There is one common through line in Bama’s losses, though. You need That Dude who can win one-on-one matchups.
You need an 11 who can hang with Bama’s 11, obviously.
But since your 11 are highly unlikely to outperform Bama’s 11, you also need one of your 11 who can truly dominate one of their 11.
Typically, that’s going to be a quarterback, a receiver, or both. If you can take over the trenches, then you’re incredible. But holding ground there can be enough, if you have somebody special outside.
While there’s no statistical backing to the idea you have to throw a ton to beat Bama, you do have to do it well. Teams that have beaten the Tide have tended to get god-mode QB or WR performances.
This is a decidedly un-Gumpy article, so I’m putting it first in order to wash the bad taste out of our mouths as we move further down the list. That said, it’s a really nice piece from Alex Kirshner that takes a look at every Alabama loss of the decade. It’s a tough hike to stroll through this particular memory lane, but I really enjoy how he points out the flaws in the many “Keys to Beating Alabama” that our good friend Gary Danielson has perpetuated so rigorously over the years.
If you can’t muster the will to click the piece, here’s the TL;DR- You have to have one really good wide receiver (and QB) that can win a bunch of one-on-ones down the field.
Or be Auburn in Jordan-Hare. That works too.
But enough of that.
A former Alabama safety who was a graduate assistant for the team this past season has landed a job with one of the NFL’s top franchises.
The New England Patriots have hired Vinnie Sunseri for a support staff role, according to sources.
Sunseri was one of three Sunseris on the Crimson Tide staff this past season, along with his dad — outside linebackers coach Sal Sunseri — and brother — offensive graduate assistant Tino Sunseri.
Congrats to Vinnie for the hire. Getting to work as support for both Saban and Belichick will go a very long way on a resume for the rest of his career.
Dutchtown (Ga.) defensive end Will Anderson put together a strong senior season, tallying 22 sacks before showcasing elite pass rushing skills at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
National recruiting analysts took notice.
Anderson is one of four new 5-star players, according to the new Class of 2020 national recruiting rankings released by Rivals today.
Some recruiting news for you.
CB mentioned Anderson’s move to 5-stars in Rivals ratings in his recruiting update piece yesterday, and Rivals made it official later in the day. Obviously, Rivals is a little different that the 247 Composite rankings we usually use around here, but by their metrics, Alabama has four Five-Star players in Bryce Young, Anderson, Chris Braswell, and Demouy Kennedy. On top of that, Jase McCellan and Drew Sanders are right on the fringe of 5-star status, while defensive tackle Tim Smith took a huge jump into the top-50 and also right there at the fringe.
That’s some major talent coming in.
Alabama pulled ahead as the 247Sports Crystal Ball favorite for All-American defensive tackle McKinnley Jackson this week. The last two predictions have gone the Crimson Tide’s way, giving UA a 43 percent advantage over LSU at 29 percent, and foggy (undecided) at 29 percent.
Nick Saban and company hold three of the seven total predictions.
On top of that, two more of the 247 guys are predicting Jackson to end up at Alabama. Obviously take it with a grain of salt, but it’s something to watch.
“Christopher Allen, King Mwikuta, Jarez Parks — he’s a hell of a pass-rusher. Kevin Harris has a lot of quick twitch. I think he can step up and be productive,” Lewis said Tuesday. “Basically, I think they’ll all be, during this spring, kind of growing, getting the reps that they really need so that they can figure out who they are on the team and figure out their role. As far as replacing me and Anfernee, I think they’ll be able to figure out things out during the spring.”
“I’ll probably say it’s maybe King Mwikuta and Jarez Parks,” Lewis said. “They both have a lot of ability. It’s just a matter of them getting the reps, getting comfortable in the system and really just understanding everything, as a whole, of the defense and understanding the concept.”
Following his redshirt senior year, Jennings was impressed by all of the Crimson Tide’s outside ‘backers, who he said have “the potential to be great.” Specifically asked about Mwikuta, a Top247 recruiting during the 2019 recruiting cycle, Jennings said to know the name.
“King’s definitely somebody to watch out for,” Jennings said. “He’s just a hardworking kid, smart and just freakish athletic. Just be on the lookout for him. He loves the game.”
Both Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis mentioned King Mwikuta— basically a forgotten man by fans in his inaugural season— as a potential starter as a pass rusher next year, so he’ll definitely be a guy to watch this spring. Is it also a little telling that Ben Davis wasn’t mentioned... again?
Jared Mayden, on the other hand, was a little less helpful. When asked about the defensive backs, he named all three of the safeties left on the roster before the true freshmen come in.
“Jordan Battle will probably step up and play one of the safety spots,” Mayden said. “Daniel Wright, I’m looking for him to step up. Everybody there right now has a chance. DeMarcco Hellams has a good shot — a guy that can play Money in the dime package.
Finally, here’s some silly season mock drafts if you’re into that.
Sports Illustrated has a ridiculous 7 Alabama players going in the first round, including Tua Tagovailoa and Jedrick Wills, Jr. in the top 5.
Daniel Jeremiah is definitely one of the best of the year-round “Draft guys” that actually is thorough with all of his research and study without just spouting off hot takes all the time. He’s got Tagovailoa and Wills at 5th and 6th, followed by Jerry Jeudy, Xavier McKinney, and Henry Ruggs III in the rest of the first round.