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Jumbo Package: It’s Game Week!

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Louisville v Clemson
Yeah, we get it, Bobby. We get it.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. It is officially game week, and the depth chart seems to be taking shape. Your practice reports:

-- Cornerback Trevon Diggs was in uniform and at practice but stood off to the side during the media viewing period. With Diggs not in there, freshman Patrick Surtain lined up at cornerback with the first-team defense. The first-team dime secondary was otherwise the same it’s been -- Saivion Smith at the other cornerback spot, Shyheim Carter at Star, Xavier McKinney at Money and Deionte Thompson and Jared Mayden at safety. Mack Wilson was at linebacker, as usual.

Offensive linemen Hunter Brannon, Kendall Randolph, Elliot Baker and Tommy Brown were all doing some scout team work with the outside linebackers. The first three guys on that list redshirted last season, while it looks like Tommy Brown is probably headed for one this year.

Trevon Diggs was reportedly gimpy and off to the side, which is not good news. At some point Saban is going to have to make everyone practice with their feet cloaked in bubble wrap. Diggs practiced the day before, so perhaps it is minor. Your top two CBs appear to be Diggs and Shyheim Carter, with Saivion Smith third and Patrick Surtain, Jr. fourth. In dime, Saban has always favored playing three safeties so it’s no surprise that Jared Mayden is the sixth DB. Xavier McKinney is the guy who has been rolling up into the Money spot, played last season by Ronnie Harrison.

As referenced in the OL note, Saban has made his decisions on who will play scout team this season and who will get game prep reps. Baker has to be disappointed after coming over as the top juco OL in the country. Slade Bolden is another guy who was unsurprisingly seen working on the scout team. Great chance that he redshirts as well.

Cecil Hurt is talking rat poison.

The perception is that Nick Saban, at 66, is at peak prowess. If, the theory goes, he will have the quarterback that Alabama fans have been waiting for since 1964, when Joe Namath ended his collegiate career in the Texas end zone (the officials did not agree, but we are talking about a theory here) in the Orange Bowl. The new Namath will be Tua Tagovailoa, if and when Saban declares him the starter. (Let’s not talk about the fate of Jalen Hurts in this scenario.) Combined with the rest of the offensive personnel, the new era will see an unstoppable offense and even if the defense loses a half-step compared to recent teams, it will hardly matter. This is not some parody of “crazy” Alabama fans, either. Reasonable people think this. “National experts,” self-proclaimed and otherwise, agree. Nothing is unanimous in the world, but the belief is widespread.

And it drives Saban crazy.

Yes it does.

Chris Fowler tweeted about a recent phone call with Saban.

Come on, Nick. We can all read the pineapples and coconuts.

Gotta love Denzel.

No idea who made this video, but we know how he’s leaning in the QB race.

His Barnett theory seems a little flawed. If ever there was a time for Blake to get another shot, it was after Alabama fell behind 24-3 in Oxford. Jalen obviously stayed in the game, then kept Barnett on the bench until garbage time the following week vs. Kent State.

On to Louisville:

Of the past 17 cases — dating back to Brigham Young after Ty Detmer left in the early 1990s — 16 of 17 teams have finished with worse records after losing Heisman-winning quarterbacks than they did with those quarterbacks.

That is the history facing Louisville in 2018.

The one team that improved was Southern California in 2003 — but only with another quarterback who would eventually also win the Heisman.

The Cards may in fact have the edge in the WR-DB matchup, but it won’t matter if Jawon Pass doesn’t have time.

Pass likely won’t because Alabama will stop Louisville’s running game to force him to throw. That’ll leave Louisville’s offensive line the daunting task of blocking 6-7, 316-pound Raekwon Davis and the Alabama defensive line with fast linebackers Lyndell “Mack” Wilson and Dylan Moses shooting the gaps.

And trust me, they’ll all be coming after Pass with bad intentions.

The game itself was easy enough to remember since nothing that happened in the final 45 minutes was memorable, or even relevant. Louisville came out firing, Browning Nagle hit on a couple of long touchdown passes. Then the Cardinals blocked a punt for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter to take a 28-0 lead and that, as they say, was that. Gene Stallings was a fine, championship-winning coach but his team was not built for overcoming from a 28-0 deficit any more than hippopotamus on roller skates is built to win the Tour de France.

Cecil has a way with words, doesn’t he?

Hey, let’s compare receivers!

The 6-foot-4, 223-pound Smith is Louisville’s top returning receiver after catching 60 passes for 980 yards and seven touchdowns last season. But he missed nearly three weeks after having an emergency appendectomy at the start of fall camp that could limit him against the Crimson Tide.

Fitzpatrick (699 yards, team-high nine TDs) and Dawkins (642, four TDs) are eager to handle the load for a deep unit in which Corey Reed and Josh Johnson contributed as freshmen.

“Last year it was more of a learning experience,” Jeudy said. “This year it’s just knowing how to get better and being more of a leader and helping the other guys.”

All three players have had the time to work at multiple receiver positions now, allowing them to move inside or outside based on matchups. That’s something the trio wasn’t prepared to do when last season began, but could help the unit this season.

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Being a little short on depth in a couple spots is a concern for the team, but there are always silver linings.

Congratulations to both young men. The gentleman on the left is senior DB D.J. Lewis, and I have to admit that until now I had never heard of him. Meyer is the snapper for placekicks while Thomas Fletcher handles the punts. Yes, Alabama now has two long-snappers on scholarship.

Hewitt-Trussville played Cedar Grove (Ga.) on Saturday in a game that featured five Bama commits. Two of them hooked up for a long TD.

Beautiful pitch and catch. Tyson and company have that big date October 26 on ESPN2 against Taulia Tagovailoa’s Thompson-Alabaster squad that also features Tide commit Amari Kight. Did you happen to catch what Taulia did on Friday night?

Kid had over 300 yards at halftime, folks.

Coach Avery Johnson’s squad will open SEC play with... Kentucky.

The Crimson Tide will open the conference portion of its schedule in Coleman Coliseum against Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 5, as the Southeastern Conference unveiled the 2019 men’s basketball composite league schedule on Friday. Tipoff times along with TV selections will be released at a later date.

This is really unfortunate since the bulk of the students won’t be there on the 5th. Kentucky usually draws a big crowd though, so perhaps the home court advantage will be there.

Eryk Anders bounced back from his first loss in fine fashion.

Fighting out of Birmingham, Anders raised his MMA professional record to 11-1 and moved to 3-1 in Ultimate Fighting Championship events. Last time out, Anders lost a split decision to former champ Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC Fight Night 125 in his opponent’s hometown of Belem, Brazil, on Feb. 3.

After Saturday night’s fight, Anders told the crowd in an interview from the Octagon that he “came to finish. I don’t like to let it go to decision.”

Hmmm, wonder where he got that obsession with finishing?

Last, 2018 is the year of the spectacularly named QB. We all met Cole McDonald on Saturday, though he apparently doesn’t have a farm E-I-E-I-O. Check out these two.

General is related to Josh and John David Booty, but Steele Fortress? That has to be the coolest name I’ve ever seen.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.