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Jumbo Package: A QB-free Gump Day

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There will be no talking of quarterbacks today

NCAA Football: Alabama at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Gump Day, y’all. As such there are to be no discussions of our team’s quarterbacks, unless it is along the lines of, “man, Alabama could put Jalen or Tua out there, and either way they’re winning all the Heismans.”

You have been warned.

Rashaan Evans opens up about injury, painful rehab process

“Standing, yeah. Nah, but yeah, man,” Evans said with a big smile on his face. “That’s just something … that’s just some stuff that I wanted to put out there, but nothing serious.

“… It was not just for me, but just any athlete. We all go through different injuries and stuff like that. Each athlete has to kind of just hone in on ‘It’s not really about you feel sometimes, it’s about what needs to be done.’ I tweeted that out, as well. But that’s just for any guy, man. We’ve just got to overcome the different adversities that we face, and that was one of mine.”

Back in the day, one of the worst injuries I ever got was a groin pull. For one thing, pretty much any direction you move your leg uses that muscle, so there is never any relief. And it has a tendency to calm down and quit hurting after a week, only to come back in a slow burn 15 minutes into a game after thinking it healed.

On top of that, you don’t DARE use any Icy-Hot or Biofreeze on it. Tried that one once. No Bueno.

Nothing really heals it but time. If there’s still any pain at all, I’d hope that Evans would go ahead and sit out the week against Arky unless he’s really needed. Get him healthy in the long run.

Tide in the NFL: Tracking Alabama players in Week 5 action

The fifth week of the NFL season is in the books, and Alabama was once again well-represented, as several former Crimson Tide players were contributors for their new teams.

With two of the bigger names on byes this week, it was a relatively quiet week for the former Alabama players in the league. One player in particular filled up the stat sheet, though, in Los Angeles Rams’ linebacker Mark Barron. The former Crimson Tide safety registered 15 tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit in a 16-10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Fifteen tackles is the second-highest total for Barron, who previously recorded 16 against the Cleveland Browns in 2015. His 12 solo stops were a career best. The only NFL player with more tackles in a single game this season than Barron was New York Giants outside linebacker B.J. Goodson, who recorded 18 tackles against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 10.

I was watching this game real time, and Barron was EVERYWHERE. He covered slot receivers, running backs, and tight ends, made tackles in the run game (in the rare occasion a Seattle runningback wasn’t being taken down in the backfield), and laid one hit on Russell Wilson on a blitz that will probably leave the quarterback with recurring nightmares.

The move from safety to linebacker was a career-changer for Barron. Between him, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, Landon Collins, and Eddie Jackson all being full time starters and the first three all with Pro-bowl or All-Pro honors in the past, one could argue that the Nick Saban safeties might actually be his best position group in the NFL.

Progress report: How five Alabama stars looked at this point last season

“He has good burst and acceleration when there is an opening and he's made more explosive runs for us than anybody on our team but I still feel that in the long run, the way he's playing, the way we're using the backs is probably the best thing for our team,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said of Damien Harris on Monday. “Maybe one of the reasons he is healthy and he's staying healthy and able to do what he's doing is that we're playing more guys at the position and he doesn't have to play as many plays. I'd rather see him do that over the long haul of the season rather than start running him 30 times in a game and all of a sudden, he's not able to run at all.”

Consider this my weekly reminder that Damien Harris is still criminally underrated, despite being the best running back on the best team in the nation over the last two seasons.

If he keeps up this pace, he’s going to end up with 1,250 yards and 18 touchdowns, despite only taking about 13 of the carries in the running game. With his vision and jump-cut ability, I’d expect Harris to be very, very successful in an NFL that is usually not kind to running backs who rely on sheer athleticism and talent.

SEC explains why Alabama players couldn’t show wristband messages at Texas A&M

“NCAA Football Playing Rules that regulate equipment do not permit individual messages to appear on apparel, including warm-ups, socks, headbands, t-shirts, wristbands, gloves, etc. Officials do not seek out equipment violations and generally rely on football staffs to ensure compliance with these requirements. However, when an official takes notice of equipment inconsistencies the player will be asked to make the appropriate adjustment to abide by NCAA playing rules.”

It was a small nugget of press media back on game day, but some people took notice of the fact that Minkah Fitzpatrick was forced to remove his armbands with scripture on them, and Jalen Hurts had to turn his with Houston written on them inside out.

It’s technically a rule that a player can’t have personal messages on equipment (I’d guess a rule with a double purpose of limiting idiotic and distasteful comments while also preventing the promotion and advertising of brands and companies not contracted with the NCAA), but is often dependent on the officiating crew on whether or not they actually care enough to tell the player to take them off.

Fourth-and-perfect: Alabama has 100 percent conversion rate

“Well, first of all, it’s situational relative to field position, down and distance, how we feel about our short yardage versus the other team’s short-yardage defense,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “I think the situation in the game (is) relative to what does a field goal do, how does it affect going for it?”

The final calls so far have been the right ones. Alabama has converted all nine of its fourth downs, placing itself first in the nation in total fourth downs converted. Michigan and Miami also have a 100 percent conversion rate, but their number of attempts is far less. Michigan has pulled off five. Miami has one.

Looking at these numbers, I almost wish that the Tide would just totally forego kicking field goals this year. Seems to me like the benefits of going for it outweigh the negatives, especially when our field goal kicking has been so inconsistent since 2009.

But, who am I to question? In any case, 9-9 on fourth down conversions is pretty awesome, and definitely a testament to how well our offensive line is playing right now.