Happy Monday, everyone. The Tide passed their first test of the season and will now move on to the easier part of the schedule, where they will have an opportunity to tweak things as needed. We have all of the fallout here, as usual.
We’ll open with Marq Burnett’s spectacular tweet:
"So what's that shit you were talking about the ACC being the premiere conference?" pic.twitter.com/VRUlxHGd2M— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) September 3, 2017
I think all of those hot takes were extinguished in one week. They are who we thought they were.
SEC Shorts put out another good one:
“The TaxSlayer Bowl.” Classic.
As you know, the Tide suffered some significant injuries in the game:
With those two out, Alabama will likely be more dependent on former walk-on Jamey Mosley, who is listed as a co-backup at Jack linebacker, as well as young players like freshman Chris Allen, who has impressed people inside the program since enrolling in May.
It's also possible the Tide could use some of its inside linebackers outside some more as Evans, sophomore Mack Wilson and freshman Dylan Moses are all versatile and capable of playing both inside and outside.
We can’t talk about Alabama’s defense without a shoutout to Shaun Dion Hamilton. Hamilton was one of the best players on the field Saturday, flexing his run-stopping ability.
He did get his ankles taken by Akers on one play, but outside of that, Hamilton didn’t show any signs of being slowed by his knee injury from last season. Hamilton led Alabama’s defense with 8 total tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and 1 sack. He nearly had an interception as well. With Rashaan Evans sidelined for an unknown time due to a groin injury, Hamilton’s leadership for inexperienced guys like Mack Wilson and Keith Holcombe will be even more important in the coming weeks.
Though it's possible the senior could miss some time during this upcoming stretch that begins with matchups against Fresno State and Colorado State, Evans' injury is just a strain.
Good to hear that Evans should be fine, but I’d still expect him to miss at least one game. Both Lewis and Miller seem to be in good spirits:
I'll be back, just don't forget about me while I'm gone. https://t.co/f1UmpFnhNE— Terrell Lewis (@_Real24_) September 3, 2017
Even through the darkest days, this fire burns.. Never will I fold, I'm built different. Won't let anything stop me! pic.twitter.com/fggSrDOtN0— Christian Miller (@christianmillr) September 4, 2017
Can’t wait to see you back, men. With Hamilton and Evans gone, there will undoubtedly be a big role for you next season.
-- Alabama brought six pass rushers on a key third-and-5 midway through the second quarter. Rashaan Evans got to Francois in time to hurry the throw well before the receiver was ready. Tony Brown came off the edge too. Last year, the Tide took fewer such risks with a front four capable of accomplishing this without the DB blitz.
-- It's fascinating to watch Saban deal with his kickers/punters. For all the chewing he does of other players/coaches, it's obvious he realizes the specialists are different. After JK Scott's 9-yard shank punt, Saban was there for a high five and encouragement.
I mean, what is Saban going to say to J.K. Scott? It’s not a stretch to say that he is the best player on a team of elite ones in terms of consistently doing his job. The kid missed one. It happens.
There was a lot of good to point out from Saturday night. Keith Holcombe played well in the second half in relief of Evans. Levi Wallace was better than solid, including his first career interception, when he came on for Trevon Diggs after multiple busted assignments. Josh Frazier showed that he’s a player that can be counted on. Raekwon Davis showed that 6-foot-7 guys can rush the passer. Shaun Dion Hamilton told reporters that he was actually faster following his ACL injury and rehab. He certainly looked faster.
A lot of good, indeed. The fact that the defense was able to shut down FSU in that manner despite so many injuries should portend very well for the rest of the season. Saban and Pruitt have built a machine. As for Shaun Dion, the man was a monster. If he keeps playing at that speed, NFL scouts will take note.
You thought Jimbo Fisher was going to school Nick Saban? Seriously?
You must not be from around here.
The more the names on those crimson jerseys change, the more some things remain the same.
Alabama doesn't lose season-opening games, Alabama doesn't lose anywhere in Atlanta and Saban doesn't lose to his former assistants.
Kudos to Scarb. That probably wasn’t easy for him to write.
Even in the first half, when Florida State was having some success moving against the Alabama defense on the strength of Deondre Francis‘ arm, you could sense something was missing. As the half went on, the feeling got stronger and by the second half, it was obvious.
The Seminoles did not think they could run. When you cannot run, you can only hide for so long. And when your kicking game blows up as well, your best bet is to hope the clock runs quickly.
Every defensive alignment gives something up, of course, and in this case this look puts a lot of pressure on FSU’s corners to cover Alabama’s talented receivers in man coverage.
It could blow up in FSU’s face, but this is a risk all teams must take against Alabama. If defenses don’t load up against the run, the Tide will just keep it on the ground and not bother passing.
Neither team was able to run the ball much in this one, though Alabama managed a bit more success. Still, the difference in approach was notable. The Tide defense was able to shut down the FSU run game while keeping both safeties back for most of the game. As Bud Elliott notes at the last link, however, Florida State had no respect for the Alabama passing game whatsoever.
Think about this: Florida State’s best defensive player is a safety by trade. He’s very versatile, yes, but he’s still a safety. The Seminoles had so little concern about Alabama’s ability to throw the ball consistently that they kept him within a yard or two of the line of scrimmage all night, and usually on the line. They telegraphed overload blitzes on every passing down and aligned their LBs close to the line, daring the Tide to get the ball out quickly and exploit the short/intermediate middle of the field. Unfortunately, they were never forced to adjust.
It is a true luxury to have a defense like this one that is capable of winning games for you, but depending on them to carry an impotent offense through the playoffs is playing with fire. While other teams won’t have the athletes that Florida State has, look for more of this strategy until the Tide show that they can throw the ball. Hopefully some things can get ironed out in the next couple of weeks.
Last but not least, did you see that crazy game in the Rose Bowl last night? Texas A&M was up 44-10 with just over four minutes left in the third, then gave up 35 consecutive points in under 20 minutes.
Funnymaine weighed in:
How Bama Fans Watched Week 1.5 Games pic.twitter.com/tdcFJhOAqX— FunnyMaine.com (@FunnyMaine) September 4, 2017
He’s always funny, but Kevin Sumlin probably isn’t amused. His job security is tenuous.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.