There's no poll this week. Singling out one player was nearly impossible, and the award certainly shouldn't go to an offensive player.
This week will be the "cop out" week. This week, the entire defense gets the award. The D isn't perfect, but it's far from bad or even mediocre. It is certainly in the top half of the conference, and even that may be an understatement.
First though, the bad: run defense will continue to be the bane of our existence this season. We gave up 4.9 yards per carry. Granted, Alabama is phenomenal at running the football and were given the opportunity to run an incredible number of plays due to our offense's short, turnover-capped drives; but giving up that much on average against any football team will lead to a bad day nine times out of ten.
However, in coverage, the Rebels were awesome.
Against our Rebel secondary, Greg McElroy was 15/34 for only 147 yards. That's 4.3 yards per attempt which, if you are unaware, is a hideous statistic number.
To put this in persepctive, last season, even with our incredible pass rush, the Rebels finished the season ranked as the 11th SEC team in pass defense. If we continue to crush the skulls of quarterbacks and wide receivers for the remainder of this season, we will finish much higher than that.
Also, it would be silly not to mention that Alabama only scored one touchdown. They had to settle for five field goals in the red zone. A few of those red zone appearances came at the tail end of (yet another) Rebel turnover. But that phased the defense none. They were on a mission Saturday afternoon and I would posit that they accomplished it. Imagine if the Tide had scored touchdowns on just three of those five drives. We would be staring at an even more embarassing score of 34-3. Our red zone defense is superb, and that's very exciting.
I guess if there were one player I would single out on the defense as having stepped it up more than others, it would be Johnny Brown. Brown had ten tackles, and the majority of those came in run support. While it's not a good sign that your leading tackler is your safety, Brown still had the tough task of bringing down Mark Ingram in open space. Hats off to him.
Congrats, Rebel Defense, you're the Cup's Rebels of the Week.