Did yesterdayís game against Tennessee feel like a dream to anyone else?I donít mean the really good kind of dream; I never have those.I mean the kind of dream where while things are happening, you just assume that everything is real, but as events become more and more bizarre, you actually start questioning whether these things are really happening or not.After yesterdayís game, I actually had to check myself and ask, ďDid that really happen?ĒDid we really just make every mistake possible to choke away a sure win, only to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by one of the most heroic plays in Alabama football history?Unless Iím in the middle of the longest dream of my life, it really happened, and I have the combination of elation and nausea to prove it.
I know that some of you are probably starting to think that Iím crying wolf when I warn of potential danger in the upcoming opponent.After all, I was extremely worried about Arkansas, and we smacked them 35-7.However, before yesterdayís game, I told my wife that I was more uneasy about the matchup against Tennessee than any game weíve had so far.You see, like it or not, Tennessee is absolutely loaded with talent.Theyíve been recruiting like Saban for over a decade (a slight exaggeration, but you get the picture), so from a talent perspective, they are close to being our equals.They really only had two question marks coming into the game with us.The first was coaching, but they do have one of the greatest defensive coordinators to ever coach football (and that is no exaggeration), so I knew that their defense would be solid.The second and biggest question mark was their QB, Jonathon Crompton.The thing is, when Crompton committed to UT out of high school (out of North Carolina, I believe), he was all everything.The problem was that he was buried on the depth chart behind a true freshman starter (Eric Ainge), so he didnít get to play for quite awhile.I donít know the details, but he seemed to be pressing once he got into the lineup, and was never very effective.However, two weeks ago, against Georgia, the light bulb seemed to go off in his head, and he turned into the Crompton Iíve always expected, so he was peaking at the worst possible time for us.Plus, Tennessee had an extra week to rest and prepare for us while we were scrapping it out in a dogfight against South Carolina.To sum it up, I was very worried about this game.Turns out, I was right.
I donít know how the flow of the game felt to the rest of you, but to me, I felt like we were hanging on for dear life the whole game.I felt like they controlled both lines of scrimmage, and it was just several perfectly timed big plays on defense that kept them from taking control of the game.We only had one real drive; the one that Mark Ingram took over right before halftime.For that drive and that drive only, our offensive line had the upper hand on their defensive line.We mashed the ball down to their four-yard line, where we faced second and 2 with about a minute left.I would need a thesaurus to find the words to adequately describe my feelings about the next two play calls, but letís just say that if we went to a mental hospital, found the stupidest person there, beat him over the head for 30 minutes with a sledge hammer, then asked him to call the next two plays, and he called those two plays, I would have been extremely disappointed in that person.You can imagine how I felt about a coaching staff that is being paid millions and millions of dollars making those calls.Seriously, that was beyond incompetence; it was idiocy, and Saban needs to address it now.
So we took a 9-3 lead into halftime, and miraculously held that lead until about halfway into the fourth quarter, when Leigh Tiffin hit the most clutch field goal of his career, giving us a 12-3 lead.Even though I was still verbally sounding the warning bell, inside, I felt like we had just won the game, and it looked like it when we had the ball with 3:29 left in the game, a 9 point lead, and UT had only one timeout left.Then that crazy series of events occurred.Ingram fumbled, Crompton turned into Dan Marino, they scored on a blown coverage, they recovered the perfectly executed on-side kick, drove down to our 27, and then, the play happened.
Iíve watched that play about a dozen times, and Iím telling you, it was an absolutely heroic effort on Mt. Codyís part.Since he was lined up on the right side of the defensive line, he needed to extend his left hand to have a chance at blocking the kick. However, as he came through the line (which was phenomenal in and of itself), his left arm was caught in the line.He torqued his body by throwing down his right arm, freeing his left arm just in time for him to extend it as the kick occurred.The ball hit Cody in the left hand, and two Bama players had the presence of mind to recover the blocked kick, ending the game and giving us the miracle win.
One more thing that I need to address, Cody did remove his helmet while the play was going on, so yes, technically that should have been a 15-yard penalty.However, removing the helmet is enforced as a dead-ball foul, so it would have been fifteen yards against us AFTER we took possession, so no, Tennessee should not have gotten another chance at the kick.Thatís not my opinion; thatís taken from the official statement from the SEC office.
I donít know whatís going to happen the rest of the year.We have a much-needed off-week, so hopefully our defensive players can rest, and our offensive coaches and players can get their heads together.If we donít improve, LSU will beat us, and theyíre our next opponent, so we have to improve immediately.However, if somehow we can get our offense back in rhythm, and we can run the table the rest of the way, Codyís block should and will be remembered along with Kraussís goal-line stand and Teagueís strip as one of the greatest plays in Alabama football history.Thank you Terrance.
Thatís it for now.Iíll try to provide a recruiting update next week during the off-week, but as always, feel free to send me any questions or comments.