What's Tidecast? A most-listened to podcast produced by Larry and Ben, two guys who are Bama to the bone. Born and bred on the Bryant legend, they bring their A-game expertise to our questions about Saban's 3 - 1 team.
ChantRant: Will Bama be down after the loss to Georgia? Or be fired up to prove they're a good team?
Tidecast: "Well, it's certainly natural to be a little down after two consecutive games with SEC powers being decided in the last minute of the game. That's emotionally draining and especially for a young team like the Tide. That said, Coach Saban will have the team ready to play Saturday. He preaches excellence and consistency and I am sure the team has gotten a dose of it this week. Look for a quick Alabama start. Expect no hangover."
ChantRant: Do you think Saban will do major blitzing to harass Drew Weatherford and upset the passing game?
Tidecast: "Alabama plays a 3-4 defense which is built on pressure. Their d-line is not deep, however. With Weatherford not being the most fleet of foot QB that we will play, expect the Tide to blitz some. Sometimes with a DE, sometimes with a DB and sometimes with a LB. The Tide does not play much zone. And, they're 3-4 is very deceiving. They like to play man-to-man with their All-SEC corner Simeon Castille (No. 2) as well as with Kareem Jackson, a true freshman and Lionel Mitchell, another quick corner who allowed the winning touchdown in overtime last week."
ChantRant: How will the Tide attack FSU' s defense?
Tidecast: "Major Applewhite, our 29 year-old offensive coordinator, will use the spread offense, although don't expect QB John Parker Wilson to run much. Alabama will use 2-3 backs with the speedy Terry Grant, second in the SEC in rushing as the primary ball carrier. He's explosive. If he turns the corner, it's 'See ya.' Also expect to see Glenn Coffee, more of a power back. Roy Upchurch, a Tallahassee kid, even got into the mix at the end of last week's game and looked impressive.
"We're loaded with very good receivers. D. J. Hall is our best go to receiver- and the long threat. Hall is Alabama's all time leading receiver as of last week. Mike McCoy, a 6'3" 200 pounder, is developing into a great possession receiver. Other receivers of note include: Keith Brown, a good over the middle threat, Matt Caddell (game winning catch versus the Hogs), Will Oakley, a speedster from nearby Nease H.S, and tight end Nick Walker. They can all catch and all can run after the catch.
"On the line it starts with Antoine Caldwell, 6' 3" 299 lbs. our All-SEC center and our soon to be All-America left tackle, Andre Smith, 6'4", 330 lbs. Look for the Tide to run off his side and into the middle some behind the strength of the line. Last week it was two-thirds pass, one third run. We need more balance. Expect to see more of a 50-50 ratio this week.
"On special teams we have a decent field goal kicker in Leigh Tiffin, 9 of 14 overall (but 3 of 3 last week). Javier Arenas is one of the most explosive punt return men in the country. He is a potential game-breaker. The Bulldogs did punt to him."
ChantRant: How far along is John Parker Wilson in grasping Saban's offensive scheme?
Tidecast: "JPW should be much further along in our opinion.
His decision-making is lagging some and he has been inconsistent. He was 7 of 9 and led the Tide 73 yards in the game-winning drive versus Arkansas. He threw for 4 touchdowns. But, against Georgia, he missed too many open receivers and started the game 3 of 9. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Who will show up versus the Noles?"
ChantRant: What are you most concerned about Bama doing or not doing to be able to win on Saturday?
Tidecast: "We are concerned that Alabama will not give the running game a chance. This team has good solid backs that can run. We hope that Major Applewhite will let them loose. I am concerned that Alabama needs to come out like they did in the Arkansas game when they scored 21 first quarter points.
"I see a very tight, hard fought game between these two storied football traditions. I would not be surprised to see the game decided in the fourth quarter or even in overtime, where our record is 3-8. Neither team wants to embarrass their coach in this very special inter-sectional game with a plethora of sub-plots."