What I truly want to see on Saturday is a picture similar to the one above. Those are the victorious Hogs who had just beaten Alabama in Tuscaloosa after a rain delay and a tremendous rally to force overtime in 2003. I almost went to that game, and it is one of my great Hog regrets that I didn't attend it. Now, during the rain delay and the deluge of Alabama touchdowns, I was quite pleased with my decision to stay at home and watch it on CBS. But Matt Jones, Cedric Cobbs, DeCori Birmingham, Richard Smith, George Wilson, and others, a band of brothers, later made me wish that I had taken that trip to Tuscaloosa. Regrettably, I am yet again going to be at home and watching the game on CBS this year, but I hope the Hogs play so well to where I am one of those pitiful English gentlemen whom Henry V refers to in his great St. Crispian's Day speech, the ones who weren't that day at Tuscaloosa, I mean Agincourt.
* I want to see the battle lines hold. The offensive and defensive lines need to play light years ahead of the way they played against Troy. If our hot rod receivers are open, it won't matter if Tyler Wilson is on his back. And you know Bama is going to try to hit us heavy again with the run, which I think plays more in our favor, for I suspect we are a better run defense right now than pass defense.
* I want to see those Hocker kickoffs (and I hope there are many) sail deep into the endzone. A great special teams play could decide this game. And I want that play to be by Joe Adams, Dennis Johnson or Marquel Wade, not the guys with numbers on their helmets.
* I want to see Dennis Johnson back to his old self. How he played tough against Florida in 2009 would be perfect.
* I want to see Tyler Wilson stretch the Alabama defense down the middle of the field with some long passing plays. I know Tyler isn't Ryan. But I don't want those safeties to feel like they can just play in all the time and cut off the mid-level passing game and play the run. I want them to have to worry the whole game about a deep strike. The mere appearance of Greg Childs on the field should help some in that regard. But we have to show them early enough that we aren't going to just dink and dunk it out to the flats. Bring out the English Longbow and let those footballs fly down the field!
* I want to see our defensive backs have that confidence to turn around and play the ball. I don't expect Alabama will pull out their English Longbows that often, but when they do, I want our guys ready to intercept those passes. Few things are more frustrating in football than to have a qb from the ball right over your guy's head and into the arms of the receiver. I don't want to see any of that.
* I want to see the ball in Chris Gragg's hands at least a couple times on Saturday. He looked huge and impressive in our game against Troy. I want Bama to worry about him not just as a blocker.
* I want to see us attack the Alabama pass rush with some well excuted screens and maybe a shuttle pass or two.
* I want to Hocker kick long field goals if needed like he did in New Orleans. Vegas says twelve points. But it could be three points that decides this affair.
* I want to see Trent Richardson stuck in the mud of Normandy, I mean Alabama, by our defensive line. If all the Alabama quarterback has to do is hand off to Richardson, that is not making life very hard for him.
* Along the same line of thought, I want to see that Alabama quarterback pressured and sacked more than what the first three opponents' quarterbacks experienced.
* I want to hear Gary Danielson start to develop a man crush on Tyler Wilson. Now, it was just annoying when he developed one for Tim Tebow. But I think hearing him gush about Tyler Wilson might not sound so bad, you know, haha.
* I want to see Ronnie Wingo Jr. not go down on the first hit, but drag people with him down the field as far as his legs can take him.
* I want to see Brandon Mitchell contribute somehow in this game. He is too elusive to leave on the bench for the entire sixty minutes. I don't believe Alabama is game planning for Mitchell, so why not throw them off by putting him in there to run some option possibly or even the Wildcat with Joe Adams swinging around.
* I want to see us get some freakin' turnovers! I hope we have been saving them up for this game, haha, for we didn't get many in the first three games. Tramain Thomas, how about picks two and three of the season coming in this game?
* I want to see big Kody Walker run right through the Alabama line and across the goal line, once, twice, three times a Kody!
* I want to see the Hogs score on their first series with the ball. That's always a great confidence booster, especially when on the road.
* Finally, I don't want to see us play like we played there in 2009, that is scared. We got pushed around that entire game and hit hard too. It is time that we push them around and hit them hard all day, for the Hogs haven't beaten the Tide in Tuscaloosa since that 2003 picture was taken. They haven't beaten the Tide period since 2006 in Fayetteville. It is time for Petrino to get his first win against Saban. And to bring my Agincourt reference full circle: Here are the famous lines that Shakespeare had Henry V deliver on the eve of the battle against the French. Just add WOO PIG SOOIE! to the end.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.