Reflections from the bye week
It took me a full week to collect my thoughts after the Alabama game. As I sit on the love seat and flip between the Purdue-Penn State game and the Boston College-NC State game, I realize not only what a couple of stinkers I am viewing (Why is Purdue having a "blackout" for a noon game?) but also that today is a beautiful day for football across the entire country. But alas, the Dawgs are taking a much needed break from action.
First, a recap of last week:
We lost the game. Badly. Worse than the final score indicated. However, maybe not as bad as the halftime score indicated. The Dawgs' weaknesses all reared their ugly heads at the same time, with penalties, poor pass rush, and and a-step-behind coverage all combining for an absolutely humiliating two quarters. A few things to remember - Alabama is a good team and they played very, very well. Our defense is based on making teams drive all the way down the field. When you don't get pressure on the QB and you help the other team with penalties, that strategy doesn't work, but those are problems that will be worked out with a week off and some experience from the next couple of games. Lastly, as Jim Donnan supposedly pointed out, Alabama would not be nearly as good if they lost Terrence Cody and Andre Smith, which is exactly what we experienced losing Jeff Owens and Trinton Sturdivant.
We will probably only face one more team this year with offensive and defensive lines that good, we are playing some very inexperienced guys on the line who will certainly improve as the season progresses, and Florida already has an SEC loss as well. I believe the old saying that you are never as good as you look after a win or as bad as you look after a loss, so I think the Dawgs still have a better shot than anyone of winning the SEC East. With losses coming to something like 12 of the top 10 teams, it was just a bad weekend to be playing football.
In the good news category, it was a great tailgate. Several of us ventured down to check out Game Day, we watched Ole Miss beat the Gators, we entertained a throng of strangers, we received a geography and sociology lesson on Metro Atlanta, we provided an example of responsible behavior for our younger tailgate neighbors, and we gave something like 50 hot dog buns to a poor, hungry, and lost college student. All in all, it was a good day that was capped with a delicious bratwurst at halftime, a great atmosphere and fantastic crowd during the second half, and the deepest slumber I've ever experienced on the ride home.
Though I lost all interest in football for about six days, I am absolutely ecstatic with the idea that we can relieve our frustrations on Tennessee.
A few pictures from the tailgate: