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JumBOO Package: Minkah Fitzpatrick wants to right Alabama’s scary punt return situation

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Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday, Coach!

Kentucky v Alabama
Been that kind of year.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Last night we were in attendance for the Alabama Football Halloween Extravaganza. Jalen Hurts, Tony Brown, Da’Shawn Hand, and others were the toast of the of the town, even though the event was for the kiddos. It was adorable and gumpy, two traits which rarely intersect. AL.com has a really good photoset here too.

Happy Halloween / Samhain (remember, pronounce that Sel-Win) / Vetrnaetr to you and yours!

AL.com is doing a series of “scariest players,” with JPW. And, that’s our interactive question for today. For my money, give me Jonathan Allen. Not only was he an exceptionally violent man, he was the rare defensive player that commanded enough respect to even intimidate offensive players into buying-in. Scariest player in a dark alley? Probably Courtney Upshaw or A’Shawn Robinson. Pure terror on the field? C’mon, it’s LSU week: you know Reuben Foster goes here...Although, Vinnie “Honkey Badger” Sunseri was lit too.

You like that segue back to LSU, donchya’?

Anyway, I think we know the game plan for the Tigers, right? Throw nine in the box and dare Jalen to beat them with his arm. Mssr. Hurts has his work cut out for him. While the Tigers aren’t up to their usual snuff up front, the secondary is again very talented.

While we know that LSU will crowd the box, apparently in Baton Rouge Derrius Guice still has a hard time counting to seven. The Jr. star running back from LSU doubled-down on his claim that Alabama loaded the box because “they were scared.” Yeesh. Alabama players, for their part, are not jawing back at the Tigers. In fact, it’s been eerily silent in Tuscaloosa this week. As for the substance of the claim itself? Thoroughly debunked, and we’ve got the numbers to prove it. (Fans of stout defense will really like that link BTW.)

One player Alabama may not have to stuff the LSU run game is safety Deionte Thompson. If you recall, Thompson was involved in an offseason altercation in Beaumont over Spring Break. One of the people he was with thrashed a guy pretty good. The DA has predictably overcharged everyone in remote connection to the event, and a Texas grand jury handed down indictments yesterday, including for Thompson. Having seen the elements for Second Degree felony assault, I’m not sure the State gets there. The case against DT is not just weak; it’s practically non-existent. There’s no evidence that Thompson actually threw punches/kicks or that he was armed. Anyway, keep an eye on this.

One DB who will definitely be on the field is Alabama’s all-everything Minkah Fitzpatrick. Alabam’s punt return game has seen more muffs than the Bunny Ranch this season, including five in the last two games. He wants a crack at the job, and he very well may get a chance. Hell, why not? The return game could literally not be any worse than it is now. AND WE TOLD YOU IT WAS A BIG SOURCE OF CONCERN IN THE OFFSEASON!

In yesterday’s Q&A with ATVS, we discussed the presnap motion and shifting that LSU does under Matt Canada (hint, an insane amount.) Saban says that a lot of it is deception and that Tide players can’t fall for the “eye candy.”

"What you really want for the (Alabama) players is to prepare well so when the game comes they're really focused on what they need to do. All the shifts and motions and tackle over unbalance and rocket motion, 'eye candy' I call it, for a defensive player makes the guy not focus on his real keys and play fast and remember that you've got to play block protection, you've got to tackle, you've got to read your keys, play the play and do your job. So it is a little different, especially from anything we've seen this year.

Tonight is the first College Football Playoff Committee rankings. Predictably, the hot takes are flying off the shelf (and we’ll have our own later this afternoon.) Just as predictably, coaches are already annoyed, including one Nicholas Lou Saban. #RATPOISON!

For those who want the complete Saban presser, you can find that here (including updating a healthy, Da’Shawn Hand in his red contact jersey. WHOO!!!)

Happy Birthday to Coach Saban. Like a Sears White Sale, come take a look at the softer side of the most feared man in the game.

But, back to Saban-being-Saban. When he was recruiting LSU’s Devin White, he had to break him off a little street knowledge. Devin chose...poorly.

When then-recruit Devin White told Nick Saban he was leaning toward LSU over Alabama, the Crimson Tide coach brought the proverbial steel folding chair into the ring.

“Coach Saban was like ‘If you go there, we’re just going to have to beat you every year,'” White recalled on Monday. “I’m like, ‘Wow. He really said that?'”

In the Circular Firing Squad of Derp, Albert Haynesworth threw some fuel on the fire of the Gruden-to-Tennessee nonsense. We’ve got #Grumors, y’all!

Finally, with 4 games left in the regular season, awards panels are starting to pare down their candidates. Four Tide players made the cuts to Semifinalists for prestigious hardware:

Alabama seniors Rashaan Evans and Shaun Dion Hamilton have been named semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award while sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts and junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick have been named semifinalists for the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award, respectively, it was announced Monday.

Poll

Tell us below your scariest player, and answer the following: Should Minkah Fitzpatrick be given a shot at returning punts?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    Yes. He’s electric in the open field.
    (456 votes)
  • 55%
    No. He’s too valuable to the team to risk injury
    (721 votes)
  • 2%
    Gotta hear both sides!
    (33 votes)
  • 0%
    Why? So he can fumble too and my estimation of him will plummet?
    (12 votes)
  • 5%
    Candy Corn is delicious, haters.
    (66 votes)
1288 votes total Vote Now