Would Nick Saban ever do this? Um… (Credit: Paul Abell, US Presswire)
N.C. State’s, on Friday night, and Michigan’s, last night, 4th quarters were greeted with the “S-E-C! S-E-C! S-E-C!” chant that’s all too familiar to the rest of the country as Tennessee and Alabama dominated their out-of-conference foes, respectively — Alabama’s was more of an evisceration actually. With its 26-19 win over Auburn, Clemson seemed to not just win one for the ACC but for the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast as well.
Tennessee’s WR Cordarrelle Patterson served notice to the conference that the Vols’ WR corp doesn’t need Da’Rick Rogers — they’re just fine, thank you. And Patterson wasn’t the only one to burn N.C. State All-American CB David Amerson, last year’s NCAA interception leader, as it seemed all orange-clad receivers had at least one moment against him.
While Tennessee’s passing attack looks up to speed, the Vols are still searching for a complimentary runner behind QB Tyler Bray, and new defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri’s unit was very hit-and-miss on Friday night as well. Transitioning to a 3-4 defense can prove for some tough growing pains in the first year. Tennessee’s JUCO transfer nose tackle, the 6-foot 6-inch, 362-pound Daniel McCullers, has been a hit with Vols fans this off-season, but it remains to be seen if he can hold the point for the first year 3-4 defense.
‘Bama beat ’em blue, black and every other color. (Credit: LM Otero, AP)
After Michigan forced a 3-and-out on Alabama’s first possession of the game, the Wolverines were so jacked up they almost floated through the hole in Jerry’s World’s roof. Too bad that’s where their game went after that series, but that had more to do with Alabama than Michigan. Nick Saban has a program — or a “system” or a “standard” — that’s a little hard to believe in the limited 85-man scholarship era. The old saying of “I’ll beat you with my team today, and I’ll beat you with your team tomorrow,” that’s credited to Bear Bryant can almost be applied to Saban today. Good luck beating the Crimson Tide when Nick has more than a week to prepare.
Why didn’t Auburn play QB Kiehl Frazier more last year? This was a question we pondered in 2011 and in Auburn’s 26-19 loss to Clemson last night, he showed why he should have been given more consideration. He was only 11-for-27 but his athleticism should have had him working more in 2011 and, in turn, working out his accuracy issues. But credit the other quarterback in the Georgia Dome Saturday night with Clemson’s comeback win. QB Tahj Boyd, in a gritty performance that saw his helmet come off multiple times, led the ACC Tigers to 10 consecutive points to close the game.
Frazier could have worked out the kinks last year. (Credit: Kevin C. Cox, Getty Images)
Auburn, like Tennessee, is adjusting to a new defensive coordinator with ex-Georgia assistant Brian Van Gorder. Named the Frank Broyles “Assistant of the Year” in 2003, he should have Auburn much better on defense this year with DEs Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford coming off the edge. Also like the Vols, the Tigers are experimenting with what they have in their offensive backfield. RB Onterio McCalebb has always been an edge runner, but RB Tre Mason showed out with 100+ yards last night. Auburn goes to Starkville next week to open conference play against Mississippi State.