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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban’s terrifying record against his former assistants

Padawan gonna Padawan.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Goodyear Cotton Bowl - Alabama v Michigan State

Alabama does.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

I honestly can’t disagree here.

“I think Tua’s a generational talent,” Dilfer said earlier this week. “I mean, I’ve said this over and over and over. I said it a year and a half ago before he got to Alabama. I think that he’s a kid that can go through his college career and never lose a game, considering where he’s at.

“I mean, he’s that good. The best I’ve ever seen.”

Tua Tagovailoa just makes everything seem so easy. And, it shouldn’t be. In my child-frighteningly long lifespan, only a few players have really done that as a college quarterback. He Who Must Not Be Named in Knoxville and Kerry Collins at Penn State are the only ones who immediately come to mind.

It’s one of my favorite times of the year: When Nick Saban faces a former assistant and then we get to hear about his formidable record against them. Saban comes in to this game against Aggie and Jimbo with a 12-0 record and his team outscoring those opponents 453-135. Yikes.

The great part about working for Nick Saban is that there’s no surer path to a head coaching job. Sixteen of his former assistants later went on to be head coaches. That includes nine current FBS head coaches and nearly a third of current SEC head coaches.

The bad part about working for Nick Saban is that, if you do get a head coaching job and are fortunate enough to play against him, he’s going to do his best to drive you out of it.

One of the issues Jimbo will face is how to slow down the nation’s top offense. Divine intervention is not allowed.

If you believed Hank South and other ‘Bama crootin’ folks, Alabama was in the mix for the nation’s top safety, 5-star Dax Hill. But, if you instead trusted Brent and CB, they’ve never wavered: and never thought Hill was in play for the Tide’s NSD19 class. They had long-since written him off. Chalk one up for RBR: Hill committed to Michigan last night. Sure, we can take a #VictoryLap here — but I’d still like to have a 5-star safety pls.

Jimbo’s press conference is here. He’s always a candid interview and a straight shooter to boot.

It’s probably the first time in recent memory that people are talking more about Alabama’s offense than the defense. But that defense, how have you seen them play and kind of grow already over the first few weeks?

I mean, again, they lost some key guys up front, but man, it’s like they just plug more guys in. I mean, Raekwon (Davis), (Quinnen) Williams, all those guys and (Isaiah) Buggs. Those big physical guys can still two-gap and use their hands. They’re so well-coached and they keep leverage on the football and how the ‘backers fit the safeties. And what they do a tremendous job of -- Nick has always done -- is how he relates the front end to the back end and how he fits things and how he doesn’t expose his guys. But at the same time, he knows who to expose and the great players that he can depend on and they utilize those guys.

One of the things that has made this offense so difficult to defend is the involvement of all the players in it. The Tide goes 5-deep at tailback, 12-deep at wide receiver, Irv Smith is coming up big (even if he’ll drop one per game), and even Hale Hentges is getting involved in the passing game. How do you stop that? Seriously?

-- Saban said he’s pleased with the distribution of touches among the receivers and running backs. He added that he’s sure certain players would like more, but that they need to focus on other aspects of their roles.

-- Saban characterized Irv Smith as a weapon because he says the defense often lose track of the tight end.

This is an interesting listen: Billy Lucci at TexAgs previews the A&M - Alabama game from an Aggies POV.

If you want Saban’s complete presser, it’s here at

But, if you want the high points, BOL has them thoughtfully provided for you, of particular interest are his comments on the crowd atmosphere. Aside from it helping the team, this is a big recruiting weekend for the Tide. And 102,000 going nuts for a ‘Bama beatdown always helps sell an 18-year old.

“Hopefully we’ll have a big-game atmosphere in Bryant-Denny Stadium where the fans are into it and really help our team to keep the emotional level in a difficult game where it needs to be so that we can continue to persevere and execute for 60 minutes in the game and maybe have some effect on their ability to execute. We need to make our stadium an advantage for us this week and I hope our fans really respond to that.”

Practice report from Aye Ell. It’s definitely worth checking out too for details on the option drills that Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa were running. Clemson had some success early working the edges with Bryant-Ettienne. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that wrinkle added to Alabama’s growing offensive fun bag.

-- Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings appeared to be involved in drills after he was spotted the previous two days standing off to the side.

-- Defensive back Shyheim Carter had his right hand heavily wrapped. In the team’s dime package, he lined up at safety along with Deionte Thompson, while Saivion Smith and Patrick Surtain II were at the outside cornerback positions, Trevon Diggs was at Star and Xavier McKinney at Money.

College football is a sty sometimes

Shut up, Art Briles.

WTF, LSU? Not being satisfied with two charges of domestic violence, an LSU wideout added kiddie porn to his growing rap sheet. Seriously, the content on Drake Davis’ phone turned my stomach. Not for the faint of heart or morally sound. After being merely suspended for the woman-beating, even LSU has its limits. Davis is now off the team. (Not to be too cynical, but it seems Davis’ problem in Baton Rouge is that he’s not a quality star running back!)

And, man, does that Ohio State investigation look stinkier than more ever now. Digital forensics showed that Meyer lied in Tuesday’s presser — his phone settings had been changed; the investigators were directed not to probe for texts; and, we’re supposed to believe, in contravention of state law, that OSU AD Gene Smith literally deletes every text on his phone after he sends or receives one? Yup. He gave the investigators a phone with zero messages on it. Nah, that’s not fishy or anything.

Finally, nerd beef and cut blocks

We’ve got nerd beef.

Vandy and ND was a super chippy game. Vanderbilt was cut blocking and diving at knees all game long, and the Irish were chopping like an Oregon lumberjack.

Here’s the beef:

“It’s legal, but it’s bad football,” Kelly said, via Yahoo. “It’s just bad football. And I have no problem saying it. You know, we’re so concerned about frontal cuts and we got a defensive end chopping him on every play, and he hung in there every play, was digging him out, blocking in line.”

Derek Mason was asked about Kelly’s comments on Wednesday, and he did not mince words.

“I don’t really care much about Brian Kelly’s comments about football. When you go back and watch that game from the holding to the post chops by Notre Dame, I thought it was bad football on their part,” Mason said.

The reason I bring this up, is because the NCAA modified its cut blocking rules this season specifically to mitigate the damage that undersized and option teams were doing in the blocking scheme — and there are far more flags being thrown for it. The problem is, the rule is such a razor thin one. Players can only cut when they are fully inside the tackle box and completely squared to the defender. If not? It’s the same penalty as a chop — 15 yard personal foul. It’s not just option teams getting dinged either. Traditional power running teams, like Iowa, have been flagged for this nebulous rule.

I personally don’t care if it costs a few yards. Flag it every time. There’s absolutely nothing fun about a cut block. The leg doesn’t bend that way, and even if a defender is square and sees it coming, the only option is to come to a screeching halt, or to leap backwards or sideways from a position of forward momentum and risk hyperextension or LCL/MCL injury. F&#% the cut block.


Cut blocking is ___

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    I have strong feelings and I have stated them below.
    (25 votes)
  • 63%
    Worse than Hitler
    (275 votes)
  • 8%
    A legitimate tactic that gives teams lacking athletic prowess a fighting chance. ‘Tis the noblest of blocks.
    (36 votes)
  • 22%
    This rule is proof that the NCAA is run by a bunch of damn commies who hate our troops and service academies.
    (95 votes)
431 votes total Vote Now