Happy Friday, everyone. Practice notes from yesterday are pretty scarce, but Cecil has the key bullets.
Freshman DJ Dale, who was an early entry in the spring and had been working with the first defensive line in the absence of LaBryan Ray (foot injury), was not at the Thursday night practice, reportedly due to an injury suffered in Wednesday’s practice. In the absence of both on Thursday, Alabama coaches worked with a number of different players on the line including Tevita Musika, Stephon Wynnand freshmen Christian Barmore, Justin Eboigbe, Ishmael Sopsher, Byron Young (who appeared to get a good number of reps in the media viewing period) and, of course, senior All-America candidate Raekwon Davis.
Cecil actually has it a little wrong there as Dale was working at the nose and not in place of Ray, but it is still concerning that a guy who has apparently staked a solid claim to the starting job in the middle, as a true freshman, is missing practice. Word is that Saban will be updating us Saturday on Dale’s status. Hope for the best.
In other news, the only story anyone in the national media wants to discuss this year.
For the I-lost-count number of seasons in a row, I am picking Alabama as the preseason No. 1 team in the bowl projections. It is not entirely crazy. The Tide have been No. 1 in the Preseason AP Top 25, end-of-regular-season AP Top 25 or postseason AP Top 25 in each of the last 11 years.
Both teams have lost a fair amount of talent, as they always do, and Clemson is sticking with Alabama step for step not just on the field but on the recruiting trail as well. However, I believe Alabama’s strength of schedule will push the Tide to the top of the rankings when the season comes to an end. That statement is not based as much on the perceived overall superiority of the SEC but rather that the ACC is down this season outside of the Tigers.
“Any reasonable person - who isn’t talking outside of both sides of his mouth - knows the SEC is significantly more difficult,” Finebaum said. “Why Dabo is trying to defense the indefensible, I have no earthy idea.
“Dabo Swinney - in his own aw-shucks, golly-gee, sheriff-of-Mayberry approach - is trying to act like he is being persecuted. In the end, he’s not. He’s just trying to defend his league. I think Dabo has an inferiority complex about the ACC because he knows it isn’t a very good league.”
You have to think that coaches of other top programs are using all of the Bama-Clemson inevitability talk to motivate their own programs. It does feel pretty inevitable, though. ANd yes, Dabo very clearly has an inferiority complex.
Who wouldn’t though?
After the 2019 NFL Draft, he has the record for most first-round picks at 34 — 29 of which played at Alabama. In fact, he has 13 more first-rounders than career losses with the Crimson Tide. That’s wild.
His coaching tree is extensive, and while his former assistants experience their own success, challenge his team and even come close to winning — like Kirby Smart’s Georgia team in that 2017 title game — they’ve never beaten their old boss. They’re 0-16 against the GOAT.
May he get that sixth title in Tuscaloosa this season.
Last, it was Pick Six night for Alabama players in the NFL preseason.
Another pick-six from a former Alabama player. Cyrus Jones with a pick-six for the Ravens pic.twitter.com/FJ8Dx5LeBE— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) August 9, 2019
Nice job by both men, but Dwayne Haskins... oof. He was also picked off by fellow rookie Greedy Williams. Despite the recent trend of rookie QBs getting thrown into the fire, I don’t see Dwayne beating out Case Keenum this season.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.