Happy Monday, everyone. We will start with the clickbait story of the weekend that involved a quote about Saban from an anonymous peer.
”If you had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country every year [you’d win like Nick Saban]. He shows up at every single game with a better roster than the teams he ‘s playing. … If you count cheating and getting the best players in the country as part of running a program, he’s the best in the country. It’s like saying an NFL coach is the best coach in the league if he gets 25 first-round picks every year.”
Predictably, #hotsportstake internet latched onto that “cheating and getting the best players line” like a hungry calf. “Anonymous coach accuses Saban of cheating!” they say.
Your mileage may vary, but it reads to me that the coach is referring to having the best players as “cheating” in terms of playing with a stacked deck, and this is why he considers Saban to be overrated. It’s a rather ridiculous assertion since recruiting is one of the most critical components of a college coach’s job, but hardly as salacious as some others would have you believe.
In real news, your scrimmage reports:
Waddle had a big day. He was the star of the scrimmage and is definitely expected to be a factor for Alabama this season, on offense and possibly on special teams, too. The Texas native got some reps with the first-team offense Saturday and it seems like he may have also been the first-team punt returner.
— Alabama’s front seven had a good day. The starting defensive line of Isaiah Buggs, Quinnen Williams and Raekwon Davis all did well, while Dylan Moses stood out at linebacker. Freshman outside linebacker Eyabi Anoma also showed plenty of promise as a pass rusher and should be a capable replacement for injured Christopher Allen and Terrell Lewis.
— Both kickers were 2-for-3 on their field-goal attempts. Graduate transfer Austin Jones made a field goal from more than 50 yards out.
We’ve all heard Saban rail about the secondary, and that both QBs had nice days throwing the football. The other key note was that Saturday seemed to be Jaylen Waddle’s coming out party. The yardage estimates I saw put him somewhere in the 150 yard neighborhood with a couple of scores, and he was in rotation at both kickoff and punt return. Anoma has been getting rave reviews all camp and, well, I guess it’s a good thing as he and classmate Cameron Latu will have to play immediately. Both kickers have apparently impressed in camp, though 67% sounds a bit subpar in this one.
He has reason to feel distressed. His top linebackers -- Jennings, Miller, Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses -- all suffered serious injuries in 2017 and missed multiple games. Behind them, as Saban noted, are a bunch of talented but inexperienced defenders like Eyabi Anoma, Jarez Parks and Markail Benton.
For a coach who obsessively prepares for worst-case scenarios and formulates contingency plans to mitigate potential disasters, Saban knows Alabama is perilously close to realizing a serious predicament.
Jarez Parks is another guy who will see increased action thanks to attrition. Hopefully he shows out so that folks will shut up about grayshirts. OK, that will never happen, but we’re rooting for him to show out just the same.
On that secondary:
It took Diggs more than a year of sticking at defensive back in college before he started to become at ease with the position. Some of his teammates are making that adjustment now, and he’s trying to help them.
“I knew the position, I just didn’t know the plays,” he said. “It’s like you know one thing, but you can’t really do it because you don’t really know. Once you get the plays and stuff taken care of everything starts falling into place. It’s an easy turnover once I got everything, and I feel more comfortable.”
Starters: Trevon Diggs, Saivion Smith, Shyheim Carter / Patrick Surtain Jr.
Backups: Josh Jobe, Jalyn Armour-Davis
Reserves: Nigel Knott
Reasoning: The Crimson Tide lines up in a nickel formation more often than not, and when it has this preseason, Diggs and Smith have been the cornerbacks, and we have seen a mixture of Carter and Surtain at the Star position. The youngsters at corner will make impacts this fall. It is just a matter of where and how many. Knott has appeared limited at times in camp.
Diggs and Carter should be the leaders of the CB group. With Carter cross-training at safety, you have to believe that those four listed starters, true freshman Surtain included, will likely be on the field together in dime. People have talked extensively about the linebacker depth, but corner? Hoo boy. Two true freshmen and a guy who hasn’t been healthy since arriving on campus two years ago.
The former Crimson Tide star safety, who was recently hired as the sideline reporter for Alabama’s gameday radio team, will also be part of the Tide football staff.
Johnson is joining the Alabama staff in an off-field role, AL.com has learned.
This is interesting. I think we call that a spy.
Hey, guess who Lane retweeted this time?
This was in reference to some apartments across Hackberry from the practice fields. Someone spotted folks watching practice from their balconies, which runs contrary to their lease agreements. Saban is the law in Tuscaloosa, folks.
Someone asked Cam Sims if Saban messed up by not getting him the ball more.
“He ain’t never make no mistakes, you see it, I got two rings,” Sims said at Redskins camp. “He ain’t making no mistakes. I went to the college playoffs four years in a row, he ain’t making no mistakes.”
The Redskins are expected to keep at least five wide receivers on this season’s roster and there’s several spots up for grabs behind Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson Jr. Sims has gotten a lot of work in the preseason and has shown a knack for big plays this month — five catches for 131 yards in two games, and an acrobatic touchdown that was called back due to an illegal procedure.
Cam has a great chance to make the roster, but should be a shoo in for the practice squad if he doesn’t.
Last, Ridley was The Man for Matt Ryan as Julio sat out for precautionary reasons on Friday night.
He also caught a short TD pass against a pretty good Chiefs secondary.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.