12 November 2008
Alabama is 10-0. If you would have given me nine wins at the beginning of the season I would have taken it and ran. Now, here we are in control of our own destiny to earn a shot at a national title. It has been too long since that phrase was uttered (my freshman year at the Capstone to be exact - that's right, I am OLD!) but this is a discussion better saved for a later date.
After taking the week off to engage in the acceptance speeches and military briefings and all of the other trappings that come with my new job, I am back and ready to honor some guys that don't always get the props they deserve.
P J Fitzgerald
Coming in to the season this was probably our weakest position, at least in my opinion. Fitzgerald has shown some improvement this year and Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge might just have been his finest day in an Alabama uniform.
In a game where field position was at a premium, Fitzgerald averaged 42 yards a punt with a a 53 yarder to boot. Three of his seven punts were downed inside the 20 yard line which put LSU into the position of having to play conservative offensively or risk quarterback Jarrett Lee throwing another pick to Rashad Johnson.
Without Fitzgerald's performane on Saturday, I am not sure that the Crimson Tide leaves Red Stick unscathed.
The freshman from Center Point was destined for a redshirt season and then Terrance Cody went down. Blessings are sometimes disguised and this may have been the case here. Josh Chapman has done a fine job this season spelling the big man but defensive line depth is a pretty big deal and when Mount Cody went down, Bama didn't really have any.
In steps Dareus, putting his red shirt down and putting his big boy pants on to reak havoc. Dareus finished with only three tackles against the boys from the bayou but did an outstanding job of getting in the backfield and drawing the double teams that Chapman couldn't.
With Cody playing his way back into game shape, Dareus can team with Chapman to provide Alabama with as much defensive line depth as any team in the country.
I know I will take some heat for this one but this kid deserves some props. Message boards have been a blaze with critiism of this kid for not just going down and setting the Tide up with first and goal at the one yard line.
That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. After making a heads up play to bail out John Parker Wilson, EA had his eyes on the prize and was not going to be denied. Players are coached to give maximum effort and drive the legs and chop their feet and play until whistle blows or they cross the goal line.
Alexander was doing just that. Every once and a while you have to tip your cap to your opponent for making a play. Give credit to Chad Jones for chasing the play down from the other side of the field and knocking the ball away.
That play was what is great about college football - one guy giving his all to score and another hustling from 40 yards away to prevent a score.