Too Much To Overcome

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama has it going on, in every way, when it comes to football. For now, it's too much for Ole Miss' fledgling program. If you need proof, check out the results from the Reb-Tide game, but the Rebels played their hearts out. Color this hack proud.

A beautiful, symmetrical stadium, that seats over 100,000 by the way, greets every team the Alabama Crimson Tide plays in Tuscaloosa.

It's imposing empty, intimidating when full.

From the attention to every detail to the sheer enormity of the environment, it's pretty obvious that nothing - absolutely nothing - is more important than Alabama football in these parts.

As their saying goes, "Some people play football. . . At Alabama, we live it."

But it's what happens on the perfectly manicured, real grass field at Bryant-Denny Stadium that is even more impressive than its formidable surroundings.

On that field, Tide Coach Nick Saban has established a modern-day dynasty.

All week long, the Ole Miss coaches have been saying the Tide players are "a different animal."

They are wrong. Dead wrong.

Alabama's players may be a different species.

They don't play like mere humans, even gifted humans. Their prowess, I dare to say, is alien to 99 percent of the college football programs in the country. It's why they have won two recent national championships and are currently number one in the nation.

Jeff Scott goes in for a TD
US Presswire

Physically, they are what every football program aspires to be. Fast, physical and well-coached, as anticipated.

On offense, they are more balanced than any Tide team I can recall, and when you do get a crack or crease against their defense, it closes quickly.

Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze talks about a size-speed ratio he and his staff use to recruit SEC players for the Rebel program.

Saban must have a size-speed ratio all his own, off the charts.

Knowing all that, it was no shock the Rebels could not hold of the herd and fell to Alabama by a 33-14 final score.

But here's one writer who left Tuscaloosa proud -- a pride I haven't had since the 2009 Cotton Bowl, to be exact.

Yes, the Rebels had too many turnovers in the first half and a couple of key special teams blunders, but this team gave every ounce they had to give, and some.

They made a big step up from the Texas showing in terms of being more physical, they seemed to be in the right place at the right time more often and they didn't seem, from an up-close sideline look into their eyes on the sidelines, intimidated in the least.

Sometimes they got beaten by better athletic talent, sometimes the coaches had to gamble to try to make something happen that backfired in their faces and sometimes they lost their technique and execution which resulted in bad plays, but their effort never faltered.

That may start sounding like a tired refrain, but lest we so easily forget in our impatience to see a more formidable program on the field, 100 percent effort is all that was promised by Freeze when this season began.

We're getting what was promised and, in this humble opinion, more. To a man, they competed from the opening whistle to the end.

A.J. McCarron
US Presswire

Alabama did not "run over" the Rebels, and everyone this side of Vegas thought that would be the case. They had to go to the air much more than they thought they would and got one of their scores on a reviewed play that would not have been a TD anywhere on earth but in Tuscaloosa.

In short, they had to work for everything they got. If they said anything came easy, I would question their integrity.

So, the bottom line is this: If the Rebels continue to play as hard as they did against the Tide, clean up some things and keep honing their skills week by week, this team is going to win some more games this year.

In the meantime, color me proud and looking forward to the rest of the season with optimism.

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