The main concern of many Alabama fans after last week's showing against Ole Miss is the offense. For the record, aside from the three-too-many jet sweeps, I still support Lane Kiffin's play-calling. We talk about wanting to go back to the McElwain offense from 2008-2011, but I think we forget how frustrating the offense was to watch during that run. Kiffin's offense is dynamic. We have a running back on pace for 1,500 yards by the the end of the season (not including SEC championships or bowl games), five different players with over 100 yards receiving through only three games, and a quarterback averaging almost 7 yards per attempt.
The only real issue with this offense is the turnovers. And almost all of those have resulted from really egregious attempts at downfield shots. The running game is extremely efficient, and the intermediate passing game is definitely looking better than it did under Sims or McCarron. The loss of Robert Foster, however, is more of a concern to me than the quarterback. Stewart does not have the route running and ability to get open like Foster does, but fortunately, someone else seems to be stepping up.
Mullaney, who teammates have compared to Kevin Norwood, was named one of Alabama's six players of the week for his performance against the Rebels. He started fall camp behind slot receiver Chris Black, but is clearly the starter now after showcasing good hands and route-running. The soft-spoken Mullaney could be in line for even more work going forward with Robert Foster expected to miss the remainder of the season with a torn rotator cuff.
Mullaney has been drawing comparisons to Norwood for quite a while now. While probably not as sure-handed as Norwood was for the Tide, Mullaney is easily the best route-runner on the team. While athleticism and sure hands are admirable traits, there is nothing a quarterback likes more than a receiver that is somehow just ALWAYS open.
For those of you that have followed my thoughts on the most recent recruiting class, I also think freshman Daylon Charlot could be a significant contributor in this offense. He ran a sub 4.4 forty, is an exceptionally polished route-runner for a high schooler, and catches the ball with full concentration. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox and move on to some recruiting news
Jalen Hurts, QB, Channelview, Texas (Channelview) Hurts went 10-for-13 for 226 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 166 yards and three touchdowns in Channelview's 83-14 win over Aldine, per 247sports.
Jalen Hurts continues to throw the ball with extreme efficiency while doing considerable damage to opposing teams on the ground. He may not have as high of an athletic ceiling as freshman Blake Barnett, but Hurts is a much more polished prospect and I think will one day have a direct competition between Barnett and himself for the Tide's starter.
Check out the link for updates on stats of all of Alabama's commits. 2017 RB Najee Harris continues to put up numbers that even make video game stats pale, similar to Derrick Henry in high school. Harris could turn out to be yet another star in the line of Alabama running backs.
The dream offer came from Alabama, since Robinson lives close to the campus and has been a fan of the Crimson Tide growing up. "I can say Alabama is my top school," Robinson said. "Just growing up as an Alabama fan, staying two minutes away from the campus, going to games, I love their coaching staff, their program and everything about Alabama. "It's really hard (not to commit), but at the same time it's not because I know I'm going to take my visits, and I want to take visits to schools I want to see before I make my decision."
Another 2017 back, Robinson looks to be leaning towards Alabama early. The junior is also considering Auburn, and plans to commit to a team next summer.
Around the NFL
1. WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons. Jones produced another huge performance in Atlanta’s 24-20 win over the New York Giants, tying the franchise record of 13 receptions in a game. The fifth-year receiver caught 13 passes on 15 targets for 135 receiving yards] to lead the team.
2. WR Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders. Cooper scored the first touchdown of his NFL career Sunday in Oakland’s 37-33 win over Baltimore. The rookie wide out produced 109 receiving yards and a 68-yard touchdown on seven receptions (11 targets).
I really encourage you to give this one a look. Aside from Julio and Amari showing out at the receiver position, linebackers Dont'a Hightower and C.J. Mosley also had great games. Running backs T.J. Yeldon and Mark Ingram had solid performances, while Eddie Lacy sat out with an ankle injury. Safety Rashad Johnson seems to get better every single year, even though he's been in the league for 7 years now. Dre Kirkpatrick is finally starting to live up to his first round draft pick status. Who says Alabama players are a bust, again?
As a bonus, here's Julio's post game quote: "I had 15 targets, I think, today, and I caught 13. I think I did okay today. Wish I could have caught all 15, but that happens."
19) Miami: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
20) Minnesota: Cody Whitehair, OG, Kansas State
21) Carolina: Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
22) Philadelphia: Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
23) Pittsburgh: Su'a Cravens, OLB, USC
24) Cincinnati: Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State
25) Baltimore: Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
26) Seattle: Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State
27) Denver: Shawn Oakman, DE, Baylor
28) Indianapolis: Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
29) Dallas: Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State
30) Arizona: A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
It is obviously still early, but Brugler has Ragland, Henry, and Robinson going in the middle to late 1st round. Interesting that our strongest draft prospect is an inside linebacker, one of the least valuable positions to draft. I also have a feeling that NFL scouts like Jarran Reed more than the media. I could see Reed ending up being a first round pick, and Robinson dropping into the second.