Happy Monday, everyone. As camp gets rolling in earnest, Saban seems to be pleased with the squad coming off of offseason workouts.
Nick Saban: “This is one of the best-conditioned teams coming out of the summer that we have had here.”— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) August 3, 2019
That can only bode well. Perhaps the most important player to watch on Alabama’s defense is feeling particularly strong.
“He practiced all day yesterday, made a lot of plays, did a really good job. He’s worked hard all summer,” Saban said. “We keep these Catapult numbers on guys, in terms of what their explosive movements are and how much they can duplicate it, and he’s back to a level higher than he was before he got hurt two years ago.”
When asked about his status if Alabama had a game this week, the immensely talented linebacker didn’t even need to hear the full question before answering.
“I’m 100 percent,” Lewis said. “I’m ready.”
First day in pads tomorrow... I got a lot of sh*t to get off my chest...— Terrell Lewis (@_Real24_) August 4, 2019
A fully healthy, explosive Terrell Lewis may well have been the missing ingredient in January. Nothing will slow down a deep ball like a few nice shots to a quarterback’s rib cage. In case you forgot what this athletic freak brings to the table:
If you were wondering what the result of that play from Terrell Lewis would’ve been on the almost interception. pic.twitter.com/uIYODh3Ljp— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) January 2, 2018
It is a travesty that injuries have kept him off of the field so much. May this be the year that the college football world finally gets to see a fully functional Terrell Lewis.
Steve Sarkisian spoke to the media on Saturday and shared some about his philosophy. As Cecil notes, the expectations are such that nothing he does can possibly satisfy them.
Since the days when quarterbacks called their own plays, offensive coordinators have been second-guessed and sometimes harshly criticized by fans who react strongly to every play that isn’t a touchdown, or even a first down. There have been some who were popular for their innovations (Homer Smith) or their play-calling (Lane Kiffin) but the job comes with high expectations.
Well, there’s a relatively new offensive coordinator in town for a third straight year and Steve Sarkisian was asked about his philosophy Saturday morning.
“Well I think it starts in running the football,” Sarkisian said. “In my opinion, every year I’ve called plays in college football I’ve always had a 1,000-yard rusher.
At Washington, Chris Polk ran for 4000 yards in three seasons. At USC in 2014, Buck Allen and Justin Davis combined for more than 2000 yards, with Allen going over 1400. With the Falcons, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for 1500 in 2017. Sarkisian loves to run the ball, as evidenced by his willingness to lean on Bo Scarbrough in the 2016 title game. Why he had so little confidence in his other options after Bo went down is still puzzling to this day, but there is little question that the running backs will get plenty of chances.
ESPN has some preseason power rankings out, and they start with the question so many desperate fans are asking in hopes of a better answer:
“Do more” is the motto in Athens these days as the Bulldogs are trying to get over the hump from really good to great. Standing in the way, of course, is Alabama. The offense is well positioned, with quarterback Jake Fromm, running back D’Andre Swift and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas all returning. It’s the defense, which must replace cornerback Deandre Baker and linebacker D’Andre Walker, that raises some questions. -- Scarborough
Realistically, the Dawgs are probably the only threat to yet another Alabama-Clemson final. Especially since, uh...
the Tigers have lapped the field in the ACC, which will again in 2019 present no formidable challenge to college football’s defending national champion.
Any of the top five teams in the SEC would be the prohibitive favorite in that conference if they swapped places with Clemson. It’s that poor.
Hey, check out Hale Hentges!
#Colts rookie TE @HaleHentges wows the crowd with this diving catch today at #ColtsCamp. #ColtsNation Head to https://t.co/33Ugb8JEvw for plenty of camp coverage. @AlabamaFTBL pic.twitter.com/RLC6t2X7GD— Clark Wade (@ClarkWade34) August 4, 2019
Keep that up and he might just make the squad.
Last, commit Xavier Hill has a chance to become a great story.
A year ago, Olive Branch (Miss.) lineman Xavier Hill had never played in a high school football game.
Today, the 6-foot-3, 325-pounder is one 22 players committed to Alabama in the Class of 2020.
How did that happen?
When Saban finds a diamond in the rough as he did with Levi Wallace, Josh Jacobs et al, it has to drive the rest of the country absolutely crazy.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.