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Jumbo Package: Saban talks up a couple of players ahead of Mercer

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

University of Alabama vs University of Miami, 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game Set Number: X163783 TK1

Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama will play its annual glorified scrimmage against a FCS foe on Saturday, with the main goal to avoid the injury bug and get some young guys on the field.

One player to watch will be LB Drew Sanders, who is tasked with starting in the spot vacated by Christopher Allen’s injury.

“Drew has done a really good job for us,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “He’s been a really good special teams player. Now, he’s gonna have the chance to step up and start, although we’ve kind of rotated the three of those guys (Allen, Anderson and Sanders) at outside linebackers all as starters.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Drew. He’s a good athlete. Smart, hard worker, plays with toughness, gives great effort. We’ll have to bring some other guys along at that position, as well, but we’re really pleased and confident in Drew.”

Good to hear that Saban is high on Drew. He’s a player that many of us were excited to see coming out of high school.

Nick is also high on JoJo Earle.

“[He] is just a freshman, little No. 10, but I think this guy is special,” Saban said. “He can be special.”

Saban, who typically avoids making comparisons, provided one for Earle.

“He’s also a really good returner. We’re trying to get him to be a little more confident back there — commanding, especially in punt return, which he could really be good at,” Saban said. “He’s a little Waddle-like when it comes to that.”

That’s some high praise coming from Saban.

ESPN analyst Brad Edwards has a new book about Alabama.

So which statistics best illustrate Alabama’s recent dominance in the sport? Here’s one: the Crimson Tide has been favored in 82 consecutive games since 2015, the longest streak in college football history — ahead of only its own 72-game streak from 2009-15 (Florida State’s 54-game run as a favorite from 1997-2001 is a distant third).

And here’s another.

Including last Saturday’s season-opening victory over Miami, Alabama has not trailed since the third quarter of the 2020 Georgia game, a span of 41 quarters. The Crimson Tide ended last season without trailing in its last 37 quarters, seven more than any national champion of the last 50 years (1972 USC is second, with 30) and 17 more than the third-place team (1989 Miami, with 20).

Folks, it has been 10.5 games since Alabama trailed. That is remarkable.

Last, Amari and Trevon had huge games for Dallas last night.

The 27-year-old finished his night catching 13 of his 16 targets for 139 yards and two touchdowns. All of those marks were team-highs and his receptions along with his receiving yards were game-highs.

Cooper’s 13 receptions weren’t just the highest for the game, but they are the most by a Cowboys player in the opening game of the season in team history. This was also the 10th time in Cooper’s career (sixth with the Cowboys) that he was able to record 10 or more catches in a game.

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

Roll Tide.