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Jumbo Package: Crimson Tide defensive backfield still looking for right combination and chemistry

BONUS: Take our Matt Luke poll!

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Arkansas State v Alabama


Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Can we praise Tennessee and keep our jobs?

This time tomorrow morning, those of you on the Atlantic seaboard will wake up to beginnings of what should prove to be a catastrophic storm: slow-moving Hurricane Florence is going to do tremendous damage. After the eyewall replaced itself the past 36, this monster weakened from a Cat 4 to a Cat 2. The effects of the winds won’t be quite as bad, but the storm is still expected to bring 12’ walls of water and devastating storm surges. Again, please heed your mandatory evacuations. This one is a killer, folks.

And, if you’re heading west, the University of Tennessee has done something pretty awesome: evacuees from North and South Carolina that find themselves in Knoxville, and many will, can attend the Vols-UTEP game for free. I would normally snark about UT & UTEP football being further punishment, remedy for flagging attendance, etc., but this really is a very nice thing for the Tennessee administration to do. It’s hard to hate on some common decency and humanity when people need it the most.

Americans really are at our best when everything goes to hell in handbasket.

A college football game won’t assuage any fears, and a trip to Neyland won’t replace one ruined foundation, but for a few hours at least, it is shelter from the storm — quite literally.

Full release here on SBN Tennessee sister site Rocky Top Talk.

After that bit of depressing news, let’s move to something almost as depressing — Alabama’s kicking game and inconsistency.


With so many youngsters and new starters being pressed into service, it’s understandable that one of the most difficult parts of the transition has been mentally playing and preparing to a standard.

Here’s Saban a ton of different things going into a crucial conference opener:

DBs — including Shyheim Carter, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Trevon Diggs

Ole Miss — the challenge that the Ole Miss offense presents, and the good job that Matt Luke has done there (and he has, BTW).

Global praise for Jaylen Waddle.

Placekicking — Joseph Bulovas has sewn up the starter job. He’s had a good week in practice and seems to be very confident as a result of it.

SI has tabbed five teams that won’t win their conference or division, but that are certain to play a spoiler role, including the upstart Sun Devils and these selfsame Ole Miss Rebels...As usual, Mississippi ruins everything.

I’m not sure about declaring ASU out of though, y’all. The Pac 12 south is a mess. Why not buy in to a little Hermentum?

Three Top 25 games are cancelled so far, including the almost sure evisceration of North Carolina at the hands of UCF. Here’s the updated list of all cancellations via Sporting News.

Saban’s press conference also went into some detail about the evolution of the NFL into a passing league, including the adoption of RPOs in the pros.

Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald is having none of it though, calling them “the purest form of communism”. Look, you’re not going to get an argument from me on this one, Pat.

Here’s the complete skinny on Alabama’s movement in both placekicking and the shuffling in the secondary, including the Diggs experiment at Star.

Ultimately, you’d have really liked to see a settled lineup in the defensive backfield before this game. There is no team in the country, aside from maybe Oklahoma, that could test the Tide DBs quite like the Rebels will. And, given the critical nature of Star in the Tide’s base nickel, it would have been preferable had Carter unequivocally nailed that down early.

Still, you get the sense that in this game, it will be not just be Carter/Diggs/Surtain under the gun. The safety tetrad of Wright, McKinney, Mayden and Thompson are going to have to be very active. The secondary has held up well against two air-it-out squads. But, they haven’t faced as formidable a tandem as Jordan Ta’amu and A.J. Brown, and they may not see such a talented pairing again all season — outside of practice, of course #GumpToAStandard

Here is an excerpt from Casagrande’s practice notes. Disappointing to see that about Chadarius Townsend. He was always a ‘tweener that needed some work, but he’s been relegated all the way down to the scout team.

-- Redshirt freshman wide receiver Chadarius Townsend is working with the scout team.

-- Freshmen outside linebackers Eyabi Anoma and Jarez Parks were shadowing Anfernee Jennings and Jamey Mosley during drills.

Want to watch the RBs?

Of course you do.

Methinks that Alabama will try to shorten this game a bit if it jumps out to a huge early lead. The Rebels’ secondary is absolutely putrid, but the interior front seven may be just as bad. I expect Damien Harris to go off.

While Alabama has a pivotal opener, there is no more critical Week Three SEC game than LSU’s visit to Jerduhn Hair on Saturday. I think it’s a bad matchup for LSU, and is made worse by the fact that the game plan apparently includes passing.

Because tuning in to watch Orgeron and Ensminger throwing a bunch on the road with a 50% passer is exactly what America deserves for our iniquities and foibles. DYK: Joe Burrow also doesn’t believe quarterbacks should slide?

Someone may die in this game.

Hot on the heels of adding a sexy UT-Martin game to the schedule comes news of the 2021 game of the century — the conference-less New Mexico State Aggies are coming to town!

I’m not going into an extended rant about the schedule — I have a piece defending the FCS game coming in a week or so. But, I will say when you have eight home games, where one is an FCS, and you add two D1 soupcans, you cannot help but see a drop in attendance. Inflation is real, blowout fatigue is real, tax ramifications are real, donations are down, ticket prices are up. And no one, absolutely no one, wants to spend thousands — even tens of thousands — of hard-earned dollars to sit through 50% of a home slate with despicable games like this. No offense to NMSU, but this team doesn’t belong on the same field as Top 25 team. And Alabama shouldn’t be sending a million dollars to Las Cruces to make it happen either.

Tua’s Heisman hype keeps rising. He’s now a 2/1 favorite. One player that may not be in the running any longer is Stanford’s Bryce Love. Love had a good early start in the Tree win over USC. But he’s had a really quiet year to date. And now he’s out for “undisclosed injuries.”

That’s okay. I don’t think Love is the best running back in the country, much less the best player. If you’ve not seen him, tune in tonight to catch BC’s AJ Dillon. He’s the best running back you’ve probably never heard of: He’s almost good enough to play at Alabama.

Three things you need to know about Ole Miss before Saturday, per Tide 102.9.

I’ve been trying to decide if Matt Luke looks more like a crooked county land commissioner or the equally-corrupt small-town sheriff in cahoots with the commissioner.

“We can get you that variance...and we can just as easily say that’s unconstitutional spot-zoning too, son. It all depends on how you want to play this.”

/slides envelope across table

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Mississippi v Auburn

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Finally, because we all love Texas misery, it’s important to note that Tom Herman is getting the dread vote of confidence. He’s 15 games into a seven-year deal, and is already having to deal with questions about his job security.

Why does this matter to Roll ‘Bama Roll readers? Because, the Longhorns are instant and permanent candidates for the Meltdown! And I selfishly hope to see many more in 2018.

By all indications, we will.


Matt Luke most resembles

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Sales manager at small town car lot willing to sexually harass bad credit customers.
    (153 votes)
  • 20%
    Crooked county land commissioner 100% on the take
    (98 votes)
  • 23%
    Crooked small town sheriff who wrongfully accuses an innocent man
    (111 votes)
  • 16%
    Small town D.A. who bribes judges and wrongfully accuses an innocent man
    (76 votes)
  • 6%
    Other, below
    (29 votes)
467 votes total Vote Now