Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sunday Hangover: Ole Miss

Prior to yesterday's game there was a lot of trash talk from Ole Miss. In fact, the head coach for Ole Miss apparently was telling recruits, who both Alabama and Ole Miss are recruiting, that they should go to the game to watch the Rebels beat the Tide. And a public statement by Bo Wallace, the starting quarterback, was shown repeatedly on the broadcast of the game. Wallace said they would put up points on Alabama, stated that their receivers are better than A&M's, and opined that the current Alabama cornerbacks aren't that good. 

As the old cliche goes, "Everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth."

The Tide shut out the Rebels--25 to 0. 

Ole Miss did play Alabama tough like they normally do though. The Tide was only up 9 to nothing at the half with the offense locked in a cycle of sputtering, succeeding, and stalling. The positive from that half is Cade Foster looked good. He had his longest field goal of his career with a 53 yarder. 

Alabama came out in the second half in a fiery mood. Yeldon scored a 68-yard touchdown on the second possession of the second half, and Kenyon Drake had a 50-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

One type of score I haven't seen from Alabama in a while was a safety. Because of an outstanding punt and special teams play in the fourth quarter, the Tide pinned the Rebels on their own one-yard line. Then the defensive front did its job to let Pagan and Mosley score a safety on Wallace. That was sweet.

The starting center for the Tide went out in the first half with a strained MCL, but Chad Lindsay played a solid game as his replacement. In fact, he had a key block on Yeldon's long run. 

After the game there was a great deal of chatter on the InterWebs about the play of true freshman Eddie Jackson, who started at corner and was responsible for one of the big receivers, Moncrief or Treadwell, with Belue covering the other guy.  

Another freshman who has been playing consistently in the d-line rotation is A'Shawn Robinson, but I also noticed another true freshman, Jonathan Allen, playing a good bit at DE.

Next week versus Georgia State I hope Alabama puts the game way out of reach quickly, so we can see more second teamers getting significant playing time, players such as WR Chris Black, RB Derrick Henry, RB Altee Tenpenny, QB Blake Sims, LB Ryan Anderson, LB Tana Patrick, CB Bradley Sylve, CB Maurice Smith, CB Geno Smith, LB Dillon Lee, NT Alphonse Taylor, LB Tim Williams, TE Harrison Jones, WR Raheem Falkins, and TE Malcolm Faciane.  

Friday, September 27, 2013

Music Friday: "Lessons" & "Rewrite Our Lives"

Two new albums that came out this Tuesday were Deer Tick's Negativity and Ha Ha Tonka's Lessons.

Based from my frequent listens of them this week, both are solid albums. Today I'm featuring a couple of tunes from the new Ha Ha Tonka disc. 

Enjoy folks.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Random Notes from a Crank

One of my favorite commercials for a college is a Georgia Tech one I saw last Saturday. See below. 

A fuller version of his spiel is below if you want a better context. 

I need to brace myself like that guy recommends because tomorrow evening my daughter is having her birthday party at our house. It's a theme party. All twelve girls coming over for the party and sleepover were given Clue-like names, such as Miss Scarlet and Miss Violet, and they will be put in pairs to solve this mystery: "Who killed my little brother?" The rooms of the house have different names and will have clues in them. 

The dead brother in question and I are leaving after the party gets started to take in the revived football rivalry between Charleston and Mattoon, the "Coles County Clash." 

Mrs. Nasty also found out today that a joke she told our daughter is being taken seriously for humorous effect. At a previous birthday party, apparently there was some drama between a few girls. Mrs. Nasty told our daughter, jokingly, that if anything like that happened at her party, that she'd "hose down" the offending parties. Tonight one of the moms of my daughter's friends told her that our daughter has been telling her friends that they need to take an extra set of clothes in case they have to be hosed down. I plan to have some fun with that image as my boy and I leave for the game tomorrow night. As we part ways, I might say something like, "I hope you are all good. I wouldn't want any of you to get hosed down." 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Hangover: Colorado State

Yesterday night's game was one of the more uninspiring wins by the Crimson Tide I've seen in a while. 

Considering how dominant the Alabama offense looked versus Texas A&M, the ineptness of the Tide offense last night causes concern. It should be noted that starting right guard Anthony Steen, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and wide receiver Kevin Norwood were held out of the game because of minor injuries. Regardless, the offense wasn't able to run the ball with any consistency. 

And the defense wasn't all that great. Lack of a strong pass rush and inconsistent cornerback play is plaguing the defense. Deion Belue, Alabama's number one, shut-down cornerback, was also held out the game, so that absence gave Alabama the opportunity to see what newer defensive backs could do. In fact, freshman Eddie Jackson and redshirt sophomore Bradley Sylve started the game at corner, and freshman Maurice Smith got significant playing time along with John Fulton, Cyrus Jones, and Geno Smith.

They need to get the cornerback play straightened out before Ole Miss comes to Tuscaloosa. Next week. In particular, John Fulton's play has been surprising. Last season he covered Texas A&M's Evans really well in that game, and toward the end of the season, it seemed like he was maturing into a really solid corner.  

In more positive news, tight ends O. J. Howard and Brian Vogler continue to be a significant part of the offense, running back Kenyan Drake has looked impressive, and highly touted wide receiver Chris Black got his first touchdown in mop-up duty with the second-team late in the fourth quarter.

I don't know what to think about this team. In some respects, they remind me of the 2010 squad that got torched by South Carolina's Stephen Garcia and totally screwed up the Iron Bowl when they should have destroyed Auburn's dreams. 

From what I observed last night, LSU is the team to beat in the western division of the SEC. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Music Friday: "Man in Black"

My daughter is obsessed with Cash's "Man in Black." I've heard the song at least a dozen times this week. I've played it in the car for her. I've played it on my iPod for her. She's played it every day this week on her iPod as she's getting dressed for school.

So here it is. You get to hear it too.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stay Positive: Advice about College

Today I overheard a college student talking about how she "innovated" by buying a hard pack of cigarettes instead of a soft pack, so her smokes wouldn't get damaged in her backpack. It's the little victories that make life worth living, I guess. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, babe. 

From time to time I think about the advice (or lack thereof) students get before they start college. Before I started college, my uncle Raymond, a farmer in northeastern Missouri, gave me this advice: "Avoid the clap." It served me well. My mom and dad, in contrast, told me to "work hard" and "try my best," words that also served me well.

If you want to give some good advice to college students, here are "College Life Hacks..." from The Huffington Post. Check 'em out. 

I'm also interested in What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain has to say, which is a follow-up on a previous book called What the Best College Teachers Do. I haven't read either of them. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sunday Hangover: Texas A&M

If you wanted to watch a game full of big plays, yesterday afternoon's game in College Station was the one you wanted to watch.

I have to admit that I was not feeling good about the Tide's chances after they went down 14 to zero in the first quarter. It was like deja vu all over again. 

But in contrast to the below-average play of the offensive line that we saw versus Virginia Tech, the OLine played great. McCarron got the offense moving in the second quarter by focusing on the passing attack, and then the running game started to get going. 

The running back rotation was what a lot of Alabama fans had expected this year: 1) Yeldon, 2) Fowler, and 3) Drake. Yeldon amassed 149 yards on the ground, and Fowler had a good game. He looked good--like the way he looked before his injury last year. And Kenyan Drake, apparently out of Saban's doghouse, had his first touchdown in a meaningful game. 

What was talked about little in the game, unfortunately, was that Alabama's top cornerback, Deion Belue, got hurt and didn't play half of the game. That was a huge injury because Belue was the only guy who did a decent job against A&M's Paul Bunyanesque wide receiver, Mike Evans, the 6'5" wide receiver who consistently abused cornerbacks John Fulton and Cyrus Jones. When Belue was on him, which is what Alabama did in the second quarter after Evans mades Fulton and Jones look like fools, Belue covered him well. He is the Tide's top cover corner, a shut-down type of guy. With Belue not covering him, Evans caught passes for 279 yards, with a 95-yard touchdown late in the game. 

Turnovers were a big part of the game too. Jones' interception in the end zone was huge. Sunseri's pick six was one of the more exciting ones I've ever seen. The killer turnover was one of Alabama's, Yeldon coughing up the ball near the goal line in the fourth quarter after a long drive. 

The signature play of the game to me was with 2:28 remaining in the fourth and facing a third and goal, McCarron lobbied the coaching staff to do a play-action pass and throw to a running back. They executed it perfectly. The play action moved the defense to the left, Fowler went to the right, and McCarron tossed a short touchdown pass to Fowler. The play is very reminiscent to the play that won the game Iron Bowl for Alabama in '09 with McElroy passing to Upchurch. 

So this much I know: the offensive line got its stuff together, and the cornerbacks need to get their stuff together. 

It was a great win in College Station, but the Tide has some work to do on defense. You could argue that the Tide won't face as explosive an offense as Texas A&M, but we'll see. Both Ole Miss and LSU are scary teams in the West. Mettenberger is a heck of a qb for LSU, and that team's growth on the offensive side of the ball is a major concern. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Music Friday: "Here Comes a Regular"

Today the only band I've listened to is The Replacements, one of my favorite bands of all time. 

For a short while in my life I worked as a delivery guy for my dad's liquor store. I'd chauffeur boxes of booze to bars and restaurants throughout Black Hawk County (IA) but mainly in Waterloo. I saw lots of "regulars" on my rounds of liquor peddling. 

"Here Comes a Regular" is the closing song of Tim, one of the finest albums of the 80s.

Below is the studio version and a live version circa 1989.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"The Masculine Mystique"

I'm catching up on my magazine and journal reading, and I came across a thought-provoking article in The Atlantic that I recommend  if you care about the American family, fatherhood, or feminism. That trio casts a pretty wide net. However, I will say that the article only looks at things from a heteronormative point of view. Fair warning.

In the paper copy of the magazine, the article's title is "The Masculine Mystique" by Stephen Marche, but the online version is titled "Home Economics: The Link Between Work-Life Balance and Income Equality."

Here a some quotations that might pique your interest:

  • "Men's absence from the conversation about work and life is strange, because decisions about who works and who takes care of the children, and who makes the money and how the money is spent, are not decided by women alone or by some vague and impersonal force called society."
  • "The central conflict of domestic life right now is not men versus women, mothers versus fathers. It is family versus money."
  • "It is an outrage that the male-female wage gap persists, and yet, over the past 10 years, in almost every country in the developed world, it has shrunk." 
  • "We live in a hollow patriarchy: the edifice is patriarchal, while the majority of its occupants approach egalitarianism. This generates strange paradoxes."
  • "The hollow patriarchy keeps women from power and confounds male identity."
  • "A conversation about work-life balance conducted by and for a small sliver of the female population only perpetuates the perception that these are women's problems, not family ones." 

Random Notes from a Crank

Some people might think I need to be less "combative," but they can just go to hell. 

The other day, I transcribed ideas/copy for the script for the video my daughter choose to do. You see, my daughter doesn't do something easy for her state project in fourth grade. Instead of doing a poster or a brochure or a powerpoint presentation (all genres I know how to work in), she chose to do a video about her assigned state. So this weekend sometime we'll do some taping about the great state of Rhode Island. Looks like this hombre is finally going to learn how to use iMovie. Or rather, Mrs. Nasty will teach me how to work iMovie. 

I'm not a huge fan of hip-hop, but I suspect Check Your Head by the Beastie Boys has to be one of the top ten rap albums of all time. 

Regardless, you can just call me "Professor Booty."

Friday, September 6, 2013

Music Friday: "Rollin 'n Tumblin" with Interview

I don't know if I've ever featured the North Mississippi Allstars on a Music Friday post before. That's a shame because they make some mighty fine music. 

The band's new album came out this week, and I don't think I've liked an album of theirs this much initially since Hill Country Revue came out. I'm not saying that Electric Blue Watermelon, Hernando, and Keys to the Kingdom are poor albums, but World Boogie Is Coming places itself into my personal album category of "I just listened to this album and really like it, but I think it's going to get better and better with subsequent listens." I guess we could call that the fine wine category or something. 

Anyway, the new album does recycle/revise some tunes from past albums, but there are new songs on this one. Check it out if you like to boogie via the hill country blues. 

As Luther Dickinson says in the interview, "We wanted this record to be a cultural statement, not a collection of songs." 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday Hangover: Virginia Tech

Kudos to Christion Jones. The senior wide receiver, punt returner, and kickoff return man amassed a total of 256 net yards, 209 in returns alone. Here are the big plays:

  • 72-yard punt return for a touchdown
  • 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
  • 38-yard touchdown pass

You add in Vinnie Sunseri's 38-yard pick six, and that's 28 points based on four big plays. 

All those are good aspects of the Tide's play on Saturday afternoon. In addition, the defense played pretty well. Besides giving up a long touchdown run, they pretty much stifled the Hokies' offense. Then again, the Virginia Tech offense is not a paragon of offensive fortitude. 

The troubling takeaway from this opening game is that the offense, which most people considered the strength of team, struggled. They occasionally had flashes--a good run here, a good pass there--but the major concern is the offensive line did not play well. 

It's hard to live up to last year's line, which was the best offensive line in college football, so Alabama fans are spoiled in this regard. But they have to get the offensive line playing better, or I think the Tide loses at least two or three games this season. As far as I could see, I think one starter on the offensive line got benched because he wasn't getting the job done.  Coach Saban's terse statement is one that will be emphasized in the next couple of weeks:  "They outplayed us up front if you want to know the truth." 

I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing for Alabama to have an off week before they travel to College Station on the 14th. From my perspective, I think it would be helpful to have a game before Texas A&M to work out whatever is going on within the offensive line. But they'll just have to work on their issues in isolation, and we'll have to hope they're ready for the Aggies in a couple of weeks. The line didn't look good yesterday. That's for sure. 

Based solely on what I saw in Week 1 of the season, if I'm a betting man, I'm putting cash down on LSU and South Carolina playing in the SEC Championship Game. 

I hope the Tide proves me wrong. We'll see.