10 September 2010
We're playing ball again with the Crimson and White Roundtable as we head into the weekend. Four questions, we'll take a crack while we wait for tomorrow night to get here... sooner, please!1) What is the most important thing we learned about the 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide in the wake of the San Jose State game?
I'd submit we learned very little. At least at this point. These early season glorified scrimmages don't tell us much about the state of football teams in general. It's why I'm afraid we won't know much more after this weekend; frankly, we have no idea if Penn State is any good.
But, in reality, we do know a few things.
CJ Mosley is going to be OK. He can play a little bit of linebacker. He's big and fast and strong as has good instincts. I believe we'll see more of him sooner than later.
We know that Eddie Lacy is also a relatively skilled player. He hung 100+ on a very bad team, so let's postpone the coronation, but he looked to be a more than adequate backup for Trent Richardson until Mark Ingram is healthy.
We know that occasionally at least, Cody Mandell can punt. Those first two boomers were quite nice. The last one was not great (obviously), but it was supposed to be short. Just not that short.
2) What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with the Penn State?
The concerns at this point are the same: special teams and the secondary.
Penn State's freshman QB looked like a world beater last week... against Youngstown State. So, let's not get too excited. We should know more about Bama's pass defense on Sunday morning, but we're still a long way from any certainties.
It will be interesting to see who is handling the placekicking. Something tells me the coaches would much prefer that Cade Foster did it all - or they wouldn't have let him kick that shorter FG late last week. That was supposed to be Jeremy Shelley's distance, and Foster trotted on anyway. To me, it's a virtual certainty that they'd prefer one kicker handled everything; you'd like to build confidence both for the kid and in the kid. Foster's bigger leg means he's likely the long term solution.
3) Which Alabama player is most likely to have a breakout performance against the Nittany Lions?
Brandon Moore is returning from his one game suspension. I suspect we'll see him a good bit in Dareus's stead, and we'll like what we see. He's big and strong and very talented. Alabama will need to have pressure on the young quarterback to win, and Moore can bring that.
Other than Moore, I expect someone in the younger parts of the secondary to have a big game. Doesn't matter who - just someone.
4) What part of the gameday experience are you most looking forward to on Saturday?
The game, and the volume of it.
I'll be very interested to see if the new upper deck keeps the crowd noise on the field like some have thought it might. Obviously, San Jose State wasn't the best test for that theorem, but Saturday should be the perfect chance to hear how loud it can get.
I'd also really hope that the fans have taken Nick Saban's words to heart. We should not boo Penn State. But most importantly, we should show Joe Paterno a huge, rousing round of applause on our feet. This guy is as classy as they come, and he's not making it back this way again. Show him the respect he deserves.
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