Ghost and I talked last night after the game and, in spite of the 33-14 loss to Alabama, were generally pleased with the Rebels and the significant progress they've made from 2011 to 2012. Of course, losing is never fun, but watching a program progress is, especially when you consider one with the upside of ours.
Here are some of our quick takes from last night's game:
- Denzel Nkemdiche was a monster last night. He finished with 11 tackles, 2 FF, and our only sack. This was against ALABAMA (say it like Forrest Gump). If he was too small to play the position, we would have seen it last night. I absolutely love hopes quickness close to the line of scrimmage, and he was spectacular at getting off blocks. Remember, this is a redshirt freshman. Forget any talk of Robert Nkemdiche. I'm thrilled to have Denzel on our team. He has the potential to earn postseason accolades within the next few years.
- The special teams were a disaster, especially early. Broadway has got to develop some consistency. At times, his punts are incredible. At other times, he gives the opponent great field position to start drives. His punts definitely made it easier for Bama than it should have been at times.
- Bo Wallace pressed for long throws that weren't there. Perhaps this will help him realize that these defenses aren't the same ones he saw last year in junior college. I still like Wallace, but I'd love to see him get better at minimizing negative plays. If there's nothing there, throw it away. He holds e ball to long and takes too many big risks.
- We can't put Randall Mackey in as a traditional quarterback. We just can't. He makes too many poor choices with the ball. I like what his position change to running back has led to. Lets continue to get him reps there and see if he can help us get to bowl eligibility.
- As far as the interceptions go, I'm not sure whose shoulders those rest on. Coaches for poor playcalling? Quarterbacks for poor decisions? Either way, I think that high-risk stuff is really stupid against Alabama and their secondary.
- Jeff Scott has great vision. The holes weren't there at times, but when they were he managed to wiggle into them and get his yards. I am happy with his performance on the season thus far.
- The offensive line deserves a lot of praise for this game. Sure, Alabama sacked our quarterbacks five times, but at least three of those were coverage sacks. Also, it's ALABAMA. Matt Luke has seemingly improved this group. They're certainly not a great line yet by any means, but they continue to improve. Aaron Morris looks downright impressive.
- Vince Sanders really stepped up big this game. That's encouraging since we will definitely need a second receiver to step up now that teams will almost always double team Donte Moncrief.
- Speaking of, Dee Milliner, alabama's corner who shadowed Moncrief all game, was absolutely beastly. He had three breakups and a pick while blanket covering Moncrief all night. No wonder he's projected to be a top ten pick in April.
- Along those lines, Cody Prewitt of 2012 is way, way different than the Cody Prewitt of 2011. He's bulkier and much, much meaner. Some of the hits he made, especially early in the game, were just examples of some damn fine football.
So that's what we came up with. What about you?