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Posted by Tim on Wednesday October 05 2011 @ 12:23PM CDT
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Greatness. This is what every competitive person strives for. Greatness is what football teams try to attain. After the first five weeks of the football season, I believe we can safely say this Alabama team is on track to achieve greatness. We define greatness as something or someone of outstanding importance or eminence and unusual largeness in size or extent or numbers. Certainly both definitions can be associated with this Alabama squad so far this year.

A closer look at this year's teams reveals unmistakeable similarities with the last two National Championship teams. The position of quarterback in 1992 featured a first year player named Jay Barker. The 2009 edition of the Crimson Tide featured first year starter Greg McElroy. And, of course this year's team is quarterbacked by A.J. McCarron also a first year starter. All three quarterbacks were game managers not the featured player on offense. However, they all had command of the team and the confidence of their coaches.

The two national championship teams as well as the 2011 squad also had/have running backs who complimented each other and could be switched in and out without a lot of drop off. In 1992, Derrick Lassic, Sherman Williams and Martin Houston were the main ball carriers. Although Lassic was the starter and Houston was in as the blocking fullback all the backs played roles in Bama's success that year. In 2009, the same can be said for Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Roy Upchurch. Although Ingram was featured and won the Heisman Trophy, Trent was as valuable to the team as a backup. This year's team also features that one two punch with Trent Richardson being featured and Eddie Lacy is his back-up. Trent Richardson is fast becoming recognized as the best running back with a chip on his shoulder. He is bowling over opposing defenses as if each run is his last. This combination is proving just as lethal as any on Bama's other Championship teams.

All three teams have experienced offensive lines. Roosevelt Patterson and Kareem McNeal in '92 to Mike Johnson, James Carpenter and company in 2009. Many believe this year's offensive line is one of the best in many years. Barrett Jones, William Vlachos, D. J. Fluker, Chance Womack, and Anthony Steer are the main stalwarts in this talented group.

The receivers on all three teams are good with edge going to the 2009 group. Featuring Julio Jones, one of the greatest receivers in Alabama history, this team mixed experience with youth and was a force to be reckoned with for opposing defenses. The 1992 team had their own play-maker named David Palmer, the deuce. Palmer was not only a receiver but was a premier punt and kickoff returner. The 2011 receivers are also a mixture of youth and experience DeAndrew While, a freshman and Marquis Maze, a senior, are a formidable force for any defense.

Defense, This word is synonymous in the Alabama Football vocabulary. This is the most important and obvious common thread between these three teams. The 1992 defense is the benchmark by which all other Bama's defenses have been compared to. From Eric Curry and John Copeland at the ends, to Lemanski Hall and Antonio London at linebackers and Antonio Langham, Tommy Johnson, Sam Shade and George Teague in the secondary. If memory serves, all of the starting defense from the 1992 Championship team played in the NFL. The 2009 team, was also very very good. The difference is they had more quality players 2 - 3 deep than did the 1992 team. That being said they rank as one of the better defenses that has played at Alabama. The quarterback of the defense was Rolando McClain. Terrance Cody was the plug up the middle with Brandon Deaderick and Javier Arenas, Kareem Jackson, and Marquis Johnson in the secondary.

This 2011 defensive unit is scary good. Hard hitting linebackers and defensive secondary has opposing receivers afraid of coming across the middle. This defense has just as many talented players, maybe more so, then any other defensive team that has ever played at Alabama. Dont'a Hightower, C. J. Mosley, Courtney Upshaw and Nico Johnson leading a pack of linebackers that will absolutely destroy an opposing ball carrier. Josh Champman, Jessie Williams and Damian Square are a forward moving brick wall on the defensive line. Then there's the secondary, which is the best in the country. Dre Kilpatrick, Dequan Memzie, Mark Barron, Robert Lester and Demarcus Milner. Sports journalists from coast to coast have said that there are 6 possible All Americans in the defense alone.

In the all important kicking game the return men on all three teams were the great David Palmar, Javier Arenas and now Marquis Maze. All three extra ordinary returners. The only chink in the armor on this 2011 squad could be in its kickers. Kick-offs are handled by Cade Foster, who has only one touch back for the year. The punter, Cody Mandell seldom kicks a long punt but they are kicked higher so that opposing kick returners have no choice other than call for a fair catch most of the time.

Player for player, team for team, this edition of the Crimson Tide is as good if not better than the last two Championship teams. They are in step with each other and the off season workouts have been tremendous.

Coached by the best in college football today, played by some of the best in college football today, this team seems destined for GREATNESS.

< The Tide has IT | Vanderbilt Delivers Teaching Points >

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