Of the things to watch in 2019, backup quarterback is going to be huge. The way that Tua Tagovailoa plays necessarily opens himself up for knicks and dings. If history is an indication, at some point the Tide will need to rely on the No. 2 man on the depth chart. And, it appears that Mac Jones has the inside track over Paul Tyson and Taulia Tagovailoa...for now:
Jones doesn’t automatically have the back-up job. Among the other candidates are two true freshmen, Tua’s brother Taulia Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson. Jones, however, has the advantages of being most familiar with the general Alabama offensive scheme and having playing time.
He hasn’t considered the transfer option. “People do what’s best for them,” he said. “If you think it’s in your best interest to leave, that’s fine, but I’ve never been one to walk away from competition. It makes you stronger. Give it your best shot and keep working, keep grinding, and God has a plan for everyone.”
Yahoo is doing its Top 25 countdown, and I’m not sure how they arrived at this, but Y! has the Mississippi State Bulldogs pegged as the No. 19 team in the country.
The passing game will be improved, and the running game and OL are really stout. But that is a rebuilt, inexperienced defense, now down its best position coach.
Most informed sources (i.e., us) expect MSU to finish anywhere from 5th to 7th in their own division, certainly not anywhere in the Top 25 on the heels of an 8-5 campaign that wasted the nation’s best defense.
During Alabama’s viewing session yesterday, there were a few things that caught our eye. The first, is that Patrick Surtain II was again at Star. Look for that to be his new home. He screams Minkah 2.0.
The second is the seeming emergence of Jaylen Moody in the inside, ahead of Ale Kaho:
Dylan Moses and Josh McMillon continued to lead the inside linebacker drills. Markail Benton and Jaylen Moody followed immediately after them.
In our Fan Day 10 Things to Watch..., we identified the talented defensive line group as a must-see. Not since 2016 and 2017 has Alabama had the versatility up front that it will see over the next few seasons. And, once again, Alabama can scheme to the strengths of the players, and work in packages for true specialists.
“I think defensively, you want to play as many guys as you can play, whatever the position, as long as they’re ready,” Golding said Saturday. “Obviously, defensively, I think you look at what guys can do, not what they can’t do. So, I think from a personnel standpoint and different packages, obviously, that we have and that we will have will allow guys to do what they do well instead of having to learn the whole package, especially for young players coming in here.
One of the Tide’s biggest recruiting hauls for the 2020 class is four-star Drake Maye. And there is a lot to get excited about, if his quarterback coach is correct:
What’s Alabama getting in Maye? Anthony Boone, Maye’s private quarterback coach, described him as “a big, athletic kid” with “a huge arm.”
“I don’t know if his tape shows how athletic he is,” said Boone, who works with QB Country North Carolina, “because in the system he has he doesn’t have to do much with his feet but make sure he doesn’t get sacked and has time to get the ball to his big-time receivers.
“He can make every throw on the field from just about any arm angle, just about any platform,” Boone added. “He is a pure passer, can really spin the rock. He has great anticipation and great touch.”
Looking for a sleeper in the SEC? SI thinks it’s going to be Florida. Not sure how a preseason Top 10 team returning 16 starters is exactly a sleeper. But, do you, Sports Illustrated (FWIW, I’ve had the Gators going to Atlanta all offseason: 10-2, even with that brutal schedule, should get it done.)
Let’s pick our own sleeper. Hmmmm. I’m going to go with Auburn. After another series of rotational elimination games, the Iron Bowl will in part determine whether Alabama goes to Atlanta or not. If the Tide loses, then the Thanksgiving tilt between A&M and LSU will set off a series of three-way tie-breakers between LSU, the Barn, and Alabama
Quinnen Williams is starting to get his feet under him in the pro game. Showing up, in the words of his coach:
Jets coach Adam Gase told reporters last week that Williams had started “showing up” during training-camp practices. He was showing up in the backfield where you could see who made the play, which is great to see,” Gase said. “He looks like he’s moving well, and he’s understanding what we’re doing, and he’s playing faster. …
TSN’s Peter Fiutak on who you’d rather have under center: Sunshine or Tua.
TIRED: Alabama-Clemson V
WIRED: Alabama-Georgia III
Before the Tide and Tigers match up again, it seems likely the Dawgs and Tide will renew their new rivalry. That got stoked when Kirby Smart went to Georgia to instill and install everything Alabama. In the last two seasons, the teams have met for the national and SEC titles. Georgia has blown multiple double-digit leads in those meetings, leading to the obvious question: How many chances will Smart and Georgia get? Saban isn’t going anywhere.
At this link, 19 storylines to watch for 2019.
Who is your surprise SEC contender in 2019?
This poll is closed
Other — hey, it could happen!