— Saban said that Arkansas is a team that beats opponents with fundamentals and good execution.
— Saban said Alabama is going to have to do better than it did for three quarters last year in the Tide's 27-14 victory over Arkansas.
— Saban said that one of Jalen Hurts' best assets is his feet and he's not worried about the possibility of him getting hurt and isn't going to factor the injury possibility into the how he plans to use the quarterback.
— Saban said Josh Frazier has done a good job and improved at nose guard. He said he thinks this is a game where he will play a lot.
— Saban said he showed the team the play when safety Ronnie Harrison returned the fumble for a touchdown against Kentucky and dropped the ball shortly after crossing the goal line.
— Saban said he is not in favor of an early signing day or moving the recruiting calendar forward because it makes it difficult to adequately evaluate a prospect and also prohibits late bloomers from getting a chance. He specifically mentioned running back Joshua Jacobs to make his point.
— In response to a question about how much of the playbook is available to Jalen Hurts, Saban said the offense is not trying to do more than what Hurts is capable of doing.
—Saban said Alabama recruited Eddie Jackson as a defensive back. No thought was given to him playing receiver. He added that most high school players want to play offense because of the attention they receive from the media.
Nothing like a good Saban recap. Arkansas will be a tough matchup, different from any style Alabama has faced this year. He also (rightly) isn’t worried about Jalen Hurts scrambling. The narrative in football is that a quarterback that can run gets hurt more often. I, on the other hand, believe the opposite. The worst hits you’ll ever see a quarterback take are those within the pocket, and a mobile QB can usually avoid those, dictating opposing defenders to tackle him on his terms, rather than being a sitting duck.
One to note is that Saban specifically mentioned Josh Frazier. I’ve been high on Frazier for years, but he’s just never really been able to carve any playing time. He’s quicker than someone of his size should be, and I’m excited to see what he can do in a real game this weekend.
When on the Cleveland Browns' staff with Bill Belichick during the early 1990s, Saban helped mastermind the pattern-matching hybrid coverages that allow a unit to switch from zone to man and vice versa during the course of a play based on route and formation recognition.
In this malleable defensive format, safeties have to make a lot pre-snap reads to determine the best approach, rotating to the passing strength of the offense. Linebackers have to be cognizant of the underneath areas. Then there are the blitzes, including the more complicated fire zone variety.
This is a neat article with quotes from Rashaan Evans and Mark Barron about Nick Saban’s defense. There is something to be said from the level of complexity you see. Many pro teams try to run a very base scheme that’s focused on techniques and fundamentals in order to accommodate the constant flux of an NFL roster.
Drake wrote: "2 years ago today I sustained an injury that many said wouldn't allow me to play this game at the same level again. I lost the majority of my junior season and it made me cherish every single play I have today. Honestly without this injury I don't know where I would be today because it taught me more about myself than anything in my life. On this anniversary I just wanted to take the time to thank my family, friends, teammates, training staff, surgeons and fans who helped me through a very surreal time and watched a boy become a man."
This is cool insight into the mind of Kenyan Drake (who started for the Dolphins last week, by the way). Adversity sucks. There are terrible things that happen to people for often times no reason or fault of anyone... they just happen. As humans though, we are often able to learn much more about ourselves through bad situations than we ever would have if things had stayed the course.
Props to Kenyan for using his injury and spinning it into a way to better himself even when it seemed everything was stacked against him. Now he’s started a game for an NFL team, putting him as, at least for one week, one of the top 32 running backs in the entire world.
Here are a few notes from the brief media viewing period:
— After not participating in practice during the Tide’s viewing period Tuesday, freshman Trevon Diggs returned to practice Wednesday. Diggs did not appear hindered by injury and was not held back in any of the drills.
—Tight ends coach Mario Cristobal got fired up after his tight end did not perform a blocking drill to his liking. “Is this Spanish or Chinese?” the Tide assistant questioned. “How about doing it (expletive) right!”
Not much going on in the middle of the week, but Diggs apparently got a ding of some sort. AL.com also reported him wearing a knee brace. However, he is a full participant and seems to be fine.
For the first time since 2009, the Crimson Tide will go undefeated, becoming the first team to win the College Football Playoff with a 15–0 record. This year’s defense, which has allowed just 4.22 yards per play, is up there with Nick Saban’s best units. The offense has been a bit inconsistent but has still managed to score at least 34 points in every game, including 48 or more in three of Alabama’s five wins. If the Tide were going to lose this season, it would have happened early, while offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was still figuring out how to best utilize true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts and the rushing attack was adjusting to the loss of Derrick Henry. That’s why Ole Miss had the best shot. Now that the Tide survived that test, no one will stop them.
Three writers for Sports Illustrated are gumping pretty hard this week. Alabama is looking better and better every week, and that’s a scary thought for the rest of the SEC and Nation. There are a few quibbles with certain areas such as deep passing or too many jet sweeps, but it’s impossible to point to any real weaknesses on this team.