Alabama's first play from scrimage of the year and starting QB Greg McElroy was lined up at a wide receiver, starting tailback Mark Ingram was in the shotgun while tight end Brad Smelly goes in motion. There were rumors about Alabama utilizing the wildcat offense for a couple of weeks but the Virginia Tech defense seemed completely unprepared as they were looking back and forth at each other trying to figure out their assignments. Had the refs not messed up their own assignments and held up the play for 11 seconds the ball may have been snapped while nearly all of the VT defense was lined up on one side of the ball - the wrong side as it turned out - and Mark Ingram would have been off to the races. The play was largely unsuccessful and the dubious start would be an omen for the wildcat formation the rest of the game.
However, the play was destined for a huge gain if not for the missed assignment by tight end Brad Smelly (as pictured in the photo above). As Smelly came in motion across the back of the line all the VT linemen fell for the miss direction and the only person in the picture for the defense was VT cornerback Dorian Porch. Smelly hesitated between the defensive end who was taken out of the play and the approaching cornerback. He ended up blocking nobody and standing half way between both. The running back went down with a short gain and Porch celebrated his first tackle of the season.
There was no one down field for the Hokies so when Ingram was turning off tackle he could see nothing but green between him and the end zone - that was except his own tight end who was floundering around in no man's land where the tailback had to go around him as well just to be hit and knocked to the ground.
Other wildcat miscues happened the rest of the way leaving many to wonder if the wildcat had been put in so late in Fall Camp that the team was not ready. A big question for a team that is normally as well prepared as any in college football. It seems that Alabama coach Nick Saban tried so hard to keep the wildcat a secret that the team did not have enough practice time to learn it and get their assignments down.
Lucky for Saban the Tide defense, once again, made up for the miscues on offense.