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Afternoon Jumbo Package: Tide prepares for Western Kentucky, baseball & softball gear up

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There are a lot of Xs and Os in today's JPs, including depth chart rationale, the 11 package, pass rushing and more.

Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

There's a whole lot to get through, so dive in.

Looking now...

Da'Ron Payne takes steps to become a more proficient pass rusher |

Payne made a major impact as a freshman, but most of his time on the field last year came against offenses known for physical running games. He started against Arkansas, LSU and Florida, but was a bit player in other matchups. Nose guards aren't known for flashy statistics, but he didn't register a single tackle against Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Auburn or Clemson. He wasn't built for those kind of games.

Payne arrived as one of the University of Alabama's strongest players, but hadn't developed as a pass rusher. That was his focus this summer, as he dropped weight and learned from teammates who helped set a school record with 52 sacks last year. "Last year, I got to learn a lot from (Jarran) Reed, A'Shawn (Robinson), Darren Lake, D.J. Pettway, and now this year, I get to still learn from Jon Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson," he said. "Just a learning process."

The time WKU coach Jeff Brohm turned down Alabama job offer |

Brohm was an up-and-coming 35-year old assistant coach in January 2007. Alabama was working out of a decade-long slump when it brought in Nick Saban to fix things. His first staff was mostly hired when Brohm came down from Louisville to interview for perhaps the most important job under Saban: offensive coordinator.

Why '11' is the secret to Alabama's success on offense |

Saban also wants to pound teams into submission with the Tide's rushing attack. So, Saban and offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin have created a system that allows Alabama to deploy its best weapons on the outside without sacrificing the in-the-trenches physical identity the program has created during its dynasty years. They have done this through "11" personnel, which features one running back, one tight end and three receivers.

According to Pro Football Focus, Alabama used this grouping 62 percent of the time in its 52-6 victory over USC, and twenty-three of the 39 snaps in the "11" look were running plays. That meant receivers like Ridley and ArDarius Stewart had to do quite a bit of heavy lifting away from the ball. That was especially true for Ridley, who only made two catches for nine yards and run-blocked on more than half his snaps.

College Football Playoff doomsday scenarios conference left out

Current doom forecast: Foggy, with a high Tide. Georgia and Texas A&M earned significant wins against ranked opponents, but Alabama stands alone. It was a humbling opening for the big, bad SEC, which saw seven teams lose their season openers for the first time since the conference re-expanded to 12 teams in 1992. Even in wins, Florida and Tennessee didn't look anywhere near capable of an epic upset. After a complete dismantling of USC, it's "Alabama and everyone else," which is why the Tide needs to keep winning.

Looking back...

CoachingSearch Assistant Coaches of the Week — Week 1

Co-offensive coordinator: Lane Kiffin (Alabama) It was a rocky start after one quarter against USC, but Kiffin put true freshman QB Jalen Hurts in comfortable situations early and then let him loose as the game went on. Hurts scored four touchdowns, and Alabama averaged 7.3 yards per play in the 52-6 win.

Nick Saban offers insight into Bo Scarbrough's role in USC win |

The Tuscaloosa product ran 11 times for 36 yards with a touchdown. Harris broke out for a 138-yard game on nine attempts. Nick Saban offered some insight into the way it broke down Wednesday. He said they weren't disappointed in Scarbrough's performance. "I think attention to detail in some things would probably help him have more success, and that's why we practice," Saban said. "And that's why we're going to continue to try to help him improve on those things so that he can have the kind of success that he'd like to have."

College football and lakes: 2 things Nick Saban can drive over without even looking -

Again, did you see how many times Alabama had to pass to beat USC by that immense margin? EIGHTEEN TIMES. Alabama can play football like it’s 1982, and it might not matter. But I have concerns about their quarterback situation. Why? Saban probably has 17 unlisted assistants escorting Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts around campus like handlers, making sure they get to class, snack properly, and understand the complexities of the 4-3 over front they’ll face next week.

And, looking ahead...

Ole Miss Rebels lose CB Ken Webster, RB Eric Swinney to season-ending knee injuries

Ole Miss starting cornerback Ken Webster and backup running back Eric Swinney will miss the remainder of the 2016 season with knee injuries, Rebels coach Hugh Freeze confirmed to on Tuesday. Both were injured during Ole Miss' 45-34 loss to Florida State in Orlando, Florida, on Monday night.

Nation's No. 2 prospect reportedly planning Alabama official visit |

Foster Sarell, the nation's top-ranked offensive tackle and No. 2 overall prospect on the 247Sports composite, has confirmed to multiple outlets that he may make an official visit to Alabama. Sarell, a 6-foot-7, 311-pound five-star recruit from Graham, Wash., is actually ranked No. 1 in the 247Sports individual rankings and has been since The Opening in early July. In the composite rankings (combined 247Sports, Rivals, Scout, ESPN), he's No. 2 behind Alabama running back commit Najee Harris. Sarell recently took an official visit to Nebraska and will visit Notre Dame on the weekend of Oct. 15. It's believed to be a Washington-Stanford battle for Sarell, but visits could change that.

Alabama Crimson Tide has best chance to finish undefeated this season

The opening weekend of the college football season saddled a few national contenders with their first loss and kick-started the playoff push for several others. So knowing a perfect season can lock up a playoff spot, or at least get a team in the discussion, we look at which teams have the best chance of going undefeated.

Looking elsewhere...

ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletics Site

Alabama softball fans can get an early preview of the 2017 Crimson Tide team with eight home softball games during the month of October at Rhoads Stadium. Alabama will play four doubleheaders on four dates throughout the month of October. Admission for each doubleheader is $5 and tickets will be sold at the gate at Rhoads Stadium.

The Tide opens fall play on Saturday, Oct. 8 with two games against Middle Tennessee State starting at 1:30 p.m. CT before facing Spring Hill College in a doubleheader on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 1:30 p.m. CT. The following weekend, Alabama plays two games against Alabama State on Sunday, Oct. 16 and then concludes its fall schedule with a doubleheader against Wallace-Hanceville on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m. CT.

ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletics Site

Alabama head coach Greg Goff will begin fall practice next Monday, Sept. 12, as the Crimson Tide will begin its full-team offseason training. The fall season will be highlighted as the team hosts a total of 17 intrasquad scrimmages – all of which will be open to the public – leading up to the Fall World Series to close out camp.

Alabama's first intrasquad will come on Tuesday, Sept. 13, followed by a scrimmage on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16-17. The team will face off in scrimmages every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for the following three weeks through Oct. 11.