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Jumbo Package: Watching Delta ahead of Saturday’s game

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Texas A&M vs Alabama Photo by UA Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. We are all on hurricane watch where Saturday’s game is concerned, but Saban seems to think it will be played on schedule.

“I think we’re gonna make everybody’s best effort to play the game on Saturday,” Saban said after Wednesday’s practice. “No one really listens to anything that I have to say. This is about our administration, their administration, the SEC trying to make the best decision.”

There have been discussions about potentially moving the Crimson Tide’s third game to either Friday, Sunday or even Nov. 7 with Hurricane Delta expected to hit Mississippi on Saturday. But both Saban and Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin said the plan is still to play Oct. 10.

Looking at this, however, playing at 5pm seems like a stretch.

It sure looks like that thing is going to be parked over Mississippi all damn day. Guess we will see what happens.

Kiffin had a little good natured fun with Saban on Dan Patrick’s show yesterday, calling Saban “elderly” and saying Nick couldn’t cover Lane one-on-one. Saban was asked about it and had a decent response.

ESPN has both Najee Harris and Mac Jones as players to watch this week.

In its opener, the Ole Miss defense gave up 400 yards and six passing TDs to Kyle Trask. In its second game, the Rebels gave up three 100-yard rushers against Kentucky. So, what treasure will Lane Kiffin’s D deliver to a Heisman hopeful this week? Jones is already looking like a potential winner, averaging nearly 14 yards per pass so far and putting up Tua Tagovailoa-type numbers through two weeks. But here’s betting Harris puts on a show of his own, too. He has scored five times on the ground so far but is also one of the most dynamic backs in the country, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hook up with Jones for some big plays in the passing game this week. Apologies in advance for providing Alabama with so much rat poison this week.

The Ole Miss defense has not been very good to date. Hopefully the Tide can take advantage.

Andy Staples wrote a fantastic piece on Mac Jones, who is getting all kinds of attention.

“That’s the perfect example of looking back and seeing what you can learn from a real-life experience,” Jones said. “You can always talk about rebounding from mistakes. But when you go into an environment like Auburn and you make some mistakes, that’s the worst environment you’ll be in and the best experience to learn from.”

That’s the attitude Gordon hoped Mac would adopt. In that outline, he addressed mistakes just like the ones in the Iron Bowl. “Confident people do not dwell on mistakes,” Gordon wrote. “They acknowledge them, accept them and learn from them.”

Sitting in his home in Jacksonville, Gordon smiled as he pondered his son’s progress relative to that outline. Mac is right on schedule — even if it wasn’t the schedule everyone else had in mind.

Andy also mentions that Mac speaks enough Chinese to be able to communicate with his sister when the two thought parents were eavesdropping. He comes across in the piece as a little bit cocky and a tireless worker who never backs down from competition. That has served him well in Tuscaloosa.

Mac’s longtime private QB coach has some insight on the deep ball success.

Dickinson, who has worked with Jones since he was 11, made improving his deep pass a point of emphasis this past offseason. The results have been striking so far: Jones completed touchdowns of 78, 87 and 63 yards in Saturday’s game alone.

“He knew personally he needed to get better on the deep ball,” Dickinson explained. “We talked about that, because he’s got some great deep-ball catching guys. That’s a big throw. You want to throw a bunch of touchdowns? Throw a good deep ball. If you want to be really, really good, you throw a great deep ball. Right now, he’s throwing great deep balls.”

Thus far the results have been outstanding. May they continue.

Landon Dickerson isn’t happy with the running game.

“I’m not at all disappointed in the way the offensive line has played,” Saban said. “I think we need to do a better job as a staff to make sure we’re preparing them for what they’re going to see. And then they can respond better to it in the game.”

Dickerson is not accepting of that explanation.

“You can’t let other people control what you’re going to do,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what opponent we play. It shouldn’t matter what kind of defense they run, what scheme they run. We should be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish.”

That’s the right attitude for the players to have, but it isn’t terribly realistic to expect to be able to run consistently against a good team if the defense has a numbers advantage in the box.

Nobody wants a shootout on Saturday more than this guy.

“I was like ‘Oh crap’ I totally didn’t think about that,” Metcalf said by phone Wednesday evening. “Even we miss stuff. We’re so busy thinking about how we rated a team and sometimes you don’t think about the hurricane thing, especially when we’re out here in the desert and a hurricane isn’t the first thing on our head.”

By Tuesday, it was down to the upper 60s, bottoming at 67 late Tuesday night — 12.5 points below the opening number. It dipped as low as 66 at a few sportsbooks.

Imagine setting the over/under near 80 with a huge storm rolling in. Good luck.

Last, Big Pooh got his Bama Factor box.

Gotta love it. Simultaneously advertising the player being in the NFL locker room and the way that Alabama continues to take care of him. Great stuff.

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

Roll Tide.