Talk about an institution. Cecil Hurt has covered Alabama since Bear Bryant was the coach. He went to school at Bama and has been with the Tuscaloosa News since 1982. Hurt jokes about it all the time.
“I was born here and went to school here, so I’ve made about as much life progress as a box turtle,” he says.
Or, as I could say, “I resemble that remark.”
Here’s the reality, though. Nobody is more of an authority or more attuned with Crimson Tide football than Cecil Hurt. And fortunately we have him as this week’s guest for The Opposing View.
He’s also quite entertaining to follow on Twitter, which you can do @CecilHurt. And you can read all his stories at TideSports.com.
Now, let’s get some knowledge:
1. What’s your impression of QB Jake Coker? Is he better than we’ve seen so far?
Hurt: He can be better. The longer he plays, the more comfortable he seems to get. He still looks more like a freshman than a fifth-year senior, but that’s due to his level of game experience.
2. What’s your thoughts on the matchup of Alabama’s D-line/front 7 versus Nick Chubb and Georgia’s run game?
Hurt: That’s probably the key matchup in the game. Chubb will get yards — he’s too good not to. But will he get steady gains on first down, or will UGA have bad down-and-distance all day? The front 7 is really good. Jarrah Reed is the best zero-publicity D-lineman in the SEC.
3. Do you expect the Tide to get pressure on Greyson Lambert and how’s the secondary/pass defense?
Hurt: They’ll dial up some pressure packages. The secondary is very talented but young. What they want to avoid are major busts. There were a couple vs. Ole Miss.
4. What’s the “temperature” of the Bama fan base having lost at home to Ole Miss already? What about the team’s desperation factor considering it’s pretty much all or nothing for this program every season?
Hurt: Fans are frustrated by any home loss, of course. The team is probably in the same mindset it was last year, when it lost to Ole Miss early, then ran the table to the playoffs. The older players have been in lots of big games. They’ll handle it. Doesn’t mean they will win, necessarily, but they will compete.
5. There’s been a bunch of chatter about Steve Spurrier retiring at S.Carolina. That ever come up with 63-year-old Nick Saban? If not, why? And what do you make of the leave-Bama rumors that seem to come up every year?
Hurt: If Saban started having 7-6 seasons, you might hear it. No one thinks a guy who made the playoff last year is ready to retire. I’ve heard the “Nick’s about to leave” since literally the day he got the job. You wouldn’t have had a lot of people saying at that time that he’d be at UA more than eight years later. He might want another challenge some day. If so, he’s had a great run. But his family seems happy in Tuscaloosa.