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My Column: Winning Time

In the fall of 2008, our friend AO and yours truly decided to take a late night stroll from Creswell Hall to the OG Jimmy John’s on Baxter Street. It was the evening before the infamous UGA-Alabama blackout game. As we were leaving, a Bama fan gave us a verbal lashing that I still remember to this day. To be fair, we were easy targets. At the time, your boy was sporting a single cubic zirconia earring, and AO was still AO..... not exactly an intimidating bunch. This was my first face-to-face interaction with a rowdy Bama fan. Let’s not forget that back in 2008, Bama was in a mini title drought of its own, having last won a natty in the 1992 season. The Gumps were not nearly as vocal as they are today. This particular guy pushed AO’s buttons to the point that I had to step in and physically restrain AO. As the guy egged him on, I remember AO repeatedly yelling, “I’m 150 pounds soaking ass wet!” (which probably explains why the guy picked us out in the first place..... but, I digress). Suffice to say, we wanted to win the blackout game and then return the favor to any Bama fan we came across. As you know, it was not meant to be that evening. I remember thinking, “Oh well, we'll get them next time”. Well, here we are 13+ years later…… we have not ”gotten them next time”. I don’t need to remind you about the specifics of each loss; you have suffered as much as I have. Until we do the damn thing, there is not much we can say.

This year feels different. Maybe it’s because the Braves took us to the promised land? Or is it the fact that the Dawgs have caught up to Bama in terms of overall roster talent, according to the 247 Sports Team Talent Composite Rankings? That’s probably a big part of it. But it takes more than talent to get it done; keep in mind that the Dawgs had the top ranked roster in the 2020 Talent Composite Rankings. Whatever the reason, the vibes are different this year.

Winning on Saturday won’t erase what happened in the past. I’ve had to remind myself that our ultimate goal isn’t to beat Bama. It’s to win a natty. But, I do admit that this particular game does mean more. I’ve been on edge all week. We missed our window of opportunity in the 2017 season, and the Gumps have not let us forget it. That 2017 Dawgs team changed the culture of UGA football, and it still hurts that Nick, Sony, Lorenzo, and Co. did not finish as natty champs. A lot of programs don’t get another shot, but these Dawgs do…..and the road to redemption starts against our arch nemesis. Please don't tell me that college football isn't romantic! Anyways, I can't help but think of one of my high school football coaches (S/O Coach McCoy), who loved to scream, “SHIT OR GET OFF THE POT” before games. Big mood. See y’all at MBS on Saturday.

*Side note- If the Dawgs win on Saturday, I might have to follow in Malcolm Kelly's footsteps and deliver a few postgame bars.

High level hitters

  • After week 13, Bill Connelly's SP+ ranks Alabama 3rd overall (3rd offensive and 11th defensive).

  • Alabama beat Auburn 24-22 in last week's Iron Bowl, a 4 OT thriller. Alabama struggled on offense throughout the day, and was held scoreless for 3+ quarters.

  • You already know this, but Alabama QB Bryce Young is a bona fide star and is incredibly accurate. Young rarely misses (when given time to throw), and he has a few weapons that will take advantage of blown coverages. Beyond that, Young is extremely mobile.

  • On the receiving end of the TD in the video above was 2021 Biletnikoff Award finalist Jameson Williams. After having a total of 15 receptions in his 2 seasons at Ohio State, Williams transferred to Alabama and has become a star. He is clearly the best receiver for Alabama, and is also a threat on special teams as a kick returner.

  • Part of last week’s offensive struggles can be attributed to Williams‘ absence. He was ejected in the 2nd quarter after a targeting penalty. John Metchie III is another star at WR, but the Tide don’t have much proven WR depth beyond Metchie. Given the poor pass protection and inability to run the ball during the Iron Bowl, Alabama was lucky to get out of Jordan-Hare with a victory.

What to watch for:

  • Will Anderson Jr. might be the best player on the field this Saturday. You already know this, but he's a MONSTER. Anderson is from Hampton, GA and was ranked as a 5-star in the 2020 class. This was a rare instance where CKS and the staff whiffed. On a side note, my guy Josh Pate has been leading the Anderson 4 Heisman campaign.

  • Georgia LT Jamaree Salyer has missed multiple games in the latter half of the season due to injury. Salyer has practiced this week and it appears that he will try to play, but is still a game-time decision (along with Kearis Jackson, Christopher Smith, and Kendall Milton).

  • Broderick Jones has played fine when filling in for Salyer this year, but asking Jones (or any OL in all of CFB) to block Anderson 1x1 in pass pro is a tall task. Regardless of who starts at LT, I am curious to see what kind of adjustments Monken and Matt Luke make in an effort to contain Anderson and the rest of the Alabama front 7. Might be as simple as daring Bama to stop the Dawgs from running the ball. We shall see.

  • The Alabama secondary has a bunch of talent, but has been susceptible to big plays this year. Let's see if Big Daddy Stet can take advantage.

Alabama OL vs Junkyard Dawgs front 7: I think this is the match-up that will determine the outcome of Saturday's game. The performance of the Alabama OL has been inconsistent in 2021. Part of that is because Alex Leatherwood, Landon Dickerson, and Deonte Brown (all OL starters from Alabama's 2020 national championship winning team) were among the 10 Crimson Tide players drafted in the 2021 NFL draft. There is certainly plenty of talent remaining on the Alabama OL, but this group is not as dominant in the trenches and has struggled to protect Bryce Young.

  • I‘m interested to see how RT Damien George holds up against the Junkyard Dawgs. During the Alabama-Arkansas game, Gary Danielson mentioned that George cracked the starting lineup midseason. I noticed George missed a few key blocks against Arkansas, and also against Auburn last week.

Alabama injuries

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04 de dez. de 2021



03 de dez. de 2021

To quote the great Rick Flair,

"To be the man, you have to beat the man"


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