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Game notes: UT vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 7
Posted under: The Quad
                                              UT vs Bama

Bama got beat yesterday on the field.  They reverted back to making mistakes that help lead to the loss.  It will be a week where Bama will have to make improvements throughout the whole team.  I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am not sure Milroe can read defenses well enough to win tough games.  The vaunted OL did not live up to the expectations.  The main fact was that UT had the better QB and play caller. Also, is it just me or did Bama not use the motion like they did in the past game.

OFFFENSE:  The offense could not finish drives.  They made mistakes all around.  However, one of the main points was the lack of pass protection.  They may be big, but the quicker defensive players gave them some problems.  I also think the play calling came very predictable.  The inability to push the ball down the field allowed the safeties to play closer to the LOS which helped slow down a running game that started out well.  They also converted on only 5 of 14 3rd downs.
Yards:  362 total, 255 passing and 107 rushing. They rushed for 98 of those in the first half.

Negative plays:   5 tackles for losses, 5 sack, and 2 interceptions that led to 10 points.

3 and outs:  Bama had one 3 and a 1 and out because of an interception.

Plays for 10+ yards:  8 passing and 4 running.

Scoring:  Got into the red zone once and ended up kicking a field goal.  All other scores came from outside the red zone, 2 field goals and 2 touchdowns.

QB:  Milroe show some flaws in this game, but they werenít all on him.  The OL didnít help very much.  He was 14 for 27, but threw into coverage more than once and the receivers bailed him out.  More than 1 throw was high and the receivers did a good job going up and making a catch.  He did have a couple of good throws but seems to stop looking downfield when flushed from the pocket.

RB: The running backs ran well early. Again, they missed some blocks in the passing game.  Combined they only had 2 catches for the game.

REC:  They actually made some good catches, but they didnít seem to get a lot of separation.  There were a couple of times where I didnít understand the routes concepts as they were in the same area.  Even though Prince didnít score he was the leading receiver and made some big/tough catches.

OL:  This could be an area of concern.  First, for the 2nd straight game, the center put ball on the ground with the snap. Second, UT was able to get pressure with 3 rushers and allow 8 to drop in coverage.  Third, the running game disappeared after the first half.  According to my stats, they had 9 rushing yards in the 2nd half. I understand sacks take off yards rushing.  Plus, there were 5 sacks in the game.

DEF:  Sark had a great game plan that made it difficult for the Bama defense.  Quick short passes help negate the pass rush.  Throwing wide made the players come up and make plays.  With all that, they still had Bama in the game, as I said 2 turnovers led to 10 points.  They missed more tackles this game than the first. 

NEG:  4 tackles for losses, forced 2 fumbles but recovered none.

3-OUTS:  2

Plays 10+ yards:  9 passing plays and 2 running plays, one of which was the loss of contain on the QB.

Scoring:  they got in the red zone 4 times and scored 2 field goals and 2 touchdowns.  Outside the red zone they had 2 touchdowns and a missed field goal.

DL:  They did a good job stopping the running game but didnít really put much pressure on the QB on passing plays.  There were no sacks. 

LB:  They played well in the running game but seemed to get lost a few times in the passing game as receivers were open in the middle of the field.

DB:  They missed some tackles, and they were not in good position pass coverage wise.  I will say, I noticed a technique last night I donít understand.  The safety turned his back to the field and opened to his left, I donít know why they donít back pedal.  Again, they allowed the receivers to get to close and had to resort to pass interference.  Even though they were in position a few times, the UT QB made some very good throws and beat the coverage.

Special Teams:  They were solid except for not having enough men on the field for the punt that pinned Bama back near their own goal line.

Penalties:  Bama was back to being Bama, 10 penalties.  The offense had 5, the defense had 4 and special teams had 1.  Some help extend drives and some help stall drives.

Finally, Bama has a lot of work to do.  This would be a good week for other players to step up and take a job away from someone who isnít getting the job done.  When I say this I am talking about all positions.  The difference was the 2 interceptions that led to 10 pints.

18 and Counting

Game notes: MTSU vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 10
Posted under: The Quad
                                               MTSU vs Bama

Congrats to the Bama players and coaches for the win.  I donít think the question was who was going to win, but how much would the margin of victory be.   Also, I think fans were wanting to see the changes the new coaches may have brought to the table.

OFFFENSE:  The offense really had little problem with the MTSU defense.  I do think there are still some questions because of the quality of the competition.
Yards:  431 total, 226 passing and 205 rushing. 

Negative plays:   2 tackles for losses, 2 sack (both had running backs involved and no turnovers

3 and outs:  Bama had one 3 and out.

Plays for 10+ yards:  5 passing and 7 running

Scoring:  4 for 4 inside the red zone, 4 from outside the red zone

QB:  Milroe did a good job for the pressure that was on him.  He was 13 for 18 for 194 yards.  Early on, 11 of the passes were of 10 yards of less.  I am still worried about his mechanics as it looked on a couple of the deep balls, the feet were not where they needed to be.  I think that is why they were underthrown. That being said he did make a few good deep throws. He did throw one ball into coverage to Brooks, fortunately it was incomplete and not picked off.  He is very capable of making plays with his legs.  The other question I have is can he progress to the 2nd or 3rd receiver if the first option is covered?  Many times, in this game, it looks like the 1st read was open.   There really wasnít a lot of opportunities for the backups to get a clear picture on.  They both did some good things.  I really thought Simpson would have won the starting job, but I guess I was wrong.

RB: The running backs ran well and are pretty interchangeable, it seems.  As I stated above RBís were involved in the sacks.

Rec:  This seems to be an area where there is plenty of depth.  Seven different had catches.  This is without Brooks who it looks like he may have been held out of the first half for disciplinary reasons.

OL:  I think this could be a good group.  They have the size, and it looks like athletic ability.  There were a few snaps that were low which can lead to problems in a more competitive game.  There did seem to be a communication problem on one running play that led to a tackle for loss.

Def: The defense looked to play pretty well especially for a couple of reasons.  First, they cut down the penalties and I think they tackled better.  The question is can they continue this when playing better competition.

Negative plays:  I have Bama for 4 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and an interception.
3 and outs:  Bama had 6 three and outs, one that was because of the fumble recovery.

Scoring:  MTSU got into the red zone and had one missed field goal and a touchdown.

10+ plays:  4 passing plays and 2 running plays.  One of the running plays was when they ran a QB draw and the DL got out of their rushing lane.
They had a pass play for 21 yards where the RB was lost in coverage and a running play for 30 yards that was on the QB draw from an empty set.

DL:  They played well, especially Young.  He is becoming a force partly because of all the attention Anderson is getting.  Young was credited for being in on 11 tackles and 2 of those were sacks.  I think he also batted a pass down.  Early on, it didnít seem that they were getting off blocks and this is when they seem to be playing hesitant.  Maybe OM showed some new looks.  Bama looks to have a lot of speed again from their edge rushers.

LB:  I thought they played well, and they look athletic. 

DB: Again, I thought this group played well.  But I also take in account the competition.  I thought the corners were less handsy and stayed in phase better.  They did get tested on many deep balls as MTSU seemed to be getting the ball out quickly.

Special teams: Special teams played well.  Too me one of the biggest pluses was the yard McKinstry saved the offense by fielding the bouncing punts.

Penalties: I canít remember the last time Bama had so few penalties.  They had 3 but one was disallowed because of offsetting penalties.  So, officially they had 2, one on the defense and one on special teams.

Finally, Bama seems to have the good foundation for being a very good team.  Too me the DL seems to be slimmer and maybe quicker.  The offense seem to be back to using motion more than last year.

Feel free to comment.

18 and Counting

Game notes: Utah State vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 14
Posted under: The Quad
                                             Utah State vs Bama
First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches on the win.  Clearly, Bama was the better team.  Hopefully, they will continue to improve.

OFFFENSE:  The offense put together 559 yards of total offense which included 281 rushing yards and 278 passing yards.   
Negative plays:  2 tackles for losses, 1 sack, and 1 interception
3 and out:  1
10+ plays:  19 passing and 8 running one each was negated by penalties
Red zone:  8 trips in and 7 touchdowns with 1 field goal only one score from outside the redzone which was a field goal.

QB:  Young played well as he was harassed early in the passing game.  He did miss a couple of long balls, one short and one overthrow.  He completed 18 of 28 passes for 195 yards.  His athletic abilities allowed him to make a few plays. He also threw 1 hospital ball.  Milroe played pretty well in mop up duty.  He did throw 2 hospital balls.  His tendency seems to be the ball behind the receiver, and he did throw short and behind on the interception.  I donít know if you noticed, but after Milroe lowered his shoulder on his run and ran over the defender, the defender signaled to come out of the game.  Simpson looks like a QB.  According to the scouting reports and announcers he has all the tools.  I will be interesting to see him later on.

RB: I thought all played pretty well and five played.  Gibbs show the ability to break long runs and make the tough run.  There doesnít seem to be much of a drop off when any back is in.

Rec:  A pleasant surprise here.  There were 7 different receivers that had catches in the game, and this doesnít count the catches by running backs. There didnít seem to be a drop-off when receivers were substituted in.  It  also appeared the receivers were looking to block when they didnít get the ball or there was a running play called.

OL:  The OL seem to get better as the game went on.  I really thought they would be dominate early.  They did miss some stunts and a few times they didnít seem to sustain their blocks.  The thing that worries me is, in the red zone, the only rushing touchdown Bama got was the scramble by Young.  That was the only rushing touchdown for Bama.

Def: The defense played well and was out of position only a few times in my opinion.  My stats are a little bit different than what the official stats are because I look at where the ball start and where it ends.  The official stats seem to not count a tackle for loss if it is within one half a yard from where the ball started. The defense gave up a total of 136 yard which included 57 passing and 79 rushing.  Most of their yards came in the 2nd half.

Negative plays:  8 tackles for losses, no sacks, 2 fumbles (none recovered) Hard to get sacks when the QB is getting rid of the ball so quickly.
3 and outs:  6 three and out with a 3 and out when they went for it on 4th down
10+ plays:  1 passing and 1 rushing, the passing was the 1st play of the game.
Red zone:  They got in the red zone once in the 2nd half and turned the ball over on down.

DL: I thought they played well.  Especially the first group.  Didnít see them out of position very often and they used their hands well to get off blocks.  Basically, I couldnít tell the difference when they substituted one unit for the other.

LB: I can say the same here like I did from the D line.  Later in the game, there could have been a little drop off.  Some of this happens when the backup gets in and is so desperate to make a play and get themselves out of position.

DB: I thought they played well.  The one big play was the first of the game and the player was in position.   One of the biggest plays made on defense was when the DB Jackson blew up the blocker on a wide receiver screen and the blocker actually made the tackle.  The technique was great as he went thru the out side which if not made would have turned the play back inside for help.

Special teams: Special teams were good except for the blocked punt.  It looked to me like ToíoToío went out to block instead of the treat up the middle.  I could be wrong, but if he had gone the other way, they still may have blocked it.  I thought McKinstry looked very effective in the return game.

Penalties:  I have Bama for 6 penalties.  Five of them were in the 2nd half and 3 of them were on the offense.  Two of the penalties took away big plays, one run and one pass.  Fortunately, they were not a determining factor in the game.

Finally, Bama has the chance to be an outstanding team this year in my opinion.  They seem to have all the tools required. 
Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

NC Game notes: UG vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 9
Posted under: The Quad
                                             UG vs Bama

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches on a great year.  I know people are disappointed, however, the circumstances were not in Bama favor to repeat.  There were too many mistakes and points left on the field coupled with injures that caused Bama to depend on younger players who didnít have the experience at this time to come thru.

OFFFENSE:  The offense outgained UG but didnít put the ball in the endzone often enough when they got in the red zone.  Bama had a total of 399 yards with 369 passing and 30 rushing. The sack yards, in college, comes off the rushing yards which made this look worse than it was.  For negative plays, I have Bama with5 tackles for losses, 4 sacks and 2 interceptions.  Most of the negative plays came when Bama got behind and was trying to make a comeback.  I credit Bama with 2 three and outs and 1 two and out because of an interception.  Plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Bama with 14 passing plays and 1 running play.  The bad news is Bama got into the red zone 4 times and scored 1 touchdown.  They were stopped at the 19, 10, and 5-yard line.  If Bama scores touchdowns, instead of field goals, they have and additional 12 points.  Outside the red zone they kicked 1 field goal and had one blocked.  Here are three more points left on the field.

QB:  Young threw the ball 57 times and completed 35 of them which equates to 61 percent.  Out of these 57 attempts he was pressured at least 20 times and hit on many of those.  With these pressures he was also sacked 4 times and completed on 8 of these passes.  Now all of that was not on him as some of the throws were catchable, but the plays were not made.  He did miss a couple of receivers, but most misses were because of pressures or missed play opportunities.

RB: Robinson played well in my opinion. The running yards were tough yards and he picked up the blitz several times.  Early in the game they ran the edge getting 4 to 4 yards an attempt and I thought they should have done it a little more.  Sanders, had 2 carries for 5 yards and made a good catch to get a first down.

Rec:  Williams was having a good game before his injury.  He had 4 catches for 65 yards.  On the play he got hurt on, I think if the ball had been deeper, he probably would have scored.  Also, it may have prevented him from his injury.  Latu had 5 catches for 102 yards and the only touchdown.  Latu was also one of the receivers that could have made a catch and scored a touchdown instead of kicking a field goal.  Hall had 2 catches, Brooks had 7 catches, Holden had 6 and Bolden that 7.  The ball was spread between the many receivers, however, they also missed chances to make plays.  For instance, Hall had, what I thought was a chance for a catch to get a first down or even a touchdown but didnít complete the play.  I counted at least 6 balls that were catchable, but the plays werenít made.

OL:  The OL is where this game was won or lost.  They didnít have the game they did like they did in the SEC championship game.  As you see above, they allowed a lot of pressure on the QB.  They would pick up a stunt and then miss a stunt or just get beat 1 on 1.  I will speak on this later.

Def: The defense played well except for a couple of series in the 2nd half.  Bama gave up a total of 364 yards which included 224 passing yards and 140 rushing yards.  For negative plays, I have Bama with 3 tackles for losses, 5 sacks, and 2 fumbles 1 which they recovered.  I have them with 5 three and outs one of which was because of their fumble recoveries.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have UG with 11 passing plays and 5 running plays.  UG got into the red zone 3 times and scored 2 touchdowns and kicked 1 field goal.  They scored 1 touchdown from outside the red zone and kicked 1 field goal.  The other touchdown came from the interception return near the end of the game. I really thought Mathis, Harris, ToíoToío and Anderson played well in the game.  It did look that on one of the long runs, the LB Toíotoío and the DL went in the same gap and left the opening for the big run.  No one was there to fill the gap and make the play.  The defense came up with a couple of big stops, like in the red zone and after the first interception which gave UG field position. 

DL: The DL played pretty well except for a few plays.  However, it wasnít all their fault because plays were not made by the safeties at the 2nd level.  They occupied all the OL which kept them off the 2nd level tacklers.

LB: Harris had a big game with 7 tackles which include 3 sacks and a tackle for a loss.  Toíotoío made some big plays where he was blitzing and then made the play down field after a short completion. 

DB: Bama goes into the NC game with 2 back up corners which included the 2nd start for one of them.  Again, they had two pass interference call on touchdown drives.   Jackson was in good position on the touchdown pass but just didnít make the play.  It looked like on the touchdown throw McKinstry gave up he was expecting help on the inside from the safety.   I will also speak about this later.

Special teams: The special teams had 3 problems. One was the big kick off return which was called back for a holding call.  So, it really didnít hurt.  The second was the kickoff out of bounds which gave UG great field position.  Third and the biggest one, was the missed/blocked field goal which looked to be a result of low trajectory.  Finally, there was a fumble on a punt which Bama got back on.

Penalties:  By the official stats Bama had 7 penalties for 57 yards.  First, there was a delay of game on the defense when they were called for clapping.  On the replay, I didnít see a clap, but Toíotoío pounded his fist together making the call.  Second, a big one, was a false start on a 3rd and 1 on Owens which turned into a 3rd and 6 in the red zone.  Third, the kickoff was out of bounds giving UG better field position.  Fourth, a face mask call in the red zone which moved to ball closer to the goal line since UG had gotten a first down on the play. Fifth, PI on the touchdown drive.  This took place after Bama had regained the lead from UG.  Six, offsides was declined.  Seventh, PI on the next touchdown drive. Eight, roughing the passer on Battle on the touchdown that was declined. Ninth, grounding by Young in the last drive of the game.   Since 2 were declined, they had a total of 7 penalties.

Finally, Bama had a chance, but it was a difficult road with the injuries this year.  They did an outstanding job with a lot of inexperienced players.  Allen goes down at the beginning of the year, Sanders replaces and he goes down.   However, that put Turner in who played well enough to keep the starting job when Sander could return.  Both corners went down.  Plus, there were offensive linemen who were injured during the year.  That being said with the great recruiting Bama should be able to replace these players.   In the upcoming year there are people who are going to have to be replace because of some players entering the portal.  Also, coaches are going to have to be replaced as I have heard to this date Bama has lost 2.  They need to be better in several areas next year.  First, they have to do a better job on the offensive line.  I read/heard they have given up 39 sacks this year.  I think Mac Jones was sacked 10 times last year.  You take away New Mexico State, Mercer, and Southern Miss.  Most of the sacks came against SEC opponents.  So really the sacks came in 12 of the 15 games.  Second, since the DB coach left, they need to go out and get a top DB coach.  Third, they need to cut down on penalties.  If I heard correctly, there we at least 17 PI calls this year.  Many of those were on touchdown drives.  Fourth, they have to improve their red zone efficiency.  I wonít be surprised if Bama loses more coaches and players.  With all that being said Bama still had a very good year.
Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

Game notes: UC vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 9
Posted under: The Quad
                                             UC vs Bama

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches the victory and advancing to the National Championship game once again. 

OFFFENSE:  The offense played the game they needed to play to win this game.  I have to give the UC defense some credit.  Their skilled defensive players made it tough for a deep passing game and they consistently put pressure on the QB.  The running game saved Bama.  Bama put together a total of 482 yards of total offense which included 181 yards passing and 301 rushing.  For negative plays, I have the offense with 4 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, and a interception.  I credit Bama with 2 three and outs, one of which was because of an interception.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Bama with 7 passing plays and 11 running plays.  I canít remember the last time Bama had more running plays for 10+ yards than they did passing plays.  Bama got into the red zone 3 times and scored 2 touchdowns and kicked a field goal.  There was a sack that led to the kicking of the field goal in the red zone.  They scored twice from outside the red zone with a touchdown pass and a field goal.  The offense converted on 5 of 13 3rd down situations and converted their only 4th down try.  They kept saying Bama opened the game with 10 straight runs, however one of these was a scramble because of the pressure on the pass play.

QB:  Young had a good day considering the pressure he was under.  He was 17 for 28 for 181 yards with an interception.  He was pressured on at least 10 of the passes and the interception happened on one of those pressure.  Since they were running the ball effectively, he was 5 for 7 on passing plays that involved play action.   

RB: Robinson played very well.  I do think they ran the ball a little less in the second half to probably save him a bit.  He made many yards after initial contact.  Robinson ended up with 204 yards on 26 carries.  The yards were a Bama record, and it is great to see this for him because he stuck it out and finally got his chance to play.  Sander had a very good game also as he had 67 yards on 14 carries.  I noticed they also left him in more on passing down when he was call upon to block. 

Rec:  Williams led the way with total number of receptions with 7 for 62 yards.  The yardage leader was 66 yards on 4 catches and a touchdown.  Bolden had 3 catches for 31 yards and a touchdown.  Billingsley and Latu both had a catch and Latuís was for a touchdown.

OL:  The OL, when it came to run blocking, did a fantastic job.  However, when it came to pass protection, they left a lot to be desired.  The got a great push on running plays and even saw some of them downfield getting more than one block.  In the passing game, they missed simple stunts, the were beat on 1v1ís, and a missed block by the TE led to a sack in the red zone.  There were a few times when UC got pressure with 4 rushers vs 5 blockers.  Hopefully, they can clean up the mistakes before the next game.

Def: The defense played very well.  UC tried to attack Bama with the short passing game as they threw the ball 32 times and out of these 32 times, 23 were thrown under 10 yards.  UC was 3 for 9 for balls thrown over 10 yards.  Bama gave up a total of 218 total yards which included 144 passing yards and 74 rushing yards.  Out of these 218 yards, 116 came on the first drive of the game for UC (60 yards) and the opening drive for them in the second half (56 yards).  At the half they had 76 total yards, and probably late in the 3rd quarter it looked like Bama play a lot of 2 shell to keep everything underneath.  For negative plays, I have Bama with 2 tackles for losses and 6 sacks.  I credit Bama with 5 three and outs.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have UC with 6 passing plays, 3 in each half, and 2 running plays, both in the second half.  They got into the red zone twice and had to kick field goals both times.   Bama held UC to 2 of 12 3rd down conversions.  Those 2 came on the first drive of the game. 

DL: They played well and had several passes knocked down.  They kept pressure on the QB and didnít give up a run of 10+ yards until the 2nd half.  I really thought Mathis played a very good game.

LB: They played well as they got off blocks and got to the running back.  That is if the blocks got to them.  They did a good job with timing their blitzes. 

DB: Since Bama is basically playing back-ups, I thought they played well.  As I stated above, UC only threw the ball past 10 yards 9 times and completed 3 of them.  Most of the short passes were defended by the safeties and LBs.  I thought they did a good job tackling and the only issue I really saw was when Armour-Davis couldnít change direction on the pass completed against him. 

Special teams: The special teams had a couple of hiccups.  There was a fumble on a punt which Bama fortunately recovered, there was the missed field goal, and the kickoff to the kickers right side.  When he kicks to the right side, the other teams left, he does get the height or distance, it seems to me. 

Penalties:  I have Bama with 6 penalties.  They were all on the offense or special team.  First, Bama had an illegal forward pass, Second, there was a false start on the field goal.  Third, there was an illegal formation that took away an 8-yard run.   This was also a result of one of the wide receivers not stepping up when the TE and other rec shifted to the other side of the field.  Fourth, unsportman like conduct on 42 on the punt that was fumbled caused by pulling someone off the pile.  Fifth and sixth, holding and false start both by Owens.  He also had a holding that was declined right before these two.   

Finally, Bama has a chance to win another National Championship.  I donít think the game will be as easy as last time they played UG.  Bama canít afford to leave points on the field like missed field goals or not getting touchdowns when they get in the red zone.   

Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

Re: Auburn to the Birmingham Bowl
Written by pmull
Comments: 38
Posted under: The Quad
Bowl season has arrived. NCAA programs across the country are excited about their bowl trips to exotic tourist locations and the opportunity to play in state-of-the-art pro stadiums. Auburn is one of these lucky teams that put in the hard work required to earn their way to Birmingham, AL posting an impressive 6-6 record. The 6 wins include marquee wins over traditional powerhouses Akron, Alabama State and Georgia State. This will be a bowl trip the Auburn players will remember for the rest of their lives.

The game will be played in the brand-new Protective Stadium in Birmingham. Protective Stadium is home to the UAB Blazers and future home to USFL Birmingham Stallions if the league can secure enough interest and funding. The massive stadium seats 45,000 and is located in the one of the nation's most well know housing projects. One Auburn player was quoted as saying "This is a great location. It has that Chicago fell to it".

Some of the older players have heard about the last trip to Birmingham and they are honored to be selected to this game again. The bowl committee plans to keep both teams busy seeing all that Birmingham has to offer. A visit to Vulcan is always the highlight of the Birmingham Bowl experience but the fun does not stop there. On Sunday afternoon both teams will visit Buc-ee's in Leeds. One Auburn player said, "I have never seen a 30 foot wall of beef jerky". There is also an all you can eat trip to the Taco Truck located across the street from the Exxon station on Green Springs avenue in Homewood. Bo Nix was quoted "da#@, I quit too soon, I didn't think they would make it to a bowl game".

Among all of the exciting activities let's not forget there is a football game. Coach Harsin has reminded the team this is a business trip. Upon hearing that All-American Roger McCreary opted out of the game, but still plans to go to Buc-ee's with the team. Coach Harsin also reminded the team they have an opportunity to beat a Group of Five team which would be a great accomplishment considering what happened last time.

Auburn feels they have a big advantage since they have Birmingham Bowl experience. The team will not stay in Ensley this year. It was a nice motel, but the gun shots and sirens were a distraction. They are staying at the Econo Lodge in Hoover this year. Coach Harsin said "This area is nice, but traffic is a bit#@". The city of Hoover is allowing them to practice at the local Pop Warner field. Meanwhile, Houston is housed at the BJCC Sheraton next to the stadium.

The game has a prime time kick off of 11:00 on Tuesday December 28th. Auburn officials like this time slot since most of their meaningless SEC games start at 11:00. ESPN wants to remind everyone watching the game while at work to have an Excel file ready to cover your screen in case the boss walks in.

The players cannot wait to get their swag bag gifts. More on that latter.

SEC championship game notes: UG vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 12
Posted under: The Quad
                                             UG vs Bama

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches the victory and SEC Championship.  This was a different team than we have seen this year.  We have seen signs of this team during the year, but not to this extent.

OFFFENSE:  The offense scored of 5 straight drives after two punts on the first two drives.  They put together a total of 536 yards which included 421 passing and 115 rushing.  Georgia was only giving up an average of 231 yards per game.  As for negative plays, Bama had 4 tackles for losses, ZERO sacks, and a fumble they didnít lose. Bama only had one three and out.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Bama with 12 pass plays and 6 running plays.  Bama got into the red zone 3 times and scored 2 touchdowns and kicked a field goal.  From outside the red zone, they scored 2 touchdowns and kicked a field goal. The final touchdown came form the defense on a 42-yard interception return by Battle.

QB:  Young had a very good game. He completed 59% of his passes and was 26 for 44.  Young threw many balls downfield that were right on the money.  He did a good job running the ball as he had to scramble a few times and ended up rushing for 40 yards on 3 carries.  On one impressive play he turned a scramble into an option play, and it led to one of the 10+ yard runs mentioned above.  He also had a block on that play.  I will say I thought he had a little bit of happy feet, as they say, in the early goings. On one of his incompletions, it looked like Williams may have misjudged the ball with a little help from the defender. A couple of other things I want to point out about Young is his ability to throw the ball before the cut by the receiver and he makes big throws when necessary.

RB: In my opinion, Robinson had a hell of a game since he was playing hurt.  He ran hard as well as picking up the blitz.  I didnít know if he would even be able to play after I saw him reach for his hamstring in his last game.  Sanders had a couple of good runs also. I donít know what his injury was, but I really hope he is fine as Bama needs him, but also because of all he has been through.

Rec:  Williams and Metchie were the main targets in the game.  Williams had 7 catches for 184 yards while Metchie had 97 on 6 catches.  However, Metchie was lost during the game.  Bolden had one of his best days with 5 catches for 54 yards.  After Metchie was hurt, Holden came in and had 2 catches and last weeks hero, Brooks had 1 catch. Billingsley had 2 catches, but they seem to come at big times and Latu added 1 catch.

OL:  This as I have said before had to improve for Bama to be successful the rest of the year.  They stepped up in a big way.  I donít know what the change was during the week of practice, but they looked like a completely different group.  They picked up stunts, they got some push at time, and they gave up ZERO sacks.  I really with I knew what caused the change, but it clicked this week.  Their technique looked better as well as looking more aggressive.  Iím not saying it was perfect, but it was a completely different look.  This game couldnít have been won without this improvement.  The question is can they keep it up?

Def: The defense played well but made a few mistakes.  One they missed some tackles especially on one touchdown.  They had too many penalties which aided touchdown drives.  They had a hard time covering the tight end.  Bama gave up a total of 449 yards which included 340 passing and 109 rushing.  For negative plays, I have the Bama defense with 3 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, and 2 interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown.  I credit Bama with 2 three an outs.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Georgia with 13 passing plays and 4 running plays.  Of the 4 running plays, a couple of them were scrambles by the QB when the pass rush got to far up field.  UG got into the red zone 5 times and they scored 2 touchdowns, kicked a field goal, threw an interception, and turned the ball over on downs.  The scored one touchdown from outside the red zone. The bad part is Bama missed a few tackles that aided the touchdowns by UG.  Sometimes the first one there goes for the tackle instead of wrapping up.  Fortunately, this didnít happen numerous times, but they were at important points in the game.

DL: They played well and the tackles by this group were divided up.  Their main job is to allow the LBís and safeties to make tackles and this is what happened if you look at the leading tacklers.  They didnít get many sacks, but they put enough pressure on the QB to affect him.

LB: The only knock I have here, and it may be unwarranted since I donít know the defensive scheme, is the numerous receptions by an uncontested tight end.  I know the safety had coverage on them most of the time, but they seem to run thru the zones uncontested.  I know ToíoToío was in coverage on one tight end touchdown.  It was 6í7Ē vs a 6í LB.  The receiver highpoints the ball, so the defender has to go for the arms to rip them away from the catch.

DB: This was a hit or miss area.  First, they came up with two interception and one was a pick 6.  There could have easily been another pick 6 but just missed.  They didnít cover the tight end very well.  On one big pass play the ball was underthrown and the defended overran the route and the receiver made the catch.  The PI calls were instrumental in helping keep touchdown drives alive. 

Special teams: The special teams were solid.  I will point out here that Williams, who was ejected last game for targeting, had 2 solo tackles and 1 help on a tackle. 

Penalties:  I have Bama with 7 penalties for 85 yards during the game.  The is less than last week.  The problem is there were several penalties that aided the touchdown drives of Georgia. On one drive Bama had a defensive holding, and 2 pass interference calls.  On another touchdown drive they had another pass interference. The 7 penalties are broken down into 5 defensive penalties and 2 offensive penalties.

Finally, this was a completely different offensive line than we have seen in the past and this change led to the victory in my opinion.   Hopefully they wonít be satisfied and will continue to improve.  On defense, they have to clean up the tackling again and the DBís have to start making plays.
Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

Game notes: AU vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 14
Posted under: The Quad
                                             AU vs Bama

Itís not how you start; it is how you finish.

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches the victory.  This was a game that could have gone either way.  Bama, especially defensively, made some huge plays and then the offense decided to join the party in the 4th quarter.  I donít say this often but the coaching on the offensive side of the ball leaves me frustrated.  How can you go into a game, after being hurt by the blitz in early games, not be prepared for the same type of game plan?   The play calling has left something to be desired.  Knowing the blitzes are coming donít you work your shorter passing game and allow your athletes to make plays after the catch?  Also, hot routes should be worked into the game plan.

OFFFENSE:  The offense trailed in the game until the last 24 seconds of the game.  The huge drive was a gift since Bigbsy went out of bounds to stop the clock and save Bama a timeout and put extra time on the clock for them on that last drive.  The offense put together 388 total yards of offense which included 317 passing yards and 71 rushing yards.  I have Bama with 5 three and outs and 4 of those were in the first half.  As for negative plays, I have Bama with 4 tackles for losses, 8 sacks, and an interception.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Bama with 10 passing plays and 2 running plays.  Eight of the passing plays were in the 2nd half and 1 10+ yard run was negated by a penalty.  Bama got into the red zone twice and kicked one field goal and muffed another field goal attempt.  They scored their big game tying touchdown from outside the red zone. 

QB:  Young completed 25 for 51 passes during the game for 317 yards.  This is a 49 % completion rate, but I will give more information on this later as he was under pressure most of the day.  There were also some drops that added to these stats.  Iím not saying he had a great day, but under the circumstances he did a decent job.

RB:  Robinson was hit most of the day on or behind the LOS most of the day.  He did have a big run and some big catches. 

Rec:  Metchie was the man as he had over half the completions with 13 catches for 150 yards.  Metchie was also the go to guy in overtime.  Brooks came in and had 2 catches and the only touchdown catch, in regular time, in the game.  Bolden had 3 catches while Williams had 2 before his exit.  Both tight ends, had a catch and if I remember correctly they were catches that were for 1st downs.   

OL:  This, in my opinion is the main concern for the offense.  I see too many times where the defense gets under the pads of the offense.  When this is done the offense cannot get a push.  There were at least 3 times where it was 3rd or 4th and 1 and the offensive line couldnít get the push to pick up that yard.  Too me they play a little too nonchalant and donít have enough meanness.  It doesnít seem to bother them when they get beat.  I donít know for sure if this is coaching or talent.  I also saw at least once where it looked like the OL-man took a cross over step which allow the DL-man to cross his face and make the play.  I donít like saying this, but how does it take so long to make adjustments?  Why are they not prepared coming into the game?  It seems the OL-men that were recruited were some of the best in the nation.  Something has to change here whether itís coaching or personnel.

Def:  The defense, in my opinion, won this game by keeping it close as AU had good field position early in the game.   The came up big in the second half again when AU had good field position.  The defense gave up a total of 159 yards which included 137 passing yards and 22 rushing yards.  For negative plays, I have the defense with 10 tackles for losses and 6 sacks.  I have the defense with 4 three and outs and one 1 and outs since they intercepted the first down pass.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have AU with 5 passing plays and 2 running plays.  Only 1 passing play in the 2nd half went for 10+ yards.  They got into the red zone 3 times, aided by penalties a couple of times, and scored one touchdown and kicked a field goal.  The other time they were sacked and taken out of field goal position. 

DL: The DL played very well.  They made the plays at or behind the LOS many times.  They pressured the QB numerous times.  The tackles along the DL were pretty much divided up equally among the starters and backups.

LB: The played extremely well.  They were all over the field making plays. 

DB: They played one of their better games.  They did give up a couple of completions, but they were usually outstanding catches.  There was one where Jobe missed making the play as he actually overran the play.  There were a couple of one-handed catches where the offensive player just made the play as the coverage was there.  They came up and make many tackles with sure tackling technique.  It didnít look as if they busted any coverage during the game.  On the touchdown, the defender overran the play and slipped and the LB missed one of the few tackles during the game.  Battleís tackle on Bigsby short of a first down probably saved the game and helped him out of bounds on the tackle which saved Bama a timeout.

Special teams: There were a couple of plays that were crucial.  First the missed field goal because of a fumbled hold probably cost Bama 3 points.  The partially blocked punt set AU up in good field position and the defense made a huge stop.   They did give up a 19-yard return that also put AU in good field positon.

Penalties:  Bama was credited with 11 penalties but really had 12 as one was declined.  They were divided up with 5 on offense, 4 on defense, and 2 on special teams.  Now this is a huge concern but what is also a huge concern is that almost all of these were major penalties which mean 10 to 15 yard penalties.  Only 2 of them were of the 5-yard variety.  I will say there were a couple of questionable calls like the roughing the passes.  I donít say this often, but there were a few missed that could have been called against AU.  They could have been huge like the missed PI early in the game.  Also, the hands to the face that knocked the offensive players helmet off and cost Bama a good gain.  Finally, there was a missed facemask.

Finally, if Bama going to continue to play after the next game, they, in my opinion will have to defeat UG.  They have to clean up the offensive line play.  I have said this more than once and the same problems seem to continue.

Extra:  Bama dropped back to pass, not counting overtime 58 times.  Out of all these attempts, the QB was sacked 8 times.  He completed 31 passes, on many of the attempt he was under pressure and got the ball off or scrambled.  On about 16 of these passes there was no pressure, and they were completed.  There were at least 3 drops possibly 5 if you asked the receivers if they should have had the ball.  Also, there were 5 passes where he had to tuck and run.  These pressured can be divided up among different players, TEís, RG, RT and probably more that I missed.
Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

Game notes: Ark vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 5
Posted under: The Quad
                                             ARK vs Bama

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches the victory.  The was a hard-fought game where Ark never gave up or backed down.  Bamaís defense only had a few 3 and outs but a couple were huge.  The offense actually made some adjustments against the blitz, and it looked like it took Ark out of blitzing as much as they wanted. 

OFFFENSE:  The offense put together 671 yards of total offense which included 559 passing and 112 rushing.  As for negative plays, I have Bama with 4 tackles for losses, 4 sacks, and a loss fumble.  For three and outs, I have Bama with 1. They did have another fumble, but it was on special teams and did not lose it.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, Bama had 21 passing plays and 5 running plays.  Bama got into the red zone 5 times.  They scored 2 touchdowns, kicked a field goal, fumbled at the 2, and a sack took them out of the red zone and led to a missed field goal.  From outside the red zone, Bama scored 3 touchdowns and kicked a field goal.  They did score a two point conversion which was huge at the time.

QB:  Young completed 31 of 40 for 559 yards and a 78% completion rate.  There were also a few drops in the game that would have made these stats even better.  He did make a huge mistake when he took a sack on third down and put the kicker in a situation where he had to make a 47-yard field goal.  Granted he can make it, but if he had thrown the ball away it would have been 31-yarder.  What I still see is his ability to keep his eyes downfield and get completions, like the touchdown to Leary.

RB:  Robinson had a good game rushing for 122 yards on 27 carries.  However, he did a very good job picking up the blitzes.  He also added 3 catches for 18 yards.  Basically, he played the whole game as he was only subbed for a few times. 

Rec:  The receivers were again led by Metchie (10 for 173) and Williams (8 for 190). As far as receivers Latu and Bolden both had 3 catches, Brooks and Billingsley both had 1.  The remainder of the completions went to backs.  Latuís made a good catch and run but fumbled in the red zone at the 2-yard line.  It was huge because Ark had pulled within one score of Bama.  I do think the receivers blocked better in this game than they have in the past.  Brooks made a huge block on a reception by Metchie.

OL:  The did better in my opinion, but part of that was the formations that help take Ark out of their blitz packages.  They were beat at the point of attack on the 4th down play, but they were also outnumbered in the box. I really donít know if George played better than Owens, but at least there is some completion there and everyone knows their job is on the line. 

Def:  The defense started out playing well. Then they seem to get pushed around some.  That being said they made the plays they needed to get the win.  Bama gave up 468 yards of total offense which included 358 passing and 110 rushing. For negative plays, I have the defense with 7 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, and 2 fumbles one of which they lost. I have Bama with 3 three and outs and a 1 and out as they recovered a fumble on the first play of a series.  The last 3 and out was huge as Ark had pulled to within one score of Bama.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Ark with 11 passing plays and 4 running plays.  I think 2 of the running plays were QB scrambles as Bamaís pass rush got too far up the field.  I will say Bama is still doing a better job making tackles.  They donít miss as many as they did earlier in the season.

DL: They made some big plays, but they also were beat when they rushed too far up the field against a QB that could run.  This opened the running lanes and Ark made some of their biggest runs when this happened.  In the first couple of drives, they were getting a good push and separating from the OL. 

LB: They played better than the score indicates.  ToíoToío was the leading tackler with 13.  Anderson was not far behind with 11.  They also combined for the 3 sacks.  Harris was put in a bad position with the running back on the touchdown pass.  Hard to ask a LB to cover a skill player in the open field. 

DB: There were more pass plays that were thrown short and yards were made after the catch.  They did hit a couple of bigger ball.  I will say I thought the long touchdown pass was offensive PI.  However, it wasnít called so you have to play thru it.  There was at least one bust on coverage as the DB was late on the touchdown pass.  They have got to clean up the mistakes here for Bama to be successful.

Special teams: There were a couple of plays that could have been disastrous for Bama.  First, Bolden fumbled a punt, but he got back on it.  This would have put Ark in the red zone.  The second was the missed field goal where points were needed to help widen the lead.  There was 1 play that was disastrous when Ark converted on the fake field goal.  Usually, the DBís are man to man on a receiver, so I can understand how the guy get free down the field. 

Penalties:  Bama had some crucial penalties.  One holding negated a TD for Bama.  A pass interference gave Ark a 1st down on 3rd and 16 and allowed them to continue on a TD drive.  While I am speaking of penalties, I was not impressed with this crew.   

Finally, Bama will have to play better if they are going to continue to win.  Too many mental mistakes as well as poor execution on both sides of the ball.  This night they left anywhere from 6 to 21 points on the field as they missed a field goal, after being in the red zone, 3 to 7 pts there.  They fumbled at the 2 which would have been a 1st an goal.  They started the first scoring drive at Ark 32 and ended up kicking a field goal.  You really need to convert at least a couple of these.

Feel free to comment:

Game notes: NMS vs Bama
Written by hscoach
Comments: 9
Posted under: The Quad
                                             NMS vs Bama

First, congrats to the Bama players and coaches the victory.  This game, as I have called others before, was nothing more than a glorified scrimmage.  This is a game they should and did dominate on both sides of the ball.  It was also an opportunity to get in a lot of technique work.  However, there were still mistakes.

OFFFENSE:  The offense was dominant as well as they should have been.  They put together 587 total yards of offense which included 340 passing and 247 rushing.  This was also with backups getting extended playing time in the second half as Bama called off the dogs as they say.  For negative plays, I have Bama with 7 tackles for losses, 2 sacks, and they lost a fumble.  The fumble was caused by the tackle missing their block and a quick direct route to the QB.  Bama had no 3 and outs in the game.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have Bama with 11 passing plays and 9 running plays.  Bama got into the red zone 6 times scoring 5 touchdown and kicking a field goal.  They also scored 3 touchdowns from outside the red zone.  This score could have been a lot worse if Bama coaches had wanted it to be.

QB:  Young completed 21 of 23 passes for 270 yards which equates to 91%.  The 2 misses were caused by a drop and a tipped ball.  He averaged 12.8 yards per completion.  He scrambled effectively; he just needs to learn how to slide.  If that means bringing in a baseball coach, so be it.   Tyson was 6 for 8 for 43 yards.  By this time in the game, Bama had complete control and had many backups in.  Milroe was 2 for 5 and did show great scrambling ability.  He looks to have a good arm, but not sure if he keeps his eyes downfield well enough.  Maybe, since the RB position is short, he could step in there. Finally, Barker got a little playing time.  He completed the only pass he threw and by this time, NMS knew Bama was running the ball to run out the clock so they were keyed on the run.

RB:  The running game was completely different than a week ago, but so was the competition.  Robinson ran well and averaged 11 yards per carry mainly because of his 63-yard run.  Williams only had one carry for 11 yards where he got hurt.  Sanders came in and ran well especially behind the backups.  Leary and Kennedy got a combined 10 carries for 38 yards.  Never thought Bama would be moving a linebacker, Kennedy, to RB because they were short of RBs.  Robinson did a better job pass blocking this game, but considering the competition he should have.

Rec:  The receivers were again led by Williams(158yds) and Metchie(48yds), each with 6 catches.    Eleven other players, including backs, had catches.  Williams led with 3 touchdowns, Latu had 1 as well as Billingsley.  What really caught my eye was the lack of blocking especially by Williams.

OL:  This was a chance to get technique work done and get better.  They did make a few mistakes, in my notes I put 75 and 78, but just know they didnít make the blocks needed.  I know 75 got beat on a goal line play and Robinson was tackled for no gain.  The sack/fumble was when 78 was beat on the edge and the QB had no chance.  I really donít know how to access their performance since the should have dominated all day.  It was good to hear the OL coach, according to the announcers, was getting on their butts on the sideline.  I know there was some shuffling around, but they have to be better for Bama to be successful.

Def:  Except for a couple of plays, I thought the defense had a good game.  That being said, they should have dominated this team because of the gap in talent.  NMS had a total of 138 yards which included 129 passing and 9 rushing yards.  I have Bamaís defense with 5 tackles for losses, 7 sacks, and a fumble recovery.  I credit them with 4 three and outs.  For plays that covered 10+ yards, I have them with 5 passing plays and 2 running plays.  The 2 running plays were scrambles against a 3-man rush where a gap opened up and the QB took off.  They never got into the red zone.  They did kick a field goal from outside the red zone, which was aided by a phantom face mask call. 

DL: They dominated the LOS, which they should have, and contained the offense.  You can see this by the total number of yards they had.  They were able to pressure the QB most of the day.

LB:  They made the plays when the got the opportunity.  The problem was the DL or the safeties in coverage made them.  I will say, Sanders may have lost his starting job to Turner.

DB:  They didnít have any real big plays during the game.  The two longest plays were a 23- and 19-yard reception on a busted coverage.  On the 19-yard reception, I think there were two safeties and a LB over there so how does one not take the short guy and the other goes with the deeper guy.  I donít understand why they canít communicate on who has what when they are lined up near each other. On the 23-yard reception, I didnít see the safety threatened by another receiver, so why didnít he respond sooner? They should have had at least 2 picks in the game, but I guess that is why they play on the defensive side of the ball and not the offensive side of the ball.  Again, they were aided by a good pass rush which makes playing coverage easier.

Special teams: The big play on special teams was the punt block that led to a touchdown.  Also, Bolden had a couple of good punt returns when he came in and replaced Earle.   

Penalties:  Bama is credited with 4 penalties, but the phantom facemask is the reason for it.  It also gave them 15 yards on the scoring drive where they kicked a 50-yard field goal.  May not have scored if not for that.  The other penalties were and offsides penalty on the defense, a holding on the offense, and holding on special teams.  This is better than the past.

Finally, it is really hard to tell if Bama really got better.  The competition just wasnít up to par.  Hopefully, they will continue to improve at practice as it should be tougher than this game.
Feel free to comment:

18 and Counting

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