The staff at Roll Bama Roll traded some Q’s and A’s with me this week, and honestly, they are kind of what you would expect from Bama fans.
They’re worried about some small defect derailing its next national title run. There’s a little paranoia of head coach Lane Kiffin having a super secret plan for an upset Saturday.
Really, all in all, it’s a very delicious read, and we love to see Tide fans be worried and nervous - they need it in their lives and Ole Miss can hopefully provide it forever.
So... another game against another former Coach Saban assistant - obviously, the day will come when Saban is tripped up by a former assistant, but how high is the anxiety level on a scale of 1-100 that it happens Saturday against Lane Kiffin?
RBR: My anxiety is rather high for this one for a number of reasons that don’t really show up on paper. First, being sandwiched between #13 Texas A&M and #4 Georgia just spells trap game. Next, if there’s one thing I know about Kiffin from his time as Alabama’s OC, it’s his ability to find an opposing team’s weak spot and pick at it like a teenager with a pimple. Alabama’s showed tremendous improvement from their defense that gave up eleventy-billion rushing yards to John Rhys Plumlee last year, but there’s been some glaring issues with safety miscommunications and leaving tight ends/running backs uncovered up the seam, so I expect Kiffin has a quarter of a playbook ready to go to attack just that.
So, yeah. Barring hurricane antics, it’s gonna be a high scorer and a weird one. Which always makes me nervous. Let’s go 72% anxiety level.
Looking back on Kiffin’s time at Bama, were fans happy to see him go or was there any ill will for him coming back into the SEC?
RBR: Pretty much everyone was impressed with the job Kiffin did at modernizing and revolutionizing the Alabama offense out of the stone ages, other than those old-school Bammers who hate all those newfangled things like jet sweeps and completed forward passes. He drew a little ire for dipping into working for FAU and not focusing on the playoffs in 2014, but it was mostly forgiven, as he’s always been a fun personality on Twitter that makes fun of people doubting Alabama and Nick Saban. We’d have preferred he got a nice head coaching gig at a big school in a different conference instead of the same division, but I’d say the majority of us are pulling for him to succeed in all but one game/year.
Mac Jones has shined in the first two weeks of the season. What were your expectations coming into the year for the signal caller?
RBR: Mac’s been a bit of a mixed bag in his career. The first few times we saw him thrust into action after unexpected Tua injuries, he looked absolutely terrified. But when he started getting to play full games at the end of last season, he generally looked really, really effective. Unfortunately, there were random boneheaded and gamewrecking plays mixed in, and he showed some struggles against 3rd down blitz packages. So there was a good bit of hesitation mixed with cautious optimism coming into the season. Through two games, he’s been nearly flawless. If he can stay consistent and keep from getting flustered, he can absolutely be a dominant QB. That’s a heavy “if” hanging there, though.
What Bama player is “under the radar” that Ole Miss fans should be aware of?
RBR: Watch out for Jordan Battle. The sophomore safety was Alabama’s 6th DB in dime last season from game 1 as a true freshman and flashed potential all season. He’s now the true starter and is absolutely a budding superstar in the making. He’s made some nasty tackles in the open field and has gotten really unlucky a few times making insanely athletic diving pass breakups only for it to get tipped to the receiver anyway. He’s been around the ball a LOT over two games, and is due an interception.
What’s your prediction for the game in terms of final score and game flow?
RBR: Like I said, it’s gonna be a high scoring barn-burner (assuming it’s not pouring rain and windy) and a weird one (regardless of weather). Alabama starts hot, gets out to a big lead, then lets Ole Miss climb back in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It’s close going into the 4th, but Alabama gets out to a 1 score lead and then Ole Miss gets back-to-back screw ups near the end of the game that has Alabama winning by 3 scores.
So there you have it, Ole Miss fans, a lot of worry from Roll Bama Roll, but ultimately not enough to really shatter their confidence. What questions would you have for future Q&A’s? Comment below or tweet @redcuprebellion for what you want to know from opposing fans.