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STEPHEN’S REPORT: Focusing on the Performance of the Players

Cedric Mason- Touchdown Alabama Magazine

Alabama felt disrespected in its second trip to Athens, Ga., under head coach Nick Saban. Georgia’s black jerseys in 2008 led to a 30-41 loss to Alabama, and it returned this season with a special brand of chippiness of its sleeve. The Bulldogs were all talk in warm-ups, while Alabama’s business-like manner washed it away at Sanford Stadium by a score of 38-10.

Yours truly of Touchdown Alabama Magazine now issues the grades from this week.

Wide Receivers–Overall [B]

Calvin Ridley [A]– Former Alabama standout Amari Cooper left Calvin Ridley the throne of “go to” wide receiver, and Ridley graciously accepted the role Saturday against Georgia. The freshman had a career day, bringing in five passes for 120 yards (24.0 average) and a touchdown.

Summary: Sophomore ArDarius Stewart dropped a few passes, but rebounded with two receptions for 24 yards. Richard Mullaney had a solid outing, totaling three catches for 44 yards.

Running Backs–Overall [A-]

Derrick Henry [A-]- Aside from a fumble in the first half, Derrick Henry did what he supposed to do. He outgained Georgia’s running back Nick Chubb and broke off a couple of strong downhill runs in the second half. The junior had 148 rushing yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Henry averaged 5.7 yards per attempt, and scored on a 30-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Summary: Derrick Henry got the lion’s share of reps, but Damien Harris, Kenyan Drake and Bo Scarbrough all saw action. Harris led the trio with eight rushing yards on seven carries.

Offensive Line–Overall [B]

Summary: Three of Alabama’s seven penalties came against its offensive line; however, it was able to establish the run and protect the quarterback against Georgia. The Crimson Tide blocked for 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns on four yards per carry. Quarterback Jacob Coker was not sacked. Alabama’s entire front line was involved on Derrick Henry’s 30-yard touchdown run.

Quarterback Play–Overall [B+]

Jacob Coker [B+]- Alabama has a strong quarterback in Jacob Coker. He dominated on the road for the second time this season. Coker protected the ball and moved through his progression consistently for much of the game. He avoided pressure and targeted receivers for big plays. Two of Coker’s five misfires against Georgia weren’t his fault.

ArDarius Stewart dropped a catchable pass in the second quarter, and Coker’s attempt to tight end Michael Nysewander failed due to a defensive back closing in on the play.

He suffered a fumble in the second half on a botched center to quarterback exchange, but overall Coker performed well on the road. He completed 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown. The senior was productive with his legs, accounting for 28 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Defense–Overall [A-]

Defensive front [A-]– One run from Georgia’s Nick Chubb kept this grade from being an A+, a 83-yard burst to the end zone in the third quarter. Alabama’s defensive front limited Chubb to 63 rushing yards (3.2 yards per carry), prior to a missed gap assignment in the second half.

Senior inside linebacker Reggie Ragland was stellar, recording eight total tackles.

Defensive lineman Jarran Reed had eight tackles of his own, while A’Shawn Robinson had five stops. Linebacker Tim Williams was the lone player in the front seven to record a sack. Linebacker Ryan Anderson recovered a fumble off Georgia’s quarterback Greyson Lambert.

Defensive Backfield [A]– Alabama’s secondary collected three interceptions and held the Bulldogs’ to 106 passing yards. Lambert and Brice Ramsey went a combined 11 of 31 passing, netting a 35.5 percent completion mark.

Senior safety Geno Matias-Smith made some mistakes, but ended with seven total tackles to lead the bunch. Cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick and defensive back Eddie Jackson each had four tackles. Fitzpatrick chimed in with a sack, a pass breakup and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Jackson intercepted a pass off Ramsey and returned it 50 yards for a score.

Freshmen defensive backs Marlon Humphrey and Ronnie Harrison got in on the turnover party. Both players recorded an interception, and for Humphrey, it was the first of his career.

Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cyrus Jones and Adam Griffith were all playmakers on special teams.

Jones totaled 53 yards on five punt returns, with a long of 23 yards. Griffith nailed a 29-yard field goal in the first quarter, giving Alabama a 3-0 lead. He has made four straight kicks. Fitzpatrick’s blocked punt for a score in the second quarter opened the floodgates on Georgia.

Sophomore punter JK Scott had a rough week. He shanked some punts, despite averaging 41.0 yards per boot. Scott pinned Georgia inside its 20-yard line once out of seven attempts.

Stephen M. Smith is a senior analyst and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.

You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

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