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Jumbo Package: Tide defensive line is thin as the Catamounts bring the option to town

Yes, it’s this...again.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 Western Carolina at Chattanooga

Photo by Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Three defensive linemen down? Option team? Friends, that is what we call the opportunity to see the Catamounts run through the Tide front like “shit through a tinhorn”:

“From an injury standpoint, I think Raekwon (Davis), DJ Dale, Phil Mathis and Henry Ruggs are still very questionable for the game.

“So, I know we’re dealing with some injuries, but the challenge for the defense this week is these guys run option-type football. It’s not really wishbone but kind of dive option-type football, and they really do a good job schematically and our players have to play responsibility football on defense. When you run the option, the point of attack moves, the play sort of expands, so everybody’s got to be disciplined to do their job first and you can’t just chase the ball because the ball’s going to change where it’s at.

Yuck. That leaves the Tide with just seven defensive linemen.

But, it is what it is. So, here is everything Nick Saban said during his final presser of the week before 2019’s final home game at Bryant Denny Stadium.

You know I give the NFL guys endless grief for their inability to assess talent. Let’s throw the sources from Zenitz’s article yesterday on ‘Bama draft prospects in that same trash bin as “Mitch Trubisky over Deshaun Watson” and “Josh Allen before Patrick Mahomes.”

Because, bruh, you may not be able to coach Raekwon’s size and strength, ‘tis true, but you also can’t coach motivation and consistency, two traits he’s sorely lacked and that have kept from realizing his potential. No way is that cat a First Rounder. None.

“I think he’s a solid first-round guy,” another scout said. “It’s mostly because of just his God-given size and strength. And he has played much better this year and just had much more production and done better across the board — technique and pass rush and everything. The thing that’s going to knock him down is the off-the-field issues and intangibles.”

The Walter Camp Foundation announced its 20 semifinalists yesterday, and there were plenty of familiar faces, including Jalen Hurts and Alabama WR DeVonta Smith.

TBH, if Smith won’t win (and he won’t), I hope they give it to Jalen, because he’s a good kid and it would be nice to see him recognized. Something like the Walter Camp Award would be a great career lifetime achievement honorarium.

Last season, Tua Tagovailoa took home this MVP award named in honor of the “Father of Football”. And, honestly, if we’re talking about MVPs, then Hurts does deserve it over Burrow. That OU team is starting at four losses if Jalen had not come to town on the Sooners Transfer Gravy Train.

Let’s hope Arkansas doesn’t stumble ass-backwards into an outstanding hire. They are certainly trying to:

Sources tell FootballScoop that Arkansas has met with Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. At this time Norvell is said to be more interested in the opening at Florida State than Arkansas; however we wouldn’t rule Norvell out of this one just yet.

From the same article, #sauces indicate Gus Malzahn is presently out of the picture. That contradicts one of my own #sauces, a prominent big-money booster. With respect to Gus, it very well may come down to money and how much of it the Tigers and Hogs can move around with accountancy voodoo. Neither school is in a great place, and for the Hogs it is especially dire.

And, as we’ve noted many times before, if you’re a red hot guy like Norvell, why would you waste your shot at the Big Time on this flaming turd of a job when positions like Arizona or USC or USCe may be coming vacant. Even a job like Michigan State? Or, as Vannini reports, the mutual interest between the two at FSU? Simply put, you don’t. I suspect they get Gus or settle for the Sun Belt’s under-the-radar darling (and Saban disciple) Billy Napier. The latter is far more affordable and has done a great job at ULL.

2019-2020 has the potential to be one of the zaniest Hot Stoves we’ve seen in a while: Arkansas and FSU for sure. Then there are some tough calls to be made at places like USC, Texas, Sparty, Sakerlina, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arizona. And there are yet other teams you hadn’t really considered, like NC State, Boston College, Middle Tennessee.

This is not a shocker at all, but ‘Lia won’t be redshirting this season. Following our Sweet Hawaiian Prince’s injury, ‘Lia is getting called up to the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. And, as you would expect, he needs some snaps ASAP.

Look for him a lot on Saturday:

It was the fourth appearance of the year for the true freshman quarterback, and under the new NCAA rule, it was his last opportunity to play in a game and still redshirt this season. So, why did Nick Saban choose to use Tagovailoa at the end of the Mississippi State game?

“With him being now the backup quarterback, we thought that we needed to play him because if something happens to this quarterback, Mac Jones, he’s going to be the guy that’s got to go in the game and try to win the game for us,” Saban said on his Thursday radio show. “So, we’re going to play him this week in this game in some kind of way, regardless of how the game goes, to try to get him some experience, some playing time and hopefully some confidence.

“When we had the unfortunate injury last week to Tua, that kind of negated the opportunity to be able to redshirt Taulia.”

You have about 36 hours to get out of town following Alabama’s bludgeoning of the 3-8 FCS Western Carolina Catamounts. Because, immediately on Monday, Bryant-Denny renovations are underway.

Here’s Casagrande’s piece on what to expect, timing, what-not.

For a few hours Saturday, Bryant-Denny Stadium will be all about football. The home finale with Western Carolina kicks off at 11 a.m., in the last game before a makeover.

By Monday, the construction fences will surround most of the 90-year old home of Alabama. Nine-plus months of intense construction work will begin on the $92.5 million first phase of the stadium renovation approved over the summer.

Guess Greg Byrne decided luxury boxes for one of the most palatial football complexes in the country was a more important budget priority than the desperately-needed Coleman upgrades. For $92.5 million, Alabama could have had a teardown and rebuild in the Coleman footprint. Ole Miss’ new digs were $93 million, and Auburn’s complex was $86 million. Both are perfectly-sized, modern, with great sitelines and plenty of amenities, modern concessions, plenty of luxury accommodations, and are just all around great facilities.

Not that I’m still bitter or anything.

You absolutely don’t blame this guy at all for moving on. Terrell Lewis is NFL bound and will be heading to the Draft after this season rather than staying one more season. He will be honored tomorrow on Senior Day:

The Crimson Tide listed the redshirt junior linebacker among its seniors that will be honored Saturday, Nov. 23, prior to its final regular-season home game against Western Carolina.

After battling an elbow injury in 2017 and an ACL injury in 2018, Lewis has appeared in nine games this fall. The 6-foot-5, 252-pound linebacker has recorded 30 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and a team-high 16 quarterback hurries. He and fellow linebacker Anfernee Jennings are tied for second place in the SEC in tackles for loss and third in sacks.

I suspect Tagovailoa’s injury is going to send a lot of guys scurrying to the draft in the future, even if they could otherwise improve their stock with another season. And, that is particularly true for players with significant injury histories like Lewis.

You cannot play scared, obviously. Freakish injuries can and do happen, and that is an assumed risk in playing the game. But, say you’re a guy like Landon Dickerson who could move well up into the first round with another great season, do you take that chance, considering you’ve already missed two seasons to injuries and narrowly dodged others in 2019?

“Remember Tua” is going to be on the minds and lips of lots of players in the near future, and it’s hard to blame them. Their window of opportunity is so short, and it just takes one play.

If you’re the type of person that has resigned yourself to the belief that this team probably won’t win the playoffs (and shame on you), at least you can root for some all-out chaos in your black, icy little hearts.

Here are some scenarios with varying degrees of plausibility for you to pore over.

But, if you’re still hanging in there and are reasonably optimistic, there are a few things you can do to root the Tide on this weekend in big picture. You need to be in the tank for Texas A&M this weekend, a game that can help Alabama in many ways; you want a thorough and efficient beatdown of WCU where the Tide handles its business and sustains no injuries; and, you could pray for an upset or two in the PAC12. That last one is not really mandatory, but it would give Alabama some cushion over at least one of the frauds out West.

Plenty more for you today. So, we wish you all well and have a great weekend. Here’s to a beat down tomorrow with no injuries. RTR

What’s your score prediction?

I’m going with 58-13