An ass-kicking of the Vols using a vanilla scheme of about a dozen plays on both sides of the ledger should always be reason to celebrate. But, there’s a bad taste from this one that is going to linger...and perhaps come back to haunt the Tide, as for yet another season, Alabama has lost its single best player and generational talent.
We’re not going to rehash the Jaylen Waddle injury. It’s safe to say that his loss diminishes this offense in ways that are obvious (Bolden’s drop in the end zone on a perfect throw by Bryce Young), and the not-so-obvious (defenders not respecting his running skills in the backfield or as a man in motion.)
But, Waddle’s was not the only injury and lineup shuffle that ‘Bama suffered: John Metchie came up lame, but returned; Miller Forristall hurt his shoulder again, but returned; Deonte Brown apparently left with an injury and never returned after the second quarter (and the offensive line definitely was shakier when Chris Owens was subbed in); Demarcco Hellams — who had 13 tackles last week — was nowhere to be seen until garbage time; then Hellams got injured in garbage time making a hit on Brian Maurer; the linebackers were down one- and two-starters for much of the game...for reasons that no one knows.
There was good to be had, for sure: Mac Jones was sharp all game, and threw some real beauties (even if a few were risky); Najee Harris ran like a man possessed; Slade Bolden had a great first half; Trey Sanders came in the second half and looked to be much more comfortable; the defense forced a scoop-and-score, but make no mistake: this is an Alabama team that is a significantly worse one leaving Knoxville than it was entering it.
‘Bama gets its 14th straight over the vile Hillcritters. Saban gets his 23rd straight over former assistants. Alabama has now notched it’s 29th straight over the SEC East. And most importantly, the Tide moves to 5-0 after a 48-17 win.
Smoke if you got ‘em. But for my part, I’m turning the 24-hour rule into a 24-minute rule — I just want to get the hell out of Knoxville.
Cheer the W...or swing your cactus below: