Since Erik covered Gump Day yesterday, I get to post a little something that might trigger some folks. Check out these stats:
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound quarterback played in 10 games as a true freshman in 2021, including eight of the final nine. Buchner scored six touchdowns (3 passing, 3 rushing) and accounted for 634 total yards of offense (298 passing, 336 rushing) while completing 60 percent of his passes and throwing three interceptions – all of this occurring after no senior high school season.
Following Jack Coan’s departure, Buchner stepped into the starting quarterback role in South Bend, Ind., as a sophomore last season but sustained a shoulder injury that kept him out 10 games before returning for the TaxSlayer Bowl against South Carolina, where he was named MVP. He threw for 651 yards, three scores and five picks on 46-of-83 passing (55.4%) in 2022 before transferring after the spring and reuniting with former play-caller, Tommy Rees.
That’s a lot of interceptions in not a lot of playing time!
For what it’s worth, he does have pretty nice rushing stats. The return of the QB in the run game at Alabama is upon us! Anyway, here’s the picture of him in uniform:
Anyway, back to some more positive comments from me, Danny Lewis is a guy who, even if he doesn’t play much this year, I have very high hopes for his future as a TE
87 TE Danny Lewis
2022: As a true freshman, Lewis appeared in five games, including the Crimson Tide’s Sugar Bowl win over Kansas State. Saw action at both tight end and on special teams.
Of note: Encouraging growth continued in the spring for Lewis, who worked alongside Maryland transfer CJ Dippre on the White team offense in the A-Day game. Lewis lined up both in line and off the ball in the scrimmage, turning four targets into four grabs for 30 yards. Showed well as a blocker both in the run game and pass protection. At 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, Lewis is capable of flexing out to the slot and getting the job done as a receiver or as a blocker in the quick passing game. A recipient of the Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award at the end of spring drills, Lewis projects as a legitimate rotational option at tight end who will also help on special teams.
He was a bit of a developmental player coming out of high school, but not because he’s a blocking TE that can’t catch, or, worse, a receiving TE that can’t block.
No, he’s a jump ball specialist, a massive, powerful blocker, and extremely tough to tackle. He lacked speed and blocking flexibility coming out of high school, but he has the size and skillset to become a fully rounded TE.
Q: Alabama’s defense took a noticeable step back in 2022. Where will improvements be made under Kevin Steele?
Rodak: “Two images are burned in the minds of Alabama fans about the 2022 defense: safety DeMarcco Hellams unsuccessfully trying to cover Jalin Hyatt, who scored five touchdowns in Tennessee’s win, and Alabama defensive players frantically running on and off the field before LSU’s game-winning snap in overtime. Both issues caused fans to point fingers back at defensive coordinator Pete Golding, whose defense was statistically among the SEC’s best but still could not get past some mental and strategic errors in key spots. “Eliminate mental errors and penalties,” outside linebacker Chris Braswell said of the defense’s goal under Steele in 2023. Steele, however, will need to help tutor a secondary that lost four starters to the NFL.”
If you missed it yesterday, check out RBR’s report card for the defensive coaching staff. Erik has long been a supporter of Pete Golding, and I joined the train at the end of the 2020 season. His scheme, opponent game planning, and play calling were exquisite.
That said, it felt like we were no longer seeing improvement on a year-to-year basis, penalties were consistently an issue, and the defense lacked a closing mentality. It was time for a change, and more and more, I’ve warmed up to Kevin Steele being the guy to bring just the right amount of edge back into the identity of the defense.
Less than two months later, the Crimson Tide appears poised to return to the top three of a draft – the NBA Draft.
Alabama forward Brandon Miller is expected to be the second or third selection on Thursday night in the 77th NBA Draft.
If that happens, Alabama will become the sixth school to place a player in the top three of the NFL and NBA drafts in the same year since 1966, the first year of the NBA Draft that did not give teams the option of claiming territorial picks before the start of the selections.
Roll Tide! That’s an amazing multi-sport achievement possible for the Tide.
I also would have never guessed the the Cal Golden Bears, of all schools, was the most recent team to pull this off, in 2016.
I’m also a bit surprised that neither Florida or Ohio State did it back in that 2006-2009 time frame.
WHO’S COMING IN?
On June 21, Alabama received some frontcourt help with Stevenson not only committing to the Crimson Tide but choosing to reclassify from the 2024 class to 2023, which means he will be a part of this year’s basketball team. A top-20 prospect, according to the On3 Industry Rankings, Stevenson offers some much-needed size for Alabama, but he also has a perimeter game.
Alabama is, essentially, breaking in nearly a whole new basketball team next year. Here’s a quick recap of all of the changes since the 2023 season ended.