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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban talks Vanderbilt offense

The man still won’t give away any secrets, though.

NCAA Football: UL Monroe at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

This Jumbo Package is going to be a little abbreviated, as I’m on the road and back in the promised land doing some corporate recruiting. In any case, the Vanderbilt is coming up, and we’ll have you covered the next couple of days with the rest of the previews for the game.

In the meantime, here are some quotes from Saban:

Head coach Nick Saban on Aug. 7 announced freshman wide receiver Aaron Anderson was dealing with “a little knee injury” and would likely be back in a few weeks. Ahead of Alabama’s Week 3 game against ULM, Anderson participated in pregame warmups with the rest of the wideouts, albeit in a bulky knee brace and at the back of the line.

Saban was asked about Anderson after Wednesday’s practice and reluctantly gave an update.

“The guy’s practicing,” Saban said of the true freshman receiver. “He’s making progress. I don’t know when he’s gonna be ready to play. That’s a medical decision. He’s gotta feel comfortable and confident that he’s ready to go, as well. So it’s still up in the air, day-to-day.”

If you read my Meet the New Guys series this offseason, Aaron Anderson was the one freshman receiver that I really thought would be a legit contributor this season. With him getting injured in the preseason, it made a door open for Kobe Prentice, who looked good in game 1, but hasn’t been too involved the following two weeks. Hopefully, Anderson will be able to get back onto the field and start trying to make an impact soon.

“I’ll talk about their offense and I’ll talk about what we’re going to do. Do you want me to tell you what they’re going to do so they know? I mean, I can just call their coaches and dial it up for you. There are elements of option football in what they do and that’s not something that we see all the time. Our players got to have really disciplined eye control and when the point of attack moves, they gotta be able to adapt correctly and everybody play responsibility football, that’s what it comes down to. They’re very capable of throwing the ball as well, so you got to play good pass defense and not give up explosive plays when you’re trying to do that.”

After doing my weekly study on the opposing offense, I came away surprised and quite impressed with how much I liked what Vandy was doing on offense. They’ve got a good run blocking line, a solid back in Ray Davis, two really impressive receivers, and a wildcard freshman talent at QB in AJ Swann. Add in a playcalling strategy that reminds me of 2019-2020 Alabama with more QB option runs, and it could very well cause some fits for the Tide defense.

Here’s the full press conference:

Saban was in a pretty jovial mood in this one, cracking off a couple of different sarcastic jokes. And for whatever reason, he’s continuing his trend of being extra ornery about injuries this year.

Now that Penn State is in his rankings alongside Michigan and Ohio State, Klatt declared the Big Ten East the best division in the game. He credits one aspect of the Nittany Lions’ game as a reason for the jump.

“Penn State [is] quietly making the Big Ten East the best division in football,” Klatt said. “Why is that? Because I’ve got three of those teams from that same division in my top 10. That’s what the running game is doing for Penn State. They are that good, it protects their defense, it protects their quarterback.”

So PSU manages to beat (checks notes) Auburn University and is now considered such an elite team that their division is now the best in all of college football? I mean, the SEC West alone beat the Barn three different times last year, so I suppose that should give them some credibility too, right?

Here’s some good stuff from the coach of Alabama’s newest commit, Jalen Hale:

“Jalen never has a season off,” King said. “He goes from football, to basketball, to track, to summer training. He never has any down time. He’s the best player we have on the basketball court, he’s qualified on two relay teams two years in a row for the state track meet, just extremely competitive. He will do things you ask him to do and he’ll do them to best of his ability. Whether that’s run on the mile relay, go play receiver, or go play quarterback or kick return. He’s very unselfish.”

As noted above, King has been coaching at Longview for years and has had plenty of talent come through the Lobos program. What kind of player does Hale compare to in his mind?

“He’s just totally different,” King replied. “We’ve had some really good players in the past from Malcolm Kelly to guys like JaMycal Hasty. He’s kind of combination of everything those guys were. He’s not as big as Malcolm, but he may be a little more polished as a receiver. He’s fast like JaMycal Hasty was. Great ball skills. He’s got a God-given set of abilities and he’s made the most of them.”

Hale’s commitment extends the Tide’s lead on the #1 recruiting class in the country, and also fills out the wide receiver spot that was something of a hole still in the current commitment list.

That’s all for today. Roll Tide!