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Jumbo Package: Will he or won’t he? Bryce Young’s health remains Third Saturday’s biggest question

I suspect he’s playing, but I’m not clairvoyant

Texas A&M v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s been all over the webs the past 12 hours, but if you missed it, Bryce Young is on a “pitch count” and adding more work to his practice schedule.

“Bryce continues to practice a little bit more,” Saban said Wednesday evening. “We’ve got him on a little bit of a pitch count just to kind of wean him back into it and see how it goes. So we expect him to do even a little more tomorrow. That’s all I really have to say about that.”

Young missed last week’s game against the Aggies, but he was able to do almost everything in practice a week ago other than “throw it very much,” Saban told ESPN. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner was in uniform for the game and even lobbied to check in late in the contest but did not see the field during the Crimson Tide’s 24-20 victory over the Aggies at home.

It’s troubling that the one thing Young hasn’t been able to do, is actually throw the football. He was hurt far more than it appeared or that anyone had really let on.

Another key Bammer, inside linebacker Jaylen Moody, is expected to be back:

In addition to the starting quarterback, Saban provided an update on linebacker Jaylen Moody, who missed last weekend’s 24-20 home win over Texas A&M because of a bruised kidney.

“He’s practiced all week, and he hasn’t had any complications,” Saban said. “So I think he’ll be OK.”

Alabama is not the only squad that is dealing with injuries and absences that have put some tarnish on this game. Vols starting DB Jaylen McCollough was arrested Sunday on a felony assault charge, and Josh Heupel has already begun signaling that the decision to play him is being done by his higher-ups in administration.

Which means he’s playing. Search your heart: if it’s up to a hard-bit corrupted VFL toadie, he’ll be the captain.

And we still don’t know the status of the Vols’ best weapon outside, Cedric Tillman, where Heupel was as cagey with his answer as Saban was with Young

Heupel took the same route when offering the latest the Vols elite wide receiver Cedric Tillman.

After recording 1,000 yards a year ago, Tillman had surgery after a tackle in Week 3 against Akron and hasn’t seen the field since. Jaylen McCollough, Tennessee’s four-year starting safety, was arrested on Sunday and Heupel said, like in Tillman’s case, McCollough’s status for the game

So, I guess we prepare for everyone and fail to be surprised at whomever suits up (or doesn’t) for Third Saturday?

But, I guess we have to most hang our hat on Saban’s assurance that Bryce “has made a lot of progress.”

Saban did have something to say about the mini-slump that Alabama’s kickers are in, at the moment

“When I talk to the guys it’s usually telling them they did a good job. If they don’t hit a good one, punt a good one, kick a good one, it’s, ‘Hey, forget about it. Focus on the next one.’ Those guys aren’t like players. They don’t play 70 plays in the game. They’re like assassins. They got one shot. They gotta make it count. That’s the mindset they have. To focus on being prepared to do it the next time is probably the most important thing.”

For the season, Reichard is sitting right at 70%, which has been Alabama’s average under Saban. Good thing that even the kicking game has slipped some the last few weeks — I was beginning to feel abnormal, with all this competent placekicking!

I joke. He’ll be fine. The last 6 quarters have seen most of the Tide’s roster become discombobulated. There is a rhythm to the entire team that is lost when the starting QB goes out. We’ve unfortunately seen this script too often the past several years.

Get Bryce back, and a normal roster and practice schedule, and I bet Reichard bounces back as well.

You don’t hear his name called much, because Alabama’s Star, Brian Branch, is doing his job that well.

And NFL scouts are starting to take notice.

There are only 19 teams that are seriously left in contention for a Playoff berth after 5-6 games of play.

Of them, 13 are unbeaten, four are one-loss squads, and two are two-loss teams.

We’ll have more to say on this later, but two-loss Texas is actually in very good, realistic shape to play their way into the CFP. The analytics love them; the offense has been great under Ewers; they have two losses by four points — and both were without their starting QB. And more importantly, in the back half of the season, they have a chance to pick up five-to-seven wins over ranked teams.

We’ve been looking for another 2014 Ohio State. This really could be it. No joke.

NOM NOM NOM. Give me that sweet rat poison:

“They don’t look well coached. They don’t look like Alabama. They don’t look like an Alabama football team. They don’t look sharp. They don’t look consistent. They’re giving me hope. They are giving me hope because they just don’t look like them. Not even a little bit,” said Knoxville Radio Host Basilio to Ryan Fowler on The Game.

“They look human, they don’t look like Alabama under Nick Saban.”

There are a ton of open jobs already, but one that seems most enticing for Alabama OC, Bill O’Brien, has to be the Nebraska Cornhuskers, where he and UNL Athletic Director, Trev Alberts, already have a preexisting relationship.


A lot of noise is being made about Alabama’s cringe-inducingly named “Cheetah package” for pass rushers. But the more fundamental question is how Alabama will respond to Tennessee’s tempo, and the challenges it represents. The Vols are the fastest team in the country and play like, both for good and ill:

On biggest concern against uptempo offenses – defense wearing down, offense creating mismatches or missed assignments…

“I think that if you have extended drives and you can’t sub, you worry about your players being able to continue to play at a high level when they get a little gassed. Secondly, when they go fast, you enhance the chances of making mental errors sometimes if your players aren’t really focused on what they’re seeing and what they’re doing. And then sometimes, because you’ve gotta call things quickly, they may end up in an advantageous situation formationally or personnel-wise where the call you have doesn’t match up great against what they’re doing. So it’s kind of a combination of all three.”

That’s it for now. Tons already on the Big Board to check out, including Brant’s piece on that fleet Volunteer offense, as well as Saban’s weekly press conference, and even an early edition of Giving Away Money.

We’ll see you later, and Roll Tide