We contributed our thoughts on Roll Bama Roll, so in return Todd answers our questions on Alabama. Enjoy:
1. I'll just ask this one more time: why do Alabama fans make such a big deal about their old coach Ray "The Bear" Perkins? Was he that good? And why can't you get over him?
The legendary Ray "The Bear" Perkins.
I think you might be confusing Perkins with Paul "Bear" Bryant, the legendary coach that preceded him. It's an easy mistake to make considering Perkins earned the nickname "Bare" after it was discovered he suffered from a rare psychological disorder known as "Ray Perkins Syndrome" that forced him to completely undress before he could urinate. It was actually quite a coincidence that he suffered from it, since the name "Ray Perkins" was chosen
at random from a phonebook during the naming procees and people named "Ray Perkins" were rarely diagnosed. While he wasn't half the coach of Bryant (literally, he measured only 3'1"), he is held in high esteem by a large portion of the population since he fathered roughly 87% of the male children born in this state between 1973 and 1996, myself included. We don't think of him so much as "Coach" as we do "Dad." He also fathered some 42% of the female children born in that time span, but refuses to acknowledge their legitimacy.
2. Do our eyes deceive us, or are you running a 3-3-5 these days? And if so, why the hell are you doing this?
There's nothing wrong with your eyes, Alabama has been lining up in the 3-3-5 a lot since last season. The introduction of the 3-3-5 defense last season served two purposes: First, to take advantage of the talent and depth in the linebacking corp and secondary while compensating for the inexperience along the D-line and, second, as a means to defend against the ever popular spread offense. Most SEC defenses are designed to push plays towards the center of the field while the spread is meant to, well, spread the defense. Spurrier ran roughshod over the conference for a decade because of it, and with Auburn's Al Borges and Sly Croom installing their variations of the West Coast Offense and Urban Meyer bringing his Spread Option, Kines went ahead and spread his defense out before the offense could. Further, it allows us to use a linebacker as a rush end and the fifth defensive back as a linebacker, sacrificing strength for overall speed and allowing his defenders to "run to the ball." A nickel back might not be the best choice for run support, but he gets there quick and after he does there are three other guys right behind him to aid in the tackle. That's why you tend to see about three crimson jerseys in on every stop instead of one guy making a big hit.
3. Does really, really liking "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sisters make us gay? We though it was gay sex that made you gay, but we've been told that liking this song is just the same, at least in Alabama.
Does liking this make us gay? And is that Casey Clausen in the video, as our readers seem to suggest?
Being from Alabama, my only knowledge of and experience with the gay lifestyle comes from Will and Grace and Cinemax softcore lesbian porn.
That being said, I imagine a song entitled "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" would make you NOT gay, since, in my limited experience, all gay men are constantly itching to break into impromptu musical theater.
There are really only three things in Alabama that will instantly classify you as gay. 1) Gay sex, 2) not liking football, and 3) being from somewhere that sounds sissy, like California, Canada, or "The North." As far as I know there aren't any songs that instantly identify a man as gay, but if I had to pick one I'd say "The Safety Dance." Can you think of a better metaphor for a deviant lifestyle than men without hats exhorting you to abandon your
friends that don't "dance?" Didn't think so.
4. Does Florida's offense even put a modicum of fright into you this year? And if not, then which offensive player makes you nervous?
Sort of. I'm mostly worried about Florida's run/option plays since the youthful linebacking corp is still overpursuing plays and taking bad pursuit angles left and right. I'm not going to name any specific players since I'm not quite as familiar with the Florida roster as maybe I should be, but let's just say Tebow should have another banner rushing day on third and short.
5. What is Leigh Tiffin doing? And why would anyone named Tiffin even attempt to kick at Alabama? Why do we have to watch this lame Southern drama unfold in front of our eyes? Hasn't anyone in Alabama read "The Great Santini?"
No, we haven't read "The Great Santini," since all books not directly related to Alabama football were banned in 1968. No one really cares, since the educated sissy types all moved away as soon as they could and most Auburn fans can't read anyway. The few that can read the Alabama books to the others but substitute "Auburn" whenever Alabama appears, "Tommy Tuberville" for Bear Bryant, and either "Pat Sullivan" or "Bo Jackson" for any Alabama player
mentioned. It's why they have that Bama arrogance without the history to back it up. As for what Leigh Tiffin is doing? I imagine he's hiding under his bed, not answering the phone or checking his e-mail, and thanking God that his father is so revered in this state that the worst that will happen to him is he'll be benched for the rest of the season and manage something
spectacular next year to make us all forget September 23, 2006. Of course, Van Tiffin
managed to lose (or at least leave us tied) a few games with errant kicks, too. Just two weeks prior to "The Kick," Van Tiffin found himself in the same predicament after missing a field goal to break the 14-14 tie at LSU, so hopefully young Leigh will get a chance for his own "The Kick" and in 20 years we'll remember where were on that day instead.
6. What could explain Bama's recent streak of wins over Florida? Please exclude any harebrained theories of moral, historical, or cultural supremacy from your answer and stick to the tangibles.
Well since you're going to take all the fun out of it, I'll give you the simplest and most obvious answers. Shaun Alexander, Freddie Milons, Tyrone Prothro, and a defense that had it's sinister way with Chris Leak all afternoon.
7. Why should Mike Shula ever care about anything Alabama fans have to say? Ever? He was born wealthy. He's gotten richer doing a mediocre job coaching wherever he's been prior to Alabama. He's got a huge house, the standard blond wife, and won ten games last year. He's breaking in a first year starter at qb and a defense that the NFL snacked on in the offseason. Why the inordinate hysteria? (Remember: this is a Florida fan asking you this. That's how disproportionate Alabama fans' rage over a one point loss to a good Arkansas team has been.)
Really, Mike Shula shouldn't care what we have to say. I'm not vain enough to think that my blabbering on a blog will make one bit of difference in his coaching decisions, just like I'm positive all the media put together couldn't sway him to do anything differently. The fan's rage over the one point loss to Arkansas has more to do with a few perceived bad decisions at the end of the game. We caught every bit of bad luck imaginable in that game, and that
doesn't help. We SHOULD have won that game, and the Shula game plan managed to outplay the Hogs for roughly 57 minutes. You can't fault him for that, just like you can't fault him for believing Tiffin wouldn't miss four kicks in a single game or not planning on JP losing a fumble that would be returned for a score. Losing that game was a bitter pill to swallow, and whenever your team loses when it should have won the first instinct is to blame the coach
and start second guessing his decisions. I personally think he should have gone for the TD at the end of regulation instead of playing it safe, but I'm not getting paid a million dollars a year to make those decisions. He is, and the only thing to do is let it go, plan for the next game, and not give a rat's ass what the message board lurkers and Paul Finebaum have to say
8. Your girlfriend and your inner offensive coordinator both want Chris Leak on their team. Also, he does not have the middle name thing going on, though we could tag on a "Tanner" or "Hunter" just to make Alabama fans comfortable with him. What's your read on him going into the game.
Well, my girlfriend goes to Ole Miss and therefor has a thing for Eli Manning, a fact that haunts me in my sleep, and my inner OC is fine with JP, if only for the once in a lifetime opportunity to lay the "our QB's little brother beat your OMG TEH BST RECRUT EVAH on national TV in both real time AND on an MTV teen drama" smack down. Also, you'd have to give Leak a middle
name that starts with a J or a W so it would have that nice initial-name sound like JP.
On the for reals side, Leak might have more passing attempts and yardage, but he and JP share a 63.6% completion rating and Leak has thrown 4 picks to Wilson's 1. In last year's match up, Leak came into Bryant-Denny without having been intercepted all season, and walked away having thrown three. If Simeon Castille, the man who took two of those picks last year, has anything to say about, he'll end up with a few more on that total. I figure the
game plan for the defense is roughly the same.