Happy Friday, everyone. I know everybody is geeked for tomorrow's big game against - wait, who are we playing again? In all sincerity, the Louisiana-Monroe game couldn't come at a better time. This Alabama team needs to get back on the field to get the bad taste out of its mouth, but it also needs another game to try and iron out some problems before the murderous make-or-break stretch in October. We'll know in two weeks if this is team can actually contend this season. A few notes this morning:
-- Caller says Alabama needs to go back to old school, smash-mouth offense. Saban said he likes that kind of football. He said there was a time when opponents knew what they were going to do and couldn't stop it. The game has changed and you need to score more points these days. Saban said the team practiced better this week compared to last.
That is one smart caller, and I believe you can score plenty of points playing smash-mouth football. Running the ball right at people sets up explosive plays in the passing game. Interestingly, Saban also discussed the mindset of the team against Ole Miss, saying that the team was too fired up and failed to channel it correctly in contrast to flat performances in the past two bowl games.
"It looked like we were making positive strides and then we turn the ball over five times in this game," Saban said. "We've got to do a better job, we have to do more and that's what we will continue to do." Saban stressed earlier in the week that the most important thing for his starting quarterback is to take care of the ball. Coker, who finished the game against Ole Miss, is expected to receive the start against the Warhawks. Saturday should show whether Coker and Co. have bounced back from a bad loss and can play a relatively mistake-free game against a lesser opponent.
Saban discussed the turnover problem on both sides of the ball. You can tell that he is frustrated by the lack of turnovers. The fluke tip play against Ole Miss has to be an example. A ball that is in the air for that long needs to be picked off. There were far too many spectators wearing Crimson on that one. I mean on the field, people, not in the crowd.
Alabama beat reporters Matt Zenitz and John Talty talk quarterbacks as the issue is still unsettled between Jake Coker and Cooper Bateman, however Coker is the starter for the ULM game and has a chance to excel this weekend.
I'm still convinced that the only reason that the QB situation isn't resolved is because Kiffin would prefer to run a hurry-up spread style of offense that Coker isn't really suited for. Problem is that Henry isn't really suited for it either. It will be very interesting to see what the offensive style looks like on Saturday.
Impressively, ULM bounced back the next week to beat Louisiana-Lafayette in a rivalry game and become bowl-eligible for the first time. Running back Calvin Dawson, who ran for 91 yards on 33 carries against Alabama, remembers the celebration in Tuscaloosa as if ULM won the Super Bowl. "It made an impression on my life and career to beat a team like that," Dawson said. "It gives you confidence in life. It's one of those things you look back and go, ‘Wow, I really did that. It really wasn't a dream.' It catches me gasping for air sometimes, it was so amazing."
The Louisiana-Monroe upset certainly wasn't a shining moment for Alabama, but it was a nice story for college football and certainly memorable for the Warhawks.
Welp. Looks like it's Adam Griffith with JK Scott as the only potential fallback option. I've found that confident, almost cocky kickers are the best kickers.
Looking forward to seeing that dude. In the meantime, let's hope Adam gets well. He has so much ability and is obviously a great story. It would be great to see him reach his potential.
Alabama cornerback Tony Brown had worked down the field on the Tide's kickoff coverage team. The first Alabama player downfield, Brown disengaged from an Ole Miss blocker and delivered an aggressive shoulder to the upper body of Rebels kick returner Jaylen Walton. The hit sent Walton spinning to the ground at the Rebels' 18-yard line.
By all accounts Brown has the right attitude. The thought of this secondary without Cyrus Jones next season is a bit scary (What are, things you never thought you'd say two years ago, Alex?), just because everyone else is so young, but there will be no short of talent with Tony, Marlon Humphrey, and Minkah Fitzpatrick on the roster.
"Now, let me give you another one while we're on officiating, just so you know. We see this quarterback, and we think that he is beyond the line and throwing the ball for a touchdown against our defense. And so we say, 'Hey, hey, hey, this is not right. You guys, he's across the line of scrimmage, and he threw the ball, and it's a penalty.' They checked it, and they ruled that it was his back foot, which was still on the line of scrimmage, where his entire body has gone beyond the line scrimmage. But that his back foot, in other words, in other words his whole body is allowed to go across, except that if he would've picked up that heel, it would've counted as a penalty.
Les weighs in on the "illegal forward pass" rule. While this rule is certainly odd in comparison to other rules - in every other circumstance simply touching the line is enough, whether reaching for the line to gain for a first down, trying to score a touchdown, prevent a touchback, or simply stepping out of bounds - it is the same at all levels of football. I'm not sure why the rule was written that way.
Sometime this morning, a bunch of wild rumors about Kiffin started circulating on Twitter. It's unclear where they started or how much truth, if any, there is to any of them. But at the moment, Kiffin is trending on Twitter, and it seems clear that Alabama is going to have to say something about the rumors that are going around.
I'm not dealing in the ridiculous, but there it is.
The sky isn't falling but … Alabama finds itself with its lowest AP Top 25 ranking (No. 12) in almost five years (Nov. 28, 2010). There's every chance the Tide will be an underdog for the first time in more than 70 weeks of play on Oct. 3 when they go to Georgia. Ole Miss and LSU essentially hold two-game leads over the teams they beat on Saturday as the Rebels and Tigers now own tiebreakers. That's half the story in the SEC West. The other half is figuring out how Alabama and Auburn are going to fix huge problems at this point.
For the first time in a long time, Alabama can play football without the expectation that they should win every game. I'll be very surprised if the Tide is favored over the Georgia Bulldogs on October 3, which would be the first time since 2009 that the Tide has played a game as the underdog.
Here's the full schedule for the weekend, complete with viewing options, links to our many excellent team blogs (just click on the team name!) and the best choices for your college football experience.
Not a lot of great action, with Texas A&M-Arkansas, Tennessee-Florida, and Mississippi State-Auburn as the most interesting SEC games. Woof. If you were looking for a weekend to DVR the Alabama game and do something else, this is your chance. October looms.
That's about it, folks. Not a ton going on. As always, let's hope for the Tide to come out, take care of business, and stay healthy on Saturday. Roll Tide.