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Did RPOs doom Alabama’s run game?

NCAA Football: Alabama vs Duke Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama makes AP poll history

Alabama wasn’t No. 1 in the new AP football poll, but it carved out a little history at No. 2

This was the 56th straight week for the Crimson Tide making the top five of the poll. That beat out Miami’s previous record from 2000-2003.

Alabama’s been in the top five of every poll since Nov. 8, 2015. It dipped out for a month after a second straight loss to Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa but recovered and eventually won a national title.

For those of you keeping track, that loss to Ole Miss is what started the “end of the dynasty.”

Since the media buried Alabama for dead, the following 4 years have been the best in NCAA history. I like that. Here’s to hoping the second proclamation of the same thing (January 2019) results in another 4 years of domination.

Deeper look at why Alabama running game struggled vs. Duke

“When you throw RPOs, you don’t always block the secondary folks,” Saban said. “I think when runners press the holes the right way and run where they’re supposed to run and people show up in the right places from the offensive line to be able to block them. And I think that there was a number of occasions where we had a hat on hat and we did not finish the blocks like we need to be able to run the ball effectively.”

“But I know this much,” Saban said, “there’s a certain way you’re supposed to run the ball on certain plays. You have to trust and have confidence in that. And that’s the thing we want to focus on with those guys to be able to do. If that takes rhythm to do that, then we need to improve their rhythm. If it takes more eye control and eye discipline to see what you’re supposed to see and respond that way, then that’s what we need to do.”

For those of you RPO haters, here’s a little more ammo. Of course, Saban then goes on to talk about how the issue actually was a lack of execution on pretty much everyone’s part, whether it was offensive linemen out of place, not making blocks, or running backs not following play design.

Harris and Robinson both seemed determined to jump cut immediately after the hand-off on every run, and the turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium won that battle over and over. A change back to the grass at Tuscaloosa may help that some, but the backs and linemen all have to work together a little better on execution. Tua and the receivers have been doing the same thing together for over two years now, but the entire crew in the run game has to get used to all playing with each other.

AL.com All-Access: Some Week 1 college football overreactions

The SEC might have a Big 3 this year: Alabama took care of business against Duke, and Georgia turned in a respectable showing against Vanderbilt, but the most impressive team in the league might have been LSU. The Tigers absolutely destroyed Georgia Southern (a GOOD Sun Belt team) from the opening whistle on Saturday night in Baton Rouge, debuting their no-huddle offense to great effect (23-for-27, 5 TDs passes for Joe Burrow) and giving no quarter to the Eagles’ triple-option attack. LSU heads to Texas this weekend for a showdown of ranked teams, so we’ll find out if Ed Orgeron’s Tigers are for real.

I hate to form opinions based on week 1 results, but LSU looked absolutely terrifying on Saturday. The Tigers have spent the better part of a decade wasting elite defenses and dominating rushing attacks with such subpar QB play that it’s just become part of the Baton Rouge zeitgeist.

All of a sudden, Joe Burrow is out there going 23-27 for 5 TDs? It’s a bit worrying. That said, Coach O is still Coach O. They’ll find a way to sabotage their own passing game.

LaBryan Ray Focuses On Being Prepared

Is it different to be the starter?

“To be honest, no, because it’s just the way I prepare,” Ray said. “I try to stay focused because even last year, you don’t know if somebody goes down and then you’re up. It’s really the next-man-up type at The University of Alabama, so that’s just something I feel like even as a freshman I tried to focus on because you really don’t know what can happen.”

Against Duke last week, Ray was in on five tackles, including one for loss.

No surprise, he said against Duke, “I think I did okay, but there’s still a lot to improve on. So, it’s just worrying about the technique part of it, because I know if I can get better and better technique every week in and out, that would make me a more successful player.”

Well I would say that, based on this interview, LaBryan Ray is officially Processed. On top of his comments about his own game, he made sure to emphasize that New Mexico State is a “Great team.”

I think he’s gonna fit in just fine as an Alabama football representative.

DeVonta Smith learns from mistake that kept him out a quarter

“I would say it definitely taught me a lesson, but it kind of opened up the things we were trying to do on offense,” Smith said. “I saw things, looking from the sidelines, like you said, seeing things and what Coach Sark was really trying to do. … Just the schemes he’s trying to do, the meaning of everything from the run plays to the pass plays to the RPOs, the way you read it.

“Once you see it from the sidelines, you’re like, ‘Oh, OK. That’s why he’s doing this.’”

Smith said the offense doesn’t “feel that much different” from last year, other than how and when Steve Sarkisian calls plays.

Here’s some quotes from DeVonta Smith about how Steve Sarkisian is calling the offense. Here’s to hoping his time on the sidelines really did help him to understand play-calling scheme. I’ve seen a football team absolutely fall apart from the inside after players began to question the play-calling of the coaching staff. So if a veteran with a lot of influence like Smith can buy in, things should be good to go.


Finally, enjoy this video: