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Jumbo Package: Is 2018 really Alabama’s to lose?

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Defensive substitutions, sacks, punting, ULL RPOs, recruiting and more in today’s thick Jumbo Package

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">NCAA Football: Texas A&amp;M at Alabama

Large man, imminent violence. Alabama is second in the nation with 16 sacks.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t going to shock anyone, but Tua Tagovailoa and Isaiah Buggs were named the SEC players of the week on offense and defense respectively.

I’m honestly not sure who had the more impressive stat line either:

Tua Tagovailoa amassed 397 yards of total offense and five touchdowns against the Aggies. He finished 22-of-28 passing for a 73.3 percent completion percentage, totaling a career-high 387 yards which ranks fifth in a single game in the Alabama record books.

As for Buggs, he had 3.5 sacks, 7 tackles, four tackles for loss and 2 QB pressures. He earned a lot of April 2019 money on Saturday.

Here was yesterday’s Big Monday Presser with Coach Saban, via al.com

If you don’t have time for the full press conference, AL has summarized it for you too. Among other things, Saban was particularly annoyed/disappointed with the penalties, and singled out Skyler DeLong for the need to work on his confidence.

-- Saban was particularly disappointed with the four penalties incurred on special teams Saturday.

-- Saban said punter Skyler DeLong was really good in practice last week but that his confidence in the game is not where it needs to be right now.

And, BOL has a bit more substantive recap:

On defensive substitution...

”Well we had, you know, tried to call timeout because we had 12 guys on the field once. So definitely like to not have those kinds of penalties. We had a couple of those on special teams this year, too, which to me goes right back to the attention to detail stuff that you always try to focus on and get right. We really have better football players then to be making those kinds of mistakes in the game.

Forde’s Dash hits you with 10 teams that are unbeaten but unloved. But some of that is for good reason.

But, take a closer look at the AP Top 25 and honestly tell me why Cal or Duke should be ranked at the moment. Duke has a decent case, with two P5 road wins under belt. But we have to look at those wins: Northwestern is rebuilding (possessing a win over one-win Purdue) and Baylor is still decimated (also a win, but over lowly Kansas.) Cal probably has the better case, pummeling woeful UNC at home, but oicking up a really nice road win over BYU. We’ll have to see how the Cougars do to fully asses how quality a win that 4-point Cal victory was.

Anyway, for those of you who like to fight about polls, have at it.

Yes, the answer you’re looking for is yes.

The Crimson Tide are clicking on both on offense and defense and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has Alabama’s offense looking like the best in the Nick Saban era. Could Alabama control their own dynasty on the road back to the College Football Playoffs?

Barrett Sallee of CBS Sports joined The Game with Ryan Fowler to discuss his thoughts on Alabama’s offense against the Aggies, is this Alabama’s season to lose...

People accused me of uncustomarily having too much Gump this offseason when I confidently and repeatedly said that this team would breeze through a 15-0 season. A third of the way through 2018 have you seen anything to indicate otherwise, either from Alabama or its would-be playoff opponents? If anything, the Crimson Tide looks better than most of us had imagined — and that’s terrifying. Not to count chickens before they hatch, but if this team stays healthy, I don’t think there’s anyone in the country within two touchdowns of Alabama on a neutral field. #EarlyGumpDay

Remember when we were all worried about the secondary? This group of young, talented defensive backs are playing with a lot of confidence and in turn are generating some of our favorite plays: NOTs on NOTs on NOTs. The statistics on how this completely overhauled secondary has performed is nothing short of astonishing.

In reality, the Tide is performing at an advanced level.

Alabama has yet to allow an opposing player gain more than 100 receiving yards and has surrendered only three passing plays of 30 or more yards. At the same time, the secondary has already netted six interceptions and returned three for touchdowns.

This happened yesterday morning, and was hilarious. I think that should be Tua’s new nickname.

I know my battery needed to be charged.

When your head is so far up your butt you can give yourself a tonsillectomy, you do dumb things — like rank Alabama third. When you shove it up there so far that you become a metaphor for yourself, you double-down on that ridiculous claim as Missouri’s Soren Petro did.

Fall baseball practice began last week, and there is a full calendar week of workouts underway this week. One of the cooler things Bohannon does is heavily promote the Tide’s combo practices- public scrimmages.

The Crimson Tide’s practice-scrimmage combination dates on Tuesday and Thursday will begin at 2:15 p.m. CT and run until 3:45 p.m. with first pitch of the intrasquad to immediately follow. Friday’s schedule will feature the same time for practice with the scrimmage set for a 4 p.m. start.

Admission to Alabama baseball’s on-field activity is free to the public. Fans are asked to enter Sewell-Thomas Stadium through the main gate (Gate 3) located directly behind home plate. Once inside, fans are to stay in the lower bowl seating area with access to the upper levels of the stadium strictly prohibited.

Full schedule above.

I suspect when the Fall camp wraps up, Roger will have provide us with the state of ‘Bama recruiting (by all indications, going very well) and a camp overview.

Relatedly, Alabama softball gets underway in October too. As part of Fall camp, the Tide will play four doubleheaders at Rhoads Stadium.

Alabama softball will play four doubleheaders at Rhoads Stadium during the month of October, UA head coach Patrick Murphy announced Tuesday.

One familiar face no longer around is Alabama’s Wonder Woman, Alexis Osorio. Last season Osorio threw a record 21 strikeouts in one game, a feat so outrageous, she was even featured on MLB.com

Still, it is a veteran team, with 13 players coming back from last season’s somewhat disappointing outing — grading on the Alabama curve (though the Tide did win its regional for the 21st straight year and made its 13th straight super regional.) And Alabama has tended not to have two unsteady campaigns in a row.

Don’t underestimate the value of kindness

In addition to selling Gran’ma, he and Mack Wilson were palling around during his OV to Tuscaloosa this past weekend. Kayvon is the No. 1 prospect at Weakside defensive end — and indeed, the nation’s overall top prospect — a position that will be vacated this year with the almost-certain departure of Raekwon Davis. A lot of scouts are already gushing that he’s NFL-ready.

247’s Crystal Ball is all over the place on Thibodeaux, and I can’t intelligently speak of it, so I’ll let Brent or CB discuss Alabama’s chances of bringing him to the Capstone.

The coaching staff named its eight players of the week yesterday. Among them was Damien Harris

Senior running back Damien Harris

Harris had 100 yards from scrimmage, running for a team-high 52 yards on seven carries and catching two passes for 48 yards.

Thanks, Arkansas.

Because the Piggies hired a buffoonish high school coach and are clearly reaping what they sow, Alabama’s tilt in Fayetteville has now been relegated to the 11:00 JP slot. This is particularly disappointing to a noble Alabama program, since 11:00 a.m. stinkers and Auburn have traditionally gone hand-in-hand.

Alabama will travel to Arkansas for its second SEC road game of the season on October 6 and that game will kickoff bright and early again.

The Southeastern Conference announced kickoff times for week six of the season and this SEC West matchup will start at 11 AM om ESPN.

Interesting SI MMQB piece here on the NFL adapting to the college game, and in particular how some of the Gundy-Monken Air Raid schemes have made their way into Tampa and made Fitzpatrick the season’s biggest star:

This offseason, coach Dirk Koetter quietly handed the play-calling reins over to offensive coordinator Todd Monken, the former Oklahoma State OC and Southern Miss head coach. And those who know Monken say the last couple of weeks looks awfully familiar.

“Our goal is to scare the defensive coordinator,” said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, who worked with Monken over his two stints in Stillwater. “If we don’t scare the defensive coordinator, the play-caller from the other team during the game, then we’re not doing our job. That’s the way we look at it at Oklahoma State. We want them to be concerned throughout the game that we’re going to throw the ball over their head, all during the game.

Most people took Saban’s request to trash his team earnestly, pointing out errors the Tide has made. CBS’ Tom Fornelli took a different tack, a very tongue-in-cheek one:

Well, all right, Nick. If it makes you happy.

Alabama sucks. That’s right, I said it. Sure, it may be 4-0, but who has it even played to this point? It’s beaten up on Louisville, Arkansas State, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Those four teams have combined for 10 wins over such stalwarts as Southeastern Missouri, Tulsa, UNLV, Northwestern State, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas Tech, Southern Illinois, Kent State, Indiana State and Western Kentucky. I mean, Virginia beat Louisville, too, but I don’t see anybody rushing to rank the Cavaliers because of it.

WHEW. That was a lot to get through, and we’ve got plenty more for you too: Sexy punting action, Random Thoughts, and the Meltdown. Have a great day and may your love be as pure and true as Jerry Jeudy’s hands.