May 30, 2015

TipsterHog Thoughts – Alabama

I was really happy for Ben Cleveland.   I had the chance to communicate via e-mail with some of Ben’s family during fall camp after I posted this picture of him in one of our practice reports.  (It was taken right before he did some pushups for dropping a pass!)

I know Ben has fought through some adversity this past year just to be on this team.  And it’s good to see that effort rewarded with a big play in a game that will be remembered around these parts for a while.

Many people seem to be upset at Houston Dale for the clock management at the end of regulation.  After Alabama’s missed field goal in the fourth quarter, Arkansas got the ball with 3:06 remaining and two timeouts.  And if this was a seasoned offense with a veteran quarterback having a good day, I’d say go for it.  We, of course, didn’t have that on Saturday.

Mitch Mustain / Darren McFadden (AP Photo/Beth Hall)Now granted, I’ve been as big of a critic of Houston Dale’s past history of tenative playcalling as anybody. But I had no problem with the decision to play it safe at that point because, no matter what happens, you absolutely cannot leave any time on the clock in that situation.

With a few incomplete passes and a three and out, you’d easily leave over two minutes for the Bama offense to drive down the field against a defense that had already been out there most of the day.  Instead, after making a few first downs and trying to break a big running play, we ended up punting with only 15 seconds left in regulation.

It wasn’t exactly a special teams clinic out there.  Everyone, of course, saw the placekicking problems.  But when Felix Jones tiptoed out of the end zone on the opening kickoff of the second half and eventually got tackled at the seven yard line, I wasn’t mad at him.  I was mad at fellow returner London Crawford for not going across the field and physically keeping Felix from crossing the goal line.  Crawford is a freshman, of course, and in a new role.  But still, it’s part of his job to help Felix out in that situation.

I thought Mike Nail did a better job on the radio broadcast.  His call of Randy Kelly’s fumble recovery was great.  And although he’s the only person who could say for sure, I’ve sensed over the first three games that Mike has had a hard time saying “Touchdown Arkansas” during the broadcast.  Almost like he wasn’t sure it was right to use the late Paul Eells’ famous words.  But on Saturday, he bellowed the phrase out a few times with great gusto…almost like it was a tribute to Paul.

Makes you wonder if Paul’s spirit might have been somewhere there at the stadium telling Mike to let it rip…as well as helping Ben Cleveland secure that catch…and making sure that Jeremy Davis split the uprights when it counted.

  • http://coolhandscrib.blogspot.com Cool Hand Mike

    Congratulations on the win.

    You’ve got yourselves a damn fine young team. Maybe Alabama will get them next year.

  • 10KHog

    Clock Management – I was disappointed we have such football illiterate fans in the stands that they would boo HDN when we were letting the clock run down before a timeout. First of all, it was 3rd and 4 and if we call a timeout quickly and then throw an incomplete pass we give bama the ball (with 2 TO’s) and almost 2 minutes. Secondly, Malzahn even mentioned in interviews after the game they were setting up for the kill shot with the “Swinging Gate”. That was the perfect time to do it. We let the clock run out so Shula and Kines think we’re devising some great play for 3rd and 4 and also think we’re just going to take our time in a pressure situation walking back to the line. If the ref hadn’t of been telling Bama to get on the field it would’ve scored. What a highlight that would’ve been on Sportscenter!!!

    Mike Nail-Tipster, you said exactly what I was thinking. I think Mike has been tentative the first 3 games in calling touchdowns, but that Randy Kelly “scoop and score” call (after I turned up my radio as loud as possible to hear over the roaring of the crowd and shaking of the stands) was one of the best in Razorback History. And he did belt out “Touchdown Arkansas” several times in his own way. It was priceless.

    And I in no way feel bad for winning with 4 missed kicks because we’ve given away several games in the past including one to Texas that WaldronHog reminded me of. We were due!

  • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ TipsterHog

    Mike…thanks. I like your site…really funny stuff. You guys have a heck of a QB there with Wilson. I’m sure we’ll have our hands full next year.

    10K…I was at that ’85 Texas game in the student section with my brother. Ugh…you’re right…we’re now “karma even” with that game.

  • http://www.rollbamaroll.com Nico

    Congrats on the win guys. I’m still in a post-game funk, but you got the job done. I can’t believe McFadden and Jones are only sophomores. I hope they leave early to the NFL for the sake of the rest of the SEC! 😀

    Good luck against the Barners on Saturday.