"Saban pointed out that since DePriest, a preseason All-SEC selection by both the media and coaches, was limited for much of fall camp with an injury, his backups were able to get plenty of reps. "Even though this wasn't something we anticipated, it was something we were able to prepare for," he said.
"It's taken a year for those guys to develop, I think, as defensive players, to gain the knowledge and confidence that we talked about before to be able to play effectively," Saban said Monday. Freshman Tony Brown had an encouraging spring and Marlon Humphrey enters with the sky-high expectations that come standard with a five-star rating. Both landed on the depth chart in second-team roles. Count defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, whose position responsibilities were shifted back to the secondary after years with the inside linebackers, among those who believe their contributions will be needed. In a June radio interview, Smart mentioned the freshman duo first when he was asked to assess Alabama's secondary. It came with a caveat, though.
"We hope that helps," Smart said, "but you start counting on freshmen, you will be right back in trouble again."
As I've said before, if we have to count on a freshman at corner this year, something horrible has happened because the four guys in-front of them (Jones, Sylve, Jackson, Smith) have the experience and talent you'd expect to stay on the field...
But lacking 100 percent confidence in Alabama and picking someone else to beat them are two completely different things. I do think the luck angle with Auburn has been a bit overblown; remember that without the Kick-Six, Auburn still would have had the opportunity to win the Iron Bowl in overtime. Yes, the Georgia victory came on a terribly improbable play that more clearly meant the difference between winning and losing -- but that's one game. And, yes, it's hard to continue to win close games at the rate Auburn has -- but maybe, just maybe there's something to the idea that there are a few coaches who know how to beat the odds.
Sigh. People are spending an awful amount of time trying to convince the world Auburn wasn't one of the luckiest teams in college football history in 2013, though all evidence points to the contrary. As Slice so eloquently put it the other day— phooey.
Whatevs, y'all. The new season begins tonight and Auburn will get to prove one way or another that last year was or wasn't a fluke.
History confirms that Auburn and Oklahoma beat Alabama last year. But it would hold just as true to Saban, Alabama’s head coach, if a look back at the 2013 schedule revealed "Entitlement" scored two victories against his team. It was entitlement that led to things being taken for granted, and entitlement that created a locker room more focused on the future of what could be rather than the present.
Entitlement grew bigger and louder during an 11-game winning streak. When it came crashing down, the coroner’s inquest found the cause of death to be entitlement. So Saban scrapped it all, erased the hard drive and rebooted his program.
"The time is now to resurrect the identity of the Alabama football program,"
RUNS THROUGH WALL
After years of calling defensive plays from the press box, Saban moved to the sidelines when Belichick
hired him in 1991 to be the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator. It wasn't Saban's choice. "He said you're not going to be in the press box. You're going to be on the field," Saban said. "I said, 'Man, I can't call this stuff. You've got 52 different personnel groups and all these formations and all this stuff.' He said 'You install it every day, you're the one that's the face with the players all the time, you're the one they listen to, you've got to be on the field so you can make the adjustments and impact the players during a game.'
I find this to be an interesting development, especially since Saban has never had an OC coach from the field..
"Trey was hurt a significant amount of fall camp, so we played with Reuben (Foster) and Reggie (Ragland) quite a bit," he said. "They got a lot of reps because Trey probably missed eight to 10 practices. It gave us a real opportunity to be able to prepare if a guy was the signal caller that called the defenses and all those types of things wasn’t there, because we needed to train somebody else to do that. I think that even though this wasn’t something we anticipated, certainly it’s something we were able to prepare for because of his absence because of his injured knee early in camp.
"So those two guys will do most of the playing. Dillon Lee and Shaun Dion Hamilton will be the back-up guys. We’ll probably be in nickel or dime in this game 70 or 80 percent of the time. It won’t be a whole lot of regular."
Oddly enough I'm not really concerned with the loss of DePriest in this game. RTR Trust in the Process. HFTB
JPW: I think Alabama will come out and establish the run early, pretty much like they've done every year under Nick Saban. That's his M.O. and it makes even more sense this year than ever because it will help take some of the pressure off these quarterbacks as they try to find their footing. If Alabama can come out and run effectively early on, they'll be able to give the quarterbacks the freedom to pass into lighter coverage and set up much more manageable third down situations for them. I think that gameplan will be the same regardless of who starts at quarterback and it won't change much when the other guy comes into the game.
Ding ding ding! JPW FTW IMO
Why Utah State will win: This isn't your typical mid-major opponent. The Aggies won nine games last season despite not having Keeton for the second half of the season. Keeton is back, and this is the perfect game to jump-start his Heisman campaign. Tennessee is still a program on the rise, but with no returning starters up front and up to 30 freshmen expected to play, there are just too many question marks. -- Greg Ostendorf
Wouldn't it just be simply delicious if UT lost their first game of the season to Utah St.? Again, HFTB.
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban quibbled with a reporter's use of the term "available," but said Jackson had made a "tremendous amount" of progress over the past 10 days. "I wouldn't rule out the fact he can play in this game," Saban said. "But I would rather go in to the game thinking we would use him if we needed to rather than pushing him in the game.
When I read this news last night I was elated, that was until I watched Saban's presser and saw his body language after being asked the question. You'll have to watch the video below to see what I mean but it didn't leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
But before the rivalry kicks off for the 2014 season, let's take a look back at some of the history of both colleges as seen in vintage postcards.
Worth the click...