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Jumbo Package: Leadership is still developing

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Not much going on today with the bye week, but here’s what we have.

The open week isn’t entirely for an individualized approach, thus requiring the mental energy Saban requests. He said UA spent some time on Arkansas and Tennessee before getting to Texas A&M later in the week, thus spending time on all three opponents between this open week and the next one.

Still, players were challenged to find individual points of improvement. Wide receiver DeVonta Smith mentioned blocking, defensive back Jared Mayden mentioned communication and running back Brian Robinson Jr. wants to finish plays better, particularly his decision-making at the second level.

On any front, Tuesday’s practice was not satisfactory.

“We did some good things and we did some bad things, but overall the focus was off,” said running back Brian Robinson. “Coach was upset, a lot of players were upset, tired of making bad decisions. People just weren’t focused in practice. So it just didn’t feel like a good practice.”

It led to a discussion among team members before heading back onto the field Wednesday.

“We talked. We discussed what this team should be about,” Robinson said, “what we should focus on, moving forward the practice habits we should work on. (Wednesday) was better energy.”

If there’s one thing this team still needs, especially on defense, it is internal leadership. Hopefully it develops. Shane Lee seems to want to be that guy.

Brett Hudson looks at the punting for you.

Through five games in 2019, Alabama just has not done a lot of punting. The 11 total punts average out to about two per game. Just 10 other teams in the FBS have 11 or fewer punts. One of those 11 Alabama punts was a 14-yard shank against South Carolina (the only punt of the game), which skews the average a bit.

Also, two of those punts were shorter because Alabama was trying to pin opponents inside the 20-yard line.

Let’s just not do any more of that, and all will be well. profiled the Waysider.

Almost everything about Tuscaloosa’s Historic Waysider Restaurant -- or simply “The Waysider,” as everybody knows it -- practically yells “Roll Tide!” and “Yea, Alabama!”

The “Mal Moore red” exterior paint. The houndstooth awning over the front door. All those newspaper stories and Daniel Moore prints that blanket the dining room walls.

And the main attraction, the two-seater table where the late Paul “Bear” Bryant sat when he came here for breakfast.

When my son was on campus for orientation, we stood in line and had breakfast there. About five minutes after we were seated, Bill Battle and his wife were seated at Bear’s table. Pretty cool.

ESPN is talking scheduling pods.

1. Instead of divisions, each team has a set of three permanent rivals. We have taken to calling them pods. Having three for each team satisfies most rivalry needs, as you’ll see below.

2. You play your three permanent rivals every year, and you rotate between the other 10. Home-and-homes against five of them for two years, then home-and-homes against the other five the next two years. Within a student’s four years on campus, you have played everyone in the league at least twice. Now that’s a conference.

This all sounds fine to me, but if you look at all of his recent examples, Alabama would have made it to Atlanta every single year. That is reason enough that it will never happen.

Last, with Alabama off, the game to watch is Auburn-Florida.

A win for Florida would be one of the biggest in the last decade in The Swamp, which is why Florida officials are expecting a near-record crowd at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT on CBS.

We sampled predictions across the country to get a better understanding of how experts and analysts are predicting this game. The predictions are, well, all over the board, which is pretty typical of a showdown between top-10 teams.

I have one thing to say: Go Gators. Get your SOS stuff out of here, I ain’t rooting for Auburn.

That’s about it for today. Have a nice, relaxing weekend off.

Roll Tide.