02 September 2011
It's finally here. In 24 hours, we'll all be winding down after the game, readying ourselves for the more competitive fare from Dallas and Atlanta. We'll be relaxing and worrying about our first year QB starter(s) nerves at Penn State. In all the excitement, you may forget a few things. As always, here at the BSR, we're here to help.
Your full game weekend to do list is after the jump.
Download (and print) your printable roster. It's here. I worked hard on it, and it'll let you quickly figure out who number 54 is after he swallows a Kent State running back whole (Jesse Williams - DL).
It is still the single most breathtaking play I have ever seen not because of the raw athleticism, but because it was never over for George Teague. To hell with the flags, or the angles, or the score: if Lamar Thomas were streaking toward an endzone a thousand miles away, guided toward it only by the sun, the stars, and a compass in his soul pointing towards the goal line, George Teague would have found him and stolen the ball and run the other way until he died exhausted and alone.
If you don't know what that's referring to, chances are good you're not reading this. But I'm posting the video anyway. Just 'cause.
Don't boo the Kent State football team. Seriously. They're not contemptable in any way. I have no problem booing any SEC foe any week they run on the field. Especially those who wear orange, or come from Louisiana. But these guys from Kent State really don't deserve it. In addition to the normal reasons (they're really not a threat, they're our guests, it's classless), some of these guys have been in Tuscaloosa building houses this summer.
So polite applause for them please. If you can't muster that, then just sit quietly. Thanks.
Cheer like mad for Carson Tinker. I've been a champion of the importance of the long snapper before, but this isn't about anything Tinker's done on the field. Sure, his tenure as long snapper has been, like Brian Selman before him, marked by nothing remarkable; he hasn't made mistakes. If the long snapper gets mentioned or discussed, 99.9% of the time it's bad news.
You should applaud Tinker because he's a good young man who's had a very bad offseason. His girlfriend was killed in the April 27th tornado. He broke his arm so severly it required surgery. He lost his home. His dogs were killed. No one would have blamed him if he gave up football or at the very least took the year off to recover physically and emotionally.
But he's perservered. He'll be on the field the first time the Tide kicks an extra point, field goal or punt on Saturday. He embodies his community in so many ways. We've been broken, beaten up, and tossed around. But as soon as we're able, we picked ourselves up, dusted off and got back after it.
When he's announced as the starting long snapper, I hope his ovation is louder and longer than any other starter. He deserves it.
Watch the game. This one is pretty obvious, but I'm including it here because it's a game that (hopefully) will be largely forgettable. We won't be waxing nostalgic with our friends in the old folks home about the 2011 Kent State game 50 years from now. It really ought to be a walkover of the highest order. Kent State is outmatched in every conceivable way. Bama is bigger, stronger, better coached, better trained... better. So don't expect one for the ages.
But at some point tomorrow, someone is going to do something great. Dont'a Hightower is going to hit someone in that way that the whole stadium makes that collective "oomph" noise. Trent Richardson is going to truck an undersized linebacker about 8 yards backward. Courtney Upshaw will level a quarterback. Marquis Maze will come tantalizingly close to taking a punt back... and may just break it. We know this.
But at some point, we're going to see something new. Something we've not seen before from a guy we don't know well. DeAndrew White is going to blaze by a defender and catch a deep pass. Blake Sims is going to do something electric, and the crowd will nearly sizzle with excitement every time he's near the ball after that. Xzavier Dickson will be ever so slightly out of place, then make an amazing play to stop the play before it starts. Cyrus Kjoundjio will pancake some defensive lineman who thinks he's getting to the quarterback.
And it'll be awesome. Don't forget to enjoy it.
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