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Posts Tagged ‘Alabama Crimson Tide’

Alabama/Arkansas: Air Attack Versus Ground Assault

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Ryan Mallett, Mark Ingram

Alabama and Arkansas get at it on Saturday in Fayetteville, and on one side, you have Bobby Petrino and his Ryan Mallett-led aerial attack, and on the other, you have Alabama, a team that might have the most explosive running back tandem, maybe ever. Of course, Alabama, with Greg McElroy and Julio Jones, can pass the ball just fine, and Nick Saban isn’t afraid to use it, either.

The Tide isn’t as prolific as Arkansas with the pass, but with Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram on the roster — who looks like he’s right back into Heisman form after missing two games because of knee surgery — heavy reliance on the pass by Alabama would be foolhardy.

Conversely, Arkansas uses the running game to set up their dangerous passing attack, and when you have the nation’s leader in passing yards — Mallett (who also has 9 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions and a QB rating of 186.5) — and three legitimate receiving threats in Greg Childs, Joe Adams, and D.J. Williams, it would be foolish not to throw the ball downfield. Clearly, the Petrino/Mallett marriage is a match made in heaven.

Here’s what we can expect out of both teams. First off, Arkansas:

As for Alabama:


The video starts at the 1:11 mark, but if you want an idea of their passing game, rewind it.

As for Saturday’s game, can either team take away what the other wants to do on offense? Can Bama stop Ryan Mallett from throwing the ball all over the field? Can Arkansas stop Bama’s two dynamic running backs and get their offense back on the field? That’ll be the real trick, because the Tide have questions in their secondary. As for Arkansas, they’ve done well against the rush so far this season, but then again, they haven’t been up against one as powerful as Alabama’s either.

Saturday will be a true test for the Razorbacks, obviously, but if they commit too much to stopping the run, McElroy and Jones will make them pay for it.

Other areas of interest are the fans. Both teams are pretty damn awesome supporters. Observe:


Got to get them started early.

And then there’s the “Ryan Mallett for Heisman” ditty we featured earlier this week, made, of course, by Arkansas fans:


Pure, unadulterated fan brilliance.

With that in mind, who wins? Arkansas gets a nod for being at home, but then again, Alabama is road-tested, battle-tested and test-tested (just to cover all “tested” bases), so it’s hard to see them wilting in the face of a loud opposing crowd. My pick:

Alabama 27
Arkansas 24

Guesses such as final scores are subject to change at any moment and without notification.

Mark Ingram To Play Against Duke

Mark Ingram

When the Alabama Crimson Tide travel to play the Duke Blue Devils this weekend, it will be with a full team. Word is, last season’s Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram, will take the field for the first time this season, after recovering from recent knee surgery. Yes, that’s right: Alabama’s workhorse running back had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago and is still going to play. This season.

Balls, son. Balls.

Nick Saban addressed the return of his stud running back at his weekly press conference and he sounds quite confident Ingram will be ready to roll:


The important quote follows:

“Mark is doing extremely well, hadn’t had any issues or problems has done quite a bit in practice”

While Duke’s chances probably weren’t that good before the news of Ingram’s return broke, I’d say they’re even worse now. But hey, does Saban get credit for going on the road to play a team that has been historically terrible, but under David Cutcliffe’s tutelage, has improved over the last few seasons? Or is this a case of Alabama scheduling out-of-conference cream puffs? It should be noted that in the first two games of the season, the Blue Devils have put 89 combined points on the board.

Granted, they haven’t played a defense as talented as Alabama’s, but you never know. Maybe Sean Renfree has the game of his lifetime and puts a ton of pressure on the Crimson Tide to score. Unfortunately for Renfree, Bama defensive end Marcell Dareus is also returning to the field after serving a two-game suspension. Ingram or no, the fact that Dareus will be on the field can’t be good news for the Blue Devils.

Mark Ingram’s Knee Gets in The Way

Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram’s defense of his Heisman trophy, as well his efforts towards helping the Alabama Crimson Tide win another BCS Championship has been put on hold, at least for one game. According to al.com, Ingram had “minor” arthroscopic surgery on his left knee after injuring it during a Monday evening practice session. Ingram will miss Bama’s opener against San Jose State, but Nick Saban doesn’t think Ingram’s left knee will be an issue later in the season; a result of repairing Ingram’s knee immediately, as opposed to treating the issue with rest and a “wait and see” attitude.

“It was a situation where everyone involved thought it would be better to take care of now, so he would not have any issues with it later in the season,” Saban said.

While it’s unlikely Ingram will be missed against San Jose State, if the issue does happen to linger, the idea of Alabama going back-to-back becomes less likely; although, Trent Richardson — who some say is the best running back on Bama’s squad (Richardson disagrees) — might have something to say about that.

As it stands, Richardson will get the staring nod as Ingram continues to heal.

Nick Saban Blocks NFL Scouts

Nick Saban

After going off on what he perceives as modern-day pimps at the SEC Media Day, Nick Saban is taking some steps to protect his players from exposure to that side of the football world. The Alabama Crimson Tide coach has blocked NFL scouts from attending Alabama’s practices in a move many see as payback the NFL’s apparent lack of action against what Saban perceives as unscrupulous player agents.

Saban isn’t the only SEC coach to block NFL scouts either. Urban Meyer is following Alabama’s lead, although, there’s some ambiguity involved.

While these reactions are understandable, if not a little misguided — “amateur” players who cross the agent line know their actions can cause a lot of trouble for their teams — it’s reminiscent of Col. Strelnikov’s quote in Red Dawn:

If a fox stole your chickens… Would you slaughter your pig because he saw the fox? No. You would hunt the fox.”

Apparently, identifying agents and their runners is a little harder than recognizing, and denying entrance to, official NFL scouts.

Alabama Tops Preseason Poll

Mark Ingram

Last year’s king of college football is back on top of the preseason polls, as we get closer and closer to the start of the season. USAToday’s first poll of the upcoming college football season hit the stands today, and as expected, the team looking down on everybody else is the Alabama Crimson Tide. Bama received 55 first place votes, while the second-ranked team, Ohio State, received four.

Rounding out the top five are Florida, Texas, and everybody’s favorite non-automatic qualifier, upstart Boise State. The high preseason ranking makes Boise State’s road to the BCS trophy a little easier to achieve, provided they survive the Virginia Tech season opener.

As for the Tide, Nick Saban returns a powerful team, especially on the offensive side of the ball, which features eight returning starters , including Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram. Provided the defense performs up to Saban’s standards — not a certainty, considering the turnover; but then again, that’s what all of those monster recruiting classes are for — Alabama is in a great position to repeat as BCS Champions.

Granted, they have to survive a fairly brutal schedule that includes games against Penn State, at Arkansas, a visit from a non-Tim Tebow Florida, and trips to Tennessee and LSU on back-to-back weekends. It’s safe to say if Bama finishes the season with an unblemished record, they’ll be at the top of the BCS rankings.

By a wide margin.

The question I’m left asking is, if they do win multiple championships, will Alabama build multiple Nick Saban statues?

Nick Saban’s Statue Still a Work in Progress

Nick Saban Statue

Win a national championship mythical title represented by a crystal trophy in college football while coaching the Alabama Crimson Tide? That’s a statue-ing. Just ask Nick Saban. The question is, when will the Saban Statue be revealed to the unwashed masses? After targeting September 4th, the start of Alabama’s football season, the dedication has been delayed.

In fact, they haven’t even started building/sculpting the thing, hence the author’s rendition of what a Nick Saban statue might look like.

According to al.com, the plan is to unveil the Saban Monument sometime during the 2010 season, and considering the other details are currently ambiguous, it wouldn’t be surprising if the dedication was delayed until the Auburn/Bama game on November 26th.

I’m also expecting a sacrificial offering of a virgin Bama co-ed to be found at the foot of the statue the following morning. Hey, whatever it takes to keep those crystal trophies coming.

Which Alabama Defensive Play was Bigger?

Champs

Marcell Dareus is now a star (not pictured, I just liked the image). That kinda thing happens when you knock Colt McCoy out of the biggest game of his life. Said stardom is only catapulted by the touchdown return that brought a crazy first half to the close. But a question arises: Which defensive play was bigger? Dareus’ touchdown return or Eryk Anders’ late-game sack of Garrett Gilbert, a hit that caused Gilbert to fumble away Texas’ comeback chances? Before we choose, let’s revisit. First. Dareus:

And now for Anders:


While Dareus’ play directly resulted in points, Anders did as well, only it took three more plays, while taking precious time off the clock. Not only that, but Anders’ sack, once again, the Tide’s first of the evening, helped kill the chances of a suddenly-confident Texas team. When Anders recorded his sack, the Longhorns had fought all the way back, trailing Bama by only three points. Of course, both answers could very well be wrong here. The hit that took McCoy out was the not only the defense’s, but the game’s biggest play.

Granted, Dareus’ hit didn’t look like a knockout blow, but then again, that’s easy for me to say from my warm and comfortable office chair.

Different Approaches To the BCS Championship

BCS Trophy

Now that the fluffer games are over, tonight, the real deal finally happens: Texas versus Alabama for the BCS Championship. Mythical? Maybe. But it’s hard to argue these are the two best teams in college football; well, unless your name is Ndamukong Suh. Close conference championship games aside, and even though the BCS takes a proper hammering on a yearly basis, the Longhorns and the Crimson Tide do, in fact, resemble the two teams that should be playing each other. So… Who ya got? Currently, Bama is a four-point favorite, an indication the teams are pretty-evenly matched, talent-wise. While most (not all) of the journalistic consensus is leaning toward the Tide, we all know what happened the last time Texas played in the BCS Championship game.

Something about the “best college football game ever,” with the Vince Young-led Longhorns getting the hardware.

While the game, its players and coaches get the majority of the publicity, it’s the fans who make games like this worthwhile. Most of the time, anyway. To get you in the mood for tonight’s shenanigans, here are two different fan approaches to getting one’s self prepared. And by different, I mean distinctly different. First, a Bama fan messing with UT faithful:

I’m disappointed he wasn’t wearing red; although, the box of Tide was a nice touch. Now for a contribution from the Longhorn nation:


Considering how famous Texas is for its Longhorn women, I figured a tutorial on the proper way to apply Longhorns-inspired eye shadow was appropriate. Much like the Bama fan, however, I’m disappointed the Longhorns make up expert had purple nail polish. Way to support your team, honey!!!

Do these videos help sway those of you who are on the fence about who to pick tonight? It did me. With that in mind, while most of my being is leaning towards Alabama, I still can’t shake the idea of Texas repeating their “Shock the World” performance of their previous BCS Championship. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Texas defense control Heisman winner Mark Ingram, and for Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley connect on some kind of last-minute touchdown, denying Nick Saban his second BCS Trophy (while rewarding Mack Brown his). My final score prediction:

Texas – 24
Alabama – 21

MVP – Shipley

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it — that is, until Greg McElroy completes his first bomb to Julio Jones.