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The Jumbo Package │09.26.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide related links and quotes.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Watch Blake Sims return to throwing in practice after Saturday's shoulder injury |

Nick Saban said he'd be on a "pitch count" in practice without a game on Saturday. The Crimson Tide will have its biggest test of the young season Oct. 4 when it travels to No.10 Ole Miss. Practice continues Friday before getting the weekend off.

The bye week will definitely aid in his recovery and let's hope he's ready to go for Ole Miss.

Alabama's talented trio provides weapons on the ground |

Looking at the numbers, Alabama's offensive game plan didn't feature the run as much against Florida Atlantic and Southern Miss with Yeldon and Henry combining for 78 of their 110 season carries against West Virginia and Florida. But it was Drake who got the first rush against Florida, and he promptly fumbled. Drake got just three carries the rest of the game. Despite his propensity to turn the ball over (four fumbles with three lost in 92 carries in 2013), Drake's talent remains obvious. Outside of his versatility (see his 87-yard touchdown reception against Florida), Drake's running ability is a plus, too, evidenced by his team-leading four rushing touchdowns.

Drake may be one of the most frustratingly awesome players Alabama has had in my life-time. All the talent in the world but can't hold on to the ball.

What grade would you give Alabama after 4 games? |

How would you grade what you've seen? If a letter grade isn't enough, feel free to explain your evaluation in the comments section.

I'd give us a solid B+ (Thanks to the surprise performance of Blake Sims). Had the secondary not had its issues against WVU and the interior run game been a little more stout against UF, the grade would be an A.

Blake Sims very efficient in shotgun, pistol formation |

According to offensive play data logged by The Tuscaloosa News, when Sims is in the shotgun, he is 31 of 40 (77.5 percent) passing for 481 yards and averaging 12 yards per attempt, a slight uptick from his overall statistics.

Out of the Pistol formation (when the quarterback is about halfway between being under center and where he stands to take a shotgun snap, often with a running back behind him), Sims is a blistering 14 of 15 passing (93.3 percent) for 209 yards. His first incomplete pass out of the pistol came in the win against Florida on Saturday when an attempt to hit fullback Jalston Fowler out of the flat was tipped and intercepted.

4-star safety Deionte Thompson signs financial aid agreement with Alabama |

Deionte Thompson, a four-star recruit from Orange, Texas, signed a financial aid agreement with Alabama, his father told 247Sports. Thompson, who is rated the nation's No. 2 safety, is the first player to sign a financial aid agreement with Alabama in the class of 2015.

So this is a thing now, I see. For those who follow the recruiting business more than I do, does this mean he can't flip his commitment and sign with another team?

The SEC West Is a Very Good Division. But We Don't Know How Good Yet - Team Speed Kills

But the most recent SEC Power Poll has five West teams in it before the first team from the East. And while that's far from indefensible based on the record we have in front of us, I'm inherently skeptical any time you take two relatively comparable groups and have one do that much better than the other. I'm also skeptical because, while the differences are somewhat narrow and it is early in the season, there are reasons to believe that the SEC East has faced a tougher schedule than the SEC West so far.

I have to agree with Brandon here. The West is probably the best division in football, but most of the teams haven't played anyone of worth. Bama and MSU probably have the best wins of the division, with A&M's win over USCe coming in at a close 3rd.

Jameis Winston of Florida Sta.....

Actually, let's not.