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Jumbo Package: The Day Before

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SO. CLOSE.

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

WATCH: Alabama coach Nick Saban goes on short rant about trash talk, apologizes

“I tell our players, if you want to talk s--- to the other team, join the god damn debate team,” he said.

Of course, he immediately followed it up with an apology.

”I’m really sorry for using the Lord’s name in vain, but I just get really hot about what I see in sports that we promote in the media and in every other way that really is not a good thing,” he said. “That’s not what we are trying to accomplish in what we do.”

Saban is already in mid-season form. Obviously, Twitter is having a lot of fun with this one, and it’s already made it’s way on to buttons and T-Shirts.

Meet ‘The Hulk,’ the freshman set to step in for Dylan Moses at Alabama

“The good thing with Shane is he comes from a defense where he made checks and it’s not new for him,” Russell said. “We make a lot of checks on the field with our linebackers. And Shane’s a very smart kid. He works extremely hard. Physically, he’s been ready since he was a freshman in high school. He’s a brick house. He runs well. He’s strong as an ox. So physically, I don’t really worry about him too much. I think it’s more getting all the mental stuff down and the speed of the college game, but I think he’s a lot more comfortable. ... If you had asked him to come in and start at the beginning of the spring, it would have been really tough. But now, he’s got the spring under his belt, camp under his belt and now the only thing he’s got to get is some game experience.”

We’ve talked about pretty much nothing else for the past two days, so here’s a good piece from AYELLE DOT COM about true freshman Shane Lee, who’s now slated to start along side true freshman Christian Harris in replacement of Dylan Moses.

There’s going to be some major growing pains with two true freshman in the center of the defense, but the two have a lot of talent with unique skillsets. And, well, there’s a good chance Alabama gets some major stability at inside linebacker for 3 straight years if they can perform well and stay away from the injury curse.

(If Dylan Moses does return for another season after rehabbing his knee, he could very well become an impact player as an edge rusher. He did that some his freshman year, and looked really good doing it).

Five Teams That Could Dethrone Clemson and Alabama This College Football Season

Georgia is a pair of quarterback changes and improbable rallies away from having its own national title and streak of playoff appearances. Instead, college football’s hierarchy is an A-B conversation, and Georgia has had to C itself out. (Someone said this line to me in fifth grade and it really stung, so I’ve been waiting 20 years to use it. Sorry, Georgia.)

This is a good piece from The Ringer about Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and, yes, UCF. Each team has a pretty good top-down analysis with excellent writing, so give it a read.

Nick Saban says he’s glad the ‘energy vampires’ are gone from 2018 team

“We had a couple of guys that exited the program, whether it was their choice or ours for them to do that, that were what I call energy vampires, where you spend all your time trying to manage them and you can’t spend time with the guys that are doing things right,” Saban said, per Alex Byington.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Nick talk about “energy vampires.” It’s a term he’s used for quite a while now. Feel free to speculate who he was talking about, but I don’t suppose we’ll ever know for sure. It’s just as likely to have been some coaches as well, not just players.

Nick Saban shares plans for kickers, punters in season opener

“Will’s a very talented guy and he’s done extremely well in fall camp, and we think that he can do a good job,” Saban said at Baumhower’s Victory Grille. “But like any other guy, he’s got the talent and ability to do it, but what’s he going to do in a game? And so, we’re confident in him. He gets the ball off quickly, he’s got a really strong leg. His accuracy in scrimmages and practice has been very good.

“He’s also a very good punter. And Skyler has really improved a lot in his punting, and those two guys are probably pretty close as to who would do that. We haven’t had a guy for a long time that actually punted, kicked off and kicked field goals, and the issue is not having the talent to do all those things but how do you manage a guy through the season where he doesn’t kick himself out because he’s doing so many different things.

“We’re going to try probably both punters in the game, and see how Will does in the kicking aspects of it. Joe is still on our team and we have a lot of confidence in Joe, but in the competition, Will has done a little better.”

It sounds like Reichard is going to be doing kickoffs too. After hearing about how well he had performed all spring, I kind of expected a three way split with Will kicking field goals, Bulovas handling kick-offs, and DeLong punting. But Reichard could very well wind up winning all three jobs.

I really, really hope he’s actually that good.

Saban: Key players need to know ‘everybody else is watching’

At the start of their Thursday interview, Patrick joked with the Alabama head coach about what would happen if he pulled up to the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility and found his parking spot was taken. Saban laughed it off like it wouldn’t be a big deal, and Patrick followed up by asking what if junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had taken the spot. Again, Saban jokingly responded.

But after a pause, the 13th-year head coach shared an off-topic thought.

“Sometimes when key players on your team do things, even though you really have a great relationship with them and it’s kind of not a big deal, you also have to realize that -- especially when the key players do something -- that everybody else on the team is watching,” Saban said. “So, how you manage that circumstance, regardless of what it is, is really important to how they decide to do things in the future.”

Well those are some pretty big lines to read between. I won’t editorialize on it. I’m sure you all get what Nick was talking about here.

That’s it for today, we’re only one day away from the season FINALLY being here. By all accounts, this shouldn’t be much of a game. There’s obviously the injuries and attrition at linebacker for Alabama to deal with, and coupled with Duke’s Deon Jackson being an explosive running back in the passing game, the Blue Devils might get a few more points than originally expected.

On the other hand, despite rumors of suspensions at the running back and wide receiver groups, don’t expect the Alabama offense to struggle too much in this one. They’ll go over 30 points in the first half and wind up in the mid-to-upper-40s by the end of the game. Final score: 48-17

What is your prediction? Vote, and give your score prediction in the comments below.

Poll

By what margin does Alabama win the game?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    >40
    (142 votes)
  • 43%
    30-40
    (323 votes)
  • 29%
    20-29
    (218 votes)
  • 5%
    10-19
    (37 votes)
  • 0%
    0-9
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Duke pulls off the upset and it gets made into a movie 20 years from now
    (17 votes)
739 votes total Vote Now