Happy Monday, everyone. Following Alabama’s dominant win in Fayetteville, the Tide managed to regain the no. 1 ranking in both the AP and Coaches’ polls, not that either of them matter, and are installed as heavy favorites against Texas A&M.
Alabama definitely won the week.
With a 28-0 lead cut to 28-23 and with No. 19 Arkansas seemingly rising to the occasion after a generation of ugly losses in this series, the Crimson Tide responded with two quick touchdowns to secure a 49-26 win in this huge SEC West matchup. One major topic of postgame conversation: What’s the story on Bryce Young? The reigning Heisman Trophy winner left the game in the second quarter with sprained shoulder and was replaced by backup Jalen Milroe, who finished with 91 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The Young-less offense turned to Georgia Tech transfer Jahmyr Gibbs, who ran for a career-best 206 yards.
All of us are going to want to know how Bryce is doing during the week, and exactly none of us are going to hear a peep because Saban doesn’t have to tell us anything.
Jahmyr Gibbs is understandably getting plenty of attention after that performance. He was asked about his message to Milroe after Young’s injury.
“Just be you, you’re built for this,” said Gibbs. “You’ve been doing this your whole life, ain’t nothing going to change. We got your back.”
Gibbs also spoke on Milroe’s composure throughout the game.
“Jalen be turnt up, you know he got us all hype, but for the most part he was calm, he knew what to do,” said Gibbs. “He knew his job so we got behind him and we took off from there.”
Arguably, the biggest play of the game came early in the fourth quarter, when Milroe pulled off a 77-yard rush on 3rd-and-15.
Gibbs certainly has the respect of his teammates.
Other Alabama players, though, recognized what Gibbs has brought. Right tackle Tyler Steen said Gibbs can score on any given snap. Jase McClellan said earlier this fall that Gibbs offers something “special” to the position group. Will Anderson noticed it the first time he saw Gibbs at an All-American game.
For Gibbs, he said he’s relying on the instincts that have carried him from his days in Dalton, Ga., with the Yellowjackets, and now in Tuscaloosa.
Nick Saban was pleased with the resiliency at the press conference, but still quite ornery.
While he wasn’t specifically asked the topic, he drove home his point with a quip that made the gathered media laugh.
“I don’t know,” Saban said about Young and back-up Jalen Milroe playing when the Tide hosts the Aggies. “I was going to call Jimbo afterward and tell him exactly what we wanted to do. So, if he can hear it in a press conference, I don’t have to call him.”
Nick got especially fired up talking about maintaining focus and intensity, and his commentary on how Bryce manages the nuances of the offense that fans don’t typically recognize is particularly interesting. When Nick is mad after a blowout win, that is usually a good thing. Maintaining the level of play from Saturday will be the challenge going forward, as we saw with a Georgia team that looked sick from rat poison ingestion the past couple of weeks.
Watch his entire press conference below.
A&M’s suckage has sort of taken the hype away from the offseason spat between Fisher and Saban. It’s pretty clear at this point who won the offseason.
Saban didn’t limit itself to one transfer prize. Alabama needed a left tackle, too, to replace Evan Neal.
So, in the spring, Saban snagged Tyler Steen from Vanderbilt.
A playmaker like Gibbs or a veteran, proven offensive lineman like Steen would have aided an Aggies offense that’s been stuck in neutral.
Finding the right balance between freshman recruits and transfers may take time to master, but Saban’s approach looks effective: Supplement top-shelf recruiting with a handful of starter-quality transfers.
“The first I had known Gibbs was the Army All-American Bowl,” Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. said of the annual high school all-star game in San Antonio. “He was the best running out there, in my opinion. When you watch on the jumbotron, his cutting and bursting through holes is excellent. Going against him in practice every day, he’s silent; he doesn’t talk much. He does his job.
“This is why you come to Bama. For games like this.”
Young probably did Jimbo a solid in a weird way. Instead of the focus being on the Saban-Fisher feud from the summer, there will be breathless speculation all week regarding Young’s condition.
This effectively captures the mood in College Station, as the Aggies are very likely staring down a 2-3 start with losses to Appalachian State and Mississippi State already in the bag.
Texas A&M Boosters right now:— Transfer Portal (@NCAAPortal) October 2, 2022
“Hypothetically speaking, if we told y’all we did illegally recruit players, like we paid them, ohhh did we pay them, before they were athletes here to get them here. Could a coach be fired for cause? Hypothetically speaking of course”
NFL highlights aren’t quite as plentiful this week, but Jeudy had this awesome TD grab.
And last, Jalen Hurts now leads the lone unbeaten team in the NFL after taking down the Jacksonville Jaguars. Remnants from Ian kept the explosive plays to a minimum on both sides, but Jalen came up big when it mattered and led a comeback win.
Jalen Hurts— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 2, 2022
4th rushing TD in 4 games
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.