Tide finally gets it together

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 19, 2002

Alabama was finally able to put together a solid offensive and defensive effort Saturday against North Texas. Offensively, Alabama moved the ball more than 500 yards while holding North Texas to under 150.

More importantly for the Crimson Tide, the secondary played well with a solid contribution from Charlie Peprah. The redshirt freshman made his first start for the Crimson Tide in place of Herchel Bolden.

It looked like it was going to be another sub par effort from the defense in the beginning of the game. North Texas drove down the field 66 yards only to miss a field goal. Those 66 yards were almost half of the Mean Greens offensive production for the entire game.

Shaud Williams had a breakout performance as well. The A Back had several nice runs including one for a touchdown while lined up at the tailback position.

The quarterback position should be in good hands for the next few years.

Brodie Croyle was finally able to get some quality playing time and he did not disappoint the fans. Although he did throw an interception, he delivered the ball on the money on several occasions.

Besides his strong arm Brodie also showed his mobility in running for a touchdown.

Next up for Alabama is Southern Miss, or as Gene Stallings used to say &uot;Mississippi Southern&uot;.

The Golden Eagles always play Alabama tough. Southern Miss enters the game undefeated and clicking on all cylinders. The game will kick off at 6 p.m. and is televised nationally on ESPN2.

Alabama did receive some bad news yesterday when the NCAA upheld the sanctions imposed on the football team in February. These include scholarship cuts and being ineligible for bowl games for two years. The ruling caught me and many other Alabama supporters by surprise.

Alabama fan James Robinson was one of those surprised by the outcome of the appeal. &uot;They didn’t give an inch on those penalties,&uot; said Robinson.

In fact the spokesman for the appeals committee made it sound like Alabama got off easy.

Robinson was shocked to hear talk of the death penalty brought up again by the NCAA. &uot;They essentially said don’t try to get anything back when you could have gotten the death penalty.

Be thankful for what you got.

We did you a favor.&uot;

The question now is whether Alabama will take the NCAA to court over the sanctions. The NCAA was sued successfully several times in the past, including once by a University of Alabama professor in 1995. Alabama never had a chance with the appeal. The NCAA looked at Alabama like a hunter looks at a 12-point buck. They had them in their sights from the beginning and couldn’t wait to pull the trigger.

The thought of Alabama fielding a team in the next year or two with little depth and even less talent isn’t a pleasant thought. Knowing that the team will not be able to win the SEC or go to a bowl game will make it even worse. Now I know what my friends who are Auburn fans have been going through all these years.

Fans can take solace in what Alabama’s players and coaches said about the ruling.

Senior Alonzo Ephraim said, &uot;Our next game is Southern Miss.

The NCAA is not on our schedule.&uot; Coach Franchione summed it all up by saying, &uot;I’ve said all I want to say about the NCAA. Any time I spend talking about those guys is a waste of time.

Today hasn’t changed anything.&uot; I couldn’t have said it better myself.