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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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One day closer to the National Championship!

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama practice report: Updates on injured LB Christian Miller, more

— Outside linebacker Christian Miller was present after hurting his left hamstring in the third quarter of Alabama’s victory over Oklahoma on Saturday. Miller was wearing a support strip on his leg and wasn’t involved in individual drills.

— Fellow pass rusher Anfernee Jennings’ left calf was heavily wrapped, but while he went to the back of the line in drills he was still active and participating.

Tua Tagovailoa, who said Monday he expected his rehabilitation of the left ankle he severely sprained in the SEC title game Dec. 1 to continue until the national championship game, looked fine and didn’t appear to be wearing extra protection on the joint.

— When Lester Cotton left practice briefly, Emil Ekiyor stood in for him as the first-team left guard. Cotton returned almost immediately.

With Miller uncertain and Jennings apparently ailing a little, this would be a GREAT time for Eyabi Anoma to finally put some things together and make an impact. LaBryan Ray would also be a welcome contributor— He was strangely absent last week after Miller went down and both Quinnen Williams and Isaiah Buggs were having to leave the game.

Alabama Vs. Clemson: 2019 National Championship And College Football Playoff Odds, Betting Breakdown

Certainly big special teams plays, turnovers, game-changing penalties or officials calls can impact the outcome in any game. They are often unforeseen results. But it is a rare situation when you can get an underdog of at least a touchdown that is both a defensive dominator along with a high-powered balanced offense that both runs and passes for more than 250 yards per game.

Clemson will be up to the challenge to beat Alabama and reward Tigers betting backers.

You can bet on it.

This is a piece from Forbes that is supposed to be about betting odds and the sort (since Forbes and finance go hand in hand). But it’s actually just a really long piece throwing every possible barb at Alabama it can. I actually came away impressed at how well the writer manipulated stats to make Alabama look extremely overrated. Had I not watched either team play all year, I’d come away believing that Clemson was the best team by a long shot.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s best move often goes unnoticed

Last week, Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos likened ball-handling to an “art form” and claimed it has been lost in an age when the emphasis on concocting a great scheme often supersedes the attention devoted toward improving fundamental execution. But in the Tide’s offense this practice is an essential component of Alabama’s plays, which regularly feature a run-pass option that has become de rigueur in this era of college football.

Last January, Enos was recruited by Nick Saban to enhance the Crimson Tide’s play-action game — something the Alabama head coach has long favored and Enos, a former college quarterback himself, has become known for in his professional life.

During meetings and practices with the quarterbacks, Enos has preached the gospel about the importance of executing the perfect fake, which incorporates the same principles the best pitchers in baseball use to fool hitters. In essence, it’s all about repeating the delivery and simulating the same motion to open more avenues for deception.

This is a really cool piece about what Dan Enos brought to Alabama in the way of selling the play action. I’ve seen statistical studies show that play action passing (in the pros, at least) are by far and away the most superior play in an offense’s playbook. Even teams without a semblance of a running game nearly always benefit from throwing in a play action fake.

Alfano wreaks havoc at Day 1 of All-American Bowl

Antonio Alfano received his fifth star and the No. 8 overall spot in the country from 247Sports back in November after a dominant senior season.

The New Jersey native’s goal heading into the All-American Bowl in Texas this week was to get the No. 1 spot in the final rankings, and after Day 1 of practice for the East team, it’s hard to argue there are many players better than the 6-foot-4, 274-pounder.

In a day largely consumed by team install and getting familiar with terminology, Alfano put together a dominant practice session and flashed in what is a loaded defensive line grouping.

The 5-star defender was an issue for every offensive lineman he went up against, particularly Clemson signee Will Putnam.

Alfano’s rise up the recruiting rankings this fall was meteoric. Once he showed out at a Nike Combine and got some insane SPARQ numbers out there, people started paying attention...which he rewarded with a ridiculously dominant senior campaign to gain a 5th star. Now he’s apparently looking significantly better than everyone at the All-America bowl so far.

A #1 overall recruit sure would be nice....