Tag Archives: Kirby Smart

Football Practice Notebook: Oct. 30, 2012

There’s a little something in Death Valley that the older generation of Alabama players are telling the young ones to look out for, and it has nothing to do with the crowd.

Find out what that is and more in my practice notebook.

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BrettAtBama Recap: BCS National Championship

If I may break away from an objective viewpoint for just a second, I must say I am glad Alabama was able to beat LSU last night, because I did not want to write a Recap shoving the loss in all of your faces. So, let’s go through and showcase some great performances.

It’s tough to not mention the game’s offensive and defensive MVPs, AJ McCarron and Courtney Upshaw. It was said by analysts on all mediums that the quarterback that performed better in this game would win his team the championship. McCarron definitely got the best of that battle, throwing 34 times for 23 completions and 234 yards. Upshaw was everywhere against the Tigers, with 5 solo tackles and a sack while playing a big part in stopping LSU’s downhill running game and short passing game.

My honorable mentions in this department are Trent Richardson and Kevin Norwood on offense and Jerrell Harris on defense. Richardson is the obvious choice, scoring the only touchdown in the 120+ minutes of football these two teams played against each other. Harris showed the mental discipline that comes with being a senior in this game, defending the speed option perfectly when it was attempted. In some cases, Harris forced Jefferson to pitch to the running back, then got off of a block and assisted on the tackle of the running back.

Norwood gets my nod because he was key in the Crimson Tide’s aerial attack gameplan. Against a defensive secondary as great as LSU’s is, the best bet is to get their corners in a one-on-one situation on the outside, away from the rest of the defense inside the hashmarks. Norwood did exactly that, making timely catches on the sidelines where incomplete passes would have killed the Tide’s passing game completely. For coming up on the big stage by doing exactly what his coaches trained him to do since the Iron Bowl in preparation for this game, Norwood gets my tap on the shoulder as an honorable mention for player of the game.

One more analytical note on the game: you fans can thank the 2010 Iron Bowl for such a dominant defensive performance. If you remember, Alabama shut down the Tigers in the first half of that game, then decided to drop back and become conservative, allowing Auburn to make the shocking comeback. Clearly, Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and the rest of the staff learned from that mistake, keeping the defensive pressure on LSU all night long, making sure that LSU was only able to cross the 50-yard-line on a severely fatigued defense.

All around, this was one of the most dominant national championship games in recent history. One would have to look to Urban Meyer’s Florida teams or even further back to the 1992 thrashing Miami received from Alabama to see something so one-sided. Enjoy No. 14, Crimson Tide faithful.

As much as I hate to say it, this concludes football coverage for the 2012 season from BrettAtBama. Now, all of my football related focus will switch to recruiting.

Football Practice Video: November 23rd, 2011

Hello, Readers! It’s time for the madness that is the combination of Thanksgiving and Iron Bowl week. The Monday installment of football coverage here is the normal practice video, this time featuring the offensive linemen and the linebackers. Enjoy!

Practice Video: November 16th, 2011

With the flexbone triple option offense Georgia Southern is going to bring to Tuscaloosa, the linebackers are more important than ever. That’s why I decided to focus on them today. You can see some standard individual drills and also some work with defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, simulating the Georgia Southern offense. Enjoy!

Practice video from Halloween

Nick Saban kept his tight ship afloat in practice today, not letting Halloween or his birthday be a detriment to the work being put in for this big game against LSU. Here is some video from today’s media viewing period. I focused on the defense, as to honor a fan request.

Also, quick shoutout to linebacker Alex Watkins, who is practicing with a broken arm. I was able to get some good video of him, but here is a photo of him and the massive cast on his arm.

DSCN0519Have a good week and Happy Halloween.

BrettAtBama Recap: Penn State

First of all, Roll Tide! It might be a little bit of foreshadowing to the Recap, but that was a very strong showing from the Crimson Tide today in the 27-11 win over the Nittany Lions.

Offensively for Alabama, I have a hard time describing it as anything but a well-oiled machine. AJ McCarron took charge of the offense (and likely the starting job, but we’ll get to that later) and the hostile crowd around him and kept this thing moving when he needed to the most. He made the right decision at least 90% of the time, going 19-for-31 for 163 yards and a TD with no picks, and made throws that no one else on the field had the confidence to attempt, much less complete them successfully, which is exactly what McCarron did.

The offensive line stepped it up tremendously this week, too. If you remember, I was rather critical of the O-Line after the Kent State game, but they certainly shut me up this week. Kudos to everyone involved, especially O-Line coach Jeff Stoutland. He was on those boys hard in practice and it showed in State College.

Typical running performance for the Tide, I would say. Trent Richardson looked a lot better this week, returning to the form we expected him to be in all season long, notching 111 yards and two TDs.

Defensively: wow. What a game from the Kirby Smart-led defense. No matter how many times Penn State tried, the slant route was always taken away. When you can’t run the football, the slant route is normally option No. 1 in the gameplan of beating those blitzes. Downright repressive defense throughout the first three quarters, when the offense finally iced it.

Things Alabama needs to work on offensively: Really have to nitpick here. I’m going to go into serious analysis mode and go with drops early in games. Both of McCarron’s completions on the opening drive should have been caught by Marquis Maze. If either of those balls are caught and the offense can get a little steam behind it earlier than it did, 40 points is in the realm of possibility. But, remember, I’m really nitpicking here. Great job all around. I’m giving it an A-, easy, and the case for an A can be made.

Things Alabama needs to work on defensively: I have to nitpick even further here. I’ll go with converting on interceptions. There were a lot of opportunities where an Alabama defender was right there on the ball and for whatever reason couldn’t pull it in. This happened to poor Robert Lester two plays in a row, both of which were sent to video replay and ruled to be incompletions. The remedy is getting the secondary to pay more attention to when the ball is released and hopefully get a jump on the ball just a quarter of a second earlier, giving them time to make the play. But, again, this is really small stuff we’re looking at here. A defense playing that well every week will win you 11 games, easily. 1992 and 2009, anyone?

Player of the Game: Several candidates here. McCarron is up there, the improvement of the O-Line unit as a whole is worthy of recognition, and the D as a whole needs some recognition, too. Unfortunately, Player of the Game is a singular award, and McCarron is the only singular candidate listed above. McCarron’s demeanor on the field really drew my attention today. When the game was highly contested in the second quarter, McCarron looked so calm and collected on the field, as if the Tide was ahead by 35. His demeanor through his first big road test probably holds just as much weight as his stats in his case for the starting job. And, the way I see it, that starting job is his. Phillip Sims may see time against North Texas, but for the rest of the year, I would advise the Bama faithful to become accustomed to the redshirt sophomore from Mobile, Ala.

Up next, Alabama returns to the friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium to take on the North Texas Mean Green.