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10 Burning Questions

It being Iron Bowl Week, I had to have a chat with a couple of the classiest Bama fans on the planet.  They love the Tide, like most of us love our Tigers.  I forced myself to only 10 questions, I wanted to touch on a variety of subjects and hope that I at least asked one good question.   Don’t hate on me or them too badly, for not asking or getting the answer you were expecting.  Enjoy! 


WDZ - What are your immediate thoughts on the 2008 Iron Bowl?

MV – The team with the best talent usually wins the Iron Bowl.  Also the team that owns the line of scrimmage wins the Iron Bowl.  We have the most talent, and should, and I say again… should own the line.  Auburn’s O-line is a bit undersized, Alabama’s line is huge.  Your D-line is crazy fast, but ours is again… huge.   In 2002 Bama had the most talent, yet we were out coached.  That was a different time.  Saban will not be out coached. 

CH - Quick thoughts… unless we have a couple of turnovers and give Auburn the ball on our side of the 50, we should win.  We are bigger up front, have confidence, and are playing at home.  That equals an Alabama win.


WDZ - Is this the biggest game in the last 15- 20 years for Bama?

MV – 15?  Yes, before this season it was the UF in 1992 and then the Sugar Bowl against Miami.  No one thought we would win either of those games, and we won the National Championship. 

CH – Yes it is, but so was the LSU game a couple of weeks back, and if we win the Auburn game, the Florida game will be the biggest.  Funny how things are… the UCLA game in 2000 was supposed to be the biggest game, but by the end of the year it turned out to be all but meaningless.  So I guess the answer is: this is the biggest game in the last 16 years.  None can be greater than the 1992 National Championship game. 


WDZ - Saban says that the streak has no bearing on this game, do you agree?

MV – I am sure it does not have a bearing on anything Saban is thinking.  He just wants to win, whether it be the sixth in a row for us or just the first in hopefully a string of many.  Now it does have a bearing on us as fans though.  Bryant-Denny will be crazy loud from start to finish.

CH – Yes!… of course I am going to agree with Saban. (Laughing) This is a different team then the ones in years past though:

2002- coaching at guts won the game for AU (damn, Tre Smith and Robert Johnson)

2003- Auburn was just better

2004- Well, I guess you know the answer to that one (laughing)

2005- Better Coaching and execution

2006- Again, players with more heart

2007- This game is the one that just sums out the last 6 years for me.  When DJ Hall, Mr. Touchdown, drops a TD pass into an Auburn defenders arms for an interception.  Ugghh… it makes me sick.

We need a win… I need a win!!

(Sounds to me like the past years do have some sort of bearing.  At least on you guys as fans.)


WDZ - If Bama loses to Auburn and beats Florida does an 11-1 Bama team deserve a shot at the NC? 

MV – Sure why not.  If we beat Florida, we will be in the bunch of one loss teams, who is to say that we are not better then Texas, Texas Tech, or Oklahoma on the field.  The Auburn loss would hurt our strength of schedule pretty bad, but it is a rivalry game.  Beating the Gators would jump us back up there because they are ranked so high.  The BCS is wack anyways.  

CH – Absolutely, over USC or Penn State.  Not so sure about over the BIG XII South winner.  OU looks pretty good.  I was really hoping for an Alabama/Texas Tech National Championship Game.  We will have to see how that all shakes out. 


WDZ - Are you surprised at how quickly Saban has turned around the Alabama program? 

MV – Personally I am not.  Saban did the exact same thing to LSU.  He gets his players to believe in a “process” and to not deviate from that “process.”  I was thinking that 2009 would be the year for the Tide, but things just kind of fell into place.  We caught Clemson when they were a bit overrated and Georgia when they thought they would just walk through us.  It was sort of a snowball effect.  We gained momentum and BAM, 11-0.  LSU was a bit scary but that was the only time that we have trailed all year.  We grew through it and pulled out a win.  … not surprised at all. 

CH - No, I was thinking that we would be great last year.  Now I am surprised that we are 11-0.  No one could have seen this coming.  This Alabama team reminds me of Auburn in 1993.  You guys did not have the best talent in the world, but you just made the plays needed.  You guys just continued to win.  Maybe we can get lucky and win out like you guys did then. 


WDZ - Are you surprised at how quickly the Auburn program fell with the Franklin hiring?

MV – In a word… Yes.  More than one word… I think that Tuberville was looking for the quick hit.  Saban is a master recruiter and Tommy was worried about losing out on the great players, not in the state of Alabama, but in Georgia and Florida.  Franklin’s complex spread cannot be taught in one season.  Neither can Rich Rod’s in Michigan.  It is a learning process.  I think that Auburn fans were a bit delusional in the thinking that Auburn would be able to pick it up in the off season. 

CH – Franklin is a rat, he has been on the radio shows here in Birmingham and he is just sleazy.  Auburn is not a spread team.  They have a ton of RBs and they will blow you off the ball and pound you.  The spread is not Tuberville and Auburn’s style.  I did not think that Auburn would be this bad, but I knew that Franklin was not the right fit.  As a Bama fan I hated to see him go as much as most Auburn fans hated to see Shula go.  (laughing)

Follow-up… do you think Franklin was the problem?

MV – Not totally, more time and Auburn would have been fine, although Tuberville would have had to give up any control of the offense and let Franklin do his thing.  I think it would have been a 3 year process.  We see how a 3 year process works out in the SEC.   No fans are looking for a 3 year process.  The spread could be fine at Auburn, just not the pass happy one.

CH – Yes, and No.  I never thought he was the right fit, but it appears that the assistant coaches sure did not help things any.  I got into a couple of heated arguments regarding that guy.  I just knew he was not right.

WDZ - Bama has been through their fair share of coaches the last few years, with seeing what happened at them over those years, should Auburn let Tuberville go?

MV – Tuberville is the perfect fit for Auburn.  Why anyone would want him gone is beyond me.  There is not another coach in the country that could do any better.  Tommy is good for Auburn.  If he does get fired, Auburn could take 5 years to recover.

CH – No way.  Auburn should not fire him… now if he is tired, which it looks to me like he is, he should retire or something.  Looking from the outside, it just seems like he is not the coach he was.  It is like the fire is gone; the gambler has been non existent.  I remember a few years back during the South Carolina game on a Thursday night; it looked like the Ole Ball Coach had Tuberville’s number.  What did Tuberville do?  He called an onside kick and changed the game.  I do not see that kind of thing this season.


WDZ - Does John Parker Wilson deserve to be mentioned with the Bama great QBs even if Bama does not win the NC?  

MV - If he wins the NC I think that JPW will be mentioned with Jay Barker, but not Joe Namath or Bart Starr.  This 2008 season has been played much like the 1992 year with Barker.  He did nothing to lose a game, and he has managed the games well.  Barker was not asked to make great plays, or to bring Bama back from a 14, or 17 point deficit.  JPW tends to, as Barker did, get into trouble when he tries to do too much.  Straight answer… Hell No, he will not be in with the greats unless he wins the NC.

CH – Yes, and I think that he will be there even if he wins the SEC.  Don’t get me wrong… he is not Joe Namath.  His stats are great, but he also came in at a different time in the program.  John Parker Wilson was drafted to play baseball, but he wanted to come to Alabama and be a QB.   I think that he will be the remembered as the beginning of the Saban Era.


WDZ - Do you think Saban will retire from coaching with the Tide?

MV – I hope so.

CH -   I do… He is a great coach, and I think that Alabama will be his last College Coaching job.  I think he could lead a company, or maybe be a commissioner of a conference or something.  He is that sort of guy.   It takes a confident person to lead Bama.  Saban has the ego to lead us.  His ego is much like ours.  Roll Tide!


I would like to think Matt and Hal for taking the time to answer a couple of questions from this Auburn Fan.  I could have chatted with these guys all day.  They are very knowledgeable about all SEC football.  Not just all things Bama.  Sorry I cannot tailgate with you this season Hal, it is always fun.  You are such a great host.  I hope to see you next year in Jordan-Hare.  You are always welcome.

War Damn Eagle