Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wild, Wild West Battle (Bama vs Ole Miss)

The Tide travels to Oxford, Mississippi, on Saturday to joust with Houston Nutt's Rebels. Ole Miss suffered a disappointing loss to South Carolina several weeks ago, which severely disrupted their media hype. Make no mistake, however, the Rebels will be ready to play on Saturday.
From an athletic viewpoint, the Rebels match up against the Tide extremely well. Although they are missing their All-American Left Tackle Michael Oher from last season, the Rebels still sport a formidable offense. Look for them to use the speedy Dexter McCluster in space or in the Wildcat formation. Jevan Snead hasn't been very consistent this season, but is deadly accurate when he is "on". The Tide secondary will be put to the test if the Rebels' run game sputters.

Alabama has been shifting its 3-4 scheme to make up for the loss of LB Dont'a Hightower from two weeks ago. True Freshman Tana Patrick may fill in on Saturday instead of shifting around the whole LB corps like last week.

Defensively, this will be the most athletic team that the Bama offense has faced this season. Va Tech was probably better coached, but Bama will have a tough time running the ball on this Rebel D-Line. Bama will have to get a good push off the line of scrimmage in order to run up the middle. Look for at least three different RB's to get reps in this game (Ingram, Richardson, and Upchurch). Bama will try to pound on this line and hopefully wear them out by the 4th quarter. Ole Miss will use their crazy DE Greg Hardy to rush QB Greg McElroy and try to disrupt Bama's passing game. To compensate for the increased pressure on Greg McElroy, Bama will try to set up screens to Ingram and Grant, or throw to TE Colin Peek. Alabama will likely run more plays out of the Wildcat this week, as well. If my source is correct, there could be a "surprise" guest taking snaps as well as some major changes in scheme. We'll see how this plays out.

The Rebel secondary is doing better this year than many expected. Safeties Johnny Brown and Kendrick Lewis lead the team in tackles. The Bama wide receivers should at least have a height advantage here, but will have to earn every catch. Many are looking for Julio Jones to have a breakout sophomore game, and this could be it.

Call them "intangibles", but many things go against Alabama in this match up. Historically, Bama has dominated this series. The last time the Tide won in Oxford, it was largely due to a "controversial" call by the officials. Ole Miss fans and players are still bitter about it. Also, Houston Nutt always loses some games that he's not supposed to lose as well as win some games that he's not supposed to win. This is a game that he is supposed to lose.

I would be surprised but not shocked if Alabama lost this game, but for the sake of being a homer I think the Tide rolls 27-17.

1 comment:

  1. I think Houston Nutt put it best. "Very few people score points against Alabama. We ran into a real wall today."

    So can we get some commentary on Fla v. LSU? Please tell me that I'm not the only person in the country who thinks that the Gators did TERRIBLE, considering how sloppy LSU was in that game and has been all season. If the Gators keep at this level of performance, the Tide will CRUSH them. I can't wait.