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Jumbo Package: Is Tennessee still a rival?

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Lose to them and find out.

Vol Bird
F you too, Tennessee

The King was named AFC Player of the Week for single-handedly demolishing America’s Team, your Buffalo Bills, in a surprisingly high-scoring and non-boring game by the standards of the Titans.

I was running through his stat sheet last night, and Henry is already almost halfway to Thurman Thomas’s total yards from scrimmage in just 6 years, and the first two of those, Derrick was a part-time player. (The oft-injured Thomas is in the NFL Hall of Fame after a 13-year career, if you want to know whether that’s a decent career comparison.)

Given the low mileage on DH out of college and in his first two seasons, plus his infamous good health, Henry could finish in the Top 10-12 for total scrimmage yards — for a player that is primarily a ball carrier. With few exceptions (like Sweetness), the other guys on that illustrious list are either wideouts (like the leader, Jerry Rice), or running backs with incredible recieving skills (RB leader, Marshall Faulk).

Keep on truckin’ El Tractorcito.

In the spirit of hate week, Jeremy Pruitt has lawyered up with a guy out of Dallas who is an absolute ballbuster. And Baldy isn’t going down without swinging at the Vols. To say that Pruitt’s litigation posture is aggressive undersells it a bit. It’s downright menacing.

In essence: sure is a nice program you’ve got here, Tennessee; it’d be a shame if something happened to it.

/Caresses baseball bat

Nick Saban updated the status of three Alabama defenders yesterday, and answered a question we’ve had about DeMarrco Hellams this season — turns out he’s been injured since fall camp. His P/T has been cut back some with each week, and Saban sounded like he would be sitting this one out.

Also sitting out is starting SAM, Drew Sanders. The hope is to have him return for the LSU game.

It was not all doom-and-gloom though. Byron Young will at least probably see some snaps on Saturday?

Another Alabama player dealing with an injury is defensive lineman Byron Young, who exited last Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter and did not return. On Monday, Saban revealed Young has “a little shoulder problem” and was considered day-to-day, and on Wednesday, the head coach provided a more positive update on the D-lineman.

“Byron Young has practiced. He practiced today,” Saban said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll be able to contribute some in the game.”

Injury report here.

This was really weird, No. 6 overall (No. 2 WR) Luther Burden — a one-time OU commit — shunned Alabama and others, to stay with the Mizzou Tigers.

I do respect the kid’s logic, at least.

I chose Mizzou because I want to be the first — big recruits in St. Louis go to places like Georgia and Alabama and I want to stay home and take our talents to Missouri. It just feels like I need to be there and I need to make a change in my own state.”

Good for Eli Drinkwitz, I suppose. But it does nothing to fix that historically-bad defensive line — one that gives up over 6 YPC and almost 300 YPG...rushing.

But, in this game, you win some and you lose some. With Burden sticking around the Show Me State, another door opened on the Tide’s top 2022 target: Shemar James, who decommitted from Florida yesterday. James is an in-state kid so that initial commitment to Flahrda really hurt.

We’ve written about James extensively, but the 4-star OLB is a good pass rusher, but he’s more than that: like Drew Sanders, he can play both sides. Expect to see him get looks at RB and WR: he’s the perfect size for practically any position on Alabama’s roster: 6’2” 212.

AL dot com asked a question that was, frankly, offensive beyond human decency: Is Tennessee still a rival after 14 years of beatings?

I’ll let you judge whether this is forgivable, ever.

And, just this past Saturday, the hillbillies again showed why they are the garbage-tier of SEC fan bases — and they have a helluva lot of competition.

If you can’t get your head on straight and your hate right, I can’t help you. You know where I stand on this divide:

LSU usually has more consequences
Auburn is annoying, yet largely inconsequential outside of the state
But Tennessee is the worst. Always.

And Nick Saban gets it:

“This is a big game for all of us at Alabama. We have a tremendous amount of respect for Tennessee, their players. They’re playing really good football right now, and this is a challenging game on both sides of the ball. They play hard on defense. They’ve been hard to run against. Their offense is scoring 39 points a game, which is third in the SEC. They make a lot of negative plays with their defense. So this is a very challenging game for us. I think Josh Heupel has done a really good job of making this team play extremely well, and it’s a big game. It’s a rivalry game for us, big game for a lot of people here who have supported the program for a long time. So we need to get our players to prepare the right way. It’s a rivalry game to me, and I hope it is to everybody in our organization.”

Saban did have something interesting to say about teams faking injuries, including a none-too-veiled shot at Florida:

“You got to exert a lot of energy to play defense and run to the ball every time, so players get tired,” he said. “When players get tired, they’re more susceptible to getting injured, probably. And you don’t have enough call timeouts to call timeout.

“So I understand why some people do it.”

“We had a situation in our Florida game this year at the end of the game where we’re trying to take the air out of it and one of their players goes down to stop the clock. And maybe it was legit. I don’t really know,” he said. “The clock gets reset to 40 seconds and starts on ready to play. So it doesn’t affect the time in the game. It does impact the pace of play.

He should have called out his buddy in Aggieland for their spate of one-play injuries after every good Alabama gainer, where A&M dudes looked like they were being felled by a .30-06 from 10 yards away.

It’s bush league as hell.

Saban’s complete presser remarks here, via Potter over at 247, who does the lord’s work transcribing the weekly presser.

We’ll be back later with more. Today is largely the Erik Show. If you missed it, we already have a Points in the Paint up, and around 9:30 or so, Giving Away Money is up. And, at 9:00, Brent breaks down the Vawls offense.

Stick around, say hi.

Poll

How much do you hate Tennessee?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    As much as I hate an ex-
    (72 votes)
  • 18%
    With the intensity of a Spaghetti Western revenge story
    (142 votes)
  • 34%
    My hate can not be quantified
    (255 votes)
  • 1%
    I’m a Vol fan and even I hate myself
    (11 votes)
  • 18%
    Tennessee still plays football? Weird.
    (136 votes)
  • 15%
    How can you hate Tennessee? Alabama owns them so much, it violates the 13th Amendment.
    (119 votes)
  • 2%
    Other, below.
    (15 votes)
750 votes total Vote Now