Henry, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound junior from Yulee, Florida, is AL.com's offensive player of the week after rushing for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries in the third-ranked Crimson Tide's 35-17 victory over No. 20 Wisconsin. He averaged 11.3 yards per carry and his scoring runs went for 37, 56 and 2 yards. He was also named offensive player of the week by the SEC.
It seems tiresome to outsiders, but the SEC and B1G are probably the last bastions of conservative football -- run the ball, play defense, play for field position, protect the rock, force turnovers. Every coach says they want to do those things, to be sure, but those things start up front. Wisconsin, Sparty, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia do them -- these are the dinosaurs in an era of smartphones, playing a game that has become unfamiliar in many respects.
But, even if it's paleo-ball, why are these guys consistently ranked, winning their divisions, at play for national or conference titles? A certain Paul Bryant said it best,
“My approach to the game has been the same at all the places I’ve been. Vanilla. The sure way. That means, first of all, to win physically. If you got eleven on a field, and they beat the other eleven physically, they’ll win. They will start forcing mistakes. They’ll win in the fourth quarter.”
The same things win that always won. This year, as in the 130 years previously, is no different -- run the ball, whip the guy's ass in front of you, make them quit.
After reviewing game film, Alabama head coach Nick Saban emphasized the need for the secondary to improve. "We had three pass interference (penalties) by the DBs, unnecessary penalties that were probably caused by lack of fundamental discipline and execution of technique," Saban said. "We didn't give up as many explosive plays, but there's lots of room for improvement. We didn't do as good of a job on third down as we need to, especially in the first half. "So, we're not disappointed in where we are, but we certainly have a lot to improve on."
It's the best kind of win for Nick Saban -- a resounding beating of a quality opponent and just enough mental errors and mistakes to use as teaching points. I would not have wanted to be Minkah Fitzpatrick in yesterday's practice.
On ABC's broadcast, analyst Kirk Herbstreit said Scott had struggled during the preseason. Nick Saban didn't say that was necessarily the case Monday.
"I think that there's been a little inconsistency sometime in his drop, which was the problem with the poor kick on Saturday in that he dropped the ball on the outside," Saban said. "So when he drops it correctly and hits it with a nice, smooth pace he's pretty consistent and kicks it really, really well. We have a lot of confidence in him. He just has to get confidence back in his drop and he'll be fine."
SURPRISE! Herbstreit was talking out his ass. JK Scott is fine; he just needs to refocus on his mechanics.
Boy, it sure would be nice if there were a coaching position whose sole job was to work with kickers, return teams, punters and the like.
Alabama opened the 2015 season with a decisive win over No. 20 Wisconsin. A largely Crimson crowd closed the night with a loud "Rammer Jammer" in AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Watch that, then move along. Our 24 hours have long-since elapsed. Middle Tennessee State, a fairly high-powered mid-major comes to Tuscaloosa for the home opener this week.
The most important game is the next game
“Here's the one thing that everybody's got to keep in mind. Everybody's got good football players and everybody's got to respect the opponent. I don't care if we're favored in a game or not favored in a game, the most important thing for our players is to focus on what they need to do to play their best. We took one step up on the climb and we need to improve significantly.”
There are issues to correct to be sure: uncharacteristic mistakes on the left side of the line, improvement in the secondary, kicking issues, eliminating that tunnel screen which is plainly incompatible with Jake Coker's long windup and delivery.
Nick Saban became progressively more animated throughout his answer, his voice rising after a question referencing Alabama being a "heavy favorite" over upcoming opponent Middle Tennessee. Saban then circled back, addressing the topic more after finishing his initial rant and being asked an unrelated question by a different media member.
"I'm sorry you need to ask me that again," Saban said, his voice progressively rising again. "I'm still on the last question because being able to concentrate on the right thing at the right time is critical to being successful. All right. So what's the right thing at the right time now? Improving our team."
Sure wish someone would ask him about the quarterback competition.
True freshman defensive back Shawn Burgess-Becker was wearing a No. 20 scout-team jersey, representing Blue Raiders' safety Kevin Byard. Byard registered two total tackles in the team's season opener on Saturday.
"We think he's a really good player," Nick Saban said of Byard. "I spend most of my time in the beginning, on Sunday I do defense just looking at their offense and special teams, and then later on today and tonight I look at their defense or our offense. I haven't watched them a lot yet, but the guy made a lot of interceptions and a very good player from everything we understand."
If you think these games don't matter, just lose one, eh? Oh, wait. We've done that before: Hawaii, UCF, Kentucky, No. Illinois, La. Tech. Take no one lightly, stay focused.
Welcome to a new season, ladies and gentlemen. Opening weekend saw a whole a bunch of new stars, new coaches and dramatically different-looking teams, but there’s one 2014 storyline we can already tell is about to repeat itself. The SEC West is really freaking good and may send two teams to the playoff.
This season very well could see two SEC-West teams. Say that both teams run the table following Alabama-Texas A&M. A 1-loss, SEC-West runner-up could still very well earn a 4th spot in the playoffs. This is especially true if Alabama loses that game. With the hardest SOS in the nation, coupled with an iffy-looking Big Ten, it could happen. Still, it's better to control your fate. Which is why you improve in games against MTSU.