Jalen Hurts has played quarterback with the kind of care and responsibility Saban demands, but also with a near-impeccable track record no college coach should expect.
This season, Hurts has been on the field for 581 snaps and committed only one turnover -- an interception snagged by Arkansas' Kevin Richardson in a game Alabama won, 41-9.
No player handles the ball more than Hurts, the sophomore who has avoided mistakes while throwing it 201 times and carrying it on 119 other plays. He's steered clear of disaster even as he has expanded his repertoire and made more challenging throws to deeper regions of the field.
Don’t look now but Jalen Hurts has a 22-1 touchdown to turnover ratio. I would say that the results and success can’t argued, but I read a very long comment thread right here on Roll Bama Roll saying that it’s only because he’s gotten lucky.
So anyway. You guys have fun arguing that.
*Ducks out of the line of fire*
“This is why I came here, to play in games like this,” Averett said Tuesday. “We know it’s the Iron Bowl. It’s always on the line.”
The 82nd Iron Bowl will be a battle for the SEC West crown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Auburn when the two teams face off inside Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 25.
In one of the many key matchups, the Crimson Tide cornerback and the rest of the secondary will be tasked with defending the Tigers’ downfield passing attack -- a passing attack that ranks fourth in the SEC with an average of 231.9 yards per game in 2017.
But for Averett, the idea of facing an improved passing game is a welcomed challenge.
“I call this the money game,” he said. “I like games like this. It’s going to be fun.”
First-year Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham ranks second in the SEC in passes of more than 30 yards (22), more than 40 yards (17) and more than 50 yards (10) this season, trailing only Missouri’s Drew Lock -- the league’s leading passer (295.2 YPG).
Facing a deep passing threat can sound a bit daunting, especially with many of the ghosts of 2012-2014 and Clemson in 2015-2016 still haunting us, but this deep passing game is a little different that what we’ve become accustomed to fearing in the last few years as Bama fans. Rather than giant receivers being able to go up and over corners in good coverage down the sidelines, Auburn’s deep shots are based on speed and deception being able to get the receivers wide-open down the field while Stidham just throws the ball as far as he possibly can.
They might land one on a busted coverage from Hootie Jones or Tony Brown, but Anthony Averett and Minkah Fitzpatrick will not get outrun.
On Monday, Saban defined Minkah Fitzpatrick’s playing status as day-to-day. Minkah said he was 100 percent. All indications from two days of practice is that Minkah’s assessment is accurate.
Ross Piersbacher was not seen on Tuesday. Two weeks would be a rapid return from a high ankle sprain.
Andy Pappanastos remains day-to-day but is expected to be fine for Auburn.
Terrell Lewis, Christian Miller and Mack Wilson were not seen at practice on Tuesday. There has been no official word of any of them being cleared medically.
Daniel Wright was banged up against Mercer. He was limited in Monday activity but participated more on Tuesday.
An injury update. No real news there, everything is as expected. I’m not sure we can count on Miller, Lewis, or Wilson to be a go this weekend against the Barn.
The linked article also has some quotes from Shaun Dion about his parents and how he was raised and stuff like that, if you’re interested.
Obviously a one-loss SEC champion Georgia would be in the playoff. And equally obvious, a three-loss Auburn would not be. The interesting question is what happens to Alabama in this scenario. They stand a stronger chance (90%) for a second SEC bid if they are the team Georgia beats in the title game, as they would have beaten Auburn on the way. But we believe a one-loss Alabama team is still very likely to make the playoff regardless. What would be their path in? They’d need to displace the Pac-12 champ (a virtual certainty) plus another Power Five champion. We’re confident the committee wouldn’t slot a one-loss Alabama team over an undefeated Wisconsin or Miami, or one-loss Clemson, Georgia, or Oklahoma. But we do favor Alabama over Ohio State, which we project as having a 73-percent chance of winning the Big Ten, but whose 32-point loss to Iowa may be too much to overcome.
This is mostly the same speculation we’ve all been talking about with the Washington Post pretending to have some advanced model that can put accurate percentages on the different scenarios (probably a survey monkey sent out to all the interns), but it does verbalize many of the scenarios we’ve all been bouncing around in our heads.
Personally, I’d prefer the most boring option: Alabama beats Auburn and Georgia and cruises to the #1 seed yet again.
A lack of upsets in the top 10 last weekend didn't meant no there were no changes at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings released by the committee Tuesday.
Alabama retained the top position it assumed last week after Georgia fell to Auburn. Miami (Fla.), one of three Power Five unbeatens, jumps over Clemson to move to No. 2, the only change in the top group. The Hurricanes will face Clemson, now at No. 3, in the ACC title game on Dec. 2 with the winner likely securing its place in the field.
The rest of the top five was completed by Oklahoma and Wisconsin, which also held their places from last week.
The Sooners beat Kansas in a victory that was overshadowed by quarterback Baker Mayfield's obscene gesture and obscenities directed toward the Jayhawks.
We had much more comprehensive coverage of the CFB rankings last night, but here’s your quick, daily reminder that, yet again, you cheer for the #1 team in all of college football. What a time to be alive.
Auburn could be without two of its top defenders this weekend when it hosts top-ranked Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Linebacker Tre' Williams and starting nickelback Jeremiah Dinson could be ruled out for the game, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on CBS and will decide the SEC West, due to injuries they sustained during last week's win against ULM. Williams injured his shoulder while Dinson sustained a concussion.
"Tre' Williams, we'll see where he's at, and we'll see where Jeremiah Dinson's at later in the week," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.
While Alabama is currently missing their entire linebacker unit, plus a smattering of other injuries across the team, Auburn will be down the nickelback and maybe a linebacker. More voodoo from the plains on having a spookily healthy team at just the right time.