Brought to you this week by Tito's Vodka, Bob Marley, and the bottle of Tide with ColorSafe Bleach I'm sending to Bert for Secret Santa this year. Because while I fully understand the need to wash yourself of all traces of this abysmal season, it's probably best to keep your tracksuit pants and tracksuit jacket the same shade. That fashion faux-pas might have been the final grain that tipped Josh Frazier's scale toward Alabama last night. Or maybe it was the dumbassed coaching he watched yesterday. We may never know.
I was there. With 45,197 of my closest, drunkest, redneckiest friends. Supposedly the sale of beer inside War Memorial has become a probability for next season and almost made an appearance for the game yesterday. While the War Memorial crowd (who I affectionately refer to as "my people") certainly contains a strong, STRONG contingent of beer drinkers, I'm not sure how much would have been sold in-house yesterday. It was more of a hard liquor type of environment. Quiet desperation reeks more of sickly-sweet sour mash than it does barley and hops. For me, the Beverage of the Day was Bulleit Bourbon. And maybe a shot of Hot Damn 100. And perhaps some Miller Lite after the fact.
Anyway, football. There was some. It was bad. It was nothing we haven't seen before this year. Seriously, absolutely nothing new. Let's get to it anyway.
I think everyone has probably had their fill of the fake punts, right? The one yesterday was not only ill-conceived and poorly executed, it was painfully, painfully obvious. Bert was out on the field gesticulating right up to the snap, so giving the benefit of the doubt, I'm going to presume he was trying to call it off and Sam Irwin-Hill didn't understand due to language barrier. He is Australian, after all. What's particularly troubling is that it seems Irwin-Hill is given that option frequently. How many other really bad fake punts have been called this season that ultimately were not run?
The ensuing touchdown the Bulldogs scored was really some special footballing. Play-action to the running back who sneaks out behind the line of scrimmage into the WIDE OPEN EXPANSE OF FREE RANGE known as the middle of the field. Legend has it this territory is policed by Arkansas' back seven, but these days spying a member is extra special, like spotting a Bison in the wild. I know this play because it's been a go-to for me in NCAA Football 20xx for over a decade. Even the shitty AI on Varsity level usually manages to make adjustments to it, however. Not our beloved Hogs. Nope. We managed to give them a big gain on the same exact play in the second half as well. Because, well, why not?
With that said, the secondary did not have their worst day. A couple of grass tackles, but that's to be expected at this point. Jared Collins and DJ Dean do have a nasty habit of LETTING THE OTHER TEAM CATCH THE BALL, though. I can handle the soft coverage we're forced to play, but I do not and will never understand slowing up and breaking down BEFORE a receiver catches a pass. This happened several times yesterday. Almost like they don't know that they are allowed to prevent the receiver from catching the ball in the first place.
Finally, I wonder how in the world that our defense was not prepared for a 1st Down zone read play in overtime after they had just knocked Tyler Russell out of the game and were facing the Bulldogs' rushing quarterback? What prompted them to prepare for anything OTHER than that play? Did they not recognize the different quarterback? Were the different height, build, and number not blatant enough indicators?
It seems unfair to harp on a defense that allowed only 17 points in regulation while giving a pass to an offense which only put up 17 points, but at this point what is there to say about the offense? I've been begging for more plays on the edge, and our two touchdowns were both receiver end-arounds. Hmm. The problem, as it has been all season, is the passing game. Specifically the confidence, both of and in, the components of the passing game. Brandon Allen does not trust his receivers. Brandon Allen does not trust Brandon Allen. Our receivers don't trust themselves. Jim Chaney doesn't trust anyone. The whole shooting match is just middle-school-dance awkward. Needs a total overhaul.
I'm sure there's more to discuss, but really, how much do you have invested right now? Are you angry, sad, apathetic, or just weary of it all at this point? I'm just exhausted with it all. At this point, I don't even want to bother watching next Friday. Reasonably certain I could copy and paste from previous FTRs and nobody would be any wiser.
Of course I'll watch, though. And I'll see y'all next week.
Trent Wooldridge will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his three-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.