The way Haynes saw it, if his players were caught up in "outside stuff" — like Alabama’s ranking, or the crowd, or that Kent State was getting a rare national TV game — they’d be defeated before the game kicked off. When ESPNU play-by-play man Tom Hart suggested that playing in front of a wild and loud crowd at Penn State in the opener prepared Kent State for what it saw in Tuscaloosa, former Heisman Trophy winner Andre Ware, working as the game analyst, basically did everything he could to not laugh.
"Penn State doesn’t have athletes like that," Ware said.
This is a cool read about how Kent State went about trying to prepare for their game against the best team in the entire nation. It has to be tough for a coach in his position to get his team ready.
— Outside linebackers worked on footwork and hitting drills, stepping over dummies before wrapping them up on the other end. Linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi gave the instructions for the drill before turning to Ryan Anderson and saying "Ryan, don’t concuss him," in reference to the assistant holding the dummy.
— Defensive back Tony Brown worked at Star in the team’s second team dime package.
— With Brown back working with the secondary, Trevon Diggs has primarily worked with the wide receivers during practice. Diggs has played both offense and defense this season but appears to be making the switch to primarily offense now that Brown has returned.
I love Ryan Anderson. I will stand by that he's been the most under-appreciated player on this team for two years running.
I'm also glad to see Trevon Diggs settling in at receiver. As much as the depth is needed in the secondary, I think his skill set was better fit to be an offensive weapon. He's got such a great feel for gliding around defenders and innate body control that I want to see him there. Expect to see more of him as the season progresses.
Harris has been the clear leader in the backfield, averaging 8.6 yards per carry and breaking long runs against USC and Mississippi.
What's been more surprising is the pecking order behind him. Bo Scarbrough so far appears to have been passed up by Jacobs, the most lightly recruited of the group. Jacobs, not Scarbrough, was the guy who replaced Harris against Kent State and ran for 97 yards and his first two career touchdowns. Fellow freshman B.J. Emmons also has more rushing yards than Scarbrough, who sustained a bruised thigh against Kent State.
What has happened to Bo? His fall from the depth chart has been a bit of an enigma. Maybe it's the style of offense that Kiffin wants. Or maybe he struggles with vision and following blocks. It's really hard to tell. Normally when a talented running back gets buried, we all like to blame it on pass blocking. But I don't think that can be the scapegoat this time, as Bo has proven many times this season that he's an exceptional pass blocker.
It could well be that Josh Jacobs is just that good, but I'd still pay good money to learn the "why" inside of Lane Kiffin's brain.
"Jalen did a nice job in the (Kent State) game," Saban said Monday. "I still think it’s a matter of a couple reads here and there that we need to clean up with him. I don’t think there’s anything physically wrong with the way he throws the ball and each week he has gotten progressively better and we’ve had less and less and less of those types of things -- which is the progress that we want to see and hopefully will be able to continue to build on.
"I know it’s very important to him. He works really hard, very conscientious, a really good person, good leader, well-respected by his teammates. Nobody wants to get it right more than him, and that’s why I think he’ll get it right."
Jalen Hurts' biggest area of needed improvement in high school was his deep ball, and that has carried into college. Like Saban says, he's got the arm and the foot mechanics (notice he hasn't yet pulled a Jake Coker and launched one into double coverage off of his back foot), but just hasn't quite been able to place the ball in the right spot at the right time.
It's been encouraging to see him keep attempting it during game time. The article also has a quote from Calvin Ridley that he and Hurts are working together after practice to get the deep ball timing just right. All of this is very encouraging. If Hurts can put together his intermediate-to-deep passing game and begin to work on going through his reads, he'll be nearly unstoppable. And we've got him for at least two more seasons after this one.
South Carolina became the first SEC team to lose to Kentucky three seasons in a row since Vanderbilt dropped four straight to the Wildcats from 2004 through 2007.
Take the time out of your day to appreciate this statement. Think South Carolina is going to miss Spurrier?
Perhaps understandably given his battle to catch on in the pros, Steen told reporters in Miami on Tuesday he's planning on playing Thursday. The Dolphins know he wants to. They're just not sure he can and probably won't know until pregame warmups on Thursday night. Until then, Steen is getting around-the-clock treatment on his injured ankle.
"It's hard to actually go out there and do something because I know if I do it'll flare up," Steen said. "I'm trying to keep the swelling down now just so I can play. I'm up here 24/7 trying to do as much as I can to make sure I can play."
Suddenly thrust into the limelight due to injuries to players above him, Steen had an amazing game in week one against Seattle.
In the NFL, an injury to a player who isn't entrenched as a starter can often be career devastating, so you can feel Steen's desperation to keep playing to prove his worth. It's just a terrible situation, as playing on an injury like that is never good for your body's health. Oftentimes, favoring one area of the body will lead to lapses in good technique, which snowballs into more injuries in other areas.
Let's hope he can battle through this and keep doing well in the pros.