Happy Monday, everyone. Phase two of the September warm-up is now complete. Michael Casagrande has a few final nuggets on the game for you.
-- Tagovailoa had nearly four seconds of a clean pocket to find Jeudy for the 23-yard touchdown on the first quarter’s final snap to make it 21-0. It was a four-man rush with some stunts up front but the quarterback kept his eyes downfield and let the play develop.
-- It’s worth noting Tagovailoa hasn’t been sacked since the second passing play of the season. Duke and New Mexico State combined for two quarterback hurries in two games.
As always, schemes tend to work their way “up” levels in football rather than down. You see RPOs in the NFL now because it’s impossible to project a QB who ran a RPO scheme in college to a progression based pro passing game. A college football coach can spend hours and hours trying to retrain players to a scheme that he wants to run in only 20 hours a week, or he can simply run something similar to what the players were trained to do before college. Guess what? The vast majority of high school programs run a spread/zone based offense now. Ergo, most young offensive players, including linemen, are more versed in that type of scheme.
It seems counterintuitive, but linemen who are both big and athletic are best utilized in the passing game, where they tend to swallow pass rushers. Their long arms can stymie swim and rip techniques. It shouldn’t be a surprise that Tua Tagovailoa has been under little pressure thus far. No, we haven’t played LSU or Georgia or Clemson yet, but thus far they have been a wall. With this quarterback and these wide receivers, stubbornly committing to a power run game would be coaching malpractice. The horizontal passing game is an extension of the run game, and to be frank Najee Harris is better out in space anyway.
As Cecil notes, Landon Dickerson was forced into action at center because Chris Owens was out.
For one thing, while Alabama has plenty of young talent, that talent is far from having formed a cohesive group. Yes, the offense is explosive because few teams, Top 25 or not, can cover Alabama’s receivers or stop Tua Tagovailoa from finding them. The running backs looked better than in Week One, whether it was Najee Harris, Brian Robinson or eye-catching freshman Keilan Robinson, who outran every Aggie defended on a lightning 74-yard touchdown. The offensive line was jumbled because both regular centers (Emil Ekiyor and Chris Owens) were out, so work continues there and will still be needed at South Carolina.)
I really don’t think shuffling was the intention. Hopefully everyone can get healthy by Saturday and start to gel as a unit. Even still, it’s tough to argue with the pass pro.
The Unofficial Assistant Coach was a week late, but he has Duke for you.
Moving on, Alabama is heavily favored in Columbia, as expected.
The Crimson Tide is a 22-point favorite over the Gamecocks, according to Vegas Insider.
South Carolina will be starting a true freshman quarterback, four-star recruit Ryan Hilinski, after losing starter Jake Bentley to a long-term foot injury that he suffered during the team’s 24-20 game one loss to North Carolina.
I’m not a bettor, but that seems ridiculously low for a game that was already a mismatch before Jake Bentley went down. The true freshman replacement played very well against his FCS opponent last week, but he’s going to be making his first FBS start against a veteran Alabama secondary chock full of NFL talent, along with a ferocious pass rush. The line climbed to 25.5 before midnight, and I still expect Alabama money to roll in at that number.
Will Muschamp had nothing but nice things to say about Nick Saban and Alabama.
“At the end of the day, Nick’s demanding. And that’s what makes him very successful. He does a really good job of hiring coaches. He does a really good job of teaching coaches how he wants his system, his program administered. I think that’s a huge strength of his, and anticipating issues before they arise. I think that Nick was demanding but he never asked me to do something he wasn’t doing himself from a work standpoint. That’s what always impressed me from that standpoint. He wants to play at a high level. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
It’s been said ad nauseum, but Saban’s old school work ethic isn’t for everyone.
Alabama’s Heisman winners showed out yesterday. First. Mark Ingram used the truck stick against a god awful Miami Dolphins squad.
Then, Derrick Henry took a swing pass to the house.
A man that size simply should not be able to run that fast. What a freak. Best of all, those Vols/Titans fans have to root for an Alabama RB on Sunday as their college program burns to the ground.
Last, and speaking of freaks, I present this tweet without any unnecessary comment.
Madam first lady of New Bethel Church of God in Christ Faith Tabernacle of the Rock, Sword and Shield LLC Inc. pic.twitter.com/FxPX6sBm44— Jai Haus of XCX (@JayJurden) September 8, 2019
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.