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Jumbo Package: Tua is in good spirits as always, surgery scheduled today

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 CFP Semifinal at the Orange Bowl - Alabama v Oklahoma Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Monday, everyone. Nobody is really talking about anything other than Tua Tagovailoa this morning, so we will update you there. As you would probably imagine, he is in great spirits.

Tua jammin’ on the ukulele singing and laughing. What we love to see. A man of many talents. 1️⃣3️⃣❤️ VC: casher67 IG

Posted by Onit Iuts on Sunday, November 17, 2019

If this hip dislocation and fracture end his college career, as seems virtually certain, he will leave that level with a fistful of FBS records. Among them:

Career pass efficiency: Tagovailoa checks in at 199.45, smashing the record held by former Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray at 181.3. (He could break his own record for season pass efficiency, which he set last year, but probably will not appear in enough games to do so. Jalen Hurts and Joe Burrow also could break it this season, depending on how they finish.)

Yards per attempt: Tua is at 10.88, nearly a yard more than current record holder Ryan Dinwiddie of Boise State at 9.90.

Touchdown percentage: Of Tagovailoa’s 684 pass attempts, 87 of them ended in touchdowns. That’s 12.7%, far eclipsing’s Sam Bradford’s record of 9.9%.

A day after Tua Tagovailoa’s dislocated hip injury, there’s real optimism that the Alabama star will make a full recovery and possibly even return to football in 2020.

The current belief is that Tagovailoa has a good shot at being cleared to return to football activities in six-to-eight months and a good chance of playing football next season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. It’s a positive outlook after initial comparisons to the injury that ended former Auburn star Bo Jackson’s career.

So, to recap, he is headed for surgery today and they are very optimistic about his recovery. The initial comparisons to Bo Jackson’s career ender were likely premature because Tua’s dislocation was immediately “reduced” or put back into place, which greatly reduces the risk of necrosis due to lack of blood flow. It sounds very likely that he will be able to at least practice football in 2020, which means that a team who currently has a stable but aging QB and is looking to the future may well be inspired to use a first rounder on him.

Of course, if he just wanted to give it another go in Tuscaloosa, we’d be sort of OK with that too.

The defense played much better this week, and it wasn’t all because Mississippi State is bad offensively.

-- Definitely didn’t see it in real time but Trevon Diggs came pretty close to one of the most amazing one-handed interceptions I’ve seen. It looked like he just batted it away at first but he cupped a deep ball and possessed it until the collision with the ground jarred it free.

-- Open-field tackling was improved when the Bulldogs got into space. Safety Xavier McKinney had a nice stop on third down early in the third quarter to force another punt. “We played with a lot of discipline,” Saban said. “Everybody took who they were supposed to.”

I was very impressed with the way the second level guys broke down and stayed in front of Kylin Hill on the edges. Against LSU, we had a few instances where guys tried to make a solo tackle and gave up their leverage in the process. Tackling is critical, but first and foremost you have to stop forward progress. We saw a lot of guys running to the ball and gang tackling too, which is the key to any great defense.

Last, CBS isn’t bullish on Alabama beating Auburn.

There will be no sympathy for Alabama if it loses to Auburn. A 10-2 record these days is not good enough to make the playoff, especially with Bama’s schedule. However, if Jones can lead the Crimson Tide to victory at Auburn, would there really be any reason to consider Alabama to be a lesser version of itself? Probably not.

That said, the bowl projections this week now expect Alabama to lose at Auburn and play in the Orange Bowl. Georgia, which defeated the Tigers 21-14 on Saturday, moves in to the SEC spot in the Sugar Bowl.

The projected Orange Bowl opponent? Virginia.

Nothing about that sounds appealing, but if that’s where they end up, so be it.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.