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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Even bye weeks require proper levels of gump

NCAA Football: Alabama A Day Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

10 reasons why Alabama will enter Playoff unbeaten

“I think you can look at the bye week a couple of different way. You can say it’s a week off or you can look at a bye week and say, ‘There’s a lot of things we need to improve on.’ That’s certainly the approach we want to take with our team. I always say that if you win and don’t play well, that’s not really a good thing. That’s something our team needs to understand and our team needs to know. Also, that we can improve.”

To warm you up, 247 is doing a better job of gumping than even I can muster. Give all 10 reasons a read if you want the warm fuzzies.

I’m going to focus on this quote from Saban though. The two biggest issues, in my opinion, that Alabama has faced has been tackling angles on outside runs and the defensive line giving up gaps on interior runs. Both of these are fundamental and technique issues that hopefully Nick can use the bye week to address and fix, rather than spending most of the week game planning.

Alabama WR DeVonta Smith spots unique flaw to fix on open week

This isn’t a vacation week for Smith. He has a few things to improve and it begins with the mental side … just not in a traditional sense.

“Sometimes, just not being too smart,” Smith said. “Sometimes I feel like I know something and I’m just too smart, so I feel like I know what’s going to happen and I try to take a play off. So just knowing that even when I do know what’s going, still do my job.”

He means when he knows a throw is going in another direction, it can be easy to not give the full effort.

Meanwhile, I guess the receivers have to work on something too. It’s hard to point out any glaring flaws in any of their games, so honestly their biggest challenge is probably to keep overconfidence from setting in.

Quiet Jared Mayden looks to continue improving during bye week

“It felt great to finally get that monkey off my back,” Mayden said Monday. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do, so it felt great. I know (Trevon) Diggs and (Xavier McKinney) have been on me, and Shyheim (Carter), too. I feel like I was the oldest person that was here without a pick.

“Now I finally got it, so now all the jokes, they’ve calmed down.”

But Mayden, recording the only turnover of the game, didn’t rub it in once he was back on the sideline.

“I was too happy,” he said. “And I was tired.

“I haven’t had the ball in my hands and run with it in a while, so I really had no words for anybody.”

Mayden also talks a lot about wanting to improve his tackling and trying to stop going for hits and actually wrapping up ball carriers. He’s already an exceptional defender in the sense of pass coverage, but solidifying up the tackling half of his role is absolutely integral in both the success of Alabama as a team and his future draft prospects.

A few notes from Alabama’s first open-week practice

-- Henry Ruggs was in uniform but it didn’t look like he was participating much in the individual drills. He left Saturday’s game with a hip pointer but returned to action later in the game.

-- Defensive back Shyheim Carter was also out there and practicing after briefly leaving the game with an injury.

-- This was a practice getting back to the fundamentals. There were no scout team jerseys since preparation for Texas A&M won’t start until later this week at the earliest.

Here’s a quick practice “update.” I don’t imagine Nick let the media see too much, but at least we have an idea of the injury progress of Ruggs and Carter.

‘He’s electric’: A deeper look at new Alabama QB commit Bryce Young

Moments after receiving the shotgun snap, Bryce Young had a St. Frances linebacker charging towards him and closing in quickly.

It was a blitz from the Maryland school that worked perfectly. The linebacker was left unaccounted for and ran untouched through the middle of Young’s offensive line.

Any hesitation from Young and it would have been a sack.

Instead, it ended up being one of the first plays from Young that left St. Frances coaches looking on from the sideline in disbelief during that Sept. 14 matchup between two of the nation’s top high school football programs.

“The guy came unblocked and just drilled him and he still put the ball right on the money and completed the ball over the middle and they get the ball at the 1-yard line,” St. Frances co-head coach Henry Russell said. “That play was very special. It was like, ‘Holy crap. What are we supposed to do to stop this kid?’”

You’ve likely already heard a lot about Alabama’s shiny new QB commit, but here’s a great piece from Matt Zenitz with a lot of quotes about Young from different coaches he’s worked with. By all accounts, Mac Jones and Taulia Tagovailoa are going to have their work cut out for them to win the starting QB job in 2020.