Before you look up my Bio, yes, I write professionally for Alabama. Let me get that out of the way right up front.
I actually wanted that said right up front because I think the Tech fans who read this would be hard pressed to find one among their own ranks who respects Frank Beamer as much as I do.
This is a guy who did what another great coach I admire, Bobby Johnson, who went to Vanderbilt, is trying to do.
And that is make a program that was a doormat into a team that's always in the hunt for conference titles and in national consideration for championship talk.
There are only a handful of coaches who have accomplished this, and he didn't sell his soul to do it either.
All should be admired.
But what makes Beamer so good is he's not stubborn; he's a realist and he knows not only what is team of capable of, but understanding what they're not capable of. And that's why he scares the knowledgeable minds in Tuscaloosa.
He knows Beamer Ball, in its purest form, won't work against the Crimson Tide. He has a good defense, Alabama has a great one. Both teams have questions with their offense and both are solid in special teams.
Beamer knows he won't win a smash mouth contest. Beamer Ball is going to need a major tweak.
Alabama knows Frank and knows he's going to throw some wrinkles in there somewhere, but where?
Last year, Alabama took many teams by total surprise with this defense. The teams that refused to give up the running game quickly went three and out.
Alabama jumped on teams early and often and built up quick leads that caused opposing coaches to go into panic mode and abandon the entire game plan and think and call plays on the fly.
You can bet Beamer will come to the game with game plan A, B, and C. He won't be rattled, he'll be ready. The question is, can he instill this in his team?
Nick Saban has said before he'd rather play a stubborn coach than an inventive one. If the running game doesn't work, and many expect it won't. Beamer won't stubbornly try all night to make it work.
But on the other hand, he won't abandon it, either. He'll disguise it, use it when it's not expected or use it ways it's not expected.
Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain summed it best. "We are facing a team that can run or pass, with a quarterback who can run or pass. We are going to have be ready for more against this team than most."
Therefore, the most interesting game may be the game within the game, where Frank Beamer and Nick Saban play chess against one another, matching weaknesses against strengths and strengths against weaknesses.
If the game is as close as many predict, it could be that game that decides the winners.
Would Beamer come out and onside-kick the opening kickoff in the second half? Try a tackle eligible screen? Fake a punt?
Don't put anything past him, I know Alabama is worried and planning on them all.