Saturday night the University of Alabama showed the nation why they are considered the number one team in the country against Mississippi State. They also showed why that reign may not be coming to an end any time soon.
On the recruiting trail, one of the oldest tricks in the book is to point out the depth chart to scare recruits into believing that if they were to attend school A, they would be so buried it would be in the recruits best interest to attend school B. That might work at most schools, but not at Alabama.
Freshmen arrive in Tuscaloosa amid an air of uncertainty as they adjust to campus and life as a Southeastern Conference football player. However, the cream always rises and the best players will play regardless of their class standing.
This year’s freshman class has been headlined by offensive standouts Amari Cooper, Kenyan Drake, and TJ Yeldon, but the unit of underclassmen has been so much more than that. Cyrus Jones has shown he can be one of the most dangerous return men, while freshman Denzel Devall and DJ Pettway have found their way into opponents’ backfields on more than one occasion.
I could go on.
But every freshman class will have their breakout players. The real reason Alabama’s success will continue stems from the fact they are so dominant. Watching the Crimson Tide play under the lights Saturday night, the game was over after the first quarter. Like a python, Alabama had already wrapped up the Bulldogs, slowly squeezing them into submission-a Tide trademark of the 2012 season.
With the game in hand in the third and fourth quarters the second, third and sometimes fourth team players have found their way into the rotation. While most are shuffling out of the stadium and the national audience has changed the channel, the stars of tomorrow are getting their first repetitions and their first in-game earful from the coaching staff.
That is what makes Alabama dominant, and in part has lead to their success this season. For example, at the beginning of the season the national analysts believed Alabama lost too much on defense to maintain their disruptive performance. While the losses of Dont’a Hightower, Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and Courtney Upshaw hurt, there were a handful of players waiting in the wings, full of repetitions, ready to take their place.
Now, when the stars of today depart for graduation and NFL dreams, the Tide will be ready. It’s all about maintaining the Alabama Standard.