Sometimes stats don’t tell the full picture, such as the production line for Quinnen Williams:
Williams led the Crimson Tide defense in production points in Alabama’s 24-0 shutout win last Saturday over then-No. 16 Mississippi State. The redshirt sophomore tied for the team lead in tackles with six, four of which were solo stops, and added two tackles for loss (-9 yards) and one sack (-5 yards) to his totals. His efforts helped the Tide defense limit the Bulldogs to just 44 yards rushing and 169 yards overall.
Q leads an Alabama defense that has not been scored upon in the month of November (the only team in the nation to hold that mark); has given up just 10 points since Homecoming; and now has a three-time SEC Player of the Week.
I stan for Tua, but it’s really hard to ignore the fact Q’s been the Tide’s best player the last month, and probably the best one on the team all season (with all respect to Mr. Tagovailoa and Mr. Deionte Thompson.)
FIGHT ME IN THE COMMENTS!
Objectively, Alabama’s OL missed some plays against the Bulldogs. That’s to be expected: fluid rotation, Cotton’s lateral movement, and the best defensive line in America not residing in Clemson, Ann Arbor or Tuscaloosa.
But, what often looks like a missed assignment, is not. Not all sacks or pressures or negative plays are on the OL. The nation’s best offensive lineman, Jonah Williams, gives a very detailed breakdown of what goes wrong (and right) with the OL read and dispels a lot of criticism heading their way from those who frankly don’t know the keys.
“That’s the thing the casual observer watches and says, ‘Hey, they’re not blocking anybody.’ And we’re not accounting for him in our box, but I’m also not giving you the keys to the castle. There are a lot of ways to exploit that and if there wasn’t everyone would do that. So, some of it was scheme and some of it was not playing as well as we can.”
Williams went on to say it would be naive to think every sack was simply the result of a missed assignment.
“Because you guys don’t know what the assignments are,” he concluded
It is possible for both things to be true, as he recognizes: The OL needed to play a little better and some of the criticism was unwarranted.
Follow your dreams, kids!
The Alabama football coaching staff selected seven players of the week following the Crimson Tide’s 24-0 shutout win over No. 16 Mississippi State at Bryant-Denny Stadium last Saturday. Josh Jacobs on offense; Isaiah Buggs, Raekwon Davis and Quinnen Williams on defense; and Ale Kaho, D.J. Lewis and Kyriq McDonald on special teams were recognized for their play against State.
See that name? D.J. Lewis? He’s a former walk-on. Well done. Meanwhile, Kaho is progressing through the Reuben Foster route — standout on special teams while he works his way into more snaps.
One reason for the Tide’s defensive rebound has been the simplification of the defense. That has helped Coach Lupoi in many respects and it has helped a squad that already was breaking in eight new starters and which has had to deal with injuries.
Starting safety Deionte Thompson almost sounded crushed after the Razorbacks put up 405 yards and 31 points on the Crimson Tide. Never mind the 34-point win, that wasn’t what this defense typically does.
“We’re Alabama,” nose tackle Quinnen Williams explained that afternoon, “but we’re not perfect.”
Four games later, the Tide defense is back.
You can’t poo poo the results as based upon bad LSU and State offenses. Ask UGA what happens if you overlook anyone in the conference. And, the Tide absolutely crushed the nation’s 25th-ranked offense, holding Drew Lock and crew to just 10 points.
And, with Citadel and Auburn both coming to BDS? There is a good chance the Tide could shut out the remainder of its regular season schedule.
Usually known as an elusive back, Jacobs has shown a willingness to lower his shoulder pads and run over would-be tacklers more and more this season, and Saturday’s conference game at Bryant-Denny Stadium was arguably his most physical of his three-year career at UA.
Establishing the level of physicality in the game was a focus for Jacobs from the opening kick.
“I mean, the beginning of every game, I just want to hit somebody just for myself to get the butterflies out,” Jacobs said. “Not only that, with them and their defense being so good, we kind of put an emphasis on being more physical than them or at least matching their physicality.”
Buddy, does Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy have some hot takes for you! The mulleted one is seriously ass-chapped because he’s lost four key starters to transfer (and five ball games)...and he has some interesting takes on the root cause. Whether you philosophically or politically agree with Gundy or not, this was a cow pie the size of Stillwater he stepped in.
We always get the “PLAYOFF CATASTROPHE” pieces this time of the year, but I greatly enjoyed this one from SI — Syracuse’s path to the playoffs:
SYRACUSE HAS A PATH TO THE PLAYOFF
Sure, go ahead and laugh. Much like when we concocted a disaster scenario that ended with Boston College as the ACC’s champion and playoff representative (apologies for the jinx, BC), today we’re ready to cook up a bit of Orange stew (sorry, not sorry).
Syracuse–Notre Dame is easily the best matchup of Week 12 and the only game this week that pits two top-15 squads against each other. A Cuse win at Yankee Stadium would throw a huge wrench into the playoff proceedings. “Even if the upset happens, how on earth do you get a two-loss Syracuse team that can’t even win its division into the playoff?” With a little imagination, that’s how. Let’s lay out the dominoes that need to fall.
Speaking of playoffs, ESPN asks a question that is as valid for the Sooners as it is the UCF Knights: Can a team with a defense that awful seriously be considered as a playoff contender. The Committee has pooped on UCF’s defensive effort, but maybe it’s time to take a second look at OU. Is an excellent offense alone enough to be an excellent team?
Once again on Saturday, Bedlam delivered another high-scoring thriller, which was finally decided by OSU’s failed two-point conversion try. With the 48-47 victory, the Sooners kept their Big 12 title and playoff dreams alive. But such a dismal defensive performance, woeful even by OU’s rapidly declining standards, raised two questions for the Sooners: With this porous of a defense, can OU win at No. 8 West Virginia in two weeks, then defeat the Mountaineers again (or No. 13 Iowa State or No. 18 Texas) in the Big 12 championship?
And even then, would a one-loss conference champ, owning unarguably the worst defense of any legitimate contender of the playoff era, still be worthy of a playoff bid?
Firing season is already upon us: DJ Durkin, caput. Bobby Petrino is out, and Luhvl is hoping that Mama Calls and Jeff Brohm takes the trip down I-65 to restore some credibility (he’s denied interest in the vacancy...for now.) But, alums don’t always work so well, ask Mike McIntyre who has rebuilt the woeful Colorado Buffaloes, winning one division title (and was in contention for another until last week.) He was given the boot today — and given the state of the Buffs before he arrived and now, I think he was done dirty. Whoever CU picks will inherit one helluva explosive passing game.
I include CU, because like Locks in Maryland, Tosh has P12 ties: it’s only a matter of time until the phone starts ringing for him too — or rumors abound, in any event.
Yesterday was Coach Saban’s Monday presser: Charlie Potter at 247/BOL has the longform quotes for you — and, hey! they’ve started to include video too. So, you’ve got one stop shopping.
On The Citadel...
”Coach Thompson’s done a really good job with his team. They’ve won three out of their last four games. The last couple of games they’ve outscored their opponents dramatically in the second half, and I think that they really know their offense and they know what to do based on what you’re doing. If they get a bead on what you’re doing and start running those plays, that’s what happened last week in Samford. They’re way ahead in the game, the last two games, 24-10, 24-7, I think, and came back and won both of those games.
There are no off weeks. Ever.
Sure, it’s a paycheck game, but Citadel may be the thing Tua needs to regain his form. It’s clear that Tagovailoa doesn’t fully trust his knee: He hasn’t consistently stepped into his passes since the latter frames of the Arkansas game. The result has been balls that have sailed on him and feeling a little pressure when he still has time to make a better throw.
“No. Why would we do that?” Saban said [about sitting Tua]. “I mean, to say this was not an important game or he doesn’t need to play? I think we need to do a better job of the people playing around him, doing what they’re supposed to do so he doesn’t get hit. And he needs to do a better job of stepping up in the pocket and getting rid of the ball, which he had several opportunities to do.
Look, I know this is nitpicking, and the kid was practicing by himself yesterday in the rain, but it’s the Citadel and he’s the best (offensive) player in the country. We gotta’ talk about something.
It would also be foolish to think that Saban doesn’t know what kind of a tremendous recruiting impact that having a Heisman-winning quarterback would yield — he seems to like this whole “score-at-will” thing. Likewise, you know he, Coach Locksley, and Coach Enos are as aware as we are that the Alabama record for passing TDs in a season is 30. Tua sits at 27. The purpose of playing against Citadel may not be to get Tua some numbers, but it’s likely not ignored either, even if it we don’t say the quiet part out loud.
None of the defensive linemen have seen the field in goal-line situations this season, as Brian Robinson has handled the fullback duties. But that hasn’t stopped them from campaigning.
“We’re all looking for it, we’re looking for it,” Buggs said. “Hopefully, the offense finds a package where all three of us defensive linemen can be on it. I think it would be cool to have all three of us in there some kind of way. I’ll do whatever for this team. I’m not a selfish player at all.
“But it’s a dream. I hope I can score one.”
If it were me, I’d do it against Auburn, for the extra pain.
We’ll be back a bit later with some more #content, though I’ve not decided what it will be from the three ideas I have going. But, you’re getting at least one more story today, and we’ll definitely be back this evening for CFP rankings show. (With the Veterans’ Day holiday, the schedule is a bit erratic: no squeaky hoops tonight — the Tide play on Thursday.)
Roll Tide, for the children.