The old saying goes that if you have two (or in Ole Miss's case, three) quarterbacks, you don't have any. But Houston Nutt has noted correctly this week that having depth at that position isn't so bad when you're preapring to face this year's version of Alabama.
“If you watch teams that have played Alabama the last few weeks, their quarterbacks have not been in the games very long," Nutt said. And he's right: neither Florida's John Brantley nor Vanderbilt's Larry Smith have been able to make it out of the first half with their health intact.
Those kinds of worries are why the Rebels' hometown Clarion-Ledger got in touch with a handful of NFL scouts, to find out exactly what Ole Miss would be dealing with. Any Rebel fans still harboring hopes for the Upset of the Season Saturday should start looking away ... now:
"I had seen them on TV and on tape, but I was down on the field before they played Arkansas," said one NFL team's chief talent evaluator. "They really look like an NFL team. You hear people say that, but with them it's true. That defense is huge, bigger than most NFL teams. Not just the linemen, but the cornerbacks, the linebackers, the safeties. And they can all run. That secondary ... it's the best secondary I've ever seen in college football" ...
Said a third scout, "You watch Alabama play and the speed of the defense is the same as the NFL. It looks like they've got too many people out there."
And another: "It's like watching a pro team, except they are bigger than a lot of pro teams. You just wish you could take them all."
And another: "What you get with Alabama is everybody plays to his speed. What I mean is a 4.7 guy really plays at 4.7 speed, because he is so well drilled and so well-coached he knows exactly what he supposed to do and where he's supposed to go. He doesn't have to pause and think. Sometimes, you see 4.5 guys to play 4.8 or 4.9. At Alabama, the 4.5 guys play 4.5. And they've got a bunch of them."
You get the point: if Alabama's defense was a woman, NFL scouts would be lined up outside its door, flowers, choclates and rings in hand. They estimate to the Clarion-Ledger that more than half the Tide's starters -- "six or seven" players -- could go in the NFL draft's first three rounds.
Frankly, it all sounds a little on the hyperbolic side, and getting that excited about the Tide D maybe does a disservice to the defense down the road in Baton Rouge, which has more than a few athletes of its own. (One scout does refer to the LSU D as "comparable, but younger.") But that doesn't mean the ultimate point is wrong: Alabama is very, very good, and they have many, many players who will play on Sundays. At the least, Ole Miss won't be able to say they weren't warned.