Sunday, October 29, 2006

Alabama 38 Florida International 3

The Crimson Tide defeated Florida International yesterday at Homecoming in Tuscaloosa. The game started out frustrating, much like the Duke game. After the end of the first quarter, the Golden Panthers were leading the Tide 3-0. The offense never really got on track, but thanks to the defense and special teams, the Tide won going away. Alabama should not have had as much trouble as they did. FIU had not won any games this year. Thanks to suspensions after their infamous fight with Miami during their last game, they were short handed by 18 players.

Saturday October 29th the boys and I traveled to Tuscaloosa for Alabama's homecoming game against Florida International. As usual, we went to bed early the night before and woke up early Saturday morning. I woke up around 4:40. The boys and I cleaned up, got dressed, packed our stuff and left by 6 a.m. We arrived on campus around 7:30 and found a good parking place on the street between Farrah and Little Halls.

David and Joe set up our canopy while Matt and I took care of the rest. We have one of those old canopies with numerous sections of legs and supporting poles and it is a lot of trouble to put together. I really appreciated the good job that David and Joe did on this. One funny side note: we lost one of the leg sections earlier this season so we have been using a stick that we found during the Louisiana Monroe game on September 16 as part of one of the legs. Amazingly enough, the same exact stick was right where we left it 6 weeks earlier, so we used it again to support our humble little canopy. I sure would like to get one of those fancy collapsible Crimson Tide canopies.

Anyway, we played some football and walked over to the Bryant Museum to get some programs. We then enjoyed the homecoming parade. After the parade I grilled and we all ate. We walked around the Quad and over to the Ferguson Center where we watched some of the Auburn - Ole Miss game at the theater. We then watched the band play on the library steps before heading back to our canopy. We hung out there a little while before packing up our
stuff and heading over to the game.

Joe and Matt "got into it" early in the game and at one point later I had to get onto David a tiny bit, but other than that we all enjoyed the game. Toward the end, we left our seats and walked down to the sidelines and watched some of the end of the game from there. It was fun to enjoy the game and the atmosphere from there. It also put us closer to the side of the stadium that we parked near, so we were able to beat most of the traffic getting out of Tuscaloosa. That was important because we drove all the way to Huntsville. We did stop and buy two Little Caesars pizzas in Gardendale. We also stopped at home and did a little unpacking before going on to Huntsville. After travelling 360 miles on Friday and then having such a long day on Saturday, I was ready to crash when we got to Huntsville. But it was a great day!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tennessee 16 Alabama 13

I watched this game with my Dad. It pains me to write that title. But I am not pained at all in comparison to Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson and the rest of the Crimson Tide. Bear Bryant once played in this game with a broken leg. This Tide team didn't do that, but they endured some punishment. What an effort! The Tide went up against perhaps the best team in the SEC in front of 108,000 hostile fans. They led or were tied for 57 out of the 60 minutes. Unfortunately they came up short. This team is only a few steps away from greatness, which has cost them three wins: Arkansas, Florida, and now the Vols.

I have no complaints about the effort made by the players. Defensive coordinator Joe Kines had a masterful plan. Shula made a few good calls on offense. But my main complaint is with Shula, or whoever is responsible for the offensive play calling. We continue to have way too many runs up the middle with a finesse back in Darby. And as I said at the time, they should have gone for the touchdown when it was fourth and goal from the two. The four additional points they could have scored would have kept them in the game.

Understand, though, my complaints are nitpicking. This program is headed in the right direction and I truly believe great things are to come in the near future.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Alabama 26 Ole Miss 23


The thrill of victory in OT - Matt

The thrill of victory in OT - David

Bama moves the chains

Bama closes in on victory in OT

David - Roll Tide!

Joe - Go Bama!

David and Joe

Matt - Rammer Jammer Yellowhammer

Matt - pregame in the sun


Ole Miss Threatens

David and Joe

Alabama defeated Ole Miss Saturday afternoon October 14 in overtime by the score of 26-23. It was a very exciting game for the boys and I. We left the house at 8 and found our parking spot on 6th Ave, just off Hackberry Lane just a little after 10 a.m. The traffic coming down was heavy because the game started at 2:30. The line in the McDonald's drive through took a long time, too. Some students from Blount County were charging $8 for crs to park in their yard. We parked in the street in front of their yard. They were gracious enough to allow the boys and I to play catch in their back yard. I also read the gameday edition of the Tuscaloosa News a little while in the car while the boys played. We walked by the Bryant Museum and got some programs.

We really enjoyed the game. Bama looked good at times, especially on offense. The defense stunk in the first half, but they turned it around in the second half and in overtime. The defense only gave up about 80 yards in the second half, and over 50 of that came on one big pass play. John Parker Wilson was sharp again, passing for over 200 yards, as he now has in all seven starts of his career this year. He did miss two wide open receivers. He also had two easy passes dropped which may have resulted in touchdowns. Sometimes you get the feeling that this Tide team is on the verge of greatness, but there are always a few big mistakes each game that keep them from being exactly where they want to be. If they put it all together, they could still give Tennessee, LSU, and/or Auburn a run for their money.

Obviously the most exciting part of this game was John Parker Wilson's game winning touchdown pass to LeRon McClain in overtime. I was holding Matt and we were all jumping up and down cheering. The smiles on the boys' faces were priceless.

Kines: Let Alabama players enjoy victory

UA's Darby says thanks to critics

Tide wins first overtime game since 1999 - CW

Tide giving fans money's worth

Alabama-Ole Miss stats and summary from ESPN

Tide, Tigers get dose of confidence

ALABAMA: Crimson Tide passes OT test

Alabama to wear houndstooth jerseys

Jimmy Johns could be Tide's Tim Tebow

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Alabama 30 Duke 14

Game Stats -

Alabama Notebook - Huntsville Times

Alabama Football Downs Duke 30-14 Release: 10/07/2006

Alabama sends Duke to 13th-straight loss

A Devil of a Time

Devils Give Tide a Scare - Charlotte Observer

Crimson Tide is really not getting better - Ray Melick, Birmingham News

Robinson lowers boom with speech, interception

Saturday October 7, 2006

Saturday morning David and I left the house at about 9 and arrived in Tuscaloosa a little before 11. We stopped at the Chevron and grabbed a burger and a burger and frosty at Wendy's. After parking a block off Hackberry Lane, we walked over to the Bryant Museum and picked up some programs from prior games. After going back to the car we walked across campus to the Ferguson Center and watched the Auburn-Arkansas game with some friends, including Tee and Gary. That place was rocking with Bama fans cheering on the Razorbacks, who defeated the Auburn Tigers 27-10. David also wanted to shop in the Supe Store. He got the book, "Bloodfeud", about the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. I got a new Alabama cap. It is a white cap with "U of A". Gary gave us two tickets for some good seats, which was real nice. David and I walked across campus and sold our other two tickets for $20 each on the street corner behind the Tutwiler parking lot. We walked back across campus and watched the end of the Auburn loss. We then ate Mexican at the Bama Dining center at the Ferguson Center. I had the burrito and David had a cheese quesedilla. I bought him a strawberry shortcake for dessert. He was real nice to share it with me. After dessert we walked over to the Quad where we watched the band warm up and perform on the steps of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. After the band finished, we walked back to the car, got some drinks, and walked to Bryant Denny Stadium.

The game itself was a huge letdown. Alabama came in 3-2. They have looked good at times, but inconsistent. With a little luck they could have easily defeated one of the two games they lost. Both of the teams that defeated Alabama, Arkansas and Florida, were predicted to win. Despite that, Bama dominated both games and could have won. Duke brought the nation's worst offense to Tuscaloosa Saturday night, ranked 119 out of 119. David and I were expecting a blowout, perhaps something along the lines of 42-0. After all, Duke had been shut out in three of their first four games. The way it turned out, Bama had to mount a comeback in the second half, outscoring Duke 20-0, to finish with a 30-14 victory. Boos were reigning down in Bryant-Denny throughout the first half. As a fan, it appeared to me the boos were directed primarily at the Bama coaching staff. Many of the fans have been very vocal about the team running up the middle on third and long. The team was very flat and uninspired in the first half. Today the sports talk shows, such as the Paul Finebaum Show, are fielding calls from disillusioned fans. Even though I was really down on the coaching staff during the game, maybe we should sit back and take a deep breath before asking for Shula to be ousted. After all the team did win, and this happens every Saturday and always has. I know that even Bear Bryant had games that he had trouble winning against poor opponents. Bama (and Shula) is not as bad as people think. Now if the Tide plays like this against Ole Miss and lose, Shula may be digging his own grave. On the other hand, if the Tide wins the games they are supposed to win, and then wins one or two of the games they are not supposed to win, people will change their tune. College football is very interesting. Parity rules in the SEC. The top 7 or 8 teams in the SEC can all defeat each other on a given day. Anyway, back to Bama, I sure hope that Shula gets a grip on this team. Alabama need to come out and have a decisive victory against Ole Miss. Then, if the Tide can upset Tennessee, they will potentially be in real good shape for a decent season, because after the Vols, Bama has two more easy games before facing LSU and Auburn. Alabama then could go into those last two games with an 8-2 record, which will be basically what was expected of this team at the beginning of the season. Alabama then would have a chance to exceed expectations with a victory over one of the Tigers. On the surface, he team's performance against Duke does not give much reason for hope. Nevertheless, we can only hope that the scare that Duke put into the team (and hopefully the coaches) will provide the added motivation needed to reel of a long string of victories.

David and I were frustrated, but he said over and over what a great day that he had. He enjoyed seeing the Tide win. We left the stadium with about 4 minutes left in the game. We missed the final touchdown that came on Lionel Mitchell's interception return. We got out of town and beat the traffic. After a stop at the Gardendale Wal-Mart, we got home around 11:30. We were pumped up and stayed up until 2:30 watching some of the replay of the game, reading, and playing on David's Xbox. All that really mattered at the end of the day was hearing David say this, "Dad, it's been a great day!"

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Memories of 1992...

Voting for the Tide

As he’s set to retire, Arizona columnist Corky Simpson recalls his part in Bama’s run to 1992 championship

From the Decatur Daily...

Great article!

Tide Prepares for Duke Blue Devils

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Florida 28 Alabama 13

Tide lacks finishing touches

Shula needs to score points with Tide fans

Rushing woes continue for Tide

Gators Topple Tide

Saturday, the boys and I travelled to my Mom and Dad's home. We watched Bama lose to Florida down in Gainesville on CBS. Bama hung tough, and I think they gave it their best shot, but they were just outmanned by a superior Florida team. I won't even complain about Shula's play calling like I did last week after the Arkansas game. I think he did all that he could.

All losses are frustrating. The Arkansas loss was one of the most frustrating I have seen. Bama clearly showed more talent and had a better game plan. They were in a position to win, but execution failed in the special teams with four, count 'em four, missed kicks. One of the missed kicks was a missed extra point in overtime. Another problem is that the play calling leaves many Bama fans scratching their collective heads. Running up the middle with your injured tailback on third and long, repeatedly, makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Normally that should be a passing down. And if you want to run and use the element of surprise, try a reverse, option play, or something to the outside. If you do run up the middle, use a back with enough size and strength to break tackles. Between the play calling and missed kicks, Bama threw away a game that they should have probably won by 10-14 points.

The Florida loss was also frustrating. Bama led much of the way and could have won this game, too, despite the score. Things just fell apart at the end. You expect that will happen occasionally on the road in the SEC against a quality opponent like Florida. As I mentioned previously, though, it appears that Coach Shula called much better plays on offense and put his team in a position to win.

There are some lingering concerns, but I believe this Alabama team is heading in the right direction.