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Jumbo Package: Tide look to get refocused for Florida, Mac Jones shines in loss

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Mercer at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. Mercer is thankfully behind us, and the Tide move on to a SEC opponent that should be able to get their competitive juices flowing. Michael Casagrande has some wrap up for you.

— Getting a next-day look at the hit on Will Anderson, it happened fast. These kinds of blocks are part of this style of offense and Mercer coach Drew Cronic said it point blank in an interview I did with him last week. We haven’t been at practice since early August but from last years when we’ve had viewing periods, outside linebackers were drilled on fighting off those low blocks by pushing off of the diving player. This one happened pretty fast and there some buckle to that right knee. Saban said he’s being evaluated after the game and that’s the last we’ve heard.

— It looked like safety Jordan Battle expected somebody else to pick up coverage on the 60-yard touchdown pass for Mercer to Devron Harper. Alabama didn’t have any major coverage busts last week against Miami so this would be the first.

“You know, when I was growing up, I worked for my dad,” Saban said, his voice bending upward. “So every day at dinner he would (slams podium), do that to the table and there was a reckoning. A reckoning for everything you were supposed to do that day. So if you were supposed to cut the grass, did you sweep the walk? Did you trim? Did you put the mower away? Did you clean the mower?

“If you didn’t do any of those things right, you’re going to do it again. We might need a little of that somewhere along the line.”

We have known for years that Saban speaks to his team through the media, and he does that with good reason. I know a lot of folks want to believe that a ton of stadium steps, etc. will be in order this week, but the fact is that they have exactly 20 hours of practice time to prepare for a road game at a top 15 team with a two QB rotation.

No. 1 Alabama (-14.5) at No. 11 Florida: Florida played Alabama closer than anyone last season, falling 52-46 to the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game before Bama completed its march to a national title. But these Gators still have a lot to figure out, and that’s reflected in the spread for their home showdown Saturday with the Crimson Tide on CBS. Even if Florida does start Anthony Richardson over Emory Jones at quarterback, asking a redshirt freshman making his first career start to keep it close against the nation’s No. 1 team is a tall order.

Richardson was 3 for 3 for 152 passing yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown.

Jones was 14 for 22 for 151 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. His rushing output was 81 yards and one touchdown.

While the drumbeat has gotten louder for Richardson to get more playing time over Jones, Mullen hasn’t budged yet. When asked whether Jones would remain his starter moving forward, Mullen said, “Yeah.”

“As I’ve said, we have two really good quarterbacks,” Mullen said. “You’ll see both of them play every single game.”

We don’t yet know how good Florida is or isn’t, but they will most certainly be the toughest test to date.

ESPN FPI continues to be quite bullish on Alabama.

Bryce Young threw three touchdown passes and the national title favorites handled Mercer in their home opener to move to 2-0 on the season. That sets up an anticipated Week 3 showdown at Florida in the SEC opener for both teams, not to mention the first true road test for the Crimson Tide. Alabama’s win over Miami to open lost some of its luster after the Hurricanes rallied to beat Appalachian State and may not be one of the elites as expected this fall. ESPN’s FPI continues to project Alabama as the most likely team to win it at all at better than 60 percent.

That 60% number this early in the season is unheard of. Of all the rat poison out there, that may be the worst.

Last, it was quite the day for Alabama players in the NFL. Mac Jones set some records in a losing effort.

Jones became the eighth player in the NFL’s Super Bowl Era with at least 281 passing yards and one TD pass while starting his team’s season-opening game in his rookie season, and Jones’ completion rate of 74.4 percent was the best of any of those players.

Since 1950, none of the 53 previous rookie quarterbacks who threw at least 30 passes while starting in their first NFL game had a completion percentage as good as Jones’.

Tua had a solid day as well, completing 59% for 202 yards and one TD to Jaylen Waddle. He also added a rushing TD. Christian Barmore was harassing him early and often for New England. Damien Harris had a 100 yard outing but unfortunately lost a fumble on the 11 yard line with three minutes to play, a crushing blow in a one point loss. He was beside himself on the sideline.

Jalen lit it up too, but there is the caveat that he was playing the sorry Falcons.

The former Alabama standout completed 27-of-35 passes for 264 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for 62 yards on seven carries.

Hurts became the first player to reach those figures in passing yards, touchdown passes and rushing yards in a season-opening game.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Steve Young had been the only player on record to open an NFL season with at least 250 passing yards, three TD passes and 50 rushing yards. Young started his third straight All-Pro season by throwing for 308 yards and four touchdowns and running for 51 yards in a 44-14 victory over the Los Angeles Raiders on Sept. 5, 1994.

Mark Ingram still has it rolling, too.

Ingram became the first former Crimson Tide running back to play in 11 NFL seasons, and his 26 rushing attempts were the third-most in his career, behind games with 30 and 27 for the New Orleans Saints in 2014.

Ingram capped Houston’s first scoring drive of the season with a 1-yard touchdown plunge with 6:39 left in the first quarter. With 63 career rushing touchdowns, Ingram is the leader among the NFL’s active players.


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

Roll Tide.