Happy Thursday, everyone. We’re here to talk practice, preseason awards, and other bits, but we will open with this video that BOL so generously posted yesterday.
Nice play, Javy. Hopefully the coaching thing works out well.
Moving on, USA Today put out its preseason All-America team, and the Tide had some representation:
Sam Darnold of Southern California and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville headline USA TODAY Sports’ preseason All-America teams, while individual teams such as the Trojans, Florida State, Alabama, Penn State and Ohio State flexed their muscle on the who’s-who list of college football’s top players heading into the 2017 season.
Alabama managed one player on the first team and two on the second team. Great to see Minkah Fitzpatrick and Da’Ron Payne recognized, but something tells me there will be a few more Alabama players on the postseason teams. The preseason all-conference team is a different story:
The SEC released its Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team on Wednesday, and not surprisingly, Alabama leads the way with 15 overall selections. The Tide also landed nine players on the first-team.
One of the 15 is first-teamer J.K. Scott, which means that 63.6% of Alabama’s offensive and defensive starters are on the All-SEC list, and Alabama players make up 36.4% of the offensive and defensive first teams.
The unit worked in groups of four and there was no changes. Da’Shawn Hand, Da’Ron Payne, Josh Frazier and Raekwon Davis comprised the first group. Isaiah Buggs, Jamar King, Johnny Dwight and Quinnen Williams were in the second group.
Matt Womack was at right tackle with the first organizational grouping, which remained the same group of Jonah Williams, Ross Pierschbacher, Bradley Bozeman and Lester Cotton.
-- Running back Josh Jacobs, who had been sidelined since Aug. 14 with a hamstring injury, was back on the field. He didn't appear to be doing much.
-- Outside linebacker Christian Miller, whose left leg was covered with a protective tape, looked limited. Jamey Mosley led the position group in individual drills. He returned to practice Tuesday after going through the team's concussion protocol.
The OL rotation appears to be stable at this point. Good news that Jacobs was seen running around some, bad news that Miller isn’t 100%. Hopefully both men will be full speed in in nine days (!)
This season, Averett believes Alabama’s secondary could be a strength of the defense, given how much experience Alabama football returns.
“It makes a big difference. Last year, Eddie [Jackson], he was pretty much the guy, among the older guys,” Averett said. “This year it’s me and Minkah and all the seniors, Tony [Brown]. All the seniors this year, it makes a big difference. It creates leadership. We need leadership, in the secondary or any type of defense, period.”
There really is little excuse for this secondary being anything less than stellar considering the rare combination of talent and experience.
He said the matchup “almost feels like a national championship game in Week 1,” which is an accurate read on the situation.
In addition, Herbstreit complimented the Crimson Tide in a major way, saying, “Alabama never takes a week off.” Check out Herbstreit’s comments, relayed below by BamaOnLine247’s Charlie Potter.
CBS Sports, Athlon, Phil Steele, College Football News, The Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and (assuredly) a host of others I didn’t bother to look up picked both Alabama and Florida State to reach the Playoff, which feels a little bit like a threshold has been crossed, where the sport is a little bit less like its past self and a little more like college basketball, where each year Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and Michigan State play in a Final Four-lite every November, shake hands afterward and say, “See you again in April.”
The hype around this one will reach a fever pitch next week. That last link echoes something that I’ve been saying for a while. We won’t know unless it happens, but barring a blowout I still say that this game will not be an eliminator assuming both teams go on to win their conferences, even if the loser drops another one along the way.
No, a two-loss team has never made the playoff in its three long years of existence, but the committee did show a willingness in 2014 to seed an undefeated team lower than two with a loss. There’s no reason to believe that a two-loss ACC Champion FSU with wins over several top 25 opponents and a competitive loss to #1 Alabama would be automatically eliminated in favor of a one-loss champ of a weaker league. Some may point to Penn State last season, but I’d suggest that it was Ohio State that bumped the Lions.
Nick Saban is big on each team establishing its own identity, and nowhere is that more important this season than on offense, where Brian Daboll takes over for Lane Kiffin as coordinator. While it's clear that Saban wants to swing the pendulum back to a more pro-style attack, how well quarterback Jalen Hurts can fit that mold remains to be seen. -- Alex Scarborough
Quarterback play is going to be the big wild-card this year. HFTB.
In NFL news, Derrick Henry is doing what he does:
Derrick Henry refuses to go down at first contact pic.twitter.com/m8xCqJdNRb— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 23, 2017
For some perspective, here are the leaders in that category over the past three seasons:
No running back has gained yards after contact like Le"Veon Bell has over the past three seasons. pic.twitter.com/QuaoXsUV4t— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 18, 2017
Hmmmm. I’m sensing a trend here, but I can’t put my finger on it...
Ah, there it is.
Lastly, some QB news across the conference. You may have heard that Auburn officially named Jarrett Stidham as its starter, then took to social media to promote him like a rock star in the most Auburn way possible.
Yesterday, LSU announced that Danny Etling will in fact remain the starter in his senior season:
"We believe in Danny," the coach said of the fifth-year senior quarterback. "We hope he has a great year."
Orgeron said freshman challenger Myles Brennan was "a very close second."
Etling took first-team reps all through the spring and preseason practices. Brennan, who arrived in the summer as a four-star-rated recruit, took a small number of first-team reps in recent practices and scrimmages.
Good for Danny. May he score as many points against Alabama as he did last season.
Let’s check in on Coach Mac’s competition down in Gainesville:
Jim McElwain on his quarterback situation: "We're going to play a bunch of them. Not naming a starter right now."— Brandon Zimmerman (@BZSEC) August 23, 2017
“We’re going to play a bunch of them?” That doesn’t sound too promising, Coach.
That’s about it for today. Have a great work/school day and let the countdown begin.