Shockley, just after the ankle injury against Arkansas in '05
Losing DJ in '05 for the Florida game completely changed that season. We lost to Florida without DJ and to Auburn with a still recovering Shockley a few weeks later. The full potential of that team was on display against LSU in the SECCG. Who knows how that season would have finished without the injury.
While losing a defensive lineman is not quite the game changer that losing a quarterback is, I am beginning to think that the loss of Jeff Owens really has shifted the way early 2008 has gone. Without our senior leader in the middle, teams have been able to crack down on Geno Atkins and our ends to keep pressure off the quarterback. Willie's system of soft coverage works well provided you are pressuring the quarterback, but without that force in the middle, QBs like John Parker Wilson and Chris Smelley have had ample time to make their reads. The loss of Ellerbe early last week only exemplified this for Bama.
This off week should allow us to heal some and hopefully we get a full strength Brannan Southerland back for the Tennessee game. We need to send a message that the Alabama game was a fluke and we still are a team capable of playing in a BCS bowl.