“Just another good day”
Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 7, 2002
Perkins on Bama
By William Perkins / Selma Times – Journal
Coach Franchione described Alabama’s win over Vanderbilt as &uot;just another good day at he office.&uot; The Crimson Tide dispatched of the Commodores in business like fashion using time -consuming drives offensively and controlling the line of scrimmage defensively.
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Alabama held the ball for nearly 13 minutes more than the Commodores and racked up 428 yards of offense compared to 162 for Vandy. Surprisingly, the majority of Alabama’s offense came through the air. Tyler Watts and Brodie Croyle picked apart the defense for 271 yards.
The success of the passing attack helped loosen up the defense for the rushing game.
Despite having 157 yards on the ground, no Alabama player had over 55 yards total. Six players carried the ball for Alabama.
Alabama’s defense shut down Vandy’s offense. A mere 46 rushing yards were allowed and only 162 total. Nearly half of those yards were on Vandy’s last drive of the game when they scored a touchdown and a two point conversion to avoid the shutout.
Alabama fans packed into Nashville to watch the game.
The announced attendance was 36,407 in 41,000 seat Vanderbilt Stadium. At least 75 percent of the fans were wearing Crimson according to Nashville journalists. Coach Fran commented, &uot;Our fans are amazing. I saw crimson from the time I walked on to the field.
It made it pretty close to a home field though not quite the same as Bryant Denny Stadium.&uot;
It is often said that a team takes on the personality of the head coach. That appears to be true with the Crimson Tide.
Coach Fran’s diligent preparation and attention to detail has rubbed off on his players. After last week’s huge win over Tennessee a lot of fans were expecting a let down this week. Even Santanio Beard admitted having a hard time getting motivated for the game. &uot;Last week was such an emotional win- beating UT up there, celebrating with cigars. This is a different Alabama team from years past. Our coaches made sure there would be no let downs.&uot;
The Alabama faithful are going to have to get used to consistent play from the Crimson Tide. After four years of bipolar performances under Mike Dubose this is a welcome sight. It is no fun being on the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows on a weekly basis. Losing to Louisiana Tech then beating Florida two weeks later in 1999 is an example of erratic play caused by poor preparation by the coaching staff.
Coach Fran has not made a single blunder with words or actions since the day he was hired. He’s been a class act and after two years even the school’s rivals are having a hard time finding anything negative about him.
After flirting with Butch Davis, Tommy Bowden and Frank Beamer two years ago there is no doubt in my mind Alabama got the best coach out there. He has cleaned up the program and has the team playing with heart and desire each Saturday.
Inevitably the Crimson Tide will
fall on harder times in the next several years. The effects of the scholarship limitations will begin to show. I think the blow will be softened somewhat by Coach Fran’s forethought. He redshirted all but one incoming freshman last year.
This year only two new recruits have played. Aside from redshirting players, Alabama has had very few academic casualties, which generally deplete signing classes.
Alabama’s current staff is capable of leading the program back to national prominence. After several turbulent years under the previous head coach, Franchione has taken control of the program and provided what it so desperately needed.
Alabama hosts Mississippi State on Saturday.
The game will kick off at 1:00 P.M., and there will be no television coverage.