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Author Topic: Real Football Stuff!  (Read 385 times)
Coach Xen Scott

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« on: May 19, 2020, 10:06:48 AM »

From the 

Click here for link
President Denny

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« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 10:16:02 AM »

I thought soccer was real football.   

President Denny

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« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2020, 03:16:32 PM »

 Undecided What is this page for? RTR!

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President Denny

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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2020, 06:23:46 PM »

Undecided What is this page for? RTR!

Looks like a teaser about Alabama football, followed by an offer of a free 90-day membership.  After that... 

Coach Xen Scott

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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2020, 01:42:41 PM »

Sorry, I didn't check the link. Here is the copy and paste version.

After taking a small step back, Alabama has goals that remain as high as ever

By Aaron Suttles May 19, 2020 30
Editorís note: The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on sports is unprecedented, and its effect on the 2020 college football season is unclear. This story is part of a continuing series that serves as an annual offseason assessment of Power 5 and top Group of 5 teams.

Alabama has gone two seasons without adding to its national championship trophy case and one season without adding any hardware at all after a year in which the program failed to participate in the College Football Playoff for the first time. It also didnít win the SEC West or see any player take home a player of the year award. Dark times, indeed.

If youíre judging a program against that bar, itís obvious that an above-average season just wonít do. Thatís not the standard Nick Saban sets for his teams year in and year out. Those end goals arenít the measurement, but they are byproducts of The Process, indicating that his team accepted the mission of each season and those things that must be sacrificed to accomplish them.

The Crimson Tide had four players selected in the first round of Aprilís NFL Draft, but although those individual accomplishments are good for recruiting graphics and the like, it didnít keep the team from losing twice last year, its most regular-season losses since 2010. Again, thatís a high hurdle to clear, but this is Alabama, a program that has won at least 11 games in nine seasons in a row.

The goal will be to again make the CFP. To do that, and to have a chance of winning the programís sixth national title since 2009, there are areas of the team that must be tightened up with leaks slowed. Specifically on defense.

Every national championship team under Saban has had an elite defense. In title years, the defense ranked no worse than fourth nationally in yards per play allowed. Last season, the defense slumped to 15th. That would hardly be a ďproblemĒ for most teams, but, again, Alabama measures itself a little differently.

There were extenuating circumstances in that ranking. Namely, the starting inside linebacker corps was wiped out during preseason practice, leaving two true freshmen to those roles. That Alabama, which recruits as well as any program in the country, found itself in a position to have to start two true freshmen is another thing that deserves its own examination, but nevertheless, the defensive line and outside linebackers didnít provide enough pass rush and the rush defense was one of the worst of the Saban tenure. That leaves us to ponder whether it was the chicken or the egg.

Fans did not excuse defensive coordinator Pete Golding from the defenseís performance despite his green linebackers. Rightfully, itís worth pointing out that those freshman linebackers were making the same mistakes in the 12th game of the season as they were in the first.

For the Crimson Tide to find themselves playing in the Playoff, defense is the thing to watch. If the defense again falters against its lofty standards and proves last season was not a one-year aberration, then the program has some tough questions to answer and soul searching to do. If that happens, next year we will be about asking how the program re-establishes itself among the national elite.

Alabama is not at that point yet. There is no grading on a curve for Saban. His teams have excelled for so long that itís just expected that itíll do so again this year.

Roster analysis
Quarterbacks: Tua Tagovailoa is now a Miami Dolphin, leaving Alabama in the hands of redshirt junior Mac Jones, who showed what he could do in place of an injured Tagovailoa last year. Jones is a capable quarterback, but after two seasons of exceptional play at the position from Tagovailoa ó the best quarterback play in school history ó will ďcapableĒ be good enough to take advantage of the weapons in the passing game?

The receiving corps took a hit with the departures of Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, but nearly every quarterback in the country would love to have a starting unit that includes DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. Can Jonesí knack for taking what the defense gives him allow him to push the ball down the field and get those guys the ball? If the last two games of the 2019 season (Auburn and Michigan) are any indication, the answer is yes. Jones combined for 662 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions against two of the nationís better defenses.

That still wonít stop Crimson Tide fans from wanting to take a look at the shiny new toy that is early enrollee Bryce Young, a five-star dual-threat quarterback from California. Youngís development makes this a fascinating position to watch this year and beyond.

Depth took a hit this spring when Taulia Tagovailoa, Tuaís brother, transferred to Maryland. His departure leaves redshirt freshman Paul Tyson, Bear Bryantís great-grandson, as Alabamaís only other scholarship quarterback.

Running backs: Raise your hand if you were surprised Najee Harris returned for his senior season. Youíre not alone. The story up until about a week before he announced he would come back was that Harris was gone. A good running back draft class likely made the decision to stay a little easier to stomach for Harris, and with the way he closed the season, heís among the nationís top running backs in 2020.

Harris topped 100 yards six times as a junior and did so every time he eclipsed 20 carries. He closed the season with 146 yards against Auburn and 136 against Michigan to finish with 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Senior Brian Robinson (441 yards, five TDs) is back, as is sophomore Keilan Robinson (254 yards and two TDs in eight games as a freshman). Five-star recruit Trey Sanders was injured for all of his freshman season, and the Tide brought in a stellar running back class that included Roydell Williams, Jase McClellan and Kyle Edwards. In other words, Alabama is completely stacked at running back.

DeVonta Smith averaged 18.5 yards per catch in 2019. (John David Mercer / USA Today)
Wide receivers/tight ends: Another year with playmakers on the outside is in store so long as Jones can get the ball to senior DeVonta Smith and junior Jaylen Waddle. Even with a crowded unit that included Jeudy and Ruggs, Smith stood out with a monster year in which he caught 68 passes for 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns. Heíll be the main attraction along with Waddle, who will be asked to take on a larger role after catching 33 passes for 560 yards and six TDs and starring as a return man.

Alabama became the first program to produce two top-15 NFL Draft picks at the wide receiver position in the common era. That wouldíve been unthinkable not too long ago, but the Crimson Tide are now making a good case for Wide Receiver U. They prioritize the position, and that stands out to recruits.

Sophomore John Metchie is poised to step into a starting role. There are some around the program who say he has the best hands on the team. He had four receptions for 23 yards last season. Redshirt sophomore Slade Bolden has been used in a variety of ways (in the slot, Wildcat, jet sweeps, etc.) and could have an advanced role this season. He threw a touchdown pass, ran it four times and caught two passes in 2019.

Alabama missed on a couple of its tight end targets in the most recent recruiting class and needs to make it a priority the next cycle. The tight ends from last season return, including senior Miller Forristall, who led the unit with 15 catches and four TDs, and junior Major Tennison and sophomore Cameron Latu. North Carolina graduate transfer Carl Tucker joins them. Sophomore Jahleel Billingsley saw time as a freshman and showed a flash of athleticism with a catch and run against Mississippi State.

Offensive line: Year in and year out, Alabama manages to produce one of the best offensive lines in the country. It has been a finalist for the Joe Moore Award every season since it began in 2015, and that is a testament to how Saban recruits and develops his talent.

Alex Leatherwood wisely returned for his senior season and will man left tackle. The program manages to produce excellent tackles yearly, as evidenced by the past two drafts, when Jonah Williams and Jedrick Wills both were first-rounders. Leatherwood could easily make it three in a row.

The recent recruiting hauls give Alabama a surplus of talent on the line, and because of that there could be multiple combinations this year that could play winning football. This yearís unit has the potential to be a mauling group that could help Harris to a big season. Sophomore Evan Neal is likely to move from guard to right tackle, and tackle is the more natural position for the former five-star prospect. Redshirt senior Deonte Brown can play either guard position, and redshirt senior Landon Dickerson, who started nine games at center and four at right guard after transferring from Florida State, can play center or guard again.

Sophomore Darrian Dalcourt is a promising young lineman and can play center. Redshirt sophomore Emil Ekiyor will vie for a starting position, and redshirt freshman Pierce Quick is another young lineman for which there is high hopes.

Crimson Tide Returning Production
Pass yds
Jones, 1,503
Rush yds
Harris, 1,224
Rec yds
Smith, 1,256
OL starts
Three with 13
Lee, 86
Harris, 7.5
Lee, 4.5
Surtain, 2
Defensive line: This group has to improve this season. Due to some recruiting misses in previous classes, the unit hasnít played up to Alabama standards. Luckily for Alabama, Quinnen Williams made up for that a couple of years ago with his stellar play, but last season it clearly caught up with the team. Last yearís freshmen class had to play a lot because of that, and that should pay dividends for this yearís group.

Redshirt sophomore Christian Barmore has the most upside at the moment, and if he continues to show his maturity and development, he could become a household name this year. A healthy LaBryan Ray, a redshirt junior, would be a major boost for the group, as well, after he started the first three games of 2019 before a season-ending foot injury. The freshmen from last year, Byron Young (five starts), DJ Dale (10 starts) and Justin Eboigbe (two starts), will again play a major part of the rotation. The experience they gained last season, although it provided growing pains, should be beneficial.

Redshirt junior Phidarian Mathis and redshirt sophomore Stephon Wynn also have experience, so this yearís defensive line is in much better position depth-wise.

Linebackers: A rotten three-year trend of luck at the position has nearly crippled the defense. But something finally went right when Dylan Moses, a Butkus Award finalist in 2018, announced he was returning after missing all of 2019 following a preseason knee injury. That alone should improve the unit. Heíll take sophomore Christian Harris ó who was forced into the starting lineup as a true freshman and record 63 tackles ó under his wing, and good things should follow.

Joshua McMillon returns for a sixth year after missing all of last season. Like Harris, Shane Lee was thrust into the lineup as a freshman. He finished second on the team with 86 tackles. Junior Jaylen Moody will provide depth.

Anfernee Jennings and Terrell Lewis, who combined for 24 tackles for loss, are gone, but the outside linebackers seem to be in good hands, even if short on experience, after Alabama landed an unreal 2020 haul of five-star recruits Drew Sanders, Will Anderson and Chris Braswell. Redshirt junior Christopher Allen and junior Ale Kaho both played some last year and will factor in for playing time. Sophomore King Mwikuta will also compete for a starting outside linebacker position.

Overall, there are more options if injuries hit again, but this defense takes a step forward only if Moses stays healthy.

Dylan Moses led the team with 86 tackles in 2018 but missed all of 2019. (Jason Getz / USA Today)
Defensive backs: There will be a lot of new faces in the secondary with four of five starters gone, including Trevon Diggs, Xavier McKinney, Shyheim Carter and Jared Mayden.

Junior cornerback Patrick Surtain II is back, and heís one of the best in the SEC, with 15 pass breakups, three interceptions and four forced fumbles in his first two seasons. Junior Josh Jobe will play a lot, and the team is counting on junior college transfer Ronald Williams to hit the ground running once the team gets going. The group might have a hard time replicating last yearís 17 interceptions with an average of 1.31 per game that lead the SEC. Fifteen of those interceptions came from the secondary. Four of those return (Surtain, had two with Jobe and Jordan Battle both having one).

Battle, a sophomore, and redshirt junior Daniel Wright are the favorites to start at safety. The coaching staff is high on Battleís skills after he started four games as a true freshman. Sophomore DeMarcco Hellams is another player to watch at safety.

At corner, beyond those projected to start, depth is created with redshirt sophomore Jalyn Armour-Davis, sophomore Marcus Banks, redshirt sophomore Eddie Smith, redshirt freshman Brandon Turnage and four-star early enrollee Jahquez Robinson.

Special teams: Jaylen Waddle is the best return man in the SEC, and it will be surprising if opposing coaches continue to kick his way. He led the nation with an average of 24.4 yards per punt return last year, and he took both a punt and a kick back for a touchdown.

Kicker Will Reichard should be fully healthy after a freshman season of injuries. Alabama made just 67 percent of its field goals using both Reichard and redshirt junior Joseph Bulovas. The team used four punters, and if Reichard stays healthy, he might be asked to handle both duties, although Saban might not be in favor of that so that he can attempt to keep his kicker healthy.

How the Crimson Tide have recruited from 2017-2020
The talent level in Tuscaloosa is still among the elite of the elite, but Alabama no longer ranks No. 1 in a running four-year average in the 247Sports Composite. That title belongs to Georgia. Alabama will have to settle for second with an average class ranking of 2.25 over the past four years. It will manage.

There is talent all over the roster, which is why the program has six projected first-rounders in the first 2021 mock draft by The Athleticís Dane Brugler after producing nine top-100 picks in 2020. The 2021 class is off to a slow start, but the past four classes ranked No. 1, No. 5, No. 1 and No. 2.

The legendary 2017 class, or whatís left of it, is now seniors. Key parts of that are off to the NFL, but some impact players remain, including Dylan Moses, DeVonta Smith, Najee Harris and Alex Leatherwood. Those guys will be integral to the success of this yearís team.

The defensive line class of 2019 made up for a couple of years where the position didnít get the guys it needed. The linebacker class of 2020 is poised to make its mark in the not-too-distant future, too.

Alabama continues to recruit the running back position well, which is why it finds itself with a bevy of talent that includes, Harris, Brian Robinson, Trey Sanders, Keilan Robinson, Roydell Williams, Jase McClellan and Kyle Edwards. The same can be said of the offensive line, which boasts two former five-star tackles set to start this year to bookend the offensive line in Leatherwood and Evan Neal.

The program has also done well in recruiting quarterbacks. After saying goodbye to Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama still has Mac Jones, Bryce Young and Paul Tyson, though the transfer of Taulia Tagovailoa limits depth. Itís still remarkable that Jones stuck around after coming in in the same recruiting class as Tua Tagovailoa and seeing what he turned out to be.

Impact of coaching changes

Nick Saban is 157-23 in 13 seasons at Alabama. (Matt Bush / USA Today)
For the first time in what feels like a long time, the on-field coaching turnover at Alabama was minimal in the offseason. After a couple of busy years where as many as seven assistant coaches/coordinators turned over, the Crimson Tide had just one this offseason.

Defensive line coach Brian Baker is out and former Crimson Tide standout Freddie Roach is in. Roach served in multiple roles on Sabanís staff in the past, and he had just been retained by Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss before opting to return to Tuscaloosa. Roach is a strong recruiter and has good ties in the state, which should help in the choppy recruiting waters of the SEC.

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian flirted with a couple of jobs before staying on for another season at the helm of the Crimson Tide offense. His name was reportedly attached to many jobs, including Colorado State and Mississippi State. Pete Golding also returns in his role as defensive coordinator after a couple of seasons of turnover. Itís a big year for Golding, as fans blame the defenseís descent on him.

Alabama did lose longtime strength coach Scott Cochran to Georgia, where he will be the special teams coordinator. Saban hired David Ballou from Indiana to fill the void.

Schedule analysis
Sept. 5
USC (at Arlington, Texas)
Sept. 12
Georgia State
Sept. 19
Sept. 26
Kent State
Oct. 3
at Ole Miss
Oct. 10
at Arkansas
Oct. 17
Mississippi State
Oct. 24
at Tennessee
Nov. 7
at LSU
Nov. 14
UT Martin
Nov. 21
Texas A&M
Nov. 28
It was not the most challenging slate of games for Alabama last year, and the schedule was a talking point for those poking holes in the Crimson Tideís rťsumť. There might be no such talk this year with a particularly tough schedule ahead.

The season opens in a neutral-site contest against USC. Two weeks later, the Crimson Tide welcome Georgia to Bryant-Denny Stadium. Thatís a pretty difficult stretch to open the season that could rival any in the country, with Alabama effectively trading Duke for USC in nonconference play and South Carolina for Georgia from the SEC East.

Throw in trips to LSU and an improving Tennessee and back-to-back home games against Texas A&M and Auburn to close the season, and you can see why there wonít be many opportunities to knock the Crimson Tideís schedule.

Final assessment
Even with that schedule, Alabama will be expected to win the SEC West and challenge for the College Football Playoff. Thatís just the way it goes when youíve recruited and produced the way Saban has year in and year out. Anything less would be a disappointment.

(Top photo of Najee Harris: Joe Robbins / Getty Images)
President Denny

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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 03:01:29 PM »

 Shocked  wow that is a great job KoKopuf. RTR!

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Coach Xen Scott

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 07:45:34 PM »

Thanks for the post KoKoPuf

A good read.
President Denny

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« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 08:00:47 PM »

KoKo gets an e-cred.   Applause E-Cred

President Denny

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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2020, 02:55:07 PM »

Great stuff, KoKo, thanks.

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