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Jumbo Package: Familiarity to be a Theme in the Opener

We know about the relationship between the head men, but there is significant overlap among the assistants as well.

That’s right, I took this one myself, on Sunday from the 15th floor of the Omni Atlanta hotel.
Josh Chatham

Happy Monday, everyone. With the first fall scrimmage in the books, we now sit only 19 days away from the season opener in Atlanta. A few notes for you this morning:

With the season opener approaching, Fisher can lean on four assistants who are familiar with Saban. Meanwhile, Saban has former FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who helped Fisher during the 2013 title run, on his staff.

The assistants may be a valuable asset for their head coaches, but Saban and Fisher insist time and evolving playbooks tend to offset any familiarity.

“It can’t be good. It can’t be bad,” Fisher said coyly of the familiarity. “We’ll see.”

Yet Daboll expects them to have it down by the time the games are played. He won't settle for anything less and said he will "accept no excuses."

"Your job as a coach is to show them how to do it," Daboll said.

There's no better way, as the players have discovered, than to go to the Patriots' video tape. Therein lie some of the answers to Alabama's new scheme.

There won’t be too many surprises in this one. While Fisher has four people who have worked for Saban, Pruitt has worked under Jimbo more recently and should have some great insight into defending the Seminoles’ offense.

Theoretically, a new OC that is reportedly changing some things within the Alabama offense should be an advantage for the Tide as long as the players, particularly the quarterbacks, are ready to execute. It’s great to push them, but let’s hope they identify a half-dozen or so plays that they run particularly well and feature them prominently in week one. Running a few concepts, each out of multiple formations with simple terminology, is a key tenet of the Erhardt-Perkins philosophy.

Diggs has spent most of fall camp at cornerback as Saban and company attempt to find the right combination of players, and his veteran teammates have seem him improve every day.

“He’s gotten a whole lot better,” Anthony Averett said. “He’s getting more experience and practicing more reps. The more reps you get the better you get. You know how to react to more, you see more. I know that worked for me.”

The secondary certainly should be the strength considering all of the experience. Saban is doing everything he can to bring Diggs along quickly because he is the most physically ready. Things seem to be progressing well with him, but if he starts you can bet that Deondre Francois will test him a few times.

While many focused on Saban finally finishing on the losing end of a national championship game in January, with Clemson scoring with 1 second remaining to pull out the dramatic 35-31 victory, what most missed was that it was his 50th game coaching Alabama when it was ranked No. 1.

At this point, we can cue everyone to say it along with us: That’s a record.

At 44-6, Saban has won more games coaching a No. 1 team at one school than any coach in college football history. Woody Hayes and Bobby Bowden are tied for second at 40, over 28 and 34 seasons, respectively.

The Crimson Tide have been ranked No. 1 in 36.2 percent of the 138 games under Saban. Hayes’ percentage was 16.7 and Bowden’s 10.8.

More than one-third of the time that Saban has led the Tide out of the tunnel, they have been ranked #1 in the country. Take out the 13 games played in 2007, and that percentage rises to a cool 40% since 2008. Let that one sink in.

Cam Robinson started at left offensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Reuben Foster (Auburn High School) started at weakside linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, O.J. Howard (Autauga Academy) started at tight end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jonathan Allen started at defensive tackle and Ryan Anderson (Daphne) started at strongside linebacker for the Washington Redskins.

Robinson was very, very good in his NFL debut, but... it was against backups, mostly. His run blocking was superb and his pass protection, while including a problem or two, is still good enough to where I don’t worry about how Robinson will do going forward.

Alabama is taking over the league.


Some of the players involved used the funds from part of their scholarship agreement to buy electronics equipment, then later reported the cards stolen. Some players sold the electronics equipment purchased with the school-issued funds.

Sources informed that the purchases have been either returned or the school funds used will be paid back by the athletes.

Callaway now adds a credit card fraud charge to his 2015 sexual assault complaint where his defense was that he was “too stoned” to have sex and a 2016 citation for marijuana possession. Maybe someone can help him write a book about how to blow a promising NFL career.

But when the Associated Press Top 25 poll is released Aug. 21, the Irish are likely to be unranked in the preseason for the seventh time in the past 14 years.

That has never happened at Notre Dame.

Worse than that, there's no buzz, none of that typical hype this preseason. All of it circles back to the actual football. The Irish are trying rebound from their second-worst record (4-8) since 1963.

Just to reiterate, that says four wins and eight losses.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.