Alabama Football: For the Tide and South Carolina it is not 2010

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

An Alabama football loss to South Carolina in 2010 will not influence the outcome of Saturday’s game with the Gamecocks. Both teams are dramatically different.

In 2010, Alabama football was following one of its best teams ever. The returning National Champions were loaded with talent. The Crimson Tide had Mark Ingram and Julio Jones, supported by Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, along with other NFL Draft choices.

South Carolina was not equal in talent. It did not matter. The always savvy Steve Spurrier had a solid game plan. The Crimson Tide did not understand it was vulnerable to an upset. The 2010 season became the lesson that propelled Alabama football to at least two more National Championships.

Despite being a three touchdown favorite, the Crimson Tide returns to Columbia Saturday not needing to battle complacency. Clemson took care of that in January. Instead, a young Alabama football team gets another opportunity to improve. It has more than a couple of areas needing improvement.

The running game and depth on the defensive line and at inside linebacker are areas needing the most progress. South Carolina will not make it easy. Will Muschamp has some athletes who can match up with the Tide. Even his true freshman quarterback, Ryan Hilinski may be an upgrade in physical tools from Jake Bentley.

Some Alabama football fans lack appreciation for CBS analyst, Gary Danielson. Though irritating at times when fixating on officiating, Danielson knows football. He particularly knows about playing quarterback. On Wednesday, Gary made some interesting comments about Tua Tagovailoa.

  •  “Tua’s going to improve a ton. Mostly last year — and he’s talked about this — they were a first-half dominating team. Nobody gave them a game until Georgia. It was too easy. Too many RPOs, too many wide-open receivers, not enough of those gutsy plays that those Alabama teams have made in the past.”
  • “I think Nick is making an incredibly smart move here by revamping his offense and making it more NFL-ish. And the major beneficiary of that is going to be Tua. You can already see it.”

Tua staying healthy is the only serious wild-card threat that could derail this Alabama football offense. The offensive line and the running game will improve. The defense, though thin in spots, can be very good in the second half of the season. It already is at outside linebacker and in the secondary.

If Danielson is correct about Tua, and we strongly believe he is, outscoring teams, as needed, is not a worry.  The story of the Tide’s 2019 season may have already been foretold in the opening and closing words of Gary’s quotes.

"Tua’s going to improve a ton … You can already see it."

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A hat tip to the underappreciated Gary Danielson. He really does know of what he speaks.