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Jumbo Package: Passing game point of emphasis this week, beginning with line play

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All three units have to make improvements

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NCAA Football: Fresno State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

THROW THE DAMN BALL (but to a running back approximately 23% of the time.)

Most expected that Daboll’s hiring would bring more receiving responsibilities for the Alabama backs. For many Tide fans, this is a welcome return. Coaches McElwain and Nussmeier relied upon the backs in dump-downs, swings, and screens a fair bit. While it is true that Coach Kiffin used the fullback in that capacity, the last two seasons have seen a precipitous drop in touches for the backs.

After two games, we can set aside that speculation: Data are in and the backs are more involved, particularly for Bo Scarbrough, who is tied for second among Tide receivers.

On 18 of his 50 snaps this season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, Scarbrough has gone out on routes. That represents a 14 percent uptick from 2016. Harris has also seen a slight increase in his participation as a receiving option.

"We've always tried to have the running backs involved in the passing game," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. "Sometimes they have responsibilities before they go out in terms of pass protection so sometimes what the defense does determines whether they get out or they don't get out.

Participation out of the backfield is apt to increase too when Josh Jacobs rejoins the lineup. Though Scarbrough is the best receiver of the bunch, and the Harrises have above average hands, Jacobs is the ulility player this offense has been missing. Giving Hurts more options when rushed, instead of taking off or throwing the ball away, is also only going to help him, as well as help the Tide move the chains consistently.

Much much more here.

Tua soon? Tua much.

(I’m going to love these bad puns for the next 3-4 years.)

Don’t ask Saban about Tua Tagovailoa ’s participation this week. Unlike Fresno State, the staff isn’t talking.

You can tell the game is approaching though -- he’s getting all manic-angry at beat reporters.

-- Saban said right guard Lester Cotton practiced Tuesday and Wednesday and said the he expects Cotton to play Saturday.

-- Saban said he's not sure running back Josh Jacobs (hamstring) will not play Saturday.

The injury news of note is above. The ole’ double negative for a Jacobs appearance may lead you to think (and more importantly, may lead CSU to think,) he’ll be involved in the game plan. But, with the Tide’s first true road game and SEC opener against a physical Vanderbilt front seven looming, I’d be a little surprised if we see him for this one.

Speaking of injuries, Christian Miller’s dad hints that Miller may be available this season at some point. Wow.

Scouting expert Chris Landry talks Tua

Eli Gold wants people to chill out with character assassination and insteda talk football, not tearing individuals down.

FWIW, that’s sort of the unofficial policy around here. We certainly can criticize development or performance or execution or decision-making, but personal attacks are verboten. And you guys are really good about it. Even in some of our most negative moments, it’s rarely personal. So, hooray for you -- your restraint and/or character make this place much more civil than many other places.

Practice Notes:

With the Tide offensive line needing to gel, it looks like coaches are still experimenting with the rotation (or contingency planning for injuries or emergencies). And, hey, we have a Josh Casher sighting!

-- Alabama shuffled the right side of its offensive line. At one point during individual drills, Josh Casher was working at right guard in place of Lester Cotton, who wasn't actively involved. Cotton seemed limited after Nick Saban said he got "dinged up" against Fresno State last weekend. Later, during team drills, Matt Womack moved inside to right guard with Jedrick Willis at right tackle. Wills alternated with redshirt freshman Scott Lashley in this particular setup.’

The rest of the practice notes are here.

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Nick Saban did single out the offensive line as a group that is improving but which needs to follow through on their execution, and that it is affecting the Tide’s big play potential

"I think that the offensive line did a better job in this game," Saban said Monday. When I talk about finishing plays, there were probably seven plays that we have a hat on a hat, that if we finish one block, that play would be significantly more successful and maybe even an explosive, big play. When I talk about finishing, I think that's what we need to do. Same thing in pass protection. We get a hat on a hat, we've got to finish, get the right hand placement, get in the right position so that we have a chance to throw the ball down the field more."

Consider this a follow-up to his thoughts on Monday afternoon, when he gave a spirited defense of Jalen Hurts stating that many problems in the passing game are not the Sophomore’s responsibility.

Cam Sims also came to his quarterbacks’ aid

Saban’s final thoughts on CSU, a hurry up spread team with a lot of offensive balance and veterans. This won’t be a cake walk, even if Alabama wins comfortably.

Tide FM’s Three thoughts on CSU are pretty good too.

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Reloading

Jared Butler, a four-star point guard from Reserve, La., is on an official visit to Alabama. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Butler is the country's No. 111-ranked prospect in the 247Sports composite and the No. 20 point guard.

More on the contingency plan if Collin Sexton is one and done (as the mock drafts already have him projected.)

For Butler’s part, he likes that Tide have made him its number one recruiting priority. Virginia is the main competitor, with Baylor and Texas rounding out the field. Complete interview with Butler here.

Despite playing the toughest opener in the modern history of the sport, the goofy ass FPI projects that Alabama’s three toughest games lie in the future -- making FSU its fourth-toughest opponent. I can’t wait to hear Dinich try and sell that one. :poop:

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OUTSTANDING

Great piece of work here by Suttles, “Damien Harris isn’t defined by football.” Harris is one of the more outspoke, thoughtful players on this team. It’s very clear that he has a lot more planned for his future, and between his ears, than beyond the next ball game.

Longish read. Well worth it.

Finally,

You hear us use the words “boundary” or “field” corner when speaking of the secondary. Our buds at Arkansas Fight have a really good knowlegge base primer on the corners. You should check it out.

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That’s it for now. Go forth to...bringing me Nyqul and a Sprite. I feel like hell, folks. Have a great day.