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Jumbo Package: Banged up Crimson Tide turns focus to Fresno State

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The Next Man Up may very well be a freshman.

Alabama v Florida State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Preliminary Intel

We’ll be doing some Q&As with SB Nation’s Mountain West Connection later this week. I did some radio spots with them earlier this Spring, so they owe us. Until we get some definitive information on the Fall Bulldogs, here’s what we do know:

  • There is probably not a player on the roster that could make the two-deep at even Vanderbilt. The preseason All-MWC teams did not not feature a single Fresno player.
  • Former Cal quarterback guru Jeff Tedford returns to the head coaching ranks ranks to take over a team that has been rudderless-to-awful since dismissing mustachioed Founding Father Pat Hill. Tedford’s teams were noted for physical, high scoring offenses, and far-better-than-you think defenses.
  • That last point is of relevance, because, last year’s ‘Dogs were one of the worst teams you’ll see play: No team in the nation was worse between the first and fourth quarter in yards per carry. And, FSU ranked 124th in opponent 3rd down conversion. The only group less effective than the 106th ranked secondary was the 126th ranked defensive line. Yikes. You almost have to try to be that bad.
  • Offensively, Fresno State returns 10 players on offense, but that’s like waking up to 10 polished turds in your Christmas stocking. The offense may have been even worse than the defense:

By metrics both new and old, Fresno State’s offensive production in 2016 was, by the program’s standards, historically bad:

103rd in yards per pass attempt. 116th in pass completion percentage. 120th in team quarterback rating. 125th in yards per play, rushing yards per attempt, and points per trip inside the 40-yard line. 126th in Success Rate.

Fresno State v UNLV
Fresno State lost by 25 to UNLV. Yeah, the same UNLV that just lost to Howard as a 45-point favorite in the biggest upset in CFB history
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Looking back

Sporting News asks a serious question, how can anyone stop a Crimson Tide defensive mastery that surrendered just one explosive play to the No. 3 team in the nation, which looks to be even better under Jeremy Pruitt? I think we know the answer to that is vertical passing, but this secondary may be a no-fly zone when the rotation is worked out, everyone is playing their assignment, and the front seven puts that kind of pressure on. As good as the Tide was on that side of the ball, it made mistakes that FSU could not capitalize on. (Meanwhile, people are writing off the ‘Noles. Probably prematurely IMO.)

The Polls and power rankings are unanimous -- ‘Bama is No. 1 .

Jalen Hurts was cool as a cucumber speaking with the media following Alabama’s CFA victory.

Alabama coaches named seven players of the week, including Damien Harris who was both an offensive and special teams selections, leading tackler SDH, and the physical Levi Wallace -- who looks like he wanted that starting corner spot Saturday night. Seriously, Wallace played a really, really good game. The Good Doctor will be along later today with film review.

How good was the defense in the second half? Bill C breaks it down:

FSU managed only 25 snaps for 66 yards in the second half. After generating scoring chances in four of their first seven possessions, the Noles generated none in their last six.

Are they still made about the no-call DPI? Yeah, they’re still mad.

Going forward

First, we extend our deepest condolences to Alabama WRC/Co-OC Mike Locksely. Yesterday, he received possibly the worst news that a parent can: His son was shot and killed. Details are not up for memorials or donations in lieu of, but when we get those, we’ll pass them along.

Down two outside linebackers, and short another one injured on the inside, the Tide went back to work yesterday. Lots of young guys will get looks, with Saban specifically mentioning Dylan Moses, Mekhi Brown and possibly Ben Davis.

Anthony Steen has won a guard spot with the Fish.

SDH thinks the injury questions can stop now. And, given his player on Saturday night, they probably should. He was a lighter, more nimble player than at anytime in his Alabama career.

More on Levi Wallace here. (And, as promised, we’ll have a film breakdown for you later.)

Some of the more interesting things from the OLB rotation were that Jamie Mosley is getting serious looks at first team, and it appears as though VanDarius Cowan is finally healthy and practicing. I really like his intensity.

Finally, here are some Fresno highlights. I know you were burning for them, click heyah’. (I was going to embed this for you, but Vox can’t stop “improving” the damned editor and site experience.)

Poll

Who would you start at Jack?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    Mekhi Brown
    (28 votes)
  • 22%
    Jamie Mosley
    (132 votes)
  • 18%
    Ben Davis
    (107 votes)
  • 0%
    Markhail Benton
    (3 votes)
  • 4%
    Chris Allen
    (24 votes)
  • 47%
    Dylan Moses
    (280 votes)
  • 1%
    Other
    (10 votes)
584 votes total Vote Now

That’s it for now. Go forth to your four-day work week!