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Does Auburn pose the biggest threat to Alabama’s defense?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Alabama Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Listening to a national talk radio guy going over the top ten and saying, “I don’t know why” Alabama moved up to No. 3 made me wonder if he had seen any Saturday games – like Oklahoma struggling against Kansas and Cincinnati (which shouldn’t be in top four anyway) barely able to beat Navy (which is 1-6). Later his explanation was that Alabama has issues, that in its 52-24 win over Tennessee that “it was a one score game late into the fourth quarter.” Actually, I was there and with nearly nine minutes to play Alabama had a three touchdown lead and the Vols wouldn’t score again.

Look, I know we obsessively compare each Alabama team to standards of previous seasons as well as fret about upcoming opponents. The Tide obviously has some flaws this year, but looking around at the rest of college football.... Who doesn’t? Georgia is obviously the top dog right now, but there are legitimate questions about their passing game as well as a weak strength of schedule thus far.

And past that? Oklahoma and Cincinnati just had struggle wins that would have us Alabama fans breaking out our pitchforks had it been the Tide in their place. Ohio State? Maybe, but they’ve got a loss of their own and have had similar inconsistencies.

“The defense has been a mystery,” Herbstreit said on the podcast. “They played so well late last year. To me, when (Nick Saban) has veterans at the second and third level, that defense is so devastating because they’re so complicated. And they do so much that years when they don’t have experience, you have the busts in coverage. There’s confusion.

“Again, they’re not playing two coverages. They’re playing an NFL defense. So, it requires hand signals, everybody on the same page.”

Herbstreit said the issue popped up early last year before the defense had what he called an “aha moment.”

It is a concern, he believes, only one team left on the Alabama schedule can “expose.”

While I do agree with Kirk about a lot here, I have a few nits to pick. The Alabama secondary is much more experienced than they were last year, as they returned all but one starter (after only returning a single starter between 2019 and 2020). I also think that viewing coverage busts as a trend is a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. If anything, the front 7 has caused more issues than the secondary for the Alabama defense so far this season... Up until the Tennessee game, when the script flipped.

All of that said, they will definitely need to play sound and disciplined against Auburn and the scramble YOLO play of Bo Nix.

“We have so many stoppages in the game for TV,” Saban said. “And a lot of those stoppages occur when you have a change of possession or dead balls and sometimes it doesn’t get communicated very well to the sideline that we’re rolling. In other words, there’s no TV. You think there’s going to be TV because it was a change of possession or whatever and we’re sitting there on the sidelines talking to the players when we need to be sending them out on the field.”

“When we do send them out onto the field, they need to take the field,” Saban said. “Run out on the field and get ready to go so we can call the play even if the shot clock is running down and get the play executed. So, it’s a combination of all those things but some of it was administrative on our part.”

Cool stuff from Saban here. In the moment, he was clearly angry with the officials for not being clear about when the play clock had started, but he’s already moving past that as a weak link in the chain of communication and is planning on ways of making sure Alabama is ready to snap the ball on time regardless on if officials communicate or not.

It’s what makes him the best of the best.

While Saban is focused on areas Alabama can improve during its open date, he plans to spend some time at his lake house in Georgia this weekend, which will include a party Saturday. But he should be back in the office Sunday to start preparing for the LSU Tigers. Once there, as is typically the case every year, the Crimson Tide will celebrate with the head coach.

“On the day of his birthday, we usually have a team meeting and they’ll have birthday hats, kazoos and cupcakes and all that stuff,” Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal said. “We’ll go sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him, so that’s always been a pretty special moment for us.”

Good stuff here as we get into the regularly scheduled bye week/Halloween/Saban birthday/Pre-LSU part of the year. Cam Latu, Malachi Moore, and Evan Neal also all give their thoughts on why they wanted to play for Nick Saban.

Jeremiah Alexander — Thompson lost to Hoover 24-21. Alexander had six tackles, including a tackle for a loss and two hurries.

Ty Simpson — Westview beat Ripley 42-17. Simpson threw two touchdowns in the win.

Emmanuel Henderson — Geneva County beat Zion Chapel 55-28. Henderson had 12 carries for 223 yards and two touchdowns (29 and 95 yards, respectively). Henderson also returned a punt for a 97-yard touchdown.

247 has a quick recap of all of Alabama’s recruiting commits from last weekend. Emmanuel Henderson is going to be such a great player for the Tide in the years to come.

When Southeastern Conference basketball coaches selected their preseason All-SEC team Tuesday, I was acutely aware that there are some very fine players returning for the 2021-22 season.

There are 10 men selected on the first team, and they include two Alabama players. Coach Nate Oats’ Crimson Tide team is the only one to place two men on the first team. They are the same two as projected earlier by media, Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly.

Finally, both Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford were named to the preseason first team All-SEC by the coaches, so congrats to them for being recognized for their accomplishments so far in their careers.

Shackelford, though, took issue with the SEC Coaches for leaving out someone else:

If Keon Ellis winds up living up to the hype he’s getting from his coach and teammates this offseason, he’s going to wind up having a stellar year. Keep your eyes peeled on RBR today and the rest of this week as we kick off a lot of Bouncy Hoops previews before the season starts.

Roll Tide!