Athlon Sports’ yearly “Coaches Talk Anonymously About Conference Foes” is a fan favorite. In the day and age of talking up all your opponents, whether they’re Creampuff State or the defending champs, it’s fun to see SEC coaches offer candid assessments (albeit under the protection of anonymity) of other conference teams. When talking about Georgia, one SEC coach thinks Kirby Smart has built UGA up faster than Nick Saban built his team up at Alabama.
“I think it’s fair to say Kirby got Georgia to that Alabama level faster than Nick Saban got Alabama there. They’re ready to roll,” the anonymous coach told Athlon.
This is a fun one to start the day with. We had a little bit of fun with this one on the social media yesterday:
Because, you know, Kirby Smart inherited a team coming off probation with little talent and depth and won a title in year three.— Roll ‘Bama Roll (@rollbamaroll) August 6, 2019
Whereas Saban had 15 years of Mark Richt leaving him Top 10 teams, talent & facilities & in an historically crappy division.
Oh wait. Reverse that. https://t.co/qVjpK7tnBa
There is one similarity though — both coaches got to play Texas in Year 3. pic.twitter.com/B0XUHUnzkt— Roll ‘Bama Roll (@rollbamaroll) August 6, 2019
There was plenty of record-pulling from the Twitter warriors doing the good work and shutting down that argument, so feel free to look it up (Spoiler: Alabama had a couple more wins and a National Championship in the same 3-year time-frame).
My own personal opinion, though, is that this anonymous coach is actually Saban himself. Talking up opponents while taking some positive hype off of himself? That’s right up his alley.
— First-team cornerback Josh Jobe was in a black non-contact jersey and was off to the side working on a stationary bike during the open portion of practice.
— Miller Forristall (foot) wasn’t with the rest of the tight end group. Defensive lineman LaBryan Ray (ankle) and backup cornerback Nigel Knott (undisclosed medical issue) weren’t practicing.
— With Forristall out, Major Tennison was again first in line for tight end drills. Cameron Latu was second. Walk-on Giles Amos was third. It looked like Tennison was off to the side when the other tight ends were running routes with the quarterbacks.
— Slade Bolden was second in line behind Henry Ruggs in one outside wide receiver line. Tyrell Shavers was second behind DeVonta Smith in the other outside receiver line. John Metchie and Xavier Williams were the third-team outside receivers. In the slot, it was Jerry Jeudy followed by Jaylen Waddle and Chadarius Townsend.
Forristall, Knott, and Ray were all expected and have been on the injury list for a little while now. Jobe was a new injury today, and word hasn’t circulated around what the injury is just yet. By all accounts, he’s worked his way into the lineup as the starting outside corner opposite of Trevon Diggs, so here’s to hoping it doesn’t derail his progress any.
Injuries aside, this is probably my favorite time of the year. Football is so tantalizingly close to being back, and we’re all excited about the potential of the team. Every single player is still an untapped fount of potential, and we’re all hanging on to every sentence from the beat guys about who got first and second team reps ahead of others. It’s just a lot of fun.
-- Outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings can be soft spoken in front of the cameras but a few topics got him going Tuesday. Getting Terrell Lewis and Chris Allen back from ACL injuries is on the list. “Man, you don’t even know,” Jennings said. “I’m beyond excited. With those guys, they’re two different types of players - well, we’re all different types of players - and we just capitalize off each other. It’s gonna be fun.”
-- Jennings actually led the team last year with 11 pass deflections. Asked if he reminds the defensive backs of this, his answer was brief. “Always,” Jennings said.
-- New outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri is a well-known personality with a high motor and intense practice expectations. Jennings called Sunseri “an OG.” Explaining that would only come off sounding as rigid and out of touch with the youth, so you can google that if there’s any confusion.
-- In terms of Sunseri’s style, Jennings seems to appreciate it. “He ain’t the type of coach that’s gonna sit there and pat you on the back all the time,” Jennings said. “He’s gonna tell you when you mess up, he’s gonna tell you when you’re doing good and just keep it real with you at all times. For me as a player that’s trying to get better each and every day, that’s all you can ask for.”
Here’s some quotes from Anfernee Jennings. The article also has a good bit from Matt Womack and Raekwon Davis as well. I mostly just wanted to highlight Anfernee rubbing it in that he had more pass breakups last year than any of the defensive backs. And also that he’s speaking of Chris Allen as basically a 1A and 1B and 1C with himself and Terrell Lewis; and not of Allen as a backup. If all three of these guys can stay healthy, Alabama might actually have an edge rush again, for the first time since the 2016 season.
“It’s a lot of words,” he said about Jerry Jeudy, the ringleader of the receivers, who finished last season with 1,315 yards, 14 touchdowns and won the Biletnikoff Award. “Fast, explosive, gets you on your toes.”
Then came Henry Ruggs III.
”Fast,” McKinney said. Then, because that wasn’t enough, he doubled down: “Super fast.”
Same with Jaylen Waddle.
”Fast,” McKinney said, grinning. “Super fast.”
This is a really good piece from ESPN on the quartet of Alabama pass-catchers. If you click nothing else today, give this piece a read.
I really like how it points out that DeVonta Smith still got 6 touchdowns and nearly 700 yards despite dealing with a hamstring injury for a large chunk of the season. Smith became a bit of a forgotten man with Jeudy winning the Biletnikoff, Ruggs III rumored to run a sub 4.3 forty yard dash, and Waddle breaking out as a true freshman.
Size came up a few times in this project.
“So, what is Coach Saban right now? Five-seven?” asked linebacker Jamey Mosley, who graduated last season and is currently with the New York Jets. “Uhh, I think we might be able to develop him into a slot corner with his mentality. Maybe he’d be a little physical. He’d be a nice slot corner.”
Finally, here’s a fun piece with a litany of former and current Alabama players and coaches discussing whether or not Nick Saban would have been able to play for the current Alabama squad. Mosley and Josh Casher both especially had some fun with it.