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Jumbo Package: Ryan Day says Buckeyes will have “plenty of players” on Monday

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes

NCAA Football: Sugar Bowl-Ohio State vs Clemson Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The only problem with being in the national championship is having to wait through the weekend for a Monday night game. Alas, we push through. It sounds like the game will go on, and that’s a good thing.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Thursday that his team is on track to play in the College Football Playoff National Championship against No. 1 Alabama on Monday, despite ongoing coronavirus issues.

In his first comments since reports earlier in the week that there were discussions about possibly delaying the game, Day said the Buckeyes would have “plenty of players” available without providing specific numbers or player updates.

He did say that the COVID issues were a “gut punch.” Guess we will see what that means.

CBS examines how Ohio State can hurt Alabama’s defense.

Tempo is Ohio State’s best chance to beat Alabama. The Buckeyes offense has the quarterback, offensive line and skill positions to go with any team in college football. The tools are there. Tempo is how to use them correctly. It’s what catches the defense in a bad position and takes advantage of it. It doesn’t always mean running plays every 10 seconds, but it can mean moving quickly after substitutions. Combined with pre-snap movement, it can leave the defense bewildered.

There are a few clips embedded in there. Clemson’s defense was all out of sorts for whatever reason. Perhaps it was just a matter of Skalski getting tossed for targeting since he is the leader.

Eleven Warriors is understandably looking for Buckeye paths to victory.

The Crimson Tide have averaged 48.2 points and 535 yards per game this season, and they’ve already faced three opponents (Notre Dame, Georgia and Texas A&M) with statistically better defenses than Ohio State. Even when their defense has been at its worst, their offense has still put them over the top, scoring 62 points against Ole Miss and 52 points against Florida.

Ohio State’s defense is better than those teams’ defenses, though, and if it can even provide some resistance to the Crimson Tide’s offense, that could be enough for the Buckeyes to win the national championship if their offense can click it did in the College Football Playoff semifinals and have a kind of day like the Rebels and Gators did.

Well, he says that Ohio State’s defense is better, but they did allow nearly 500 passing yards and 35 points to Indiana, and Clemson threw for 400 last week. Neither of those offenses is in the same stratosphere as the one they will be facing. Also, the flaw in his logic is that Alabama trashed those three defenses he cited as better than Ohio State just the same.

In any case, the premise of the article isn’t wrong. Alabama will need to make some stops along the way to allow its own offense to win the shootout.

Dennis Dodd put out a great piece on the adversity faced by a young Najee Harris.

“A lot of people won’t say it. There was a lot of violence going on there and strictly in his neighborhood alone,” said Marcus Malu, Harris’ personal trainer since his freshman year of high school. “This kid would walk in the middle of the night from the football field in the middle of a war zone and nobody would touch him.”

Antioch is a city of 110,000 souls nestled in the East Bay across from San Francisco. It is not unlike dozens of towns where high school stars find their way “out”. Football as vehicle to a better life is a prospect unique to the United States.

However, Najee Harris is unique to Antioch. He is a hero in dreadlocks, a beacon of hope wrapped in a cheerful smile. A piece of the town who will never leave despite becoming Alabama’s career rusher leader on his way to the NFL.

Najee is a special human in many ways.

Last, it may be hard to keep Ga’Quincy McKinstry off the field at cornerback next season.

McKinstry led Pinson Valley to the Class 6A state championship with a win over Spanish Fort at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He was named the game MVP after catching five passes for 89 yards and the game-winning touchdown.

A week later, he was again holding the MVP trophy after leading Alabama to victory in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game. He intercepted a pair of passes in the game.

He should win Mr. Football as well, is an early enrollee and there will be playing time available.

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

Roll Tide.