I’m in the middle of packing and moving houses (again), so the editorializing will be short. Put in a request ticket if you want a #refund
Alabama practice report: Starting WR still limited
-- Jalen Hurts was not seen Monday, as expected. The quarterback underwent a surgical procedure following the team’s victory over Tennessee last Saturday after suffering a high-ankle sprain during that game.
-- DeVonta Smith was once again present. The receiver is still recovering from a hamstring injury he incurred against Missouri on Oct. 13 and appeared limited. While other wideouts were running routes, Smith remained stationary and played catch off to the side. He was held out of the game against the Volunteers.
-- Damien Harris led the running backs in drills after missing the start against Tennessee because of “internal reasons,” according to head coach Nick Saban.
-- Defensive linemen Johnny Dwight and Stephon Wynn continue to wear knee braces. Dwight wears one on his left knee and Wynn on his right. Wynn has appeared in three games this year while Dwight has played in five. Both were inactive against Tennessee, however.
Not a whole lot of bits of note here, but here’s your daily injury update nonetheless. I hope that DeVonta gets as much time off as he can. A pulled hammy isn’t like some joint-type injuries that requires some movement to keep them lose. The only thing that can heal that is staying off of it.
Nick Saban discusses QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Mac Jones
-- Saban said Tua Tagovailoa remains focused and hasn’t been caught up in the fame he has achieved. Saban added that Tagovailoa is a people pleaser but that sometimes he has to learn to say no.
-- Saban said offensive lineman Hunter Brannon is suspended from the team and is being disciplined internally after he was arrested last Sunday morning on charges of driving under the influence. Saban added Brannon will go through a similar program as reserve quarterback Mac Jones did when he was arrested on a DUI charge in November 2017.
-- Speaking of Mac Jones, Saban said he is doing well. Saban added that he has confidence Jones can make plays when needed.
-- Saban explained that pushing the pocket is important and that Quinnen Williams has been an extremely important factor in accomplishing that task.
Some highlights from Saban’s interview today. Hunter Brannon was a longshot to ever see the field even if he had been a model student-athlete. With getting into Saban’s doghouse like this, I’ll be very, very surprised to ever see him in a crimson jersey on TV.
Quinnen Williams has been absolutely unbelievable this year. I don’t think I’ve seen a more consistently disruptive interior rusher in all of Saban’s squads— and that includes the likes of Da’Ron Payne, Jonathan Allen, and Marcell Dareus. Payne and Dareus were stouter at the point of attack, while Allen had more sheer athleticism and versatility, but Williams is nearly unblockable on every single drop back. It’s really been a sight to behold.
Quinnen Williams Is Big Man In Alabama Defensive Line
Jonah Williams, Bama’s left tackle and considered by many to be the best offensive lineman in the nation, doesn’t have to go up against Quinnen Williams in practice, but he knows about “Q.”
“I think we’re honestly a little relieved as an O-Line,” Williams said. “We’re like, ‘Okay, no one else can block him either.’
“You’ve got an almost 300-pound bar of soap that’s pushing past you and you just can’t get ahold of him.”
Alabama football gets four-star commitment
Alabama received a commitment from 2019 4-star defensive lineman Braylen Ingraham on Tuesday night. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound prospect announced his commitment through a video he posted to Twitter.
Ingraham, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is listed as the No. 41 player in the state and the No. 22 strong-side defensive end in the country, according to 247Sports Composite.
As predicted, the recruiting success cooled off a little as the season started and high school seniors got busy actually playing ball again. Ingraham’s commitment is the first we’ve heard in a while. But he’s got both CB and I scratching our heads. He’s more of a prototypical strong-side end for a 4-3 defense, not a LB/DE hybrid or a bigger DE like Alabama usually prefers for a base 3-4 scheme (sure, its all nickel these days, but even the way Saban runs his nickel is still using more of a 3-4 root). Plus he’s just rated lower down that we’d expect that Saban would be happy with taking on board, considering the quality of this class and limited number of spots. Throw in the fact that Antonio Alfano, Justin Eboigbe, Byron Young, and Rashad Cheney are already on board, and this one is just a head-scratcher. He may ultimately just be a bluff/hedge for Saban to use as leverage to get one of the other names to sign during the Early Signing Day.
Skeptics, LSU may finally give Alabama betting value
Alabama sprinted to 3-0 against the spread (ATS) to start this season, beating the Vegas number by nearly 20 points per game.
That’s how long it took for the market to adjust to the new paradigm with Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa slicing up defenses with alarming precision before halftime. Sportsbooks got hammered by public bettors, which backed the Tide in large quantities.
Remarkably, the market corrected itself overnight after Alabama’s 62-7 win at Ole Miss. Oddsmakers started begging for money against Alabama the next day, inflating the lines high enough to get more balanced action (Texas A&M) and then so ridiculously high that it was unlikely Alabama would cover (Louisiana).
The biggest weakness of every CFB Playoff contender
The Crimson Tide are great, perhaps historically great. But the kicking game could be an issue. Alabama’s specialists are just 9-for-14 this season with four missed extra points. The switch from Austin Jones to freshman Joseph Bulovas helped alleviate some of those problems, but he’s missed four of his last seven kicks. Punting is a concern, too. Freshman Skyler DeLong averaged just 34.4 yards per attempt before getting benched this week in favor of walk-on Mike Bernier, who punted twice for 41 yards against Tennessee. Overall, Alabama ranks 128th nationally in average yards per punt. These kicking issues don’t matter in blowouts. But Alabama is going to play a close game eventually (I think). That’s when missed field goals and losing the field position battle can cause a great team to lose.
When the biggest weakness of the top team in football is the kicking game, you know they’re good. Really it just wouldn’t even be fair anymore if Alabama had an elite kicking game— not that it’s really fair in the first place, not with this offense.
You’re halfway through the first of two weeks with no Alabama football. Keep your head up and enjoy the time off.