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Alabama Shifting To A Hurry-Up Offense? Not Likely

gfx-they-said-it4One of the nation’s most vocal critics of the no-huddle, hurry-up offense trend that’s taken over college football has been Nick Saban.  His new offensive coordinator, Lane Kiffin, hasn’t run that type of offense at Tennessee or Southern Cal, either.  Put two and two together and four would seem to point to a pro-style offense being run once again at Alabama this fall.

But that hasn’t stopped reporters from asking about the potential for a change.  Last week, Saban said he didn’t want to switch to a spread offense because his team may not have enough mobile quarterbacks who “can go in there and play at the same level” as a starter who might hurt.

Now, tight end Brian Vogler has shed a bit more light on the subject and he also makes it sound as though the roster would preclude a switch to a spread, hurry-up attack:

 

“It’s hard for me to say right now if that would work for us.  I think we’re a team that’s made to be maulers.  Guys are just going to be really physical with you, hit you from every aspect of the game and hit you in every direction.  I just don’t know if that’s really our style of being speedy and trying to be elusive around everybody and dodge people like other schools do.”

 

Since 2008, Alabama has gone 72-9 and won three national titles.  If it ain’t broke, right?  Now, Bama might not always be the yardage kings of the SEC, that’s true.  But they do put points on the board.  Aside from finishing fifth in the league in scoring offense in 2008, the Crimson Tide has ranked among the four highest-scoring squads in the SEC from 2009 right on through last season.

In other words, don’t expect to see a hurry-up style from the home team at Bryant-Denny Stadium this fall.

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Alabama 49 – Chattanooga 0 (Video)

Video highlights of the Alabama 49-0 victory over Chattanooga Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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Alabama Beats LSU, Shows Why It’s No. 1

postgame-links-150x1501Alabama 38 – LSU 17. Video Highlights

1. Alabama defense shuts down LSU in second half; running back T.J. Yeldon rushes for 133 yards and quarterback A.J. McCarron becomes the school’s career passing yardage leader.

2. LSU runs just 21 second-half plays - offense generates just 52 yards.

3. “The second half might have been as good a half as the Crimson Tide (9-0, 6-0 SEC) have played all season.”

4. Kevin Scarbinsky: “This may not have been another game of the century, but it was the latest example that the best team in college football still lives here.”

5. Dennis Dodd: “In beating the No. 10 Tigers, the Tide proved they aren’t going anywhere except a third straight BCS title game.”

6. Jeff Duncan: “For 38 minutes, the Tigers gave Alabama everything it could handle at Bryant-Denny Stadium.”

7. Ron Higgins: “It was pretty obvious who won the majority of the hand-to-hand combat. The scoreboard rarely lies, and it certainly didn’t in Bryant-Denny Stadium.”

8. Scott Rabalais: “A beatdown in T-Town.

9. College Football Talk: “For all the talk of FSU or Ohio State, (Crimson Tide) are clear favorites to win their third-straight national title.

10. Alabama fans chant: “We Want Bama”

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Alabama 38 – LSU 17 (Video)

Video highlights of the Alabama 38-17 victory over LSU Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium


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Alabama 45 – Tennessee 10 (Video)

Video highlights of the Alabama 45-10 victory over Tennessee Saturday afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.


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Saban Not Happy With Alabama Fans Leaving Early

empty-bama-stadiumUh-oh.

Is this the kind of thing that could drive a man to leave Alabama for Texas?  (Pause for gasps.)  Probably not.

Still, Nick Saban is a little PO’d at the large number of Crimson Tide fans who vamoosed from Bryant-Denny Stadium before the end of Bama’s 52-0 rout of Arkansas last weekend.  The coach voiced his PO’edness yesterday:

 

“I’ve talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game.  And, in some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game…

Maybe if you’re not interested in doing that, you should let someone else go who would really like to go because I have a lot of people who want to go.”

 

Zing.  And that is the kind of statement only a coach with multiple BCS titles can make.  Let’s see Dan Mullen or Will Muschamp float a comment like that and see what the response is.

Saban sees the early exits as a hindrance to UA recruiting.  “We have lots of recruits there, we like to see an enthusiastic, full stadium,” he said.  “We have a beautiful stadium and one of the nicest venues in all of college football and I think we all should show our appreciation for it by staying and supporting our team for the whole game.”

 

UPDATE — The second link from the above story takes you to Michael Casagrande’s story on this subject at Al.com.  The photo is from Mr. Casagrande’s report as well.

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Tennessee Preparing For “Red” Team, Not Alabama

Red team is ready1We at MrSEC.com aren’t big on coaches who refuse to say the names of rivals.  Woody Hayes famously wouldn’t say Michigan.  Gerry DiNardo wouldn’t say Tennessee.  Dan Mullen won’t say Ole Miss.  There are plenty of other examples out there.

Yesterday, the world learned of a new one.  Tennessee’s Butch Jones is trying avoid the word, “Alabama,” this week as his fresh-off-an-upset Vols prepare to face their longtime rival in Tuscaloosa.  UT players aren’t getting ready to play Bama this week, they’re getting ready to play “the red team.”

Silly?  Perhaps.  But at least Jones has provided his team with a reason — other than “hate” — for his use of the “red team” moniker.  So says Vol receiver Alton “Pig” Howard:

 

“Mentally, just by their name, when teams hear that name, they’re mentally beat already before they step on the field.  I give them credit, but we’ve got warriors on our team as well.  We’re ready to go to war.”

 

(A short pause for the literalists out there to bark about a player comparing football to war… blah, blah, blah, got it.)

The fact that Jones is playing name games in order to make his players more aware of the fact that they’re facing a football team — not Gods — actually seems rather smart.  Unfortunately for Tennessee, the Volunteers would have a much better chance at Bryant-Denny Stadium if some generic “red team” were scheduled to show up… rather than top-ranked Alabama.

Remember what the noted football guru Shakespeare said: “A rose by any other name.”

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SEC Headlines 10/1/2013

headlines-tueSEC Football

1. What is it about James Franklin and Southern Cal?  “I wonder if Franklin will remain a candidate if he’s 0-6 in the SEC in a month?”

2. Vanderbilt coach asked about the speculation Monday.  “I mean, for once I’d like to sit in this press conference and talk about either the game before or the game we’re playing this week.”

3. Missouri lost to Vanderbilt last year 19-15.  Tigers want revenge: “I’d be lying if I said that feeling wasn’t there, because it is.”

4. Missouri is the first team to have two players ejected under beefed-up targeting rule.

5. Georgia safety Tray Matthews says he was warned by referees during the LSU game to be mindful of the new rule.

6. Main issue with the Georgia defense is the secondary - “against LSU, there was often mass confusion in Georgia’s secondary.”

7. Similar story at LSU.  Les Miles: “Well, certainly we can’t have blown coverages.”

8. Florida coach Will Muschamp on Arkansas: ”Defensively, we have not seen a team like this.” But do the Razorbacks know about the Gators nature walk?

9. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema has only lost more than two straight just once in his career. He’ll need a victory over Florida to prevent it from happening again.

10. Matt Hayes on Florida: “Clearly has the SEC’s — and probably the nation’s — best defense.”

11. It’s a story of good friends and similar backgrounds when Gus Malzahn and Auburn face Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss Saturday.

12. Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee on the message to his team: “The biggest thing we’re preaching to them…is the urgency.”

13. Jackie Sherrill on Texas A&M’s defense: “Lacking depth and experienced players needed, especially up front.”

14. Kevin Scarbinsky on Alabama playing Georgia State: “The best program in college football has no business playing what is quite possibly the worst team in the sport.”

15. Nick Saban on  associate director for player personnel Tyler Siskey’s role in the Ole Miss game: “He wasn’t on the headset, didn’t talk to anybody during the game.” The MrSEC view? Much ado about something that goes on every week.

16. With the 13th worst rushing defense, Kentucky will have its hands full with the South Carolina running game.

17. Mississippi State is in the midst of a stretch of five straight games of 6 p.m. or later kickoffs.

18. Ten Heisman candidates on this watch list.  Four of them are SEC quarterbacks. Three SEC QBs on this list.

Practice/Injury Reports

19. Nick Saban on giving players an extra day’s rest: “Two days rest does 10 times more good than one. It doesn’t do two times more good, it does 10 times more good.”

20. Ole Miss freshman Robert Nkemdiche has a broken finger and wide receiver Donte Moncrief has a sprained shoulder – neither one expected to miss any time.

21. Florida tight end Kent Taylor still battling ankle injury – yet to play this year. Gators cornerback Marcus Roberson and running back Valdez Showers are expected to play this weekend.

SEC Basketball

22. Tennessee guard Jordan McRae added nearly 15 pounds of muscle over the summer.“I can feel that I’ve gotten bigger and stronger.”

23. Kentucky coach John Calipari likes his team. “I went home singing to myself.”

24. Vanderbilt opens practice today with a revamped roster.  Four underclassmen left the program for various reasons.

25. Alabama returns five of the top seven scorers return from last year’s NIT quarterfinal team.

Extra

26. Could the Navy-Air Force game be a victim of the federal shutdown?

27. From phenom to flop – the coaching career of Lane Kiffin.

28. “Karma Is A Butch”

 

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LSU Has A “Chip On Our Shoulder” About Bama Rematch

All-American offensive guard Will Blackwell admitted yesterday that he and his LSU teammates aren’t thrilled with the fact Alabama’s being given a second shot at them in the BCS Championship Game:


“We kind of have a chip on our shoulder.  We went to Tuscaloosa, and we beat them.  And they get another shot.  We don’t necessarily see that as fair.  We kind of fell like that if it were the other way around, we wouldn’t be getting this opportunity.  But it is what it is.  You can’t change it.  We’ll accept this challenge head on like we would every other team.”


In reality, the Tigers likely would be getting a second shot at Alabama, they lost a 9-6 overtime game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  LSU’s strength of schedule has been — without question — the toughest murderer’s row in college football this season (at least among those teams in the title chase).  And Alabama’s second shot has more to do with the strength of the SEC than it does some perceived voter love for the Crimson Tide.

But this storyline was predictable.  At LSU, for inspiration, the Tigers have created a chip on their shoulders tied to facing the same team twice.  They’ve been “disrespected.”  While at Alabama, Tide personnel have already manufactured a “we beat ourselves the first time” chip for their own motivation.

Sorry, but we’re not into such nonsense.  Especially considering these two teams are playing for the BCS title and they shouldn’t need any added motivation.  But what we do like to hear is what Blackwell said as a follow-up to the above quote:


“I don’t think there’s any team out there that we dislike more, and I don’t think there’s any team out there that they dislike any more.  This is a definition of a rivalry game.  We’re just glad we get to play in New Orleans this time.”


Game on.

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Even After Georgia Southern’s Big Day, Bama Still On Top Of National Defensive Stats

All week, Nick Saban tried to warn Alabama players, fans and media that Georgia Southern’s wishbone-style attack could pose problems for the Crimson Tide’s vaunted defense.  Turns out, he was right.

The Eagles put up 21 points (though 7 came on a kick return), 341 total yards and 302 rushing yards in Bryant-Denny Stadium last Saturday.  For a squad hoping to become the first since Oklahoma in 1986 to lead the nation in the top four defensive team stats, that’s the kind of day that can ruin a season’s worth of work.  So did it?

Nope.  Bama had a big enough lead in most categories that even Saturday’s slip-up didn’t knock the Tide down a peg in any of the main statistical areas. 


Scoring Defense
1.  Alabama — 8.4
2.  LSU — 10.0
3.  Penn State — 13.0

Rushing Defense
1.  Alabama — 74.6
2.  Georgia — 81.2
3.  Florida State — 84.3

Passing Defense
1.  Alabama — 121.3
2.  South Carolina — 137.5
3.  Wisconsin — 146.8

Total Defense
1.  Alabama — 195.9
2.  LSU — 247.9
3.  Michigan State — 257.3


Barring a huge offensive performance by Auburn in this weekend’s Iron Bowl, it appears as though Bama will match the Sooners’ feat from a quarter-century ago.

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