The Crimson Tide did not have the finish to the season that they had hoped. The truth is a nobody saw a 28-point loss coming. Even the pundits who picked the Tigers to win did not foresee a Clemson rout. But the final whistle has blown and the ink is dry in the records books. It’s time to move on.
Despite the loss, it was a very good season.
SABAN POST-GAME COMMENTS
NICK SABAN: Well, obviously we’re all very, very disappointed, but I’d like to say that I’m very, very proud of what our team was able to accomplish this year, to win 14 games, win the SEC, win the Orange Bowl, have an opportunity to play for the National Championship, really proud of our players, really proud of our team. And I don’t think that one game necessarily defines who you are, and that’s certainly what I’d like for our players to know. I think you learn a lot from experiences like this. We certainly didn’t play very well tonight, and we had some issues. We couldn’t get off the field on third down, we gave up a couple big time explosive plays on third down, third down and 13, third down and 9. We had plenty of opportunities to score offensively, have the ball at the 1-yard line, get a penalty, end up kicking a field goal, have it down there a couple more times, do a fake field goal and go for it on fourth down and don’t make it, get stopped on the goal line and 1-yard line another time.
Got to congratulate Clemson. They did a very, very good job. Their quarterback is really good, their skill players are really good. We actually stopped the run pretty well and created enough third-down situations, we just couldn’t get off the field on third down, couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities that we had on offense.
But the seniors on this team have done a fantastic job of representing the University of Alabama. I think they’ve won 50-some games or whatever since they’ve been here, and they’ve been a class group and provided a lot of leadership and a lot of good examples for the young players on our team, and we certainly appreciate them and wish them well in their future.
In addition to the achievements mentioned by Saban, Alabama beat Auburn, LSU (8th straight), and Tennessee (12th straight) very handily. Quinnen Williams won the Outland Trophy and Jerry Jeudy took home the Biletnikoff Award. This was just a few of the many other accolades showered on the Tide.
The good news is the Tide has only six major contributors who are out of eligibility. The bad news is, they are some pretty good ones:
- RB Damien Harris
- DL Isaiah Buggs
- OL Lester Cotton
- TE Hale Hentges
- LB Christian Miller
- OL Ross Pierschbacher
In addition to these seniors, Alabama is bound to lose some underclassmen to the 2019 NFL Draft. I hate to see any of them leave but a few of them really should take the leap:
- Redshirt sophomore DT Quinnen Williams - Go - He is projected in the Top 5.
- Redshirt junior S Deionte Thompson - ? - Started out as a hot tamale but cooled off down the stretch. He may want to think about this long and hard.
- Redshirt junior LB Anfernee Jennings - Maybe Stay - He had a really good year but another year could propel him into the first round.
- Junior TE Irv Smith Jr. - Maybe Go - He had a breakout season. I’m not sure what another year would do for Smith but it worked pretty well for OJ Howard to come back.
- Junior RB Josh Jacobs - Go - He is NFL ready. Plus, I hear he has some mouths to feed.
- Junior OT Jonah Williams - Go - First rounder.
- Junior LB Mack Wilson - ? - He would get drafted this year but he really needs to hone his craft. Then again, I have to wonder if he can get any better.
- Junior DL Raekwon Davis - Stay - Did not have the boffo season we hoped but on a personal level he may be ready to move on.
- Junior DB Shyheim Carter - Stay - Came on strong as the year progressed but another year would be a nice way to up his profile.
- Junior CB Trevon Diggs - Stay - A full healthy year as a lockdown corner could up his stock.
- Junior LB Terrell Lewis - Stay - Needs to get healthy and show what he can do.
SHOULD HE STAY OR SHOULD HE GO?
While I am 85% sure Jalen Hurts will grad-transfer, the Alabama quarterback has dropped hints that he might just hang around Tuscaloosa a little longer. To be brutally honest, I am starting to have doubts that Tua Tagovailoa can regain his earlier fearless form. Don’t get me wrong. He is an excellent quarterback but he had some issues crop up late in the season. Plus, he has had a myriad of injuries.
Hurts could possibly return to the Tide next season and attempt to win the quarterbacking job back. He LOVES Alabama, it’s another year under the tutelage of Dan Enos, and some pretty good targets to throw to. He could come back, not start, and still get drafted. Stranger things have happened.
- The Tide has an opening at Offensive Coordinator. The general belief is that Dan Enos and/or Josh Gattis will take over, but there have been others outside the Capstone who could try and snake one or both away.
- Could a promotion of Enos/Gattis open the door for a promotion of Butch Jones to full time assistant? We make fun of him but he has a very good football mind and the players love him.
- Pete Golding has shot down some potential suitors. He should be around another year.
- Brent Key has denied reports of him heading to Georgia Tech. Why would he unless they made him OC in Atlanta? The Yeller Jackets already have a new OC in place and I don’t think they can win a bidding war with Alabama if Nick Saban wants to keep him. Stay tuned...
- There have been rumors Craig Kuligowski might move on but that is all they are right now - rumors.
January 9 - Classes Begin. The following fifteen incoming freshmen are expected to be Early Enrollees (EE):
- Antonio Alfano DT Colonia, NJ 6’4”/285
- Pierce Quick OL Trussville, AL 6’5”/270
- Amari Kight OL Alabaster, AL 6’6”/300
- Shane Lee LB Baltimore, MD 6’0”/235
- Justin Eboigbe DE Forest Park, GA 6’5”/261
- Jeffrey Carter CB Mansfield, TX 6’0”/186
- King Mwikuta LB LaGrange, GA 6’4”/220
- Taulia Tagovailoa QB Alabaster, AL 6’0”/190
- Kevin Harris DE Loganville, GA 6’4”/218
- Paul Tyson QB Trussville, AL 6’4”/210
- John Metchie WR Hightstown, NJ 6’0”/188
- Darrian Dalcourt OL Baltimore, MD 6’3”/290
- DJ Dale DT Pinson, AL 6’3”/320
- Tanner Bowles OL Glasgow, KY 6’5”/270
- Will Reichard K Hoover, AL 6’1”/185
Alabama may sign as many as 5 or 6 more for the 2019 class. The following have planned official visits to T-town:
- January 11 DT Nathan Pickering (Seminary, MS)
- January 25 LB Henry To’oto’o (Concord, CA)
- February 1 DE Quashon Fuller (Lehigh Acres, FL)
- January 12 - Hale Hentges will marry Bama volleyball player Shannon Mikesky.
- February 6 - National Signing Day
- March TBA - Spring Practice.
- April TBA - A-Day
- August 31 - Alabama vs Duke in Atlanta, GA - only 8 more months!