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Jumbo Package: Damn Dangerous ‘Dogs Come to Town

Yes, Mississippi State is legit. I hope Alabama got the memo.

Mississippi State v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Morning, folks. Early press round-up is over here, if you want to read Saban’s remarks on adjustment, consistency, Jermaine Burton, and more.

Let us begin with something that will make you happy, at least. Collin Sexton, the Young Bull, paws the ground at reigning MVP Jokic and takes him to the glass — all night — 31 points for the former ‘Bama PG.

If the Jazz were trying to tank, you don’t sign this guy. Sexton has all the heart you could ever want in a player.

As expected, Saban emphasized that Saturday was a team loss for the Tide, punctuated by some stellar performances. Among the many areas he cited that needed work:

  • Guys have to cover better
  • They have to prevent Bryce taking shots better
  • Everyone has have more focus, and that penalties are going to start costing people starting positions
  • Playcalling
  • Special teams penalties

Basically, everything that you saw with your own eyes Saturday.

Mr. Burton may be sitting for a while, and just in time, Tyler Harrell may finally be ready to play. Alabama is desperately missing that consistent deep threat and explosion after the catch — someone to keep the secondary honest.

“He’s been practicing,” Saban said Wednesday. “He actually was available for the last game. He’s getting more and more reps, more and more comfortable with what he’s doing. There’s a possibility that he’s getting to the point where we can start to use him some.”

On Aug. 24, Saban revealed Harrell had been dealing with a sprained foot in preseason camp but had been able to practice some. The Louisville transfer was seen wearing a walking boot ahead of Alabama’s season opener against Utah State but has since been able to go through pregame warmups with no limitations. Saban was asked if the foot injury is still an issue.

“If he’s getting reps and doing everything… Look, I’m not giving specific details on everybody’s injuries,” said Saban on the SEC coaches weekly media teleconference. “But he was out, so what makes a difference.”

I have been very consistent about this point since March, and I will make it again — Tennessee on the road was always going to be Alabama’s toughest game. But very close behind them is a group that I had pegged as a darkhorse Western title contender and Alabama’s true competitor for the division this year

The damned dangerous dogs of Mississsippi State.

They are loaded, full of veterans, play aggressive team defense, have an outstanding quarterback, and now have added a three-headed rushing attack to the mix.

Alabama can lose this game Saturday. I’ve been worried about the hangover from the Vols game (win or lose) since Spring, and the only things that have changed in that time is that somehow MSU looks even better and Alabama worse.

The Bulldogs are No. 12 in the country for a reason. Do not take this team lightly; Alabama can easily go on a two-game skid before the bye.

Tide Tip-Off / SEC Media Days was held yesterday, and Nate Oats is pumped about this team.

Rightly pointing out that ‘Bama is facing a steep rebuild (Alabama has 8 new players), he refuses to let that be an excuse. One of the more interesting things from his presser was the role of tough games. Oats singled out that Gonzaga win as the moment things went wrong for Alabama last season:

Although he affirmed his belief that a difficult schedule is helpful, he addressed the issue of complacency when having such success against top teams.

“You can go through that and still be peaking at the end of the season,” he said. “I think the mindset of a game…you beat Gonzaga and then think you’ve got it figured out. We had a little complacency after some of those games.

“We have a tough schedule again this year, but we also have some games you should win.

“The mentality has to be you bring it every night. You get what you deserve every night out, and when you bring it every night you’re going to play well. When you decide you’re not going to play very hard, that you’re a lot better, you end up doing what we did last year in that’s why we did not peak at the end. So, I’ve got to do a better job as a head coach of making sure complacency doesn’t enter when we do it a good way. It’s a lot harder to handle success sometimes than when you lose. You can get their attention after they get beat. Can you still get their attention after big wins?”

You can get their attention after they get beat. Can you still get their attention after big wins? — Just an awesome quote.

Full presser remarks above

One of those tough game? A scrimmage against a very good TCU team that proceeded to almost hang a hundred on ‘Bama, and eventually won by 30.

What went wrong? Where to start — defense, turnovers, poor perimeter shooting. The same three culprits of almost every recent Alabama loss.

It was so bad that the upperclassmen held a players only meeting with the team after the debacle. And some of the nuggets in here make me very hopeful. This is what leadership looks like:

The words “player-only meeting” often have a negative connotation. That’s not the case for this one. Last season, Bediako said Alabama didn’t have meetings like this until midseason in a year that had plenty of ups and downs and ended with a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament.

“Starting (meetings) early, I think we’re fixing our stuff we need to fix now,” Bediako said.

There wasn’t any contentiousness. No yelling and screaming, Bediako said.

“Definitely just being real,” Bediako said. “No sugar coat.”

The meeting lasted about 15-20 minutes. They broke a whiteboard out. Gurley led that portion.

“He was like a teacher,” Bediako said.

Seth Greenberg is noticing what a lot of us have: Brandon Miller is that guy, but Noah Clowney is a big-time player too. He’s going to surprise a lot of people this season for the No. 20 Alabama Crimson Tide.

Mac Jones was already in danger of getting Drew Bledsoe’d by Bailey Zappe during his convalescence.

But there’s more to it than that — Jones was already on the rocks with the Pats before the injury for doing the one thing that is unacceptable in New England: Questioning the direction of the offense, specifically the goofball failsons Bill brought in to run the offense and which Alabama decided to inherit for the last two years.

Jones was curious about some of the team’s decisions, such as utilizing Patricia and Joe Judge to replace outgoing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

In addition, Breer said there was “some natural friction there,” which got exacerbated by his high ankle sprain. Jones didn’t want to get surgery, while the Patriots preferred to have him undergo a procedure to address the injury.

We know how this ends, right?

Jones is going to be on the trading block by year’s end. Judge and Patricia are awful at the job they’re tasked with, but you can’t question the emperor’s clothing in New England. And good luck trying to get the outspoken Mac Jones to not advocate for himself or the team, either.

Nice ride, Mac. We’ll see you in a better offensive system next year, I’m sure. Hell, Bill even ran Tom Brady out.

Finally, kind of an interesting preview here, for the new look Tide Hoops team.


You worried about Mississippi State?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Nah, it’s Mississippi State at the end of the day.
    (132 votes)
  • 58%
    Somewhat. Hangover after Third Saturday, good ‘State team, vulnerable ‘Bama squad.
    (413 votes)
  • 6%
    (46 votes)
  • 16%
    Terrified. Alabama can lose this game remarkably easily.
    (116 votes)
707 votes total Vote Now