22 October 2010
My apologies for getting this up so late. It was crazy at work this week. At my age, it takes a very limited number of all-nighters at work to throw a monkey wrench in your schedule.
Anywhere, for the record, here it is, and it might be brief but at least I'm getting it up before the next game!
As SEC victories go, this one was on the forgettable side, sloppy, slow-moving, and uninspiring. I only have 100 hours on my ATT Uverse DVR, which means I only have about 7 games from 2009 still on there. The 2010 Ole Miss game has been deleted already.
For our 12 possessions, our average starting field position was the Bama 47-yard-line. Not only that, but Ole Miss gift-wrapped a sweet 106 yards of penalties for us to work with.
But we only scored 23 points against a D that was giving up an average of 32.6 coming in against a total creampuff schedule where Kentucky was easily the toughest foe. The Rebels gave up 49 to Jacksonville St., 38 to Fresno St., 28 to Vandy, and 35 to Kentucky. Only Tulane, who scored 13, got less than us, and I'll bet dollars to dimes that Tulane didn't average starting out on their own 47.
I like Bama's chances of running the table and even grabbing another nice little ring at the end of the year. But the offense has to improve, and that's all there is to it.
There has been a lot of stuff floating around the internet saying that our receivers feel like they're open all the time, there's frustration on the sidelines because McElroy is not seeing them, etc.
I don't know about all that. First, have you ever played a game of sandlot football? How many times did receivers come back to the huddle and say "I can't get open"? (If you didn't, here's a hint: never.) For all I know, it may be true; you usually can't see whether receivers are open by watching the games on TV, which is what I do.
If they're not open, it's on McElwain. If they are, it's on McElroy. About all I can say from watching the tube is that there have been several plays the last couple of weeks where McElroy was obviously indecisive when he didn't find a man open immediately. He didn't get sacked as much this week, but the indecisiveness was on full display.
Seems like Greg is too quick to check down to his safety valve. Even when he's not under obvious pressure, once the primary receiver is covered he goes straight to the safety valve instead of surveying the field. Ultimately, if that is true, that goes to the QB coach, who in this case is the same guy who is coordinating the offense. McElroy is a 5th-year senior, and if he isn't surveying the field properly he's not really the guy to blame, it's his coach.
We're giving up way too many 2- and 3-yard losses on running plays, and that's killing our offense just as much as the sacks. It seems to me that most of them come off run blitzes, which are available because nobody is afraid of us throwing downfield any more.
We did throw downfield a little bit more against the Rebels than in preceding weeks, but not enough . . . and when I say downfield, I mean 15 yards downfield, not 30-40
However you slice it, our offensive production is unsatisfactory. We've got way way too many real guns on offense to come off poorly in comparisons to Vanderbilt and Fresno St., especially when we got the kind of field position we got in this game. The buck stops with Nick Saban, although it slows down as it passes Greg McElroy and Jim McElwain.
On the other side of the ball, we looked a lot better. I keep saying the words Courtney Upshaw, because our D keeps looking a lot better when Upshaw is healthy. If we have a healthy Upshaw and a healthy Dareus for the back stretch of the season, I'm saying right now we'll win out.
The DBs are starting to lose that green look a bit, and the talent is coming to the fore. Milliner is obviously the pick-on guy, but we've had worse pick-on guys, and he's getting a little better every game. So is Kirkpatrick, and he's very good already. Lester has the build of a prototype NFL safety and appears to be very solid with the Saban scheme, and Menzie is good enough to get more playing time almost anywhere else.
In the first half, Masoli looked like he had no idea what to do against a D that knows how to contain an athletic quarterback. He was toothless, and showed his frustration a couple of times by stepping out of bounds for losses when he could've thrown it away. But in the second half he adjusted and started scrambling off-tackle, which is where we usually give up the openings.
That may be why Ole Miss started out 0-8 on third-down conversions and then converted 8 of their next 10. Third-down conversions were the one iffy part for the D this week, and that makes two weeks in a row. That's another thing we have to correct if we want to make it to Glendale.
Around College Football
How on earth did LSU pass us in all three polls after struggling to put away McNeese State?
Nevertheless, my money is on LSU tomorrow. I tend to like teams that struggle the week before a big game. Auburn did anything but struggle last week, so they may not be as ready tomorrow as the Bayoux dudes.
I think our BCS fate is in our hands.
Oklahoma is not very good and will probably lose twice or more. Missouri is more of a threat to go undefeated, but not much of a threat. For my money, once Nebraska lost the Big 12 threat was over.
Michigan St. has a very easy schedule, but they have absolutely nothing in the way of an accomplishment so far. We probably stay ahead of them even if they stay undefeated, and it is very doubtful that they will.
There is no way in hell that Boise, TCU or Utah will be ahead of us if we win out.
I would easily give 5-1 that if we win out we're in the BCS championship game. Now don't ask for a bet unless you have my phone number; I'm just yakking about what I would do if a friend offered, because I don't make bets on the internet. However, I will tell you that I have already given 10-1 odds to one of my friends that we will be ranked ahead of Boise & TCU if we win out. That's just easy money right there, because there's no way we don't pass them.
I've been watching Bama football since 1962. This might be the worst Tennessee team we've played in that time. I know Bama has struggled the last couple of weeks and really needs the off week, but I just don't see this game being close.
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