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Jumbo Package: Can FSU’s offensive line handle the Tide front-seven?

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Florida State v Mississippi Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Can’t beat ‘em, learn from ‘em

Geoff Collins has seen Alabama’s recruiting machine up close. He was a part of building it, after all. He recently sent some Temple staffers to Tuscaloosa to get a crash course. Collins spent 2007 as Alabama’s director of player personnel. He later moved to on-field coaching jobs at UCF, FIU, Mississippi State, Florida and now Temple as head coach. As he continues to build the recruiting operation at Temple, he wanted to take lessons from Nick Saban.

“I was able to be on the ground floor on day one, helping the transition to the social media age with Coach Saban, set the groundwork for the great recruiting class we had that year with Julio Jones, Mark Ingram and on and on, and the run that has happened,” Collins said on Smashmouth Radio 99.1 in Birmingham.

IYAM, teaching other programs Alabama’s recruiting strategy is like Coca Cola opening the vault to donkey pee manufacturers Pepsi. Perhaps Saban wants to do an old pupil a solid; maybe it’s the sharing nature of a profession which is simultaneously secretive; maybe it’s all of those and the fact Rutgers isn’t going to ever outrecruit Alabama...or all of these.

So many flavors, and he chose salty...

“There are only so many schools in America that will give you whatever it takes to win,” Bowden said. “You put Nick Saban spending the rest of his life at Michigan State, he might just be another coach. But you put Nick Saban, who knows how to get things done at an LSU that says, ‘Whatever you need, we’ll give you,’ or at Alabama, that says ‘Whatever you want, we’ll give you.’

“They have the ability to get that ‘whatever you want’ and turn it into national championships. Some guys don’t have that.”

Bowden did say that one of Saban’s key traits is that he is very smart, mentally disciplined, and organized. So, despite the fact he seems to say that a lot/most of Saban’s success can be attributed to being given all the resources one could want, he also suggests that it is something hard-wired in Saban too. The first part will generate the clicks, but there’s probably alittle something to it — though not as much as Bowden makes it out to be: Saban did go 11-2 at Toledo and turn around a Spartan program that was in the gutter, on top of making moribund LSU and Alabama programs national powers. That’s not simply resources there, buddy.

2018 NSD in trouble?

With only two commitments in the class, this is the first time Alabama has not been ranked in ESPN's top 25 at this point in a recruiting cycle since ESPN started the class rankings.

I’m not going to panic just yet...or ever. Show me the class on February 5th, not on May 24th. No one recruits like Nick Saban, and that will likely remain the case. Although, we should point out the Tide did lose some treasured recruiters with the departure of Lane Kiffin, Billy Napier and Mario Cristobal (the latter being a particularly painful loss in South Florida.)

Vegas likes the Tide

Alabama will face Florida State on Sept. 2, in Atlanta. The Crimson Tide have been installed as 4-point favorites over the Seminoles. Heading into the season, Alabama has been the favorite in 97 of its past 98 games. The Crimson Tide were consensus 1-point underdogs at Georgia on Oct. 3, 2015, a game they won 38-10.

Alabama has won 11 or more games in each of the past six regular seasons and in eight of coach Nick Saban's 10 years with the Crimson Tide. CG Technology was charging a hefty -150 price to bet over 10.5 on Alabama.

I would just about always take the Tide to cover 10.5 wins, especially with the weak out of conference showing in Tuscaloosa this year (note: not FSU,) and the uncertainty / new quarterbacks throughout the SEC-West.

Stallings back in hospital

Former Alabama head coach Gene Stallings has reportedly been re-hospitalized.

After suffering a mild stroke and being hospitalized in Montgomery on Thursday, Stallings was taken to an emergency room near his home in Paris, Texas, on Monday, according to WBRC’s Rick Karle. Stallings and his wife, Ruth Ann, were concerned with a spike in the coach’s blood pressure, but the 82-year-old Stallings is now “resting comfortably.”

We send our thoughts to Coach Stallings and his family as we wish for his speedy recovery and continued good health.

Early look at ‘Bama / FSU

Travis Reier: Alabama 28, Florida State 17

Even with all of the production Alabama must replace, I still have my doubts about the Seminoles’ ability to effectively block the Crimson Tide front seven. Offensively, the best way to neutralize a playmaker like Derwin James is via the run game. If UA gets the right side of its offensive line figured out, the combination of a deep and talented stable of running backs along with quarterback Jalen Hurts should be able to do just that.

I greatly agree with Reier’s take here. The FSU OL has been a hot mess since 2014, and it doesn’t look to improve much this season. For a national title contender facing a nasty front-seven, that’s a bad portend. Couple that with a mediocre ‘Noles linebacking corps and a front-seven with key losses, and I think Daboll and company can #RTDB to a signature win in 2017.

Kudos

The first preseason football mags are out, and ‘Bama takes Athlon’s choice for SEC, National title.

Bradley Bozeman, who was fantastic last season replacing Kelly, was named to the 2017 Remington watch list. The Remington is awarded to the nation’s top center.

And our very special congratulations...

As some have read by now from various sources, many baseball players were told their scholarships will not be made available to them next season. I am not in a position to publicly confirm that or comment upon it as yet; I will just say watch and see.

That said, Alabama’s Chandler Taylor fulfilled a great deal of the promise he showed as a freshman year, one in which he was named Freshman All-SEC.

For his work in the 2017 campaign, Taylor was named second-team All-SEC. Impressively, he did so on a team that finished last in the SEC.

Taylor put together a solid sophomore effort after a standout freshman campaign. He finished the 2017 season as the team leader in seven offensive categories including: home runs (16), RBI (34), runs (39), walks (32), stolen bases (7-11), slugging percentage (.601) and total bases (113). His 16 home runs were the most by a member of the Crimson Tide since Clay Jones' 17 in 2010. Taylor's numbers also placed him among league leaders for the season, ranking third in home runs, fifth in slugging and ninth overall in total bases.

In SEC play, Taylor led everyday starters in average at .295 (33-112), while contributing a team-leading 10 home runs, 15 RBI, 19 runs scored, 71 total bases and 16 walks. His .634 slugging and .382 on-base percentage also led the team, while his eight doubles and three stolen bases each tied for the team-high mark. Against SEC opposition, Taylor ranked fourth in home runs, fifth in slugging percentage and seventh in total bases.

He is only going to improve.

I only hope that we get to see him do so in an Alabama uniform. Roll Tide, Chandler.