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Jumbo Package: Saban says Dylan Moses looks great, challenges team to be lions

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama v LSU Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. Hey, there’s a game tomorrow! Your previews:

Originally the Tigers were slated to open the season with Central Arkansas, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, and Eastern Michigan. Man alive! That sounds like a G-rated movie now. How badly do you think Eli Drinkwitz and his staff would like to have that back? Not to mention a full spring session as well.

Mizzou’s defense could keep the Tigers close in this one. I mean, for a half or so. But I can also see the Tide keep on rolling with the four- and five-star talents that will replace some of the lost starters.

Prediction: Alabama 31, Missouri 13

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said seven players are out because of COVID-19. He told reporters he doesn’t keep infections a secret because informing the public is “more important than whatever competitive advantage we feel like it might be.” Drinkwitz has a lot to learn about the SEC, where it just means more than caring about public health during a pandemic. Mizzou covers.

The Crimson Tide must use every possession in this game to prepare for what’s ahead as they enter the teeth of their 10-game SEC gauntlet next week against Texas A&M. For that reason, you can expect Alabama to throw the ball more than it typically would in the second half of a blowout victory and to score at least one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Under normal circumstances, Missouri could cover this spread. But the Crimson Tide will be trying to rev this unique season up to full speed in a hurry and should cover easily. Pick: Alabama (-27)

What a brutal game to start off your tenure. The Crimson Tide weren’t even on the schedule until the SEC added two games — then made it Mizzou’s season opener. While the game being early in the season could be a boost for the underdog Tigers, it doesn’t help that Mizzou’s down at least a dozen players for COVID-related purposes. Alabama 34, Mizzou 13

I don’t know what some of these reporters are smoking. This Alabama team is hungry and experienced, and I see poor Eli Drinkwitz and Missouri as the unfortunate victim in a football snuff film. Alabama takes it 48-10, which means that Will Reichard even makes two field goals.

Of course, that’s just my opinion. Vote and give us yours in the comments.

Poll

What will be the result of Alabama at Missouri?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Eli needs someone to Drinkwitz, Bama covers 27
    (615 votes)
  • 17%
    Mizzou is tougher than expected, Alabama by 15-26
    (138 votes)
  • 1%
    Too close for comfort, Alabama by 1-14
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Mizzou shocks the world (come on, now)
    (6 votes)
769 votes total Vote Now

Cecil has the finger on the pulse, of course.

One game is not 10 games. The presence of crowds for the games, and how they are regulated, remains an open question — not so much because fans are going to infect players at field level, but because fans may pass the virus to each other if protocols aren’t observed. To this point, the events that have had attendance, like games in the ACC, haven’t been pinpointed as super-spreaders, but this is no time to relax vigilance.

Winning can be a relative concept, although you only have to think back to Saban’s reaction after fans grumbled about a one-point win at Arkansas in 2014 to get his thoughts on the matter.

So maybe Saturday is too soon to proclaim anything about winning in the long haul. But I suspect that games being played will feel like winning, at least for a day.

Yes it will, Cecil.

Saban did a virtual “Hey, Coach!” last night.

“I think the last two weeks, Dylan has looked like his old self. I think one of the things that I never realized about injured players until I had my hip replaced last year is sometimes you keep waiting for it to hurt even when it doesn’t hurt any more. … I think sometimes that’s one of the biggest psychological hurdles that a player has to overcome when he’s coming back from an injury. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen Dylan turn it loose and go for it like he played in the past.

“Up until that time, I thought he played good, but I could tell he was still a little bit tentative. Not at all now. Very focused, been a good leader for the team, has helped the guys, I think, with his experience and knowledge and ability to call things and make adjustments. I think he’s just as good as he ever was.”

“I actually told the players this week that if you’re a mamba or you’re a lion, you have a killer instinct and you’re going to devour whatever’s in front of you,” Saban said Thursday. “It doesn’t matter if you just ate something else or whatever. You don’t have to be hungry to do it. That’s in their DNA.

“If you’re a greyhound, they got to starve you to get you to chase the rabbit around the track. That’s in their DNA. They have to have some external factor to get them to perform. We shouldn’t need that.”

That’s great news about Dylan Moses. How the players handle the greatly reduced crowds will make a huge difference, and that’s what Saban was speaking about with the lions vs. greyhounds quip.

Will Anderson’s high school coach is not surprised by his success.

“We’re not surprised at all,” Fedd said. “To us, what he’s doing there is what our expectations of him were here at Dutchtown. We’re pretty much saying, ‘Hey, welcome to the world.’ Now the world is about to learn about who Mr. William Anderson is.”

The Hampton, Ga., native was one of Alabama’s top 2020 signees as the No. 5 overall recruit, No. 1 weak-side defensive end and No. 1 player in Georgia, according to 247Sports. The edge-rusher totaled 22 sacks and 15 more tackles for loss during his senior season, playing a major role on a Dutchtown defense that allowed an average of 7.7 points per game.

“He’s an animal,” Fedd said. “He gets after it. He does a great job. He takes no days off. He wants to be the best that he can be all the time, every single day. He always ran sprints with our skill (players). He didn’t run with the O-line and D-line, he always ran with the skills to compete, just to be in good shape. He’s just an animal. He just has it all.”

So, when Alabama pulls the top player out of Georgia he immediately blows up in camp, has coaches raving and earns a starting job. When Georgia pulls the top player out of Alabama, he gets sued for jizzing in someone’s Gatorade bottle after never even getting an in-home visit from the Alabama staff despite living an hour from Tuscaloosa. It’s almost like one coach knows what he’s doing.

Somebody get this man some seats.

As of mid-week before this weekend’s season opener, Ray had thus far procured seats for four of this season’s 10 games: Missouri, Texas A&M, Georgia and Tennessee.

He’s still lacking, and actively seeking, seats for Ole Miss, LSU, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi State and Auburn. His wife Sarah has a 185-game streak of her own to maintain, including every bout since coach Nick Saban came to UA.

“I’m trying to scratch out and get anything I can,” Ray said. “This year is being extremely tight.

“The last game I missed was Jan. 1, 1972, the Orange Bowl, against Nebraska. I wrote the university, trying to get a ticket. I’ve still got the letter where they turned me down.”

That man went to every game during the dark years. Surely the Rona won’t be the thing to break his streak.

Last, Ivan Maisel has a funny note from Jeopardy.

Agreed, Ivan. In case you haven’t seen this clip from a few years back, it’s relevant.

Pitiful.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.