The Crimson and White Roundtable

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable: 2010 Season, Week 5

  1. What is the biggest lesson we learned in the win over Arkansas last Saturday?
  2. What is the biggest concern going into the game with Florida next Saturday?
  3. Will this contest be a preview of this year's SECCG? Why or why not?
  4. What part of this week's gameday experience are you most looking forward to?
Capstone Report 01/10
Picture Me Rollin 29/09
DBH Dance Party 28/09
Tower of Bammer 28/09

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable Roundup: Arkansas Edition

1) What is the most important thing we learned about the Alabama team in the wake of the Duke game?

With Duke, the (lack of) quality with the opponent limited the conclusions that could be drawn from Alabama's trip to Durham outside of the obvious. DBH Dance Party noted that the offense is good, the defense is streaky and the special teams are a mystery wrapped in an enigma. In sum: "I don't think we learned a frigging thing in Saturday's game."

3rd Saturday in Blogtober also came to the inescapable conclusion: Mark Ingram is for reals. "Say “it was just Duke” all you want, but he looked quicker and more elusive than last year and the defense can’t impact that."

Yet, Picture Me Rollin said there is a lesson to be gleaned from the obvious. "This version of the Alabama Crimson Tide shows up to play every week regardless of who the opponent is."

2) What is the biggest area of concern in respect to Alabama’s performance in the upcoming game against Arkansas?

DBH Dance party was absolutely sanguine about Alabama's chances against the Razorbacks and claimed to have no concerns at all. Well... except for one or two little issues. "Our defense can't rush the passer, can't stop the run effectively, struggles to defend the pass and has trouble making sure tackles."

The always eloquent Picture Me Rolling summed it up thusly (and coined a word in the process): "There will be legion Alabama fans grimaced in agonizing butt tensioning when Mallet and company take the field."

Interestingly, while DBHDP cited the fact Arkansas was designed specifically for teams like Alabama, 3rd Saturday in October noted that the converse was true as well. The noted weaknesses in the Crimson Tide attack -- run defense, third down conversions -- were matched against noted Razorback weaknesses. The Tide passing game, he attests, will be the difference maker.

3) Which is more dangerous: Ryan Mallett and the Razorback offense or the Arkansas defense?

Picture Me Rollin is concerned about the Arkansas defense while 3rd Saturday in October worries over the Razorback offense. The problem, as 3SIB puts it, is uncertainty, "because we don’t know how the Tide defense will respond to a bona fide passing offense."

But the weirdness of going behind the pine curtain into the wilds of Fayetteville bode ill no matter what specific aspect of the game anyone wants to wring their hands over, sayeth DBH Dance Party. "Strange things tend to happen in the state of Arkansas."

4) How important is the Arkansas game for Alabama’s prospects both in the SEC West and the conference as a whole?

Both Picture Me Rollin and 3rd Saturday in October reached for hyperbole to stress the importance of this game for the Crimson Tide's chances in the SEC West. "Other games later may be touted as bigger, but lose this one, and that’s a two game gap behind a Razorbacks team that already has a conference win and avoids Florida and gets Vanderbilt this season," 3SIB explained. DBH Dance Party demurred, saying "It's probably more important for Arkansas than it is for us."

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable: 2010 Season, Week 4

  1. What is the most important thing we learned about the Alabama team in the wake of the Duke game?
  2. What is the biggest area of concern in respect to Alabama's performance in the upcoming game against Arkansas?
  3. Which is more dangerous: Ryan Mallett and the Razorback offense or the Arkansas defense?
  4. How important is the Arkansas game for Alabama's prospects both in the SEC West and the conference as a whole?
Picture Me Rollin 22/09
DBH Dance Party 21/09
3rd Saturday in Blogtober 20/09

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable Roundup: Duke Edition

1. What is the most important thing we learned in the wake of the Penn State game?

In the wake of the Penn State game the panjandrums of the roundtable were divided on whether to be optimistic from the performance or not. Roll Bama Roll was among the half-full-glass contingent heaping much praise on the offensive line that "hasn't skipped a beat from last year and may very well be an even better unit." DBH Dance Party also sang the praises of the offense but offered a note of caution for OC Jim McElwain's playcalling.

The Capstone Report pondered the Bama defense and counted themselves in the half-empty-glass camp but with reservations: "If the unit continues to improve in the next few weeks, the defense will be fun to watch." Tower of Bammer was decidedly optimistic but much more interested in what was in the glass. "The offense really is the strength of this team, and with this young defence, it’ll get exciting at some point."

2. What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with Duke?

Despite having yet to give up a touchdown in regular-season play, the denizens of the Roundtable tapped the Tide defense as the area of greatest concern going into today's game and for further down the schedule. "If it takes redzone turnovers to stop Dukes early drives," Tower of Bammer opined. "We’ll be in for a long game against Arkansas."

Since Duke is known as a squad that likes to take to the air as much as possible the Alabama pass defense is going to be tested, Roll Bama Roll writes. DBH Dance Party specifically singled out the problems pressuring the passer and covering receivers. Capstone Report (and TOB) also singled out the bugbear of early-season gimmie games for concern -- needless injuries.

3. How much will the return of Marcel Dareus and (possibly) Mark Ingram affect the team's strategy?

Roll Bama Roll penned an epistle about the impact of Ingram's return but summed it up simply by saying, "we're not going to reinvent the wheel now that we have a new tool in the toolbox" although having the Heisman Trophy winner back would make things "a little easier." The inclusion of Dareus, according to DBH Dance Party, will mean the Tide "should (should) be able to pressure the quarterback better without the use of as many exotic blitzing."

Capstone Report was completely sanguine about the duo's return, expecting the game to be little more than a tune-up for both players. Or, as Tower of Bammer put it, “Beat they ass early enough to get the starters out of there and don’t get hurt."

4. What part of the gameday experience are you most looking forward to on Saturday?

DBH Dance Party notes this is likely to be the biggest on Duke's campus "since they hosted the Rose Bowl in 1941" which should add to the excitement of the contest but most of the roundtable looked forward to catching the first away game from the comfort of their own living rooms.

"I can get a little lunch and settle on the couch for the game without having to flip nervously between games while waiting on our beloved Tide to take the field," wrote Roll Bama Roll.

After battling the forces of evil and a bozo nightmare the past two games, Capstone Report realized his limitations and looked forward to a gameday at home while Tower of Bammer ponders undertaking a yard beautification project with their spare time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable: 2010 Season, Week 3

  1. What is the most important thing we learned in the wake of the Penn State game?
  2. What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with Duke?
  3. How much will the return of Marcel Dareus and (possibly) Mark Ingram affect the team's strategy?
  4. What part of the gameday experience are you most looking forward to on Saturday?
Roll Bama Roll 17/09
Capstone Report 16/09
Tower of Bammer 16/09
DBH Dance Party 15/09

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable Roundup: Penn State Edition

1) What is the most important thing we learned about the 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide in the wake of the San Jose State game?

The key lesson of the San Jose State game was what we didn’t learn. While many other highly touted teams produced less than impressive efforts against their cupcakes, the Alabama Crimson Tide took care of business.

“Well-coached football teams don't let lousy football teams think they have a chance. Not one second,” said DBH Dance Party. And Alabama didn’t.

The attitude of the team was the key, according to Roll Bama Roll. Complacency and arrogance have brought down many great squads and nothing about the opener suggested Alabama is in danger of resting on their laurels. Tower of Bammer held up Florida’s opener as the counter example.

Specifically the special teams made a good showing, noted Capstone Report and Third Saturday in Blogtober. And there is certainly a surfeit of talent on hand, said Picture Me Rollin.

2) What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with the Penn State?

With the powerhouse running and passing games the weak spot may be the tight end, and “we don't really know if our tight ends are capable of picking up the slack,” said DBH Dance Party after consulting with his grandpappy.

Capstone Report listed a litany of issues that could be points of concern against the Nittany Lions but highlighted the receivers against the Penn State defense. Bama Sports Report listed teams and the secondary.

Roll Bama Roll offered the laundry list of worries and admitted complete confusion while Tower of Bammer decided to whine about their insomnia and then name checked special teams again. Third Saturday in Blogtober concern was the young secondary and untested pass rush.

Bottom line, according to Picture Me Roll, “In my mind we might as well be starting the season this weekend.”

3) Which Alabama player is most likely to have a breakout performance against the Nittany Lions?

Picture Me Rollin expects a big day for Robert Lester on defense and Greg McElroy on offense. With Third Saturday in Blogtober tapping CJ Mosely as a non-starter likely to make a mark.

Roll Bama Roll tagged Chris Jordan or Nico Johnson as players to keep an eye on while Capstone Report said the entire offensive line is likely to be worth watching on Saturday.

The return of the dominant linebacker in the style of Derrick Thomas play is DBH Dance Party’s hope. “If he's wearing 55, so much the better.” Tower of Bammer predicted DJ Fluker’s will be fed a diet high in Vitaman Royster.

And Bama Sports Report was a little unspecific but no less certain for it. “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 letdown of a regular cupcake opener following two years facing top ten opponents for the inaugural game of the season has increased the excitement for Roll Bama Roll as well as raising the paranoia level.

Introducing a passel of Yankees to the joys of Southern tailgating and Alabama football traditions is the highlight for DBH Dance Party. And Picture Me Rollin plans to be on the Quad in full tailgate mode to make that dream a reality.

Tower of Bammer is skeptical of Penn State crowd estimates. “I’ve heard estimates up to a million trillion, but I doubt they’ll get half that.”

On the homefront, Third Saturday in Blogtober is eying a Yeungling and a place on the couch.
Bama Sports Report is curious as to the crowd noise in Bryant-Denny Stadium with the new South End Zone addition. Capstone Report, regrettably, offered a cautionary tale for unsavory fans at BDS.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable: 2010 Season, Week 2

  1. What is the most important thing we learned about the 2010 Alabama Crimson Tide in the wake of the San Jose State game?
  2. What is the biggest area of concern given the upcoming contest with the Penn State?
  3. Which Alabama player is most likely to have a breakout performance against the Nittany Lions?
  4. What part of the gameday experience are you most looking forward to on Saturday?
Bama Sports Report 10/09
Capstone Report 08/09
Roll Bama Roll 08/09
Tower of Bammer 07/09
DBH Dance Party 07/09
Third Saturday in October 07/09
Picture Me Rollin 07/09

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Crimson & White Roundtable Roundup: 2010 Season Opener Edition

1) What are the expectations for the coming season?

While the mainstream media seems convinced that the Alabama fanbase has nothing but visions of National Championships and Heisman Trophies in their heads for 2010, the C&W Roundtable begs to differ. The expectations for the 2010 are certainly optimistic and positive but also painfully realistic.

Every participant in the roundtable this week projected the Crimson Tide to drop a least one game this season. A “a slight crash back to earth” at the hands of “some Gator-Lion-Tiger-Chickeny-type Beast while we break in America’s Next Top Defense,” as Tower of Bammer put it.

The most Saban-esque take was from Roll Bama Roll whose expectations are for a team that will “go out each and every game and work to dominate whoever they are lined up against.

That dovetails with 3rd Saturday in Blogtober’s projection that the Crimson Tide is likely to drop one somewhere along the line despite being favored the whole way. That outcome would pretty much determine how the rest of the expectations play out. Contending for the division and thereby the SEC Championship is the baseline expectation every year, everything else follows from that.

DBH Dance Party denounced the perception of Alabama fans harboring "unrealistic" expectations as a holdover from the pre-Saban period of turmoil. “Alabama fans — most of us anyway — aren't stupid enough to believe our guys can win the national title every year,” he points out.

But Picture Me Rollin noted that this season will require a serious shift of perception on the part of the fans that could be difficult. Over the past three season, the Crimson Tide was focusing on improvement and now, after reaching the mountaintop, that has changed. Getting better doesn’t cut it and while Coach Saban may have that covered for the team, the fans might take awhile to adjust to the new mindset.

PMR has a suggestion for that; “I’m going to focus on enjoying the season for what it is, not what I want it to be.”

2) What Crimson Tide players to you most expect to stand out this season?

In terms of Alabama's established stars, the roundtable chose the usual suspects for recognition in 2010. DBH Dance Party notes he is downright giddy at the prospect of the stacked backfield featuring Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson while Tower of Bammer gives some serious love to the Heisman Trophy winner.

“The guy has the best timing and patience I’ve ever seen,” he writes. “I bet he doesn’t even know what color shows up after yellow on traffic lights.”

3rd Saturday in Blogtober
points out that if Greg McElroy can merely avoid a mid-season slump like he did last year then we should expect some serious fireworks from the receiving corps. Which fits with Roll Bama Roll’s tapping tight end Brad Smelly as a key offensive player to watch given the pre-season talk about his improvement and the importance of the position to the passing game.

“If we can get him on a safety or linebacker out there he could give McElroy a big target over the middle,” he notes.

On the defensive side of the ball, Picture Me Rolling projects some unnamed defensive back “will be a household name by the end of the year.” Roll Bama Roll also sings the praises of linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

3) What do you think will be biggest difference between this team and the 2009 squad?

Picture Me Rollin points out that the “party line” in response to this question is “a great offense and an improving defense for this season which was the opposite of last year.” And that’s pretty much the story the roundtable respondents stuck to.

On offense, Tower of Bammer expect to see Greg McElroy take a few more chances, “becoming more Texas Gunslinger and less Texas Groundskeeper.” And Roll Bama Roll concurs that the offense is likely to be more explosive, with a cavat: “I don't think we'll be as wide open as some folks think. I'm thinking more along the line of what we saw against Florida [in the SECCG], with a few more shots down the field here and there.”

The defense will be a completely different beast, according to 3rd Saturday in Blogtober (and seconded by RBR). The strength of the front seven will increase the sack rate but the lack of experience in the secondary will mean a lower turnover margin.

“I also see the Tide giving up more big plays than they did last season, not just because of the lack of experience, but because of the lack of chemistry from having not played together much.”

DBH Dance Party noted the importance of luck as a factor of the 2009 team’s success and suggests it’s folly to expect the breaks to go the Tide’s way indefinitely. “These things will undoubtedly even out this fall. They just have to. So just get ready for it.”