Maybe I'm spewing sunshine, but I certainly don't feel like Rick Schaeffer. I've got to admit that my haircut's taken a turn for the worse. If games like that are going to dampen your spirits, then you should stop watching right now. Alabama's a year ahead of us in the rebuilding process. They looked it, physically. They manhandled us on both sides of the ball. Our defense bounced off running backs like 8-bit Tecmo Bowl players. But I can still make out the team we'll be a year down the road.
I had to DVR the game, like in weekends past. Watching the slaughter on Sunday night after having gone the whole weekend with my hands over my ears was quite the disappointment. Being able to fast-forward through the commercials only made it more intense, like I was rifling through the wreckage looking for survivors.
Casey Dick almost didn't make it. As other folks are saying, he had the worst game of his career, but that's only because finally so much is being asked of him. I'm inclined to expect a rough transition to SEC play. Missing that Texas game, win or lose, really hurt us. Dick was just a step or two behind, out of pace with the big boys. I think he can adjust. I hope he can adjust. But what he needs to focus on first is bouncing back. Petrino didn't play Tyler Wilson to scare or threaten Casey. He played Wilson to get his senior quarterback off the field, to protect him. Dick's job is secure for now.
But why Wilson? Why burn another redshirt? If I have one clear reservation about Petrino, it's his willingness to torch the redshirt years of our most talented freshman. It's pretty clear that Nutt left us bone dry in every department. Indeed, a freshman may be the best man for any given job. But something about all the smoke seems impatient. It's the only aspect of that “win now” attitude that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Next year's competition at the quarterback slot was already going to be messy. Now, with our brightest hopes fighting for their careers, it'll be even more desperate.
This week's glimmers: Michael Smith had 91 yards against a very salty defense, and he fought for every inch of them. Our d-backs forced their first turnover. And Petrino looked calm on the sidelines. Our players trust him.
Going by box scores, number seven Texas might look right past us, if that matters. They deserve their ranking. Colt McCoy has bloomed into a playmaker on the scale of Vince Young. He ran for over 100 yards last week. He also took the time to pass for three touchdowns. He'll have similar success on the ground this weekend, considering our struggles at the line.
They're somewhat slow starters on defense, and opponents (Florida Atlantic and UTEP) have been able to score early. We have to come out swinging if we're going to have a prayer. We should just make sure to grit our teeth and keep our eyes wide open. This next stretch is going be the hardest and the most vital. It could make or break our season — our 2009 season.