"Back To The Future": Is It 2005 for the Alabama Crimson Tide Again?

Jonathan KelleyCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - 2009:  Mike Shula of the Jacksonville Jaguars poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by NFL Photos)

Say it ain't so!  A rock-solid, killer defense that no one can get a TD on, and an offense that refuses to get it done in the red zone.  To quote Travis Tritt, "Tell me I was dreaming."

If Jamie Christianson had been kicking the field goals, it would have been '05 all over again.

This game should have been a blowout!  If Greg McElroy had not traded spots with Jonathan Crompton it would have been.  Make no mistakes about it: Ole Miss's defense did a fantastic job in the red zone.  This unit did everything it could to keep a pitiful Ole Miss offense in this game, though Alabama's offense did all it could to keep the Ole Miss offense in the game as well.

With this running game, and Mark Ingram running the ball at better than 4.9 yards per carry, why, oh why, did Alabama keep throwing to Julio in double and triple coverage?  Twice, Alabama was inside the five-yard-line, and had to settle for field goals!  Someone said they saw Dave Rader in the booth!!

Even with all the offensive woes, Alabama still dominated the stats and the scoreboard.  This game was a statement for the Alabama defense, and that statement was WE ARE THE BEST UNIT IN THE COUNTRY!

Four interceptions, one fumble, 212 yard allowed, 12 first downs, and 0-9 on third down conversions.  Has there been a more impressive performance defensively by any other unit in the country?  Florida could not even hold Charleston Southern to that kind of performance and they were at home.  My prediction about the Bama defense receiving mail in the Ole Miss back field was not 100 percent true; mostly it was the secondary receiving air mail from Jevan Snead.

One cannot give enough credit to the Ole Miss defense for keeping this game within 19.  This game could have been 42-3 just as easily as it was 22-3.  Several apologies are due to Ole Miss for my underestimating their defense.  Even though they did give up 200 yards rushing, and 154 through the air, they played well above their heads all night. 

As much as the defense was underestimated, the offense was overestimated.

Jevan Snead was supposed to be a Heisman dark horse.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen far from grace.  Jevan Snead looked like the worst QB in the SEC, and his receivers with the exception of Shay Hodge should be reduced to walk-on status.  Dropped passes, bobbled catches, and poorly run routes did not help a QB struggling to find any level of confidence.

The evaluation of the offense may be too harsh considering the caliber of defense that it was going up against.  It is almost unfair to ask an average team to go against this defense and expect to compete.  Rolando McClain is a beast!  Enjoy every snap of every game that he plays in this year, because he will be taken in the first round of the draft next year.

Slowly working his way into a first-round selection in next year’s draft alongside McClain is Javier Arenas.

Arenas may not be a first-round corner, but throw in his return skills, and he will go no later than the second round.  This defense is littered with NFL talent, and the underclassmen played like WORLD-BEATERS!  Donta Hightower is a special player, and that is an understatement.  So, for this team to come out and replace him as well as they did speaks volumes to this team’s potential.

In 2005, everyone was comparing that defensive unit to the '92 unit, and now in '09, the same comparisons are being made.  The only thing one can say for sure is that this unit is better than the 2005 unit, and unlike in 2005, this team has an offense.  Look for the Tide to continue to Roll all the way to title game if this defense plays like it did tonight.

Everyone always wondered what the 2005 team could have done with an offensive unit that was serviceable.  Well, we may all finally get our chance.


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