The creative use of its best personnel is one of the main reasons why Alabama has been successful year after year under Nick Saban, a coach who has shown a willingness to adapt. He identifies his best players and then expands the scope of their responsibilities so that they can make a greater impact.
"Well, I think that's a big part of it," he said. "You don't ever want to ask players to do things they can't do. You always want to try to feature guys doing things that they're good at, they have confidence in and can make plays doing. So I think that's especially true on offense, but also trying to get the matchups the right way on defense to be able to utilize some of that speed and ability not only to cover but to do other things as probably a multiple that can be an advantage for you on defense."
This is your monthly reminder about what makes Nick Saban such a great coach. The article talks specifically of Minkah Fitzpatrick being such an effective blitzer and of the Tide relying less on jet sweeps and more on using Bo Scarbrough and Josh Jacobs in the passing due to them having experience now, whereas Ridley and ArDarius Stewart were more comfortable in the perimeter game last year.
-- Brandon Kennedy was again working with the first-team offensive line at center. Bradley Bozeman was not working with the starters Monday or Tuesday. Saban didn't list Bozeman among the injured players Monday. His next media availability is Wednesday morning on the SEC teleconference.
-- Kennedy is in his third season at Alabama, playing in reserve roles in a few games this season.
-- As expected, Da'Shawn Hand and Trevon Diggs were both out a second straight day after Saturday injuries.
-- Jamey Mosley worked second in line with the outside linebackers after missing practice time and the Ole Miss game with an illness.
-- Linebacker Ben Davis is playing the scout-team role of Aggie middle linebacker Tyrel Dodson.
-- Defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis is playing the role of defensive tackle Kingsley Keke on scout team.
-- As the defensive line and outside linebackers repped against the scout-team, third-year sophomore Joshua McMillian was pointing things out to freshman Christopher Allen.
-- Both the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers had scouts at practice.
Aye-EHLL dot com’s daily practice observations from yesterday. Not a whole lot of note out there, other than that Bradley Bozeman is MIA. It’s likely nothing serious whatsoever, but worth keeping an eye on. The senior has been a stabilizing presence on the line the last few years.
Safety Eddie Jackson couldn't participate fully in the Chicago Bears' offseason program after joining the NFL team as a fourth-round draft choice out of Alabama in April. He hadn't fully put behind him the broken leg suffered on Oct. 22 while returning a punt for the Crimson Tide.
The Bears seemed well-stocked at safety anyway, with starters Adrian Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey returning from last season and nine-year veteran Quintin Demps coming aboard in free agency.
But in Chicago's four games this season, Jackson has been on the field for all but two of the Bears' 249 defensive snaps.
With the injury mid-way through the season, Jackson was forgotten in the potential 1st round discussions for the NFL draft. But upon recovery from his injury, the Bears are reaping the rewards for nabbing him in the 4th. He’s now a bonafide NFL starter, and has performed admirably as a rookie so far.
Whether it’s the first quarter, or just a first down, Alabama has been especially adept at giving itself a significant advantage at the get-go.
“I think it’s very important,” senior linebacker Rashaan Evans said about the Crimson Tide getting off to good starts on Saturdays. “Most of the time we’ve been known to come out pretty slow. We really emphasized this year to come out fast.”
It has, and we’re talking like Usain Bolt fast. Alabama has outscored its opponents 76-6 in the first quarter.
During those 15 minutes in five games, it has run for 450 yards and passed for 410, while outgaining opponents 860-350. The first downs demonstrate a comparable contrast, 37-15.
The Alabama offense has been so good so far this year that I’m still having trouble processing what’s happening. In the Saban era, the best team in first quarter points has been the 2012 squad, with a 9.8 average. The worst was 2015 with 4.1.
So far the 2017 version is averaging 15.2 points. IN THE FIRST QUARTER.
If the offense continues like this all season, this team will not lose a game.
“That’s what we do,” Williams said. “Like, I know Rashaan (Evans) said something about that, how would you rate the defense’s a performance, a five out of 10. And it’s not that we don’t think we’re doing a good job, it’s that we know how much better we can do because there’s so many different things on every play and I don’t think anyone in the history of football has ever done every single thing right.
“So, we try to push it as close to that as possible. We watched the film, and the first thing that stands out to me is little technique things that I might be doing wrong or someone else might be doing wrong. If we just improve those, we can be marginally that much better, and I think that’s the way we look at it is what can we do, not what have we done?”
I’d say that Jonah Williams has officially been Processed.
Not only is he already one of the best offensive linemen in the nation as a sophomore, he’s got the right mindset to boot. I look forward to another season and a half of him bolstering the front of the offense.
After Saturday's game in College Station, Alabama will play home games vs. Arkansas, Tennessee and LSU; Mississippi State in Starkville; Mercer; and the closer at Auburn.
By my count, that's seven more wins, at least three fired coaches, a College Football Playoff berth and $600,000 for Mercer's "rainy day" fund, as its athletic director called it.
I linked to this article mostly for this quote, but it’s a pretty fun read too, if you like to read opponent media that seems to have already given up to the inevitability of the Crimson Tide. Over in Texas, they’re just hoping for a somewhat competitive game for the moral victory.