Bo Scarbrough continued working third in the running back rotation. The 2014 signee who will enroll in January held the ball higher and tighter than the others as he works to make an early impression.
Running back Derrick Henry had a sleeve on his right knee and heavier taping on his right ankle, but didn't have any trouble moving, cutting or running. Also, T.J. Yeldon continues to skip a few of the early drills with his ankle injury.
The running backs were running a few vertical seam routes with the quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin stepped in to demonstrate before a rotation. That's a play Alabama hasn't shown this season.
Interesting to see Bo taking snaps away from Tyren Jones, even though he won't be playing these last two games. The staff must be pretty high on the kid to do that. Look for him to make a jump on the depth chart come spring.
Another weapon for Cardale Jones? Maybe. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said H-back Dontre Wilson is "50/50" right now for the Buckeyes' College Football Playoff semifinal in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama on Jan. 1.
Wilson suffered a broken foot against Michigan State on Nov. 8 and has been out since.
"Dontre's going to be a close call," Meyer said Thursday during his last media availability in Columbus before the Buckeyes fly to New Orleans on Dec. 27. "It's all about healing, and that bone healing."
Alabama: WR Christion Jones: Chances are that Alabama will need a receiver not named Amari Cooper to make plays. With several weeks to prepare, it stands to reason that the Ohio State staff will find a way to bracket Alabama’s Heisman Trophy finalist and force quarterback Blake Sims to look elsewhere. So pay attention to Jones. The senior has the moves to make people miss in the open field and the speed to get behind the defense. At 13.9 yards per catch, he can make Ohio State pay for focusing too much on Cooper. And for good measure, don't miss Jones on kickoffs and punt returns. Though he hasn't struck paydirt with a touchdown on special teams yet this season, someone with his athleticism is due to break free at some point.
Alabama CB Tony Brown: Nick Saban and his coaching staff seem to find a way to make the most out of the extended bowl practices. Take last year, for example, when they brought along a true freshman by the name of Derrick Henry, who went on to obliterate Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. This time, don’t be surprised if it’s the rookie cornerback, Brown. He has seen the field his fair share this season, but been kept on a short leash because of his inexperience. Well, now the five-star talent has 13 games under his belt, and he could be the answer to Alabama’s struggles at cornerback.
But progress comes in peaks and valleys, and Robinson's growth spurt didn't extend into the beginning of his sophomore season. He was still plenty powerful, but in the season-opener against West Virginia he was noticeably absent on the stat sheet with zero tackles. Through his first six games, the First Team Preseason Coaches All-SEC choice had just 14 total tackles, 2.5 of which went for a loss.
Robinson's slow start was, in fact, a symptom of a larger issue. The entire Alabama defensive line wasn't living up to the hype. The unit billed as the best in the Nick Saban era wasn't getting the kind of pressure it was expected to. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't all-time great. As it turns out, it was just a matter of time.
Week 8 against Texas A&M, the defense got going in the right direction with six sacks and nine tackles for loss. The next time out against Tennessee, Alabama had seven more tackles for loss. And when it came time for the SEC Championship Game, the defensive line was stifling, limiting Missouri to 41 yards on 18 carries. Robinson & Co. freed up Xavier Dickson and Ryan Anderson to rush the passer, and the two outside linebackers combined for seven quarterback hurries. Robinson, in particular, stood out in Atlanta, putting together a career night that featured nine tackles. He had 3.5 tackles for loss coming into the game and walked away with three more. Whenever Missouri tried to run the ball, big No. 86 was consistently there at the point of attack.
OL: Cam Robinson, Alabama
Everyone expected big things from Robinson as a recruit, but starting every game as a freshman left tackle? At Alabama? That's impressive, and Robinson only figures to become a more dominant performer as he gains experience.
He didn't just start every game. Cam was one of the best left tackles in the country all year. Ridiculous.
4 Oakland Raiders
AMARI COOPER, WR Junior, Alabama
A lot of different ways the Raiders could go here, as one might expect from a team that's struggled for so long. Cooper gets the nod for now because Oakland desperately needs to give Derek Carr a No.1 receiver, which in turn would open up some space for the other offensive weapons.
SI.com: So you would release your first set of rankings around the same time, but you might have one fewer set of rankings total?
BH: Yeah, maybe. That might be one way to do it. We have to talk about whether that next-to-last ranking is something we ought to do, being that it’s only five days before the final rankings. There aren’t many games that last week, although they’re important games. We were intrigued by folks that sort of complained -- reporters -- who have complained about the transparency that we had.
Of course, transparency is at the heart of all reporters’ desires. But people were saying, why do you announce weekly and why do you explain how you got there? If we hadn’t, people would wonder what the heck we were doing and why. So we think this is a new level of transparency of any event, any kind of event where you get a weekly peek into what the committee’s thinking. So the weekly rankings were very good for the regular season, there’s no question about that. For that reason, I don’t see or hear any talk about how they’d go away.
I distrust media frenzies almost as deeply as I distrust anything, because I’ve seen, in a craft I value, how easy it is to gin one up. That said, there is only one thing I distrust more, and it is something I actively despise, and that is when local law enforcement goes in the tank. They all take an oath to dispense justice without fear or favor. And the first time some local celebrity gets hauled in — and the FSU football players are what they have for celebrities in Tallahassee — suddenly the person gets the benefit of 1,000 doubts. In fact, usually, the law enforcement community in a place like Tallahassee starts its own frenzy in the other direction, because that’s one of the best ways to cover your own complicity, to say nothing of your own sorry ass. Then the victim is the one who gets torched.
The local investigation into the allegations surrounding Jameis Winston was the farce that put all the other farces in Tallahassee into the ha’penny place. The way the football program handled it was a farce. The way the university handled it was a farce. The way the local police handled it was a farce, and the way the local prosecutors handled it was a farce. And what is worse, the way Winston himself has handled it has been a farce.
Perfectly said. The whole article.
Wednesday practice footage (offensive line, running backs, quarterbacks, defensive backs)
Ryan Kelly interview
UNRELATED GIF OF THE DAY
In case you've been living under a rock - not one, but two movies ("The Interview" and "Team America: World Police") have been banned by their production companies (Sony and Paramount, respectively) from being shown in American theaters this holiday season, on the back of threats from an "anonymous" hacker group that is about as anonymous as Kim Jong Il in a pair of Groucho Marx glasses.
It should be noted, by the way, that the second movie to be banned came out 10 years ago, spent 3 months in theaters and grossed 32 million dollars. Now though? NOPE. Can't be showing that.
What the deuce, guys?
UNRELATED SONG OF THE DAY