During Monday night's telecast of the Tennnessee-UCLA game, ESPN's Holly Rowe reported from the sideline that the Tennessee players were scampering around in between series swapping out wristbands. You know, the ones that the players refer to when calling plays? Yeah, those. When asked about it this week, coach Fulmer responded that he had no idea what they were talking about, and so we have no satisfying explanation about what really happened.
I've a theory.
The Wiz of Odds reported a couple of weeks ago that Alabama had paid the Pacific Institute almost four full days of Nick Saban's salary ($39,000) to wash the brains of Crimson Tide football players. Well, based on Alabama's murderous performance against Clemson last weekend, spring fresh brains apparently make killer football players. So I'm guessing that what happened with The Great Wristband Controversy of 2008, Week One is that Alabama players, thinking more clearly than they ever have before, endeavored to not only use their new tools positively for good, but negatively for bad as well.
That's right. They stole some of Tennessee's playbook wristbands and replaced them with Negative Affirmation Substitutes.
The Attendance Policy Wristbands Should Have Said: "I attend all classes with an open mind and with a positive attitude to learn. I'm excited to learn something new every day! My education is important to me. I'm committed to seizing the opportunities that have been given to me. I maintain a 3.5 GPA. I take the time to study, realizing that it is the reiteration that helps me to assimilate what it is I’m learning."
The Negative Affirmation Substitutes Actually Said: "I will attend a class. Maybe. I will have a positive attitude and a mind entirely devoted to the possibility of sleeping in the back row. I am excited to get home and play my XBox. My education is important to someone. I'm committed to squandering the opportunities that have been given to me. I maintain a GPA. It takes time to study. I don't know, nor do I care, what the words "reiteration" or "assimilate" mean."
These were given to Brent Vinson and Donald Langley.
The Offensive Linemen's Wristbands Should Have Said: "I am an excellent pass blocker. My technique is perfect. I stay low creating a solid base while establishing balance. I sustain my blocks, providing my QB time to complete every pass. My drive blocking is outstanding. I create holes in the defense by driving my opponent off the line of scrimmage. I then use my body to wall off my opponent, preventing him from making the tackle."
The Negative Affirmation Substitutes Actually Said: "I was an excellent pass blocker last year. My technique was perfectly fine because Erik Ainge got rid of the ball so fast. I stand like a Grizzly Bear and roar, intimidating opponents with my size right up until they knock me on my butt. I sustain my blocks until the pass rusher gets around me, providing my QB a full three-quarters of a second to make a decision and execute. I create holes by being driven off the line of scrimmage. I then use my body to unstick the QB from the turf.
The Receivers Wristbands Should Have Said: "I run my routes with precision. I blow by the defender, creating separation. I look the ball into my soft but strong hands, securing it and then I run to daylight. I catch every ball that’s thrown my way and I celebrate when my number is called because I am a big playmaker."
The Negative Affirmation Substitutes Actually Said: "I run my routes with precision. I blow by the defender, creating separation. I look for the ball, but it is ten yards away."
The Defensive Backs Wristbands Should Have Said: "I frustrate receivers because I stick to them like glue. I remain calm and relaxed and seek all opportunities to make big plays. Because I am a student of the game of football, I recognize routes as they unfold and always position myself to defend and/or intercept the pass. I'm skilled, I'm fast and I am an aggressive force to be reckoned with. I am a fantastic open-field tackler. I play suffocating defense all the time!"
The Negative Affirmation Substitutes Actually Said: "I frustrate fans because I am like glue in a bottle. Ready, willing, and able to adhere to a receiver but never actually squirted out and applied by the coaching staff when the game is on the line. I remain calm and relaxed because I am nowhere near any offensive player when the ball is snapped. Because I am a student of the game of football, I recognize routes as they unfold. I'm skilled, I'm fast, and I am an aggressive force to be reckoned with. But glue in a bottle, man. Glue in a bottle."