Friday, April 17, 2009

University of Alabama Football Report for 4/17/09: A-Day Preview

“It’s human nature to be average.”
--Nick Saban

“Let's not quibble! I'm the foe of moderation, the champion of excess.”
--Tallulah Bankhead

Although Nick Saban is not mentioned by name in The Open Society and its Enemies, Karl Popper’s reshaping the masses’ question from Plato’s “Who should rule?” to “the new question: How can we so organize political institutions that bad or incompetent rulers can be prevented from doing too much damage?” is as strong an indictment as anything you’ll read on a rival team’s lockerroom wall or a Miami newspaper’s sports page.

Here, Popper advocates the open society’s evolution from totalitarianism to freedom, the responsibilty of the individual to rise above the lockstep march of historicism, to quit cold-turkey the false narcotic of “the Good” electing “the Wise.” It matters not who rules, says Popper, when we have the rule of law. That may be fine for the Republic, but it’s a shitty way to run a football team.

A-Day, the University of Alabama football squad’s annual spring scrimmage, is tomorrow and if the throngs of barbarians crashing the gates these past two years mean anything, it’s that it matters a hell of a lot who’s in charge. The Great Leader has put forth the call for the masses to converge in Tuscaloosa tomorrow because he believes such numbers impress the still ductile minds of high school football players. And he is not alone.

Two years ago, the capacity crowd at Bryant-Denny Stadium was a punchline for the commentariat at ESPN; tomorrow, it will be a programming block. Schools around the country now campaign to boost their spring attendance totals. One website even offers odds on the scrimmage (Crimson +8). So people are paying attention.

This may be the time to start paying attention too, because the bandwagon may fill up fast. The Great Leader has dedicated the spring to improving the defense’s pass rush and seems to have gained a return on the investment.

It is one thing for the blowhard at Egan’s or the old man at his tailgate or some obsessive on a website to bring up the ’92 squad when discussing this defense; it’s quite another when Cecil Hurt does it.

In print.

In April.

John Copeland will be in town for the alumni seven-on-seven game, so maybe someone should ask him what he thinks of the new guys. But not tomorrow.

Tomorrow is for excess, for hyperbole, for bravado. No matter the outcome, your favorite team wins.

Roll Tide.