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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Bryce Young is building chemistry with a revamped Alabama receiving group

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the first fall scrimmage behind us, Slade Bolden (who’s now the veteran receiver in the house) had some good words to say about Bryce Young:

But his teammates have noticed a difference in Young from Year 1 to Year 2 in the program.

“He’s definitely matured some,” wideout Slade Bolden said Tuesday. “Obviously, being a freshman, trying to learn the process of not only the offense but also Coach Saban and just the program in general. He’s becoming a better leader, I think, and just trying to connect and build the chemistry with the receivers and also the O-line and the running backs, the tight ends. Just those things, it takes time to grow in, and I feel like since his freshman year, he’s done a lot better job with maturity, being a better leader and also chemistry with the offense.”

At this point, it seems a foregone conclusion that Young is the Alabama QB in 2021. So, building chemistry and confidence is the most important thing he can do in these preseason practices.

Your WRs making plays like this will definitely help build that confidence, too:

Javon Baker got a good bit of preseason hype in 2020, but mostly took a backseat on message boards to 2021 A-Day star, Agiye Hall. But if you asked me today, I’d place my money on Baker being the third starter at wide receiver when Alabama kicks off against Miami, along with Bolden and John Metchie.

“I feel like everyone contributes as a leader, holding everyone accountable,” Eboigbe said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are. If you ain’t picking up on what you need to do, I feel like we can all hold each other accountable to get each other pushing to get through whatever we need to get through and to get to the point where we need to be, and that’s to become a better defensive line.”

Last season, all four of Alabama’s permanent team captains were offensive players as DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones, Alex Leatherwood and Landon Dickerson were all selected for the honor by their peers. Over the first few weeks this fall, it’s apparent that the Tide’s defensive players will have a bigger say in the team’s success both on and off the field.

With Alabama breaking in a new QB, new RB, mostly new WRs, partially revamped OL, and a new offensive coordinator, I fully expect the defense to have to pick up and carry the load at times this season... Much more than they’ve needed to the past few years.

And I also think they’re going to be up to that challenge. The Tide brings back pretty much all but two starters from 2020, and the replacement for one of those two is likely an upgrade (Henry To’o To’o).

Similar to the quarterback position, there hasn’t been a lot of mystery surrounding the first-team offensive line. The one position that appeared to be still in the air was at right tackle, but veteran Kendall Randolph routinely occupied that spot on the line throughout the offseason. However, he did suffer a sprained ankle in Saturday’s scrimmage, and the severity of the injury is unclear. If he does have to miss extensive practice time prior to the season opener, does that open the door for JC Latham and/or Damien George to make up ground at right tackle?

The battle for right tackle has been a fascinating one, as most fans assumed months ago that one of the two 5-star true freshmen would immediately step in (J.C. Latham or Tommy Brockermeyer). After watching A-Day, I have since been of the opinion that sophomore Damieon George was going to wind up being the guy.

Most all of us had discounted the experience of 5th year man Kendall Randolph, though, and the last few weeks have had him squarely in front of the competition. But with an ankle injury sidelining him for a bit, does either George or Latham have a chance to unseat the veteran?

“A couple weeks out,” he said. “Just making sure if it’s truly the place for me.”

The blue-chipper with 30-plus offers spoke on his finalists. An aspiring neurosurgeon or plastic surgeon, Finkley took an official to all three in June.

Regarding the Crimson Tide: “If I went to Alabama it would be a straight iron sharpens iron, and I’d get to play with some of the best guys in college football, first round draft projections that would make me better as a player.”

You can never have enough pass rushers in today’s college football landscape. Finkley is close to a top-100 prospect with a great frame and production already, is from Birmingham, and has some major career aspirations. Keeping him away from Texas and Sark has to be a top priority for the Tide.

“People – coaching friends of mine – were calling me from around the state all the time telling me about different high schools recruiting Emmanuel,” Geneva County coach Jim Bob Striplin said. “It’s a big-time shame, but it also shows his character. In this day and age, Emmanuel has gone against the grain as far as sticking it out and taking pride in his school. He’ll leave a great legacy here when he’s done playing football in December.”

Striplin didn’t name any specific high schools who were trying to pull Henderson away for his senior year. He also said he really didn’t worry about his star bolting Geneva County.

“I was more concerned that people were actually reaching out to him,” he said. “But he did the right thing and cut them off. Alabama is getting a kid with really solid character.”

This is a really cool story about Alabama’s 5-star running back commit for 2022, Emmanuel Henderson. This guy could wind up being a fan favorite at Alabama in years to come.

Finally, bless these guys for trying to drum up hype in the Miami fanbase:

We are just 17 days away from Miami playing Alabama to open the college football season. Since the loss to Oklahoma St I have seen 7000 different reasons why Miami will not only lose to Bama, but get blown out. On my local radio show in Atlanta on 680 the Fan, my own co-hosts have said I should be happy with Miami keeping it close. What universe are we living in where keeping it close should be applauded? Miami is preseason #14 in the AP pool which means writers across the country think the Canes should be good. How good will be determined in 17 days, but 14 beating 1 is not impossible, especially in game number 1. Today’s Top 5 Tuesday is the 5 reasons why Miami can beat Alabama.

He actually makes a couple of good points about the Hurricanes bringing an experienced offensive line and a coordinator (Rhett Lashlee) who has scored on Alabama in the past. However, when your #1 reason is that D’Eriq King is close to Cam Newton/Johnny Manziel/DeShaun Watson.... Well...

Roll Tide!