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Jumbo Package: Coaching staff analyzes RPOs as pass plays, even when the quarterback runs

Well, that would explain why Alabama hasn’t adjusted to running quarterbacks all season.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 Alabama at Texas A&amp;M

Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In a game that saw Tua Tagovailoa set season-lows in completion percentage and QBR, and featured a noticeable flap between he and star WR Jerry Jeudy, Tua was at least quick to place blame where it seemed to most lie — miscommunication and some of his decision-making, particularly in the red zone:

“I think our communications — me and some of the guys in the receiving corps,” Tagovailoa said. “The interception, the decisions I’ve made in the red area.”

The process for correcting that began quickly. The game footage was waiting for Tagovailoa on a tablet to watch on the flight back from College Station to Tuscaloosa. “And if you have any questions our coaches are right there so you can ask them,” he said. “You could teach yourself.”

At the midpoint of Year 2 as the starter, Tagovailoa listed decision-making as an area that still needs sharpening.

It is a testament to the standard that Tua and this offense are held to — by themselves, no less — that throwing for four scores, having just one turnover, and routing a Top 25 team on their own field raises more cause for concern than accolades, eh?

Auburn fans and boosters are convinced they can just pull the trigger and lay the $9 million or so per year it would require to lure Bob Stoops out of retirement. But, there shall likely be another, better suitor for Big Game’s services — the disappointing USC Trojans, playing in a far weaker and wide open PAC 12. Clay Helton is a dead man walking.

And lest we remind you, all of his bad historic PR from Sunshine Law disclosures won’t apply: USC is a private school. We won’t even know how much the Trojans are willing to throw into the program to make it a national player again.

Bob Stoops (23). After two seasons of retirement, Stoops is clearly ready to get back in the game. He’s the head coach of the Dallas franchise in the new XFL, which drafts its first players Tuesday. It wouldn’t be a great look if he jilted the just-born franchise months before its first game in 2020 — but let’s be honest, would any of us rather chase a national championship at USC or start from scratch with second-tier pro players in an off-brand league?

In accordance to prophecy, Alabama-LSU Game of the Century V will be a 2:30 kick in Tuscaloosa on CBS.

No inclement weather expected in the long-range forecast — just plenty of sunshine, plenty of libations, and a game with the potential to mean everything.


We’re about ready to turn the page on Alabama’s 47-28 victory over Texas A&M, but one final recap first: Rodney Orr and Tider Insider tackle the task.

He’s banged up, but he’s honestly the lone bright spot on that Vol offense: freshman QB Brian Maurer.

And, it looks like he’ll be making his first road start this week.

Freshman Brian Maurer, who has started the last two games for the Vols, sustained a concussion during the team’s win over Mississippi State on Saturday but it seems like he will be able to play versus the Crimson Tide on Saturday.

”Brian took some reps last night at practice,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters Monday. “He’s going to be fine (for the Alabama game), I’m sure.”

The Vols’ lone bright spot on defense? Henry To’oto’o? He’s in timeout for a half alongside Devonta Smith.

But, while Smith’s picked up a BS personal foul by retaliating against the Aggies’ dirty play, To’oto’o is gone the first half for targeting.

Having had their butts whipped all across Sanford Stadium, Georgia was reduced to whining after a few South Carolina players took some clippings of the Hedges home with them.

...As if privet is at all threatened by a few leaves and twigs heading back to Columbia.

Now, USCe is predictably being strong-armed into apologizing.

The XFL Draft is upcoming, and nine former ‘Bama standouts are in the pool of potential players:

The professional football league is getting set for its reboot, starting with its draft that runs Oct. 15-16. In all, nine former Alabama players (that ended their college careers with Alabama) are in the XFL draft pool, which was announced this week. They are: running back Trent Richardson, defensive backs Hootie Jones and Bradley Sylve, offensive linemen Cyrus and Arie Kouandjio, Leon Brown, and Korren Kirven, defensive lineman Adrian Hubbard, and wide receiver Richard Mullaney.

This is sobering, to say the least.

Amid the latest CTE data, which again emphasizes the devastating nature of repeated subconcussive trauma, comes this PSA aimed at parents via the Concussion Legacy Foundation:

The full story is here, including a summary of the latest research.

On a personal note, I will tell you that I have long struggled with my role in promoting the sport too. I love football. To the chagrin of many, I even get paid actual US currency to write about it. At the same time, I am aware of the carnage it is leaving behind in our young people, and at precisely how early an age that trauma is actually beginning.

As a parent, it terrifies me. As a person with some regard for humanity, it concerns me. That said, here I am, excited as always about the Third Saturday, celebrating crushing hits, marveling at how Cornbread mashes defenders when he puts a hat on them — cheering the slow-rolling future catastrophe, one snap at a time.

There obviously is a time and place for self-agency: when does a child get to decide that he can undertake substantive risks to the rest of his life? I don’t know the answer there. But I do know that it wouldn’t be while they were under my roof — I would not permit my child to play football in 2019.

It seemed a joke, when Jeremy Pruitt referenced Pulaski Academy and their data-based never-kick, never-punt strategy and A11 offense.

Coach Jeremy Pruitt could turn to an incredibly creative strategy to keep the ball away from the deadly Alabama offense.

”I was thinking about there’s a high school team over in Arkansas, they always onside kick, they never punt,” he said. “I’ve never seen them play, [but] I always hear people talk about it. In fact, I think they played one of the high school teams here in our state this year, somebody was talking about it. So, we really kind of considered that as our game plan. Just don’t give them the ball, if we can do that.”

It’s only half-joking, I know. But, honestly, it’s not the worst idea. Make the Alabama defense earn the ball back. Given the Vols’ defensive issues, a three-and-out-and-punt by the offense and that other sorts of traditional coachthink isn’t going to get this one done. However, holding on to the ball for a few more plays plays, extending drives, flipping the field, and occasionally even scoring, may keep this one closer.


Pat Forde’s Five Worst Things of the Season has three things from the SEC in it...which seems unfair, given the state of the PAC 12.

You heard it from fans all offseason — with a second year in Coach X’s system, we’ll start to see results on the field. The culture (so much talk about culture) has been built. The payoff is near.

Here’s the update on that: It’s not working for Scott Frost at Nebraska. Or Chip Kelly at UCLA. Or Willie Taggart at Florida State. Or Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee. Or Chad Morris at Arkansas. Or Joe Moorhead at Mississippi State. Or Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M. Their combined record in Year 2: 18-25. Their combined record against Power Five competition: 8-19. Their combined salary in Year 2: $31.35 million, or roughly $4 million per Power Five victory thus far.

Nick Saban’s first presser of Third Saturday was yesterday, and he was expansive, touching upon discipline, miscommunication, lack of focus, youth, the emergence of some unexpected names (Markail Benton, Christian Barmore for instance), the job Jeremy Pruitt is doing in Knoxville, and much, much more:

On scrambling quarterbacks:

“And these teams that throw the ball a lot -- we actually played the run better in this game on the running plays. But as we do stats, when the quarterback scrambles for 100 yards in the game or whatever and it shows up on the rushing stats, to us, that’s a pass. So, we put it in the passing stats, aight, because it’s a pass play. So, when they ran the ball, we were a little better, but we didn’t do a good enough job of containing a very athletic quarterback on a consistent basis.”

I have a whole lot of thoughts on this, and not many of them are positive. If the coaching staff is viewing those rushes as passing yards, then I don’t expect that we’ll see much adjustment in scheme — the plays the athletic guys are making are being viewed through the prism of passing concepts.

And, that certainly does explain why Alabama has never adjusted to even those teams presenting no threat to pass (cough, Ole Miss) or those marginal QBs where the back-end should have been more than capable of locking it down with a base DB package (cough, Kellen Mond).

So, what do we think here? I think that this may require a drastic rethink on the part of the Tide’s coaching staff between now and November 9th — Joe Burrow is an exceptionally mobile quarterback, and the Tigers scheme plenty of option plays and RPOs for him. If Alabama is going to cede 10-12 carries and 60 yards or so as short passing attempts, then you have to expect that the Tigers will be more than willing to take it.

Okay, we have a ton more for you today. So, let’s get to it. And, answer our discussion question below

REMEMBER: You still have the rest of this week to enter our contest to win a berth on the Crimson Tide Cruise. If you’ve not entered, you still have time — Sunday is the deadline.



Would you allow your child to do play football in 2019 — the way the game is currently played, with its present rules and equipment, with our present knowledge of CTE and other injury risks?

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    Yes, if they want to.
    (161 votes)
  • 28%
    Not even if they want to.
    (155 votes)
  • 32%
    It depends on the age of the child.
    (177 votes)
  • 8%
    Like a Facebook relationship status, it’s complicated.
    (45 votes)
538 votes total Vote Now