Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 50 - Mark Ingram / Alabama's A-Day

 The University of Alabama has beaten its own record for spring game attendance. I was going to do an article on it but my Buddy over at http://www.banditref.com  beat me to it. His article does a fantastic job of looking at spring game attendance numbers from around the SEC. By comparison, there isn’t a school that even comes close to Alabama. Go read Bandit’s article to see exactly what I would have said. Click on an advertising link or two for him while you are there. It really does help guys like us out when you all do that.

So, we have now established that Banditref stole my idea and has left me with nothing to talk about. Thanks a lot man. We could talk a bit about the same old Auburn stuff, but I don’t feel like getting a bunch of hate mail today. We could talk about sportsbybrooks, but he would probably just try to find a way to censor it. We could talk about Mark Ingram. Hey, that’s an idea as Mark seems to be spending his days stuck in various airports around the country.  We could also talk about what I saw at Bryant-Denny this past Saturday. So, off we go….

I’ve tweeted Mark and asked for an interview. As busy as he is these days, I completely understand him not responding as yet, but Mark, just so you know; I will hit you up for it down the road. I am assuming that since Mark is in Boston he has been there to speak with the Patriots. Let me preface something here… I’m a huge Patriots fan. How can a guy from Alabama be a Patriots fan? Well, to make a long story short, when I was kid my Dad took me to buy one of those Miami Dolphins letter jackets that were so prevalent back in 70’s and 80’s. Upon arrival at the sporting goods store, I was saddened to see all of the Dolphins jackets were gone, leaving me with nothing but the Raiders, the Steelers and the Patriots to choose from.  My Dad (not wanting to make another trip back for the Dolphins jacket) said, “You should be a Patriots fan son. They are red, white and blue…All American.” Well, from that day forward, I was a Pats fan. Keep in mind this was when they were horrible. They had some good players, but could never get it together, save maybe the 1985 season where the Bears trounced them relentlessly in the Super Bowl. They had players like Steve Grogan, Sam “Bam” Cunningham, Mosi Tatupu, Irving Fryar, Russ Francis and everyone remembers Darryl Stingley.  I loved them then, so you can imagine how easy it has been for me to be a Pats fan these days. So, if there are any Patriots coaches, staff or administrators that happen across this blog, you need Mark Ingram. Trade up, do whatever you have to do, but get him. 

Mark Ingram is being ripped off by Charlie Sheen on the whole winning thing. Mark Ingram is a winner period. I was lucky enough to meet Mark a couple of years back and was as impressed with his off the field demeanor as I was with what he did on Saturdays. In that meeting, Mark was surrounded by at least 100 other Alabama fans, but he did one thing that sticks out in my mind. I was trying to tell him something (exactly what it was I don’t remember. Probably just something about what a good job he had done earlier that day or any of the 1 billion comments like that he has to endure everywhere he goes).That day, Mark held his hand up (as if to say, “Give me just a second.”) and continued to listen to what I was trying to say. He could have grabbed the picture I was getting signed for my son and shoved it back to me while already getting to the next fan, but he didn’t. He took the time to appreciate me and what I had to say. I was already a Mark Ingram fan, but that day I became THE MARK INGRAM FAN. Add to this that the guy won the Heisman Trophy, runs like a cannonball and never, ever quits. He has fantastic hands and would fit perfectly in the Pats offense. He could contribute immediately and they need that. 

On to A-Day…. While some seem to think that A-day should be another closed scrimmage because the team could get more accomplished towards their goal of being Champions, I love the A-day game. I see the point and cannot disagree that an extra closed scrimmage would allow the coaches and players a chance to garner more valuable information to be used against the teams we will face in the upcoming season. On the other hand though, I love every second of it. The basic play book, (we don’t need Saban showing too much, too early do we?) the chances for kids that most likely will not get to play on Saturdays to get in the game, the atmosphere and our first glimpses of the new faces that will be sporting that Crimson Jersey in the upcoming years. I also think that A-day can and does provide some valuable insight to the coaches and the staff. It’s a chance for them to see how some of the younger kids are going to react when they are expected to perform in front of 93,000 people. 

The Quarterback Battle – McCarron or Simms? From what I saw Saturday, both are able to lead the Tide and neither separated themselves from the other. I’ve seen more scuttlebutt saying that Simms looked better than McCarron, but I just didn’t see it that way. I think they are neck and neck still. In my opinion, McCarron looks to be the safer bet in that he makes better decisions with his throws. This also makes me think that Saban probably has him a tick or two ahead of Simms. If you look at Saban’s history since arriving at the Capstone, he has placed a QB at the position that made good decisions. John Parker Wilson wasn’t the most athletic QB in the world nor did he possess a rifle arm, yet he’s making big money today holding a clipboard in the NFL. McElroy was from the same vein. I think Gmac was a bit more athletic than JPW and probably made better decisions on the whole as the Tide’s QB. I fully expect Gmac to have a successful NFL career as well. I think McCarron fits this mold better than Simms. You have to give the athletic ability a plus in the Simms column. As for arm strength, we hear more about Simms arm, but I think McCarron has a rocket as well. McCarron also seems to have a better feel for touch passes. Of course, this is all just my opinion, but I’m leaning towards McCarron being the front runner heading into fall camp. 

While on the subject of QB’s… I guess everyone noticed Blake Sims getting reps at the position. From what I have been told, Sims possesses a much better arm than anyone (staff included) originally thought. He spent his high school days in a spread type offence and performed very well in it. I wouldn’t be surprised for us to see him have some packages put together just for him. Remember over the last couple of years we (fans) kept wanting to see Mark or Trent throw out of the WILD TIDE formation. Well, I bet both of those guys would tell you that it probably wasn’t the best idea to do that very often. With Blake Sims, that may not be the case. Adding the ability to pass out of that formation will give opposing defenses a lot to look out for.  I’m excited about that possibility.

For the sake of time, I’ll do a more in depth write up on this year’s Crimson Tide in coming weeks, but I do want to go ahead and point out the obvious… TRENT RICHARDSON is a MANBEAST! He looked like he was ready to start the season already. He ran well, caught well and blocked well. He was a bit banged up last year, but man does he look healthy now.  While nobody is talking a lot about it, the fresh legs that we will see supplement Trent this year is most likely going to be Eddie Lacey. Lacey is a load, a big, big load. He is surprisingly fast and can move the pile. He is a hard to tackle, hard to catch kind of runner. I think he was misdiagnosed last season with a case of fumblitus. You guys have to look at this way, he had very few touches and maybe tried to do too much with them. He’s fine and will be one of those backs that nobody wants to tackle. Much like Trent and Mark.  Add in Dee Hart as a faster than a greased ghost on crack change of pace back and I see trouble for opposing D’s this year.  I feel really good about the Tide. REALLY GOOD.


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