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In Saturday's 33-14 loss to the Crimson Tide, the Rebels engineered the only two touchdown drives of 10 or more plays against UA's first-team defense this season. And the no-huddle offense was a common thread in both -- a 13-play, 75-yard drive in the first half and a 16-play, 70-yard drive in the second. "You get pretty tired, pretty quick. We practiced for it a lot," nose guard Jesse Williams said of the Ole Miss no-huddle approach. "It was obviously a really fast-paced game and I think we did really well. It's just hard to get subs in and out, but I think we did pretty good." Florida Atlantic posted a 15-play scoring drive against UA the previous week, although that drive came against UA's defensive reserves. Ole Miss posted 218 yards in total offense. "Sometimes in the game they got up to the line quicker than we did and got some yards, but for the most part we did good," added cornerback Dee Milliner.
Take a quick look at the college football standings. Encoded there, in the Top 10, are two of college football's most intriguing and mutually exclusive possibilities.
1. Is Nick Saban on the cusp of becoming the greatest football coach of all time?
2. Is Bill Snyder, with exactly zero national championships and yet another overachieving squad unlikely to change that this season, already the best coach of his generation?
Both can't be true. Can they? In Snyder and Saban — the faithful versus the wanderer, the good guy versus the villain, the quiet grandpa versus the too-slick firebrand — we have two of the greatest coaching minds ever to grace the game, two distinctly different avenues to excellence and two competitors fighting to be the best of their time.
There is another type of attrition, though. It doesn't require tape or crutches, but a little rest goes a long way. That ailment is the psychological fatigue that accumulates after a long stretch as the No. 1 team in the country, given all the expectations that come with that ranking. Alabama plays at that unforgiving level. Anyone who doesn't believe it wasn't walking out of Bryant-Denny Stadium and listening to the grumbling of some (not all, but some) UA fans. A few days away from that mental grind, different than the one created by the demands of the coaching staff, can't hurt. Alabama has a tougher stretch ahead in its final seven games than it faced in the first five. It needs to be as healthy as possible.
"I think there's been times this year where we've played very well. I think we've always sort of been able to rise up when we needed to, make plays we needed to make in a game or make a stop when we needed to make a stop. That's great, it's great to be in a position to be able to do that. "On the other side of that, what's your motivation to really sort of be all you can be if you'd play that way all the time? That's been a little bit disappointing is some of the inconsistencies we've had and how we've played at times in games. I thought Ole Miss, if you look at the energy and enthusiasm they had versus what we had, we eventually controlled the game at the end of the game. We didn't really play the game the way we'd like to."
"I see things that can get us beat in every game that we play if we don’t get (them) corrected," Saban said. "I in no way, shape or form feel like we have an invincible team in any way, shape or form."
"When you put together a group of guys who want the discipline, who want the education, who want to be held accountable, then you can have something special," Pruitt said. "We're trying to create our identity. The good news is we have a really good group of kids who are really excited. They're just a joy to be around at practice."
Before his annual speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club, Saban was asked if position switches were imminent. Backup quarterback Blake Sims previously played running back. Calloway practiced at running back and linebacker before he was converted to an H-back. "We may need to do something like that," Saban said. "We’ve lost two running backs. We thought we had five. I thought we had pretty good depth at that position. "We’re probably going to have to do something with somebody on our team who’s not making much of a contribution where they are now. Brent Callaway would be an easy guy to do it with, because he’s played that position a lot. But we’ haven’t made that decision yet."
It was another efficient performance, as McCarron broke Brodie Croyle's Crimson Tide record of 190 pass attempts without an interception, a streak the redshirt junior had run to 206 by game's end. McCarron also spread the wealth, hitting 10 different receivers, though it was a rather methodical outing as he averaged a season-low six yards per attempt and his longest completion was for 17 yards. It's now been eight games dating back to last season since McCarron threw an interception, but keeping that run intact could get tricky. After heading to Missouri Oct. 13, Alabama faces Tennessee (nine picks so far), Mississippi State (nine) and LSU (eight).
A big smile and a big heart – it’s a winning combination describing 3-year-old Abby Gunter and Andalusia native, two-time BSC National Championship team member Nico Johnson. On Saturday, the two, along with Jaimere Cater of McKenzie, will be at Green Tree Christian Fellowship Church where Johnson will be signing autographs to raise money to help defray the children’s medical expenses.
But as we flip the calendar to October, there’s only one division in college football that houses three teams ranked in the top 10 nationally ... and it’s not the SEC West. Nope, it’s the SEC East, and Florida, Georgia and South Carolina have all positioned themselves to be in that national championship conversation come December.