Happy Monday, everyone. Saturday may have belonged to LSU and Clemson, but King Henry has claimed possession of football Sundays.
The strategy worked out perfectly for the Titans as Henry ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns in Tennessee’s 35-14 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The Titans earned the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff field and a date against the New England Patriots next weekend, and the missed game didn’t keep Henry from winning the NFL rushing title.
Henry overtook Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb on Sunday to finish as the NFL’s top rusher for the 2019 season.
Henry is the only NFL player to eclipse 1500 rushing yards this season and scored a whopping 18 total touchdowns. The Titans will go in the playoffs as far as he carries them. The carry to take home the title was a thing of beauty.
Derrick Henry takes the lead for the rushing title on a 53-yard TOUCHDOWN! #Titans @KingHenry_2— NFL (@NFL) December 30, 2019
: #TENvsHOU on CBS
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What a beast.
Both coordinators spoke ahead of the Citrus Bowl:
“I think from a scheme standpoint, I think Coach Brown does an excellent job,” Sarkisian said. “They’ve got a lot of man-to-man principles they play. And, as DeVonta said, they’re crafty at corner. I think (Lavert Hill) and (Ambry Thomas) are both crafty in their man-to-man skills. But they do a really good job in their scheme of mixing it up, mixing up different zone coverages, zone covers that match up in the man coverages.”
-- The topic of the defensive shortcomings came up a few times in his 12-plus minutes at the podium. Golding spoke a lot about the challenges of starting two true freshmen -- Shane Lee and Christian Harris -- at middle linebacker. “I think it was a unique deal this year that you lost two guys at the same position, to where you have two 18‑year‑olds that have never been in the system side by side,” Golding said. “And I think a lot of times they’re looking for confirmation, and they’re looking for confirmation and the guy beside them that doesn’t really know either. And I think that’s been the big difference.”
-- On lessons learned as a play caller leading the defense: “I think we’re too damn smart at times and then you try to put them in certain situations.” Sometimes, it’s best to just keep it simple.
An underrated storyline to this game is that Michigan will present the secondary that Mac Jones has faced in his career. After making a couple of big mistakes against Auburn, he will need to find the balance between aggressiveness and carelessness. Michigan is thin up front and will be missing some guys, so a Najee Harris showcase may well be in order.
On defense. Alabama fans will be watching the young players to look for growth after bowl practice. They now have a full season under their belts and will hopefully make some strides.
Cecil is spot on, as usual.
Did anyone watch Oklahoma and say “yes, that’s a team that would have been a contender in the SEC?” LSU literally toyed with the Sooners. On four other occasions the Tigers faced SEC opponents that fared better. What, at any point along the way, did Oklahoma prove anything more than Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia did this year, other than beating Baylor a couple of times? Leaving Alabama out of the conversation for the moment, do you think Auburn, Florida or Georgia would have taken the deal that put Oklahoma into the playoffs? That deal was a mulligan for losing to Kansas State if you can beat Baylor twice. Of course they would.
Oklahoma had no business there if we are really looking for the “four best.” There’s a reason why FPI has four SEC teams in its top six, but Oklahoma was the logical choice under the current system we have. Baylor’s lofty ranking and Alabama’s snub made no sense, though.
Josh Jobe will be auditioning for a future starting job.
“Josh has tremendous physical traits,” Dykeman said. “He’s a 6’1”-plus, 200-pound-plus corner with great physical strength, but he can also turn his hips, run and go. He has that comfort level to get up, be physical and know that he’s not going to get beat deep. He can recover and do the things he needs to do.
“Against a bigger receiver, that’s a heck of a trait to have.”
He looked the part last spring, but then kind of fell to the wayside on defense as the season progressed. He had a good year on special teams, however, and is poised for a bigger role.
Last, Jalen Hurts was emotionsl after his last college game.
“I’ll never play college football again.” Damn.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.