Happy Monday, everyone. We’ll start off with a reminder that tomorrow is Alabama’s SEC Network takeover day, so set your DVRs accordingly. Complete schedule can be found here.
Jalen Hurts posted an individual highlight video that is clearly intended to show how he’s shutting out all the noise.
If Jalen is to become a NFL QB prospect, he will look to follow the trajectory of another famous Houstonian, Texas Longhorns legend Vince Young. The stat lines of the two men as college sophomores were remarkably similar:
Young: 148/250 (59.2%), 1849 passing yards, 167 rushes for 1079 yards, 25 total TD
Hurts: 154/255 (60.4%), 2081 passing yards, 154 rushes for 855 yards, 25 total TD
Luke Hurts, Young was widely panned for inconsistent passing that critics suggested would derail any NFL dreams. He then went on to increase his numbers to 65% for over 3000 yards as a junior, while still rushing for 1000, with 38 total TDs en route to one of the most memorable national titles in college football history as some scrub named Colt McCoy took a redshirt season. He was also drafted third overall by the Tennessee Titans and won NFL Rookie of the Year, though his prototypical 6’5” height had something to do with that. Of course, Texas also famously switched to the spread offense during Young’s career as a starter, back before everyone was doing it. Defenses are now better at taking away the first read.
By the way, Saban said this just last week.
Probably means little, but the timing is interesting, anyway.
Cecil Hurt decided to write about... /gulp... kickers
Alabama fans have come to sort of grudging acceptance that the football gods don’t just hand out championships without exacting a price in return. That price is field goals — not singling out any of the kickers in particular. Some have been good enough but oddly vulnerable to supreme moments of stress.
This will likely be true of the Crimson Tide’s 2018 kickers. The front-runners, with competition still underway as Saban would remind you with a glare, are probably Joseph Bulovas at placekicker and Skyler DeLong (also a great name) at punter. There are high expectations (for the punter, it is equaling Scott; for the kicker, it is fulfilling the hope that things have got to get better eventually.)
Both remained relatively anonymous in Atlanta. Maybe if it stays that way, or is a little better, Alabama will be back in Atlanta in December.
Personally, I hope both kicking specialists stay virtually anonymous all season. No field goal attempts or punts would be just fine. In fact, I hope that Alabama one day loses its only punter to transfer due to lack of playing time. That would be spectacular.
Next up is rat poison. Rat poison everywhere, I tell you.
The Tide, of course, ranks No. 1 among SEC teams in its all-time record of victories and winning percentage. On the field, Bama has played 1,283 games with a record of 920-319-44, a success rate of 73.4 percent. Even with eight victories and a tie forfeited and 21 wins vacated, Alabama’s all-time record is 891-328-43, a winning percentage of 72.3. (Tennessee, which has been on a different trajectory than Alabama, is second to the Tide nationally with a record of 833-383-53 and winning percentage of 67.7.)
Those 26 SEC Championships by Alabama are equal to the total by the next two teams, Georgia and Tennessee with 13 each.
Alabama, which has a winning record against every SEC opponent, leads the all-time conference standings with a record of 412-168-20 for 71.3 percent. Tennessee is second both in wins and winning percentage at 334-207-19 for 62.2 percent.
Alabama (+175) – Ok, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude that Alabama will likely repeat as National Champions. After all, they have arguably the best coach in college football history in Saban, and they have a quarterback returning who just led his team to an incredible comeback in the biggest game of the year. Oh ya, the Crimson Tide have four players on defense who will likely be a first or second team all Americans and 13 of the top 300 high school players committed to Alabama this season. There is really no reason to bet against the Crimson Tide finding a way to repeat.
The last four national championships under the SEC banner — in 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017 — are all in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Tide have won so much that the conference’s slogan, “The SEC Just Means More,” has become outdated.
It should read: “The SEC Just Means More for Alabama.”
If you think this season could be different, you’re probably also thinking that Hugh Freeze will get another head-coaching job in the SEC, and that Mike DuBose will succeed Nick Saban if Saban ever retires as Alabama’s coach.
That last link is from the Knoxville News, so I posted it just for the headline. Hint: it ain’t gonna be Tennessee who stops it. If interested, there is also a video at that link of some rotund bald guy bragging about Tennessee’s record against Alabama in the 90s.
Al.com’s Creg Stephenson mentioned the one worry, other than injury of course, that sticks in the back of Alabama fans’ minds.
There are lots of new faces and little returning experience in the defensive backfield for the Crimson Tide. Given the number of big, fast receivers in the SEC, mistakes in the secondary can lead directly to losses.
This will be, by far, the least experienced secondary of the Saban era, and that includes the 2010 and 2013 units. Luckily, the overall talent on the roster eclipses that of the 2013 group, and even without Terrell Lewis the edge rush should be better than the 2013 rotation of Adrian Hubbard, Xzavier Dickson, and Denzel Devall.
We’ll close out yet another slow offseason news day with some NFL notes for you.
“It’s mainly just my recovery and going into the games,” Humphrey said. “I used to leave, not necessarily late, but it seemed that no matter how late I ever left, Weddle was still in the building, Suggs was still in the building. All those guys that are Pro Bowl guys -- a player that I want to be -- were still in the building, whether it was doing some type of recovery or doing some film. So, for me, it was just studying a little bit more and recovering a lot more.”
During Tennessee’s offseason program, Vrabel said Evans had “a lot to learn” before he’s ready to step into the lineup.
”He’s not where needs to be to start for our defense and that’s OK,” Vrabel said. “There’s no expectations. These guys all want to say, ‘Did I exceed expectations?’ We haven’t played a game yet. Whether it be Rashaan or (second-round pick) Harold (Landry), as long as these guys are coming out each day and they’re getting better at something, that’s what we’re worried about -- and I think they have.
”I think he’s improved, but we all have a long way to go.”
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported on Friday that Stewart had tested positive for a diuretic or masking agent. The NFL considers such results as a positive, or failed, test.
That’s about it for today. August is almost here, folks, and kickoff is a mere 40 days away. Have a great week.