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Jumbo Package: All eyes on the offensive line vs New Mexico State

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

LSU v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. In case you haven’t heard, longtime beat writer Cecil Hurt is in the hospital with pneumonia and has reportedly had a tough go with it. Keep him in your thoughts.

They don’t come any better than Cecil, folks. May he heal quickly and fully.

Alabama plays New Mexico State tomorrow, which means the goal is to get through the game healthy. That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to watch, though.

Not typically the most exciting or spotlight-worthy aspect of a team but it will be interesting to see how this group is composed Saturday and if there will be much in terms of experimentation. Nick Saban doesn’t want to talk about testing young players in games against clearly overmatched opponents but if there ever was a time to test drive one of the five-star freshmen who haven’t seen much playing time, a visit from New Mexico State might be it. Sophomore Damieon George saw serious action at right tackle against LSU when Chris Owens shifted to center because of Darrian Dalcourt’s sprained ankle. It’s unclear if Dalcourt will play Saturday so there could be room to try a few other combinations before hitting the SEC home stretch.

I think this will be the most intriguing thing for Tide fans. Saban mentioned a young player who has done well at center in practice. Might he be referring to James Brockermeyer? Emil Ekiyor can play center as well. This is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Nick is still bullish on Bill O’Brien despite the LSU debacle.

“I actually think he’s done a pretty good job,” Saban during his weekly radio show. “I think we all had a bad game last week. He’ll be the first to say that, and me too. Because we’re responsible for what happens on the field, and it wasn’t good — especially on that side of the ball.

“But I don’t think that’s a reason to question what we’ve done all year. We are the No. 1 scoring team in the SEC, I think. Last week was not good.”

Alabama is averaging 43 points per game, the most in the SEC by a five-point margin and fourth among all FBS schools.

Y’all go ahead and duke that one out. I’ll just sit back and watch the burn, as usual.

In our WTF? segment...

Former Alabama cornerback Saivion Smith has been signed for the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad, the NFL team announced on Thursday.

Smith had been out of the NFL since the Denver Broncos released him from their practice squad on Oct. 26.

I just don’t even know what to say about that. It’s confounding.

Last, Tua Tagovailoa completed the greatest screen pass in NFL history during last night’s upset win over Baltimore.

Just cancel the sport at this point. We will never top that play. It is perfection.

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

Roll Tide.