Predictably, Jerrell Powe’s comments Monday regarding regining national champion Alabama, this week’s opponent, have gotten strong play across the eastern border.
Powe isn’t a regular at the Monday presser, but he was there this week, early as a matter of fact, and because there were no other players around and no media who did not want to listen to him media relations director Kyle Campbell asked him to speak from the podium, which is not the normal course. Usually a player sits, and we gather around.
Occasionally there’s a player at the podium. Eli was there every week, so was Jevan Snead, and Powe, who is engaging with the media, gladly obliged.
Here are some of his comments, the main ones, not the entire text.
“I think they got exposed. It showed that they’re a 1-dimensional team, that they run the ball really well, and South Carolina did a good job of stuffing the run. They really couldn’t get anything going.
They got stuffed. They tried to do the same thing they did in the Arkansas game. They tried to wear South Carolina down with the run, but South Carolina did a great job of persevering for the whole game.
They stopped the run and stopped all the pass they tried to do out to Julio. …
I didn’t think they were going to shy away from the run as much as they did. South Carolina had a good scheme for them guys. They came out and got hit in the mouth. …
I think coach Nick Saban does a good job of having those guys ready to play every Saturday, so I think we’ll get the same look whether they lost or won. I guess it’s perfect timing. We can go out and be the second team to beat them, and it will be just as sweet as being the first team. They’re Almighty Alabama. ….
We know they’re going to come out and try to run the ball up us, but that’s what we like. This will be the first time we’ve seen a team try to run the ball in between the tackles. We’re going to get a lot of combo blocks, guys staying up and not trying to do as much cutting. We’re excited. …
I thought when I heard him talk that Powe’s comments would create a stir.
Ultimately, he just spoke his might. He didn’t call his shot, didn’t guarantee a win. He expressed a strong belief in Ole Miss’ chances to win in Tuscaloosa, a stronger belief than I have, I admit.
Powe had a lot to say about Alabama’s inability to run, but he seemed to miss the plays where Greg McElroy totaled over 300 yards pass, 2 TDs and no picks, and the fact that Julio Jones had eight catches for 115 yards and a score.
I give the Rebels a fighting chance to play well against the run. Mark Ingram ran for 172 yards last year, a lot of short gains, followed by a burst. Finally, Ingram hit a hole on a good offensive call against the Ole Miss defense and ran 36 yards for the only touchdown of the game.
The matchup of the Alabama passing game against a secondary that was suspect when it was healthy and now has four defensive backs who have had concussions, plus another, Johnny Brown, coming back from a hamstring and knee issue.
Julio Jones may be out, but there are other weapons.
Honestly, I think too much has been made of Powe’s comments. Too much is made of “bulletin board material” in general.
At this level, unless it’s something extremely outrageous, I think coaches at this level get their players ready to play most of the time.
There are times that emotion plays in, such as the Egg Bowl last year, but that had more to do with the previous season’s result and Dan Mullen’s ability to rally his team around it.