Friday, January 3, 2014

Friday Hangover: Oklahoma

Congrats to the Oklahoma Sooners for playing the game with fire, pluck, grit, and solid preparation. In the first half, the Alabama defense did not play with those characteristics.

The Oklahoma quarterback, who is known as a running quarterback, had a career game. The passes he completed were impressive. And the Oklahoma defense put all kinds of pressure the offensive line and McCarron. 

As for positives about the Tide, I don't have a lot. When a football team has three turnovers and those three turnovers get converted to 21 points by its opponent, I guess I can commend the way the defense played, mostly, in the second half. They gave the offense a chance to get back in the game. But then they gave up a bunch a big plays later in the second half.  

The major surprise of the bowl game was that Derrick Henry was the number two running back, but it was not surprising he played exceptionally well. From my amateurish eye, I would argue he's the number one running back on the team, which begs the question why he wasn't used more this whole season. He's a difference maker. 

Since Coach Saban has said that it seems like next season will be a time to start again for Alabama football, sometime in the near future I'm going to feature what I think the Tide roster will possibly look like when they line up against West Virginia in the first game of the season in the Georgia Dome. As usual, the roster is going to be affected by juniors going into the draft, but by how Cyrus K played last night, he might think it's better to work on his game for another year and earn a graduate degree. Clinton-Dix is certainly gone because he's the number one safety in the NFL draft, but we'll see about other guys. 

Here's how Saban clarified that comment about starting over in the Sugar Bowl press conference: "When you start a program, you focus on the fundamental things that you feel are really important in the program, whether it's everybody buying into the principles and values of the team so that you can be a good team and everybody having a positive attitude about trying to accomplish the goals that you've established for the team, everybody being responsible for their own self-determination that they'll go do the things they need to do so they can do their job well, and the willingness to invest your time and have the discipline to do things at a high level on a consistent basis. If those are the fundamental things we want to accomplish, sometimes you do inventory and you say we've gotten away from that a little bit and maybe we need to get back to it. So maybe people need to be more accountable to it. Maybe they need to be more aware of it, whether it's coaches, players, myself, whoever is involved. So that's kind of what I meant by what I said when we got to that when I made that statement is we need to get back to the fundamental things that have made us a successful program through the years, and everybody has got to trust and believe in those things so that they really know and believe that's what's going to help us be successful."

Those comments are intentionally vague like a lot of coachspeak, but it sounds like some people aren't buying into the program's widely documented "process" approach. It could be possible that some folks on the team will get processed. 

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