Long overdue, but Reggie Ragland made his NFL debut last night. After an ACL tear in his rookie camp, and then being traded when the Bills cleaned house and revamped the defense, the second-rounder from Alabama got to see the field, and on MNF no less. Here’s to a productive career for one of the best run-stuffers we’ve seen in Crimson.
The ‘Bama coaching staff named its 10 players of the game yesterday after reviewing the film. It was nice to see Hale Hentges, Anfernee Jennings and others on the list. The man of the hour though was Jonah Williams:
Williams helped clear a path for 613 yards of total offense, while grading out at 87 percent with three knockdown blocks from the left tackle position. The sophomore lineman did not allow a sack or commit a penalty in 55 snaps against the Rebels.
This is pretty good smack-talk between the offensive and defensive units. Shaun Dion Hamilton thinks Jalen Hurts would think twice about keeping the ball if the Alabama defense got to hit him.
"Texas A&M is the strongest team that we've played to this point looking at them from a holistic standpoint.," he said. "They're a very explosive offensive team. They run the ball very effectively. They've got really good running backs. Christian Kirk is maybe the most explosive player -- returner, receiver, runner -- of anybody in our league. Offensively, tough to run against. They create a lot of negative plays. They've got good pass rushers. [Defensive coordinator] John Chavis always does a good job of playing very aggressive, physical football. Because of Christian Kirk being a fantastic returner, these guys are very dangerous on special teams."
Alabama has had its experience with Christian Kirk, as both a receiver and a return threat. The key to the Aggies offense goes through its excellent tandem of backs. With all due respect to Georgia, Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford are the second best 1-2 punch in the SEC, and among the best in the nation. Saban’s not wrong when he effusively praises the Aggies every year: As with OSU, USC and a scant handful of other SEC programs, it is the most talented team the Tide will see. Coaching has been the Ags’ issue, not talent.
the Island. Is there a better story on this team outside of Ronnie Clark?
Here is Aye Ell’s practice report, but I wanted to excerpt the most pressing concern for ‘Bama fans, the DL:
With Hand out, the defensive linemen went through drills in the following order: Da'Ron Payne, Josh Frazier, Raekwon Davis, Isaiah Buggs and Quinnen Williams.
Note that Chris Allen, who was pressed into service on the fly Saturday at defensive end, was not practicing with the DL, rather he was back at his OLB spot. When he was recruited, there was hope that he could be a versatile DE/OLB-type. But, he had a rough few snaps on the line against the Rebels. That’s not to say that he won’t get there one day. But, as a true freshman, he’s still too raw and undersized to be pressed into service out of position, even merely situationally.
Speaking of injuries, this is a really great read on cut blocks, particularly how defenders are coached to shed them. As an editorial aside, Matt Luke is a bush league POS. I’m not talking about the aggressive use of cuts, which are legal, but the blind-side cuts and the repeated rough stuff to opposing players’ heads. Da’Shawn Hand won’t be the last person they send out on a cart this year. The Rebels are a dirty team.
One team that may be looking forward to/dreading another Alabama meeting is Clemson. For now, it looks like the two are destined to meet at some point this postseason.
Programming note: Balloons is jhaving his nuptials this week, thus there will be no Charting the Tide. Likewise, Doctor... had a great many real-world things befall him as well; thus, there is no film room this week. But Vox don’t pay these people/pay them enough to bitch about light content this week, eh?