Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama opened up as a 14 point favorite over Florida this week, though the consensus line moved quickly to 17. Of course, Florida was favored by more than that over LSU and we know how that turned out. The Tide will need to play its best game on Saturday.
Hopefully they will have all of their linebackers.
Nick Saban says LB Christian Harris “has a chance to play this week depending on how he progresses” from a shoulder injury in the Arkansas game.— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) December 13, 2020
Hated to see Harris go down, but Jaylen Moody looked pretty solid in his stead. This Florida offense featuring Kyle Pitts will be a much greater challenge.
Dan Mullen was asked about Mac Jones.
The Kyle Trask vs. Mac Jones subplot will certainly be a talking point as the two quarterbacks were the top Heisman Trophy contenders entering Saturday’s game. Mullen has a reputation for developing passers, so he was asked about Jones’ big season in Tuscaloosa.
“Very similar to Kyle,” Mullen said. “Does a great job managing their offense, distributing the ball to all the different play-makers, getting them in the right plays at the right time, taking what the defense gives him. He’s had a great season.”
A few folks got #madonline about the “game manager” reference, but this quote seems pretty innocuous. This one about the shoe throw that impacted the LSU game, though? Hoo, boy.
“He made the tackle,” Mullen said during a teleconference with reporters to preview Saturday’s SEC title game against No. 1 Alabama. “Part of the football move, the kid’s shoe is in his hand. He kind of threw it and jumped and celebrated with his teammates.
“It’s pretty unfortunate in that situation. I don’t think there was any intent to taunt, and there wasn’t — it’s not like he was throwing it at their sideline or doing any of that.
There is no accountability in this comment whatsoever. Shielding players from public criticism is good to a degree, but you hope that privately he helped the young man understand that throwing the shoe was a poor decision and examined what the coaching staff can do to better encourage mature decision-making in these boys they have promised to help raise into me. Dan’s reputation suggests that he probably did not.
You undoubtedly heard that Auburn fired Gus Malzahn. Nick Saban weighed in on it.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus,” Saban said. “He was difficult to play against when he was the offensive coordinator, and he’s always been difficult to play against as a head coach. Their teams always played hard, their team’s always well-coached on both sides of the ball and special teams. So I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus. Sometimes you wonder why people do what they do. I don’t know what the reasons are, but I certainly think he’s an outstanding coach and has been a tough adversary for us to have to play against in the Iron Bowl every year. I just have a lot of respect for Gus and the job that he’s done.”
Gus could have gone 0-50 and Nick would say the same thing.
Jalen Hurts got his first start yesterday, and got a win.
Jalen wasn’t stellar as a passer a 17/30 for 167 yards, but he did run for 114 on 14 carries. Most importantly, of course, they knocked off the Saints who came in at 10-2.
Tua Tagovailoa had a bit of a tough time in a loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, but he did have his second consecutive 300-yard game.
Last, Derrick Henry did Derrick Henry things, as usual.
Henry eats the Jacksonville Jaguars alive every time he plays them. All he did yesterday was run for 215 yards and two TDs on 26 carries.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.