somehow we're only 124th
Am I really going to do this again, this season? Yeah, I guess I am. I have very little personal insight to bring to the table when it comes to Alabama. One of my best friends from my Rackham days is from Tallapoosa County, Alabama. In the “Greatest County Names” contest, there is Tallapoosa County, and there is everyone else. It’s near Wetumpka, Alabama, in case you were wondering. I also love “Sweet Home Alabama,” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, I have always wondered about these lyrics in the song: “Now Watergate does not bother me, Does your conscience bother you? Tell the truth.” What the hell does that even mean? Why doesn’t a President of the United States resigning in disgrace bother him? And better yet, what is the relationship between Alabama and Watergate? I was a toddler when Watergate went down, so if anybody has any idea what that’s all about, please let me know. Hey, it’s better than rehashing the game. Coincidentally, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” also beat Kid Rock’s Michigan-based ode to “Sweet Home Alabama,” titled, “All Summer Long,” by a final score of 41-14.
You don’t want to go there. Seriously, trust me, you don’t want to go there. Wouldn’t you rather I link you to Morrissey’s complete catalogue, pictures of tire fires, or nuclear bombs going off? No, you want the link. OK, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Burst of Impetus
- I’m starting fresh this season with section titles, but this one is too good not to hold over. It’s for momentum changing plays.
- Things started great for UofM, holding Bama to 1 yard in their first series. However, Bama got off a great punt and flipped the field. We did manage to eak out a first down and seemed to have some momentum, even considering the slightly off slant patterns. Then we got hit with the 15 yarder on Lewan, when off-setting penalties should have been called. It all went downhill after that.
- I also thought we were in trouble this week when I heard Brady gave out 7 scholarships to walk-ons. I’m sure they are worthy, and I’m happy for them, but that kind of thing just does not happen at Bama. We are still a little thin on the depth chart, and when some players get suspended and some get injured early in the game, the talent gap starts to widen. It will improve, but we’re not there yet.
Sometimes, poop is just poop
- This better not be a recurring section, but in my season prediction email to my brother, I suggested that some regression to the mean was to be expected. I even made the blasphemous statement that we might find out that Brady Hoke’s poop is not made of gold. Well, on almost all of the 50-50 plays, they went Bama’s way. For example:
- Gallon caught a 71 yard pass when he needed 71.1 yards. (Flashbacks to Illinois, STOP IT PLEASE!!!)
- On 4thand 3, Denard seemingly stretched for the first down, only to have replay overrule the play because his elbow went down before the sticks.
- Early in the game, Rawls was facemasked while Lewan took someone’s helmet off. Guess who got the penalty?
- Bama downed a punt at the 1 foot line. It seemed like several players had a chance to bring the ball into the endzone with them, but the ball someone managed to stay at the one. This lead to the pick-six. Poop.
- The one time Bama turned the ball over, it was at the end of the half and we couldn’t benefit from it. Poop. Lousy, stinky, poop.
- This is the all-encompassing section on the defense. I think “Kehrvacks” sounds funnier than “Dehrnerd,” and they are both captains, so Jordan gets the ermahgerd treatment.
- If you look hard enough, there were a few good things. We held Lacy to 3.9 YPC and Hart to 2.1. But this points to the talent advantage Bama has. When option 1 and 3 aren’t working, go with option 2. Yeldon had 11 carries for 111 yards.
- We had 3 sacks and 9 TFLs, but the TFLs were all of the 1 and 2 yard variety. We didn’t really get any penetration. Two of the TFLs were from Brink late in the game. I’m wondering if maybe he sees more time in the future, particularly against less beefy teams. If there is any second guessing by Mattison this week, I suspect it will be the decision to try to match size with Bama. Perhaps a quicker line might have been able to sneak through, but I doubt it. Bama’s O-Line is NFL ready.
- McCarron was only 11 for 21, and we forced several throwaways. What happened to intentional grounding? Is that not a penalty anymore? I thought chucking the ball into the stands was a penalty. No? OK, let’s just move on.
- We held Bama to only 431 yards. They may be the best offense we face all year. If we can hold everyone else under 431, I’ll be happy.
- The bad news was that 3 of our top 4 tacklers were DBs. Demens only had 3 tackles. I’m worried about the UFR, but that’s to be expected after giving up 41 points (and yes, the defense was only responsible for 34.)
- Morgan had 8 tackles, but they were all assisted tackles, which epitomizes the game. In all of the one-on-one matchups, we lost. Bama was just more “-er” than us, bigger, stronger, faster, tougher. I avoided watching Bama last season because I hate that “ESS EEE SEE” crap, but there’s no denying how good they are.
- 25 guys registered at least one tackle. Some of that was blow-out time stuff, but it seemed like Mattison was searching for something that would work.
- You had to see this title coming a mile away, right? Hopefully, we get rid of the “?” next week.
- Denard ran 10 times for 27 net yards. He ran for a TD. Going into the game, one of the stats I saw more than once was how many runs Denard has had of 10 yards or longer in the past two seasons. His long this game was 9 yards. I don’t blame Borges for keeping the carries down. Without Fitz, Bama was free to tee off on Denard. I think it was more important to keep him relatively healthy than run him 25 times and leave him a bloody pulp at the end in a futile attempt to keep it close.
- Denard was 11 for 26 passing with 2 INTs. One of the INTs was the official’s fault for not calling pass interference, or Roundtree’s fault for letting himself be treated like a ragdoll.
- Denard threw for 200 yards, helped greatly by a 71 yard bomb to Gallon. It looked like Bama was giving up the long ball, but Denard and Devin are not in sync yet. Give it time, this duo will be all right by season’s end.
- The local news had a story about how there was a rare zonkey at the LA county fair this week. That’s a combination of a zebra and a jackass, I mean, a donkey. I can’t think of a more fitting description of the officiating.
- I was a little surprised to see that we were called for more penalties, and for significantly more yards. UM: 8-99, Bama: 7-55. The game reminded me of the 2000 Orange Bowl game we played against them when they set a record with 18 penalties for 132 yards, only the officials didn’t use their flags this game.
- I know Bama has 3 pre-season all-Americans on their O-line, but that doesn’t mean they can hold with impunity. I’m sure Blue Seoul will have some examples, but that’s not the reason we lost.
Passing Game Stuff
- Gallon looks to be the guy, at least until Devin and Denard get more comfortable.
- Roundtree caught two passes late. He better step up, or else I’m going to question that 21 patch he has. Maybe he’s still <100% after the surgery. I hope that’s the reason, because we can’t rely on a 5’ 8” #1 receiver and a converted QB to be the only options.
- More Dileo please. He only caught one ball, but wasn’t targeted that often.
- Kwiatkowski caught one pass for 6 yards. DAMN YOU RODRIGUEZ! I want moar tight ends!!!
- I was going to skip this section as well this year, but Jareth Glanda registered a tackle as #5D. After his Sugar Bowl heroics, any time I can send the love his way, you know I will.
- James Ross shows up in the boxscore as “Ross III, James.” ST3 approves. I wonder if he ever gets mail addressed to him as James Ross Iii?
Announcers’ Derpity Derp
- I was going to wait until we got to the meat of the BIG 10 Network portion of the schedule for this, but “Devin Smith?” Pound for pound, he’s the toughest guy who doesn’t exist on our roster.
I’ll Take Bullets for a Thousand, Alex
- Hagerup did get off some boomers, but our average Net Yards per punt was only 35.3, 16 yards less than our average punt distance. Bama, on the other hand, netted 46.2 yards on a 47 yard average. That’s coverage.
- While Norfleet looked good, the average kick return was only 22.1 yards. When a touchback takes you out to the 25, I’m not so impressed by 22 yards. It was clearly better than last season.
- Wile: 3 kickoffs, 3 touchbacks. Dude has a leg.
- Time of possession is meaningless. We had the ball for 28:34 to their 31:26. We also had 56 offensive plays to their 63. It seemed like a lot worse than that.