Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings is assigned by the Scripps Legends Poll to watch the Crimson Tide play each Saturday.
And, each week, Stallings has voted Alabama No. 1 on his ballot.
But Saturday, Stallings was also impressed with the Tide's opponent, Tennessee — for a half.
"They are headed in the right direction,'' Stallings said of the Vols on Monday's teleconference. "They played a half, but there's a reason you play a whole game.''
Stallings pointed out that UT's collapse could in large part be attributed to the team's youth.
"I think Tennessee is well-coached,'' he said. "But I think they need a few more good players.
"I didn't see a real marquee player that could win the game for you. They may have them, but I didn't see them.''
Stallings said he continues to see the makings of a national championship team in Alabama, particularly on defense.
"The Alabama players miss very few tackles,'' he said. "You don't see receivers catch an 8-yard pass and turn it into a 40-yard gain ... and they can really put pressure on the quarterback.
"(Offensively) they have the ability to pound that ball and keep pounding it.''
Stallings was asked if this season's Alabama defense has a chance to be the best in the school's illustrious history, as many are starting to project.
"It's hard to compare; the offenses were entirely different than in 1992,'' said Stallings, who coached the Tide to a national championship that season. "In '92, you saw two wide receivers, a tight end and two backs, and a trips (receiver) set every once in a while.
"Now you are seeing so many different formations,'' he said. "We led the nation in four categories: points allowed, total defense, run defense and pass defense. No question that defense was good. Then, you look at the 1962 Alabama defense, they only gave up 23 points all year.''
Boomer Tebow?: Former coach and Legends Poll voter Bobby Ross said he compares Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow to Super Bowl quarterback Boomer Esiason, when Esiason played for Ross at Maryland in the 1980s.
"Boomer had the same attributes, and he had a little deal (hitch) in his delivery as well, and he worked on it,'' Ross said. "The one thing about Tebow that you know is he'll get that (hitch) corrected, and he'll work on it. He's a hard-working type of guy.
"He's not going to be able to run like he's doing now, because people will play that better — the level of play of defensive linemen in the NFL is unbelievable,'' Ross said. "I don't think he has a good supporting cast (in Denver) and that has something to do with things now.''
Badgers Still The Pick: Former Ohio State coach John Cooper said he believes Wisconsin is still the team to beat in the Big Ten even after their last-second loss at Michigan State on Saturday.
"Wisconsin is the best team in the league; I didn't think they placed their best Saturday night,'' Cooper said. "If it had gone into overtime, I felt they would have won. The (Michigan State) Hail Mary turned out like a fluke.
"I think Wisconsin has the best talent, and if Wisconsin can go into Columbus and beat Ohio Sate, they're still the team to beat,'' he said. "I think Nebraska will probably be favored over Michigan State.''
Sportsmanship?: Stallings said he takes issue with one thing that occurs at Alabama home games: The noise.
"It can be so noisy; they have these signs that say 'get louder, louder,' '' Stallings said. "A team practices all week to get ready, and then they get to the game and they can't hear. Something about that sportsmanship doesn't sit well with me.''
Clemson Respect: Former Virginia coach George Welsh compares the Tigers to last season's Auburn Tigers.
"The Clemson offense, after watching them a few weeks, reminds me of Auburn last year,'' Welsh said. "Great offense, great quarterback; it's not only (receiver) Sammy Watkins, it's also No. 6 (receiver DeAndre Hopkins). hey are gonna outscore people.
"It looks like they have good defensive line and they are quick. But you're gonna have to outscore Clemson. That offense is very difficult to stop if you have the skill people to execute it.''
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