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Posts Tagged ‘Nick Saban’

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’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, 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.

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, 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.

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.

Nick Saban’s Anger is Beautiful

If violent outbursts of anger caused by SEC football can be categorized as “beautiful,” it will be because of Nick Saban and his awesome ability to emote. I mean, just look at the video. That’s some quality frustration expulsion right there. That’s what happens if an Alabama quarterback throws a really ill-advised pass — they’ll suffer the Wrath of Saban. Fortunately for those offending quarterbacks, their coach expresses himself in such a beautiful fashion, they’ll no doubt feel like they are getting a healthy dose of tough love.

In other news, will Les Miles say anything about this play, and risk the Wrath of Slive, something that’s not quite as beautiful as Saban rage?

If I was Miles, I think I could afford a $30,000 fine (I’m using Urban Meyer’s punishment as a baseline) in order to get a point about just how bad SEC officiating has been this season.

H/t to the LWS crew for the Saban video.

Nick Saban = Coach of the Year

Nick Saban

In a choice surprising absolutely no one, Alabama’s Nick Saban won AP’s Coach of the Year honors, beating out Texas Tech’s Mike Leach among others. Next up for the Sabanites is a the Sugar Bowl showdown against Utah on January 2. One wonders if the Crimson Tide will show up as a hungry team or a disappointed one, hanging their heads and playing down to the level of their competition — with absolutely no offense meant to Utah.

Bama, when the team is on, is just that good. It’s up to the Coach of the Year to make sure they are ready to play.

More Saban ruminations after the jump >>

An SEC Championship Primer

Nick Saban and Urban Meyer

There’s a fairly substantial game taking place in Atlanta, Georgia tomorrow. I think maybe it’s referred to as the SEC Championship? It could also be called the semi-final game before the national championship. The thinking is, whoever wins the game between Florida and Alabama goes to the BCS Championship to face Oklahoma the winner of the Big 12 Championship game — well, not Missouri, but someone from the Big 12.

There’s this scenario to consider as well: Florida may not jump Texas even if they beat Bama.

So who wins? Alabama’s strength or Florida’s speed? Nick Saban or Urban Meyer? Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin or John Parker Wilson and the Coffee/Ingram express (there’s entirely too much talent on this field to list, so I’ll just stick with these guys for now)? For what it’s worth, pretty much the entire nation think Florida will be the champion, as demonstrated by ESPN’s poll.

The Hulk and The Flash after the jump >>