Offensive Line Picture Looking Clearer?
The Crimson Tide played seven linemen on Saturday against the Rebels, a day where they allowed 7 tackles for loss and four sacks. And, well, aside from buckling down and opening a few holes in the second half, the first half was as disastrous as we have seen....since the week before:
“Both guys did OK,” Saban said of Pritchett and Ferguson. “I think there was some things we’d like to finish better. I think the big point of emphasis with our offensive line is gotta get your second step in the ground, gotta get your hands inside so that we can finish blocks. That would be the case with both of those guys. But it also is sort of an overall evaluation of what we need to do to get better on the offensive line.”
Of the Tide’s 70 offensive snaps, Proctor played 56 protecting Milroe’s blindside and Pritchett handled the rest. Proctor was graded at a 52.4% pass-blocking win rate, compared to 73.6% for Pritchett. After allowing two sacks in consecutive games, Proctor stabilized somewhat while conceding two pressures.
Proctor is probably not the answer here, guys. As much as we’d like him to be, especially with his physical skills, the small-time ball he played simply did not prepare him for the rigors of the SEC. He’s facing the same issue that has afflicted fellow-podunk talent Ty Simpson: one very steep learning curve.
But, at least we now know that when pressed, Pritchett can fill the gap. I honestly think it’s his job going forward too — or, at the least, Kadyn is on a very short game-by-game leash.
Like Quarterback, I think we’re to the point where Saban and Co. are going to pick one and ride it out; the heart of the schedule approaches. Not to sound an alarm, but this is essentially the last week to answer a lot of questions. The Tide gets the Hogs, Vawls, and a nasty roadie to Aggie over the next month. LSU comes to town; there is a very under-the-radar trap game in Lexington against a quality Kentucky team. And, as always, our House of Horrors awaits on Thanksgiving in Jerdumb Hair.
All this, and grading, leads me to expect Pritchett may start (or at least see more snaps this week). And, if he comes off the bench, I don’t think he’s relinquishing that job again.
For more from the boss man, click below!
Nick Saban on Mississippi State
Lean into the D (TWHS)
The offense may be miserable, but you know what’s actually really damned awesome? The Crimson Tide defense. We thought that this group had the chance to be special, and so far, they are putting it together as chemistry gels and players settle in at new positions, surrounded by new faces.
They have a swagger back too — naming themselves “DOA”, which means exactly what you think it does.
Alabama enters the fifth week of the season with the SEC’s second-best scoring defense (13.5 ppg), the No. 6 rushing (102.5 ypg) and passing (203.5 ypg) defenses and ranks seventh in total defense (306.0 ypg). UA is only allowing 32.31 percent of third-down conversions.
As the defense has shined the last two games, so has Turner, tallying 4.5 sacks and six tackles for loss in wins over South Florida and Ole Miss. Turner is starting to play like his DOA acronym suggests while being one of Alabama’s leaders on the defensive side of the ball.
“Dallas has always been a really good player for us and a guy who works hard in practice every day, tries to do everything he’s coached to do,” head coach Nick Saban said. “The team is important to him. He’s been a good leader on the team.”
The stupidest nontroversy Part 3138
The Lou-Holtz/Ryan Day feud is by far the dumbest thing of at least the last few weeks. It was allegedly reignited again yesterday, with Lou Holtz doubling down on his initial criticism of OSU’s style of play, as well as apologizing to Marcus Freeman:
“I called Coach Freeman yesterday and apologized because I put him in a bad position, maybe,” Holtz said. “I don’t feel bad about saying it because I believe it, and Notre Dame was the better football team...I’m sorry that Coach Day was offended by it.”
But has anyone actually paid attention to Holtz’s initial remarks that got Ryan Day all up in his feels? It was a simple summation of fact followed by an opinion. And it wasn’t even particularly spicy. In saying that he thought Notre Dame was the tougher team, Holtz remarked:
“He has lost to Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan twice, and everybody that beats him does so because they’re more physical than Ohio State,” Holtz said. “I think Notre Dame will take that same approach.”
I mean...yeah. That’s not particularly controversial, is it? And while Notre Dame is a bit better as a team this year, they’ve not been winning with defense (which is firmly in the 60s in efficiency terms), they’ve been winning through the air. In short, Ohio State beat a team more like themselves than the vintage Domers that Lou Holtz remembers from the 80s and 90s.
The only thing that’s trending dumber than this is the endless chin-wagging about Deion Sanders and his hella’ soft Buffs.
It’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years, eh?
Two weeks ago, I mused about the lack of leadership on this team, and wondered if Booker might be one to actually claim that mantle. He’s been very open about the team, and particularly pointed about its shortcomings. Such criticism, though disconcerting, was welcome.
Turns out that, yeah, it was Booker who helped turn around the offense on Saturday. Just a sophomore, Booker was already named a Team Captain. And his absence was definitely felt in the USF game:
Communications is considered a big part of team responsibility and it will be complicated for the offensive line this week in Starkville. More than just the usual home team noise, the Bulldogs add to what Tide defensive lineman Jaheim Oatis called “annoying” cow bells.
“We have to be more obsessive about communications,” Booker said. “Probably more eye contact with the running back, making sure he has the call.”
He also shares the offensive line call with his left tackle, Kadyn Proctor or Elijah Pritchett, “just reassuring them, little tips like ‘Stay inside out’ or ‘The stunt is coming.’ ‘Eyes up for this, look out for this, be mindful of this. ‘You came to play ball.’
“But you don’t want to tell them too much because you don’t want them to be thinking too much going into a play. So it’ll probably be a one-word thing like ‘Hey, keep your heads up. Hey, you see this?’ Little things like that.”
Left Coast Rising
To the absolute surprise of no one, most observers have the Pac 12 as the preeminent Power Conference a third of the way through the season. And, really, why not. Washington and Wazzu look legit. Oregon is dangerous. Utah will hit you with a bag of bricks. UCLA has an outstanding defense that can carry them to double-digit wins. It’s very hard to outscore USC. Don’t count out 1-loss Oregon State. A win this week, puts them right back in the Top 10. And even the dregs are improving: Both Colorado and Arizona are trending for a bowl bid, and Arizona State is playing inspired defense, despute fielding about 40 scholarship players. There is a lot to like here.
Meanwhile, the SEC is one big plate of mid. The best team in the West got smoked by the Noles; we know nothing about the alleged best team in the East, except that the Dawgs have looked like crap against crappy teams. Alabama and Aggie and Ole Miss already have a loss. And while, Mizzou has improved for sure, UK’s offense has been a disappointment; the Vawls have clearly taken a step back; USC has taken several back; and Florida is about as schizoid as they come. Meanwhile, Auburn may be the worst 3-1 team in America.
So, yeah, I think fairness dictates that we give a tip of the cap to the PAC 12...just in time for ESPN to dismantle it.
Bring back the BCS
How will all the conference realignment affect the College Football Playoff format?
Why, not one iota:
Despite the rash of conference realignment this offseason, it is expected that agreed-upon 12-team College Football Playoff format will maintain its structure at least for the 2024 season, sources told CBS Sports.
The main reason: It would take an unanimous vote of the CFP Management Committee — 10 commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director — to make any change to the 12-team format at this point, sources confirmed
Have I mentioned lately how very much I hate the way that college football has devolved in just one short decade? I can’t think of a more toxic stew than realignment to chase ESPN dollars, because they’re all chasing Playoff dollars in a tournament that frankly shouldn’t even exist.
Bring back the BCS, yo.
Besides Jalen Hale himself, no one was happier on Saturday than our own Brent Taylor. For months BT has been blowing up our phones touting the raw talent of Jalen Hale.
Hale finally got his break on Saturday. And, boy, did he make the most of it.
The team’s leading receiver was a new name. True freshman Jalen Hale had two catches for 63 yards, including a 33-yarder that was good for Alabama’s first touchdown of the game.
He earned the praise of the Tide’s starting quarterback in the process.
“Jalen Hale has had a great offseason since he’s been here,” Jalen Milroe said Monday. “I think the biggest thing from Jalen is how hungry he’s been. And then just trying to get better. For all of us, just trying to get one percent better — Jalen Hale has done a great job for us. He’s a great component for our offense, and I’m looking forward to see what else he can do for our offense.”
Burton is still clearly WR1, but Hale is making a case for plenty of playing time moving forward. And,
if you’d like to read some more of BT’s glowing assessment of Jalen Hale, you can find that in his Meet the New Guys piece.
(No) Moar Cowbell
The team is already sick of the cretinous clanging from the cow pasture in East Central Mississippi:
“Those cowbells are annoying, man,” Oatis said Tuesday. “Those cowbells are loud.”
Cowbells are a tradition at Mississippi State, the next opponent on Alabama’s 2023 schedule. Fans clang the idiophone instrument throughout games at Davis Wade Stadium, which has a capacity of 61,337, to create a hostile road environment for the opposing team.
The Crimson Tide offense will have to deal with that noise on Saturday, Sept. 30, when it makes the roughly 80-mile trip to the MSU campus. That side of the ball for Alabama, especially the offensive line, has stressed the importance of being on the same page this week.
“We just have to be even more obsessive about communication,” said left guard Tyler Booker on Tuesday. “Probably more eye contact with the running backs, actually looking back at the running back, making sure he has the call. Just being more obsessive about it.”
Alabama has been a lot better about reducing its penalties this season, but if any games were going to test that proposition, they are coming up this week and next week. Two incredibly loud venues, for two very different reasons.
ICYMI yesterday, the Crimson Tide Basketball team got a program-changing commitment yesterday from 5-star C/PF, Aiden Sherrell.
If you missed that writeup, we’ve got you covered.
That’s gonna do it for me today. Not sure what else we’ve got coming up, but this is more than enough to carry you through several hours of
fighting, shitposting and gifs cogent analysis and principled disagreement.
We’ll see you later, and Roll Tide
Happy Gump Day to all who celebrate
Who are you starting at that tackle spot?
Just pick one, and hope they get better.
We may have to have tackle-by-committee, depending on who’s playing better that week
Now I know what "Sophie’s Choice" means.