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Jumbo Package: Saban updates injuries and the Tide’s offensive line shuffle

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There’s a whole lot to get through today. May as well start early!

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">AllState Sugar Bowl - Clemson v Alabama

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I’m on vacay, so you’ll have to fill in your own editorial remarks to the many excellent finds I have for you today; ‘tis a task for which you are all admirably suited.

Roll Tide

Alabama-Tennessee Game Will Have Good Receivers

Bama’s passing efficiency leads the conference.

But Alabama isn’t the only team that will have pass catchers....

“I think they have really good receivers,” Saban said. “I think they have some guys that have some size and they’re really good at going after the 50-50 balls down the field, which I think they hit six of them last week in the game, all for big plays. That’s the two areas.”

Levi Wallace 2.0? Meet Alabama’s latest walk-on success story | AL.com

I’m tired of pulling out loans and I’m tired of not playing.’ ... It even got to a point where he sat down with Coach Saban and got his release papers. But he had a change of heart.”

It’s worked out well for both Lewis and Alabama.

Lewis was awarded a scholarship in August, is now the team’s top backup at nickel back and has become the Tide’s latest walk-on success story.

Notre Dame No. 1? LSU over OSU? Five questions Playoff committee must confront soon | NCAA Football | Sporting News

Provided the Tigers win against Mississippi State (4-2), it’s a strong bet LSU opens in the top four heading into a bye week — and the Nov. 3 matchup with Alabama.

Again, this is about creating some drama.

Who would it come at the expense of? Ohio State.

Nick Saban: Lester Cotton competing; DeVonta Smith questionable

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (knee) has practiced all week, and the current plan is to play him at Tennessee this weekend. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith (hamstring) is the only Alabama player that has been limited in all open periods of practice for the Third Saturday in October.

“Smitty’s the only guy that I would say would be questionable for this game,” Saban said. “He hadn’t been able to practice to this point. … He hasn’t been able to practice. So, I haven’t seen him do anything. Walk around with me, talk to me.”

Alabama practice report: Tide sticks with O-Line change | AL.com

Here are some observations from the limited access period provided to the media:

-- For the second consecutive day, Deonte Brown was seen working at left guard with the first team in place of Lester Cotton. Cotton, who has struggled this season and has been bothered by a mild ankle sprain since last week, looked on in the background. Cotton started the first seven games

Mike Leach makes a case for the most useless stat: “I don’t know a single coach who looks at that stat” - FootballScoop

However, the NFL seems to put a premium on the QB efficiency stat, and Leach spent some time going off on the uselessness of that one in particular.

“It’s like the quarterback efficiency rating. Over the course of my career it has been explained to me three times, and then I briefly, briefly understand it, but after that it just doesn’t make any sense. Because that is utterly useless. Virtually, and completely, and utterly USELESS.”

“I don’t know one coach, whatsoever, who pays any attention to it.”

Alabama Players Want Butch Jones In On Celebration

Following last season, when Bama Defensive Coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was hired as Tennessee’s new head football coach, he replaced Butch Jones, who had been dismissed. Now Jones, usually easy to spot around the football offices dressed mostly in crimson, is an offensive analyst for Bama.

“You know, he’s never smoked the [victory] cigar before,” Jacobs said. “We’re trying to make that a goal of his.”

Kentucky Picked to Win SEC Basketball Championship, Alabama Picked 7th

Kentucky was predicted to win the 2019 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball championship in voting by a select panel of both SEC and national media members.

The Wildcats are the overall preseason favorite for the 14th time since the 1998-99 season.

ED. Note: Alabama had no preseason All-SEC selections either. #disrespectingthetide

Nick Saban talks Tennessee, CFP expansion on SEC teleconference

On if he enjoys giving guys like that an opportunity to get back on their feet…

“I think that the No. 1 thing is they create value in our program. But the No. 2 thing is I have a tremendous amount of respect for what those guys did wherever they were in playing against them. So, I think that that enhances my sort of respect for them and how they can benefit our program. And if it helps them get back on track, then that’s a real bonus for them, and we appreciate what they did for us in helping our program. Hopefully, they’ll get a better opportunity because of that.”

hehehehe

LOOK: Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt accurately calls out an Auburn offensive play pre-snap - CBSSports.com

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is a defensive mind, right?

Watch this play from Auburn’s final offensive drive.

At the beginning, you can hear Pruitt yell “BAYLEN IT’S COMING TO YOUR GUY!”

Sure enough... pic.twitter.com/n0G10pTLMq

— Caleb Noe (@wvltCaleb) October 16, 2018

Specifically, you can hear Pruitt shouting at Tennessee cornerback Baylen Buchanan, “Baylen it’s coming to your guy!” If you’re Auburn, that is not ideal. Spoiler alert: The play did go to Baylen’s guy.

How to block a kick, explained in depth by coaches - SBNation.com

So how does a team make the decision to come after the specialists?

The first thing to understand is that blocking a kick, like intercepting a pass, is a fringe benefit. Special teams is about winning the field position advantage.

“A lot of people don’t understand it’s not just that we’ve blocked a punt, we may have forced the punt that went 32 yards or less,” Biagi said. “Well, that’s equivalent to a guy who punted it 42 yards and we got a 10-yard return, everyone’s fired up. It’s not always just the fact that you blocked a punt, but you’re also factoring in all the shanked or poor hit punts that resulted in a flipped field position.”

Alabama QBs look on as Tua Tagovailoa makes history | SI.com

“I don’t think the hype is premature,” says John Parker Wilson, who was Saban’s first quarterback at Alabama in 2007. “That was one of the narratives heading in—you got to be ready for Tua to turn it over because he’s going to throw it a lot more than we’re used to, so get ready for the interceptions and some bad decisions and him learning how to be a starter.

“But we haven’t seen that at all this year, not even close. Every ball he throws is a good decision. He’s not even throwing many incompletions. I don’t think the hype is too much, I think he’s that good of a quarterback. He’s got some good players around him, he’s spreading the ball around, and he’s extremely accurate. I think he’s got a great presence in the pocket, great anticipation, a very good feel, and the guys around him play hard for him, so I think he’s got it all, to be honest with you.”

Tennessee Football Opponent Preview: Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide - Rocky Top Talk

Game Outlook

Maybe I’m not the one to ask, because I didn’t think Tennessee had much of a chance going to Auburn, but this is certainly a tall order for the Volunteers — and that’s ok.

Damien Harris quietly closing in on Alabama record | AL.com

There are the glamor records like career passing yardage or touchdown receptions. They’re easily tracked and follow a linear path.

Damien Harris isn’t fighting for one of those.

No, more than halfway through his fourth Alabama season, he’s angling toward one of the obscure yet challenging corners of the school record book. Through 392 carries in a Crimson Tide uniform, Harris is averaging 6.7 yards per attempt.