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Jumbo Package: Alabama looks to improve vs Warhawks

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Happy Friday, everyone. The Tide will enjoy a tasty Warhawks cupcake tomorrow afternoon. I have heard it tastes like chicken. Your scant previews:

Saturday should be a good opportunity for the Tide to keep developing its ground approach, open up some running lanes on the interior of the line, patch up the blocking issues on the edges when protecting Bryce Young, and play cleaner defense in the secondary without drawing so many penalties like it did at Texas.

College Football HQ Prediction: Alabama 45, UL Monroe 0

There’s this, then a home game against Vanderbilt, and then the schedule gets nasty. The team needs tuning, it has to get the wide receivers more involved, and the secondary has to be a whole lot sharper without so much grabbing.

Of course Nick Saban is worrying about the win – the 21-14 loss to the Warhawks in his first year with the Tide is still discussed – but this will be used more like a scrimmage to fix the problems exposed by the Longhorns.

At least that’s the hope.

Alabama 52, ULM 3

“It just shows you can’t get complacent,” Alabama safety DeMarcco Hellams said. “We have to take all our opponents seriously. We have to prepare for every opponent the same way. We’re just preparing this week to make sure we’re not one of those teams.”

Those fresh upsets aside, ULM coach Terry Bowden knows Alabama has four- and five-star recruits and NFL prospects all over the field.

“Quite obviousy, coaches are coaches and you’d like to think that we had an impact on the game, but 99% of the time the team that has the best football players wins,” said Bowden, a former Auburn coach.

Emerge healthy, work on some stuff, get the backups plenty of action, and move on.

Let it be written.

Saban wants to see a little more hatefulness out of his team on the road.

“We used to play better on the road than what we played at home,” Saban said, “because we had some hateful competitors on our team and when they played on the road, they were mad at 100,000 people and not the 11 guys they were playing against. And they wanted to prove something to everybody.”

Some of that has slipped in recent years.

“As time has gone on, “Saban said. “I think that maybe just winning the game is the focus.”

Want to know why that is, in my opinion? The focus on adopting and defending the spread in order to keep up with the modern offenses that were giving the team issues some years ago. Like it or not, Alabama has been more of a finesse outfit the past several years, but titles have been won just the same.

Tyler Harrell needs a little more time.

“He has not been able to practice this week. He will not play in this game (against Louisiana-Monroe). Hopefully, he’s kind of day-to-day with this foot that he has. Hopefully, he will be back sometime soon,” Saban said.

Last, Nick Alvarez talks about the one trait that makes Will Reichard so great.

“I’d say over my now 20-plus years of coaching kickers and working with colleges, of anyone I’ve ever coached, I’ve never had more confidence in anyone than him as a high school and college player,” national specialist coach Chris Sailer told, “The only one that comes close when it comes to mentality is Justin Tucker.”

The legend of Will Reichard has spread and is growing this fall. How many college kickers are compared to future NFL Hall of Famers, like Tucker? How many have had a perfect season? Are a kid’s hero? Have a Cameo account? Alabama’s “weapon” and fan favorite may have a more important role this year, though. With the margin of error seemingly thinner for the Tide, Reichard has become a necessity.

Unlike some kickers we have had, Will never looks the least bit rattled when he walks onto that field. This isn’t to say that he will never miss as no one is perfect, but he is going to block out all the noise and focus on a quality kick, and his consistency has been amazing so far.

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

Roll Tide.