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Jumbo Package: Steve Sarkisian to Bring a Running Back by Committee Approach to Alabama in 2020

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Your interview round-up from day two of Alabama football practices

NCAA Football: Alabama at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Since it’s Gump Day, I’m going to steer clear of the general arguing around the Covid dynamics, state of the season, ticketing, and other sources of general angst. You’ve seen it all on Twitter, and Erik has you covered on what you actually need to know here.

I will, however, link to this one article from AL.com. It’s a Joseph Goodman special, obviously meant to rile up the very people the read his articles, but I’m highlighting it for this one aside comment he put in that’s actually pretty funny:

By order of His Royal GOATness, the King, First-ish of his Name, and Ruler of All Gumpenloosa**, now hear this: The Strip will be closed in the name of “social rehabilitation” until at least after His Royal GOATness’ birthday [Oct.31].

**For the record, the borders of Gumpenloosa extend west to the Mississippi River, all the way up to Rocky Top, Tennessee, and then about 100 miles around Kirby Smart wherever he is in the country on any given day. Saban’s dominion was much greater this time last year, but, as he knows, things can change in a second in this league.

So you don’t have to give it a click, the rest of the article is just poking at “southern culture” while repeatedly saying it’s not wrong to love football, per se.

Nick Saban appeared on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Tuesday, and Mike Greenberg told the Alabama coach he was warned by ESPN analyst and former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy that Saban wouldn’t be “jovial” because he was in “fall-camp mode.”

“So, I have been warned,” Greenberg told Saban. “How are you this morning, coach?

Saban didn’t miss a beat.

“I’m doing great,” Saban said by phone. “The one thing Greg didn’t tell you is that my anxiety level in fall camp is determined by who’s playing quarterback, so his disposition of what we’re like in fall camp when he was playing quarterback sometimes we had lots more anxiety than other times.”

Whoever still thinks Nick Saban isn’t the joking type, here ya go.

Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith said Tuesday he is not opting out of the upcoming fall football season.

“I believe if I was thinking about not playing, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Smith said during a video news conference, which was his first organized media availability since the Citrus Bowl in January.

“[It was] just really [about] getting my degree and wanting to come back and finish things the right way,” he explained Tuesday. “I didn’t like the way we did things last year and the way we finished. Just coming back to finish things the right way this year.”

Man, it sure is nice to be starting to hear media interviews from the players again. And hearing confirmations from guys like DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris, and Dylan Moses (all seniors who could have left last year for the pros) that they still intend to wreak havoc upon the SEC in their swan song season really just brightens the day.

“Honestly, it was a long process,” Moses said. “I was trying to actually rush my process, but my body kept telling me, ‘No.’ As time went on and I got stronger, it was times I would go out on the field without a brace. Now, I feel great. I don’t think about it. I don’t have any second thoughts or be second-guessing when I’m on the field. I actually feel really good.

“I feel like when it’s actually game time, I’ll be ready.”

Moses had a lot to say about his journey over the past year, and man it’s exciting to have him back this season. He was also very complementary of how Christian Harris and Shane Lee performed being thrust into to starting for the top team in college football in the first game of their freshman years.

“It was hard for him not having spring practice, but the guy definitely studies the game, he works at it,” Sarkisian said. “He’s got a great attention to detail. He has a really good feel for the game. Although it’s only been two practices, which is not a lot — we haven’t even put on pads yet — you see the natural passer in him, you see the natural feel for the game.

“Now, there’s a lot of little things we have to build on, but I think you get a sense for us, at least of an idea, of the type of player he’s going to be for us.”

Steve Sarkisian and DeVonta Smith both made it a point to mention how impressed they’ve been with freshman quarterback Bryce Young. Get excited.

Sark definitely has a history of leaning heavily on a single running back... sometimes to a fault. But I absolutely believe it was the right call last year. When you have a running back that is a superior talent, has phenomenal conditioning, no injury issues, and no fumble issues, then handing the ball off to literally anyone else is a waste of a play.

So I’m not sure how much of a fan I am of more of a “rotation” in 2020. Unless Najee Harris needs a breather for a drive, then I want the ball in his hands.

Here’s the video if you want to watch the full interview:

Meanwhile, RollTide.com has the videos for the interviews with Smith and Moses, as well as a slideshow of pictures from Alabama’s second day of practices:

That’s all for now. Football (practice) is finally here after an eternity of desolation, so enjoy your Wednesday!