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Jumbo Package: Alabama’s options to compensate for loss of Jaylen Waddle

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, everyone. The topic du jour is the impact of the Jaylen Waddle injury on the national title race, and two ESPN folks seem to have differing views.

“I think it’s over for ‘Bama,” Pollack said on the CFB Podcast with Herbie, Pollack & Neghandi. “I think if you’re just talking about winning a national title, I don’t think they can win a national title without (Waddle). By the way, like, yes — ‘Bama’s recruited at a high level. But you don’t have, like, 4-2 (40-yard-dash-timed) guys — well, ‘Bama actually last year, (Henry) Ruggs and (Waddle), the last year, last two years — you don’t have 4-2, 4-3 guys sitting around.

“And when you look at their game plan and what they do, they are — like, this is a different team than a year ago. It’s not RPO driven. It’s run the football and play action. And they stack those guys, (senior wide receiver) DeVonta Smith and him, together where you can’t jam ‘em and you can’t double ‘em because they put them on the same side of the field — and it just makes life absolutely miserable on you.

“He’s played a lot of different positions,” Jones said of Bolden. “Shoot, he’s even played defense before in the spring practices before. The guy knows a lot about football. If you go and watch his high school highlights, I always like watching his highlights because it gets me pretty fired up. He’s making plays. So when you have somebody that can make plays like that and put him wherever you want on the field, he’s super versatile. ... He’s just getting started.”

Cornerback Patrick Surtain II listed a few other freshmen who could make an impact at receiver: Javon Baker, Traeshon Holden and Thaiu Jones-Bell — all former four-star, ESPN 300 prospects.

Don’t sleep on Xavier Williams, the former No. 2-ranked receiver in the 2018 class. And don’t discount how Sarkisian might utilize running backs Najee Harris, Brian Robinson and Trey Sanders in the passing game.

Let’s have more of that “Alabama has no shot” talk, please. The last time Alabama was buried and gone in October, things turned out well. Connelly makes a great point about the various strategies to replace Waddle’s production. Slade Bolden looked the part on Saturday, but the thought of Najee and Trey on the field together is pretty mouthwatering. We finally got the opportunity to see Trey’s explosiveness in Knoxville. Either of those backs present a matchup nightmare for a linebacker in coverage.

Speaking of Waddle, we shouldn’t get our hopes up or anything, but Saban left the door open for a slim possibility that he returns for the playoff should Alabama make it.

On Monday, Saban did not specifically rule out Waddle’s return or leave the door open for him to come back this season.

“It’s a difficult timetable to know when a guy can come back from something like this,” Saban said. “That’s something that’s going to be ongoing. Probably six to eight weeks before he can even start real heavy rehab, then relative to your position, how fast you can come back after that is really, really up in the air.”

As we well know, he will have access to the best treatment available to aid in recovery. None of us know the severity of the injury, but it sounds like he should make a full recovery and be ready to show out for NFL teams in the spring regardless of a return this season.

Looks like Alabama will not have to deal with Kylin Hill.

Running back Kylin Hill was suspended from the team following the Bulldogs’ Week 3 loss to Kentucky and his status hasn’t changed as Mississippi State begins its prep for the Crimson Tide.

“No update,” head coach Mike Leach said Monday. “He’s still unavailable.”

Hill, a first-team All-SEC selection last season, ran for 1,350 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and accounted for 192 scrimmage yards and a touchdown during Mississippi State’s Week 1 win over LSU this season.

No idea what is going on here, but it doesn’t sound good.

Pollack may not be high on Alabama to win a title, but can anyone in the SEC stop them?

The strides made by Alabama’s defense against Georgia’s Stetson Bennett (50th in efficiency rating) and Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano (58th) could be a mirage, but there might not be a way of knowing before the playoff unless Alabama draws Florida’s Kyle Trask in a potential SEC title game meeting.

Trask has the nation’s sixth-best rating (196.0) through five SEC games, which puts him in the company of Heisman Trophy contenders in Mac Jones (212.8), Trevor Lawrence (178.6) and Justin Fields, who had a 237.1 rating in Ohio State’s opener Saturday.

That matchup with Florida would be interesting, though I think Mac Jones would likely trash their secondary.

Don’t forget that a very exciting basketball season is fast approaching.

Can’t wait.

Last, Lane Kiffin showed a little defiance yesterday in some drama with the SEC office. In case you missed it, there was a play late in their game an Auburn kick returner appeared to have possibly touched a kickoff that ended up rolling into the end zone. Ole Miss recovered the ball for what would have been a touchdown, but the ruling on the field was that the ball was not touched and thus resulted in an automatic touchback. For whatever reason, the replay crew decided not to stop and review, resulting in this statement:

Kiffin was incensed, and expressed his frustration with the SEC’s gag order on coaches regarding official decisions.

The SEC office didn’t care for those comments and fined him $25K as a result.

You didn’t think Lane was done, did you?

We knew he would be fun, but this is spectacular.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.