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Jumbo Package: A resurgent defensive line will be key to Alabama’s title hopes

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Chick-fil-A Kickoff - Duke v Alabama Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Thursday, everyone. Chip Patterson of CBS Sports is counting down his top 25, and he’s pretty bullish on Alabama.

Consider the 2015 season, with an Alabama team fresh off the embarrassment of an upset loss to Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff semifinals. That 2015 team led with its defense and heavy doses of Derrick Henry on the way to 14-1 season (shoutout Swag Kelly and that bananas Ole Miss game) and national championship win against Clemson. If Jake Coker can guide that team to a national championship, then there is absolutely a ceiling for Mac Jones and/or Bryce Young to do the same.

So forget about replacing Tua because he can’t be replaced and understand that 2020 is set to be a year of evolution for the Tide. When there’s enough uniquely motivated talent moving in the same direction, national championship is the ceiling for a program like Alabama. And as we sit here in late May, that’s exactly who I’m picking to win it all in the season ahead.

Sounds good to us, Chip. If it happens, a return to dominance along the defensive front will be a likely catalyst.

It starts, as you note, with Christian Barmore. He’s got a ton of potential, and I think he’s beginning to realize what kind of player he can be if he plays with more discipline. He has to prove he can be trusted up front. That means that if his assignment means holding a run gap, he’d better be in that run gap and not freelancing trying to do something else. He had six tackles for loss and a couple of sacks last season. At 6-foot-5, 310 pounds, he fits the part.

If LaBryan Ray is healthy, and a couple of foot injuries he sustained last summer and in the season make that somewhat of question mark, he has the potential to be the difference-maker that most observers thought he’d be last season.

Those guys along with the bevy of second year players behind them will hopefully lead a resurgence. Edge players are important and we have plenty of candidates out there, but immediate pressure in the face of the QB is always the most disruptive, and when teams have to spend extra resources to prevent that, the edge rushers and secondary end up with favorable matchups. The combination of talent and depth in this group could be the best we’ve seen since 2015.

Jedrick Wills, Jr. made a fancy purchase with his bonus check.

That thing is a bit gaudy for my taste, but good news! Jedrick didn’t ask my opinion. Unfortunately, some trolls decided to tell him that he was wasting his money and would end up as another broke pro athlete.

Good for you, Jedrick. Good for you.

D.J. Fluker weighed in with a thoughtful comment about the awful, disturbing killing of George Floyd and the aftermath.

View this post on Instagram

This topic is always hard. What if I say the wrong thing in anger? What if I say the right thing, but I’m told I am wrong? It’s not the first time it’s happened. . The fact of the matter is this, the system is broken and it feels that Blacks and Browns are targeted. As a father, I dread the day when I have to have “the talk” with my son. I raise my children well. I try to be respectful, I am mindful of others, I stay out of people’s way. But I still carry, in the eyes of many, that element of danger - I am Black. . So what’s the solution? The million dollar question, right? That’s where we struggle to come up with something viable. . We need representation in police departments, and we need reform. We need minorities to unite and help rewrite the training book. Because that’s always the answer, right? Training dictates that you neutralize the person. But what if, out of the 4 cops there, one said, “enough let’s throw him in the car.” . Instead you sat on his neck, like a dog needing to be told who was in charge, and that’s the problem. . Our most marginalized sector of the population is always, the most impacted by events like this. I’m tired. I don’t want to be the next hashtag, I do want to help be a step towards eradicating this very real problem. . Rest In Peace, #GeorgeFloyd. May the loss of your life, while tragic and sad, be the first step towards positive change. . PS. Minorities, please apply for Law Enforcement jobs. The more representation, the more I hope common sense will creep itself into this system. Those are good paying jobs. Get yourself in there and help prevent another George Floyd from happening.

A post shared by D.J. FLUKER (@djthewarrior76) on

Wise words from an outstanding young man and ambassador for Alabama football.

Last, O.J. Howard spoke with Brad Crawford at 247sports about why he chose Alabama.

“When you look at Coach Saban’s resume, at the time I think he had won maybe like four championships, Howard said during a recent video on why he chose Alabama. “You watch him coach on TV and be like ‘Man, I would love to play for a guy like that.’ No matter if we were up by a lot of points or if we were down, he would always finish coaching the game. When you see that as a recruit, you’re like, ‘I would love to play for a guy like that, break my neck out for a guy like that.’

“When I got here, it was nothing short of that. Coach Saban treats every payer the same, everyone is going to get coached hard.”

Great stuff.

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

Roll Tide.