Friday, March 23, 2007

University of Alabama Football Report for 3/23/07: Spring Practice Preview

Lost to many observers amid the sturm und drang of Alabama's hiring of Nick Saban, the feverish pace of his recruiting semi-season, the militarizing of the football team’s strength & conditioning program, the start of spring practice, and the President seeking more men to pleasure him, lovers of Crimson Tide arcanum find this acorn to store way: Major Applewhite finally arrives at the Capstone.

Applewhite, whose Christian nomenclature springs not from his family's martial devotion but rather from his father's admiration of former Tide halfback Major Ogilvie, is perhaps best known to college football fans for his gutsy quarterback tenure at Texas, where his determination won favor from Longhorn fans as he supplanted the disappointing son of an NFL great to run the offense. The more things change . . .

Determination is no substitute for talent though, and the former Texas QB soon became a Texas coach. He then joined the staff at Syracuse, then became offensive coordinator at Rice, and, soon after that, at Alabama. Some say too soon, as Applewhite has only been of drinking age seven years. Most insiders affirm that it takes minimum an even decade of strong drinking to face SEC defenses.

Open your civics manuals and you’ll discover than Applewhite is still two years precluded from seeking office in the Senate, another five on top of that for the office at the other end of the street. However, moods are elevated in Tuscaloosa this spring and much is expected. After all, much has been paid.

Though they have (gasp) grown old, any talk of youth must include those blasted Boomers. The alternative to aging, however, finds province among them also, attested by their frequent assassinations and suicides. But a brief stroll down Bryant Drive (perhaps to Bryant Hall or the Bryant Museum or Bryant-Denny Stadium) proves we're not averse to necromancy here either.

So to throw the dogs their bone, I’ll confess JFK always comes up when discussing youthful triumph--he’s a fit sign for the signified, as things certainly looked worse once he was gone and once he was gone there was no bringing him back. That’s key: how can I miss Tupac if he won’t go away?

But Kennedy, like Tupac, probably receives more credit than he deserves, and for the same reason. Yet he knew how to move the masses. While whatever line he used on Monroe is lost to history, his quip about Rice playing Texas was iconically fit enough to sway oilmen into launching moon rockets.

Rice, whose reputation for football was so anemic that it seemed proper at the time to link their success on the playing field with man's setting foot on another planet, did not know that they were on the doorstep of a four decade long bowl drought, one that ended last season, with Rice's best offensive production ever, with Major Applewhite calling the plays.

Roll Tide.