recent years Alabama has failed to have the intensity to be able to do so. Granted, we do have a few such victories in the past few years: Western Kentucky, Western Carolina, Arkansas. Additionally, who doesn't like to see a second-sring quarterback in Star Jackson take snaps in the second quarter as the first-string healthily calls in plays?


The Arkansas battle against Georgia was exciting, one of the highest scoring pure-SEC contests I can recall that didn't involve overtime. Bobby Petrino knows how to score, and I look forward to seeing his game plan against the tide.

I don't know much about the Razorback tailbacks, but I don't think Petrino will effectively use them as the focal point of his play calling. My guess is Bobby Petrino will try to beat Alabama how we expect him to try to beat us, relying on Mallett's arm. At that point it becomes a play-calling battle, one I predict will be futile, in the end, for Petrino going up against a seemingly-overlooked Nick Saban defense. Mallett will score, but he won't score big.

I expect our handoffs to be often but unproductive… in the first half. Arkansas generally has a tough D-line but one that will wear down over the course of a game, especially against a well-conditioned Crimson Tide. Greg McElroy is wonderful at getting the short passes in a tiny window, so I don't doubt our ability to be able to move the chains throughout the game, especially because the quarterback has adjusted to the pressure of games since the first half against VTech.

I'm not going to predict a score, at least not at this point in the week, but I do predict Alabama will outscore Arkansas.


Things I'll be particularly interested in:
Mallett matching up against the toughest defense he has faced yet
Arkansas' ability to lock down Alabama rushing late in the game
Alabama trying to gain some yards on the ground before the opposing defense wears out
Alabama's special teams coverage


Thanks for reading!
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com