Happy Monday, everyone. Yesterday was move-in and Bid Day on campus, and a lot of folks were seen not following protocols.
Why? We are desperately trying to protect @tuscaloosacity - We are trying to have college football season. We have been running details for 3 straight nights. @TuscaloosaPD is stretched thin between COVID-19 and these details. We will be requesting daytime help from #UAPD. https://t.co/ZHCR2XAk8F— Walt Maddox (@WaltMaddox) August 16, 2020
Chris Owens, who was the most outspoken player in the #WeWantToPlay movement, expressed similar frustration. There is some level of enforcement going on.
We will see if it helps. Hopefully things will calm down some as classes start.
As Christopher Walsh notes, the men in that locker room also have to be accountable to one another.
Would you want to be the one to tell Najee Harris that he won’t have a chance to become Alabama’s all-time rushing leader because you ignored protocol, contracted the coronavirus and unwittingly gave it to teammates?
Or cost Dylan Moses a chance to play another game at Bryant-Denny Stadium after coming back from a knee injury?
Never mind possibly costing Alabama a chance to play for another conference or national championship, how about getting the coaches sick because of your negligence?
No. No, I would not.
Over the weekend, Justin Fields started a petition asking the Big Ten to reconsider its stance.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, a potential Heisman Trophy candidate this season, has created a petition to immediately reinstate the fall football season — which OSU athletic director Gene Smith just announced last week would be scrapped due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In the petition, Fields says he speaks for “football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football” in asking for players and teams to be able to make their own choices about playing or opting out.
Emphasis mine. This is a good point: why does an entire conference have to play or not play, particularly since there is so much geographic overlap nowadays? Perhaps some schools don’t feel that they have the ability to provide the environment necessary to meet protocols, or some teams have so many players opt out that it wouldn’t make sense to play. That’s fine, but why should the other schools in the conference be affected? Parents of players from four Big Ten schools have penned letters to the conference asking for their sons to have a fall season. Not hard to figure which side Pat Forde is aligned with, as he has deemed those conferences who are still planning to play “The Stubborn Six.” What a clown, and what a mess.
In any event, football practice starts today!
Nose guards: DJ Dale, Stephon Wynn Jr., Ishmael Sopsher, Timothy Smith, Jamil Burroughs
Key question: Who else sees playing time beyond Dale? The sophomore is expected to again be the starter in the Tide’s base 3-4 defense, but sub packages should provide plenty of opportunities for others to contribute.
We haven’t spoken much about NT, but it will be interesting to see the rotation. Christian Barmore lined up there at times last season, and of course Quinnen Williams moved into the middle for his transcendent junior campaign. Sopsher is a name to watch here as well. There have been rumblings that he is slimmed down with Ballou and Rhea, and ready to meet his immense potential. That would be a godsend, as would Tim Smith if he is as good as advertised. The defensive front as a whole has an opportunity to be great this year, and that covers for a lot of mistakes on the back end.
Bill Connelly’s insight is always well, insightful, and his latest on scheduling is no exception.
One fascinating subplot of large, conference-only schedules: The idea of what an average season is will shift pretty dramatically.
Look at a team like NC State. The Wolfpack are projected 62nd in SP+, almost directly in the middle of FBS, and using SP+, their original schedule produced an average of exactly 6.0 wins. They were taking shape as the most .500 team in the history of .500 teams. But the new 11-game schedule, which features two extra ACC foes and only one nonconference game (like many in the ACC, they scheduled Liberty), gives them an average record of 4-7.
On average, when I reran projected ACC, Big Ten and SEC records based on the new schedules — and based on only a 1-point home-field advantage instead of the normal 2.5, which I’ll explain below — projected win totals decreased by an average 1.6 wins.
It is highly possible that two SEC teams with multiple losses meet for the conference title this season. Everyone’s schedule is murderous.
Khyree Jackson’s story is incredible.
“I sat out of school (for two years) because I didn’t want to play football anymore,” Jackson said. “I got an email from (former Fort Scott) coach Kale Pick asking me if I wanted to play receiver, and that is when started. I am glad I did.”
So the idea of playing at a storied program like Alabama, and for coach Nick Saban, is a bit overwhelming.
“The main point was the relationship I built with coach Saban,” Jackson said. “He was the only coach to tell me the positives and the negatives that he liked about me. That stood out. That is coming from one of the GOATS, in my eyes, in the coaching world.”
Jackson played only two years of high school ball, not consecutive, and had zero scholarship offers out of high school. He plans to sit out the JUCO season since it was moved to the spring, and as a result will have three years of eligibility left. Jackson’s development will be fun to follow.
Yesterday was photo shoot day for the team.
Last, Jerry Jeudy is impressing big time in Denver.
Jerry Jeudy getting more first-team action today. He gets himself so open that you would think defensive backs are following social distancing protocols during practice.— Nick Kosmider (@NickKosmider) August 16, 2020
Of course, DeVonta Smith will be joining Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III in 2021. Oh, and this guy.
Jaylen Waddle: The only WR in CFB to have a perfect passer rating when targeted - 158.3 pic.twitter.com/lXrUA3zDp2— PFF College (@PFF_College) August 17, 2020
That seems good. If these guys all live up to their potential, any argument for WRU will be decisively put to bed.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.