Happy Gump Day, everyone! I’m currently preparing to bunker down for Hurricane Sally in Mobile, so if I’m not commenting, we’ve probably lost power.
Speaking of strong things, check out this tweet from Dr. Matt Rhea:
Those three, led by Landon’s 765 lbs, squatted a combined 1885 lbs today (full depth). So yeah I’d say monsters is an accurate depiction. And for our S&C followers...yes strength continues to climb despite less than 10% of our volume actually targeting it. https://t.co/4e0HK6EiY8— Matt Rhea, PhD (@MattRheaPhD) September 14, 2020
(like my transition there? I was pretty proud of it)
Dickerson is known for his aggressiveness, but to my knowledge his pure weightlifting strength has never been a topic of public conversation.
Emil Ekiyor was one of the best SPARQ testers of all time in terms of explosive strength, and Deonte Brown has always been known for his sheer size and strength. To do a little math, the three combined for 1885 and Dickerson made 765 of it. That leaves 1120 pounds between two guys. If Ekiyor and Brown squatted the same amount (560 pounds), then Dickerson was a full 200 pounds better than two of who fans consider to be the strongest players on the team.
“He’s been doing great, as far as playing the Money position,” cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. “It’s a role that needs to be filled with a tremendous amount of talent but also a dude that knows the playbook, as well. DeMarcco’s been handling that role very well.”
As for Branch, he and fellow freshman Malachi Moore have received first-team reps in the slot throughout fall camp. Branch has practiced at both the Star and Money positions and seems to be a young player that is set for early playing time. A 4-star recruit out of Tyrone, Ga., Branch was the No. 3 safety and the No. 49 overall prospect in 2020, according to 247Sports.
The veteran and leader of UA’s secondary, Surtain said Branch and Moore have the talent to cover at the college level, but developing the right playbook habits and their understanding of the game are elements that both freshmen have improved upon this preseason.
“Brian Branch is definitely a baller,” wide receiver Jaylen Waddle said. “I really like the way he competes. He’s real physical. He’s gonna be a future star, definitely a household name.”
The secondary depth chart is sounding more and more set. Battle and Wright look to be the starting safeties, while one of the two true freshmen— Branch or Moore— will be the nickel corner. DeMarcco Hellams has all but locked down the dime-backer role it seems.
I have seen some internet rumors that Marcus Banks has been seeing time over Josh Jobe for the other outside corner spot, but I wouldn’t put stock into until we actually see or hear something concrete.
Waddle, though, expects kicks. “You’ve got to expect alternative kicks and different kinds of kicks,” he said, “but I do expect teams to kick it to me based on field position and trying to not give up too much field position. So you kind of have to kick it.”
In the past Waddle has been reluctant to suggest likely starters at the three wide receiver positions – split end, flanker, and slot. He has said the receivers learn to play all three. “We don’t try to learn a certain position,” he said. “We try to learn a concept. You don’t really know where you’re going to be based on the concepts. You’ve got to learn every concept.”
I’m already enjoying Jaylen Waddle as a media-facing player. He opened up his press conference with this stunt of raising his own hand when the moderator asks for questions:
Jaylen Waddle raised his hand, wanted to ask a question in his own interview. pic.twitter.com/MVdJlGLHLg— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) September 15, 2020
He makes a couple of good points about how he’s going to have to expect alternative types of punts. Teams went out of their way to send rugby-style bouncers, sky punts, and out-of-bounds wobblers toward Javier Arenas in the last 1⁄3 of his senior year to make absolutely certain he didn’t get that NCAA record. There’s always a balance, though. Those kinds of punts are ceding free field position to an Alabama offense featuring Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, and... Jaylen Waddle. You can’t avoid him.
He also mentions that all the receivers play all the positions. This has pretty much been a staple for Saban for over a decade. There’s very little in the way of differentiation of receiver roles at Alabama. Everyone learns to run every route from every position.
Moving on to the pros, Alabama players had a pretty eventful Monday night.
Henry, of course, continues to be one of the top backs in the NFL, even when his team has a limp noodle of a passing offense and the opposing defense is keyed in on every move he makes.
Rashaan Evans got himself ejected for throwing a rather dumb punch. And Jerry Jeudy got some action on his NFL debut. He had a rough drop, but also had this play that had NFL defenders looking no better then the SEC defenders that once tried to tackle the effervescent route-runner:
Sweet feet from @JerryJeudy. #BroncosCountry— NFL (@NFL) September 15, 2020
: #TENvsDEN on ESPN
: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app: https://t.co/aNyMPaWyG0 pic.twitter.com/PUEGqzipnt