Happy Monday, everyone. We all know the events of the weekend, but did you see Jaylen Waddle smoking cigars with his teammates in an ambulance? Cool moment, but dammit. It sucks for the team but so much more for him.
He won’t be replaced, but it seems evident that Slade Bolden will likely inherit a near full-time role in the slot.
Metchie was Bama’s leading receiver against Tennessee Saturday with 7 catches for 151 yards. Smith didn’t have a great statistical game, though he had impressive receptions among his 7 catches for 73.
Those two are solid in the receiving corps. Beyond that, there is one obvious option. Slade Bolden took over for Waddle and had 6 catches for 94 yards against the Vols. Those were his first catches this year. He also replaced Waddle as punt return man.
Bolden, 5-11, 191, is known as an outstanding athlete, the kind of player who could have ended up at any position. The third-year sophomore has played at wide receiver and on special teams and was Waddle’s backup on returns.
Bolden is not as physically gifted as Waddle, but he doesn’t have to be for the offense to keep rolling. All he has to do is get open, and he appears to be quite adept at it. Many wildly successful slot receivers are underrated out of high school for various reasons, but mostly because they don’t tend to have great size and often fall into the ATH category as players without clear positions. Bolden fits that profile, and he showed a knack for finding soft spots in the zone on Saturday.
Najee Harris is showing a knack for just damn dominance.
Wouldn’t it be something if both Najee and Mac Jones made it to New York? Or to the virtual broadcast that would have been held in New York? Or something?
The offense kept rolling in Neyland.
Yards per play
1. 2020 team, 8.2
2. 2019 team, 7.9
Yards per game
1. 2020 team, 566.4
2. 2019 team 522.0
Those two metrics are absurd, folks, a full half yard per play better than last year’s mark, which led the nation.
At the midpoint of the regular season, more freshmen are playing roles.
No. 3 S, No. 61 overall in 2020 rankings
Branch was the sixth defensive back in UA’s dime package, lining up at Money and giving the team two freshman starters in the secondary. Also used on punt returns and kickoffs, Branch recorded one tackle, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup that was nearly a pick.
No. 8 DT, No. 56 overall in 2020 rankings
For the second week in a row, Smith was part of the Tide’s D-line rotation. He entered the game as early as the second quarter at defensive tackle and registered three tackles.
These two both play in position groups that could use some reinforcement. Heralded WR prospect Javon Baker is another who saw some action. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him get some work outside, thus allowing DeVonta Smith to run from the slot.
Last, Alabama is favored by a ridiculously high number this weekend.
Alabama opens as a 32.5-point favorite over Mississippi State.— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) October 25, 2020
I don’t know about that one. They are unlikely to stop Alabama, but it seems likely that they get a few points anyway. Thoughts?
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.