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Jumbo Package: Some think Texas might have an Advantage over Alabama

Of course, they’re probably just Texas fans

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Middle Tennessee at Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

“Look you didn’t ask a bad question the other night,” Saban told the reporter. “I just didn’t answer it very well. When a guy plays well in a game, at any position, it should help his confidence and it should help him perform better in the future.”

Saban went on to say that it’s important every player understand that playing well in one game doesn’t necessarily translate and that a player has to keep working to improve. With that mindset, a player will continue to improve.

“Because you’re never satisfied and you’re always trying to do better and you don’t let complacency creep into your game,” Saban said. “That certainly hasn’t happened with Jalen, so hopefully the confidence he gained in this game will help him continue to play better and better in the future. That’s what we hope for as coaches. That’s what we try to encourage them to do. That should have been my answer the other night.”

Watching Nick Saban’s internal war over press conference snippiness over the last 8 years or so has been rather entertaining. Funny enough, I think some of his most famous snaps that he came back and apologized for have been in relation to questions about QBs in uncertain years.

In any case, props to the old man for owning what he said and trying to improve on himself.

Here’s the full press conference, if you’re interested.

And Charlie Potter transcribed the whole thing here, if you’d rather read than listen.

Saban on if former assistants have an advantage vs. Alabama…

“What the question would be is, does somebody else know more about what we know than what they know? Yeah, is it an advantage to the other guy that he knows what we do? But we also know what they do, so I don’t know how you put that on a scale and say that it’s more advantageous to one person than the other. We always try to focus on what we gotta do with our players to try and get them to play good and not really worry too much about the other guys. But there could be some terminology things that if you don’t change it up, they might be able to take advantage and I think we’re aware of those things, trying to make sure that we don’t give them any advantages, but I think it kind of goes both ways.”

I particularly liked his answer on this last question. I’ve always thought this “former assistant” thing was really overblown.

“This is going to be a good barometer for us to find out, where are we as a team?” Saban said Monday.

Specifically, is Alabama built for beauty or brawn?

Don’t be fooled by the Big 12 logo residing on Texas’ jerseys for one more year. Steve Sarkisian’s group plays with the physicality of an SEC team. Alabama shouldn’t need a reminder of that.

The Longhorns pushed around the Crimson Tide throughout four quarters last year in Austin. The only bullies in the building that day wore burnt orange.

Fortunately for Alabama, it countered with a magician.

Bryce Young engineered two long fourth-quarter scoring drives. He whistled a fourth-down completion into a tight window and later faced down an onslaught of three Texas pass rushers and zipped an off-balance bullet into the end zone for a touchdown. On Alabama’s winning drive, Young ducked underneath an unblocked blitzing Longhorn before scrambling for 20 yards to set up a winning field goal.

This is a well-written read from Toppmeyer over at Tuscaloosa News. And while, yes, Texas bullied Alabama’s offensive line last year and it was such a surprise that the whole game became a moral victory for Texas, I do thing it’s worth pointing out that the Tide totally shut down the Longhorn rushing game that featured the best running back in the country.

Needless to say, Texas is facing perhaps its most significant nonconference road matchup in nearly two decades. Alabama boasts one of the top home-field advantages in college football. The Tide have won 21 straight games at home, the longest active streak in college football. Before that loss to Joe Burrow’s 2019 LSU squad, Alabama had a streak of 31 straight wins at home.

Texas has been notably poor playing in unfamiliar locales over the past decades. The Longhorns have lost five straight true road nonconference games, not even counting what was technically a “neutral-site” loss to 2017 Maryland at FedEx Field. Three of the losses — Arkansas (2021), Notre Dame (2015) and BYU (2013) — finished as three-score losses. The embarrassments came under three different coaches.

There’s one piece of optimism, though. The last time Texas played a major blue blood on the road with expectations was in 2005 when Vince Young orchestrated a 25-22 takedown of No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio. The win ultimately set up a run to the national championship. With great matchups comes great opportunity.

I’ve gone back and forth on how I feel about this Texas matchup, and if I think Alabama will win or not. But the home field advantage thing is not something to be taken lightly. All of the Tide’s implosions the last two seasons happened in opposing stadiums, so getting the rematch with Texas at home should be a major factor.

Also, I got a good chuckle out of the last paragraph quoted: “The last time Texas played a major blue blood on the road with expectations was in 2005.” That’s a long, long time to play without expectations, Tejas.