Touchdown Alabama https://tdalabamamag.com Alabama's Premier Football Website Sun, 18 Aug 2019 23:19:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 135213907 Pro Football Focus highlights Alabama CB Trevon Diggs for this season https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/18/pro-football-focus-highlights-alabama-cb-trevon-diggs-for-this-season/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 23:07:02 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64699 This is the money year for him.  Next year’s NFL Draft will be stacked at the cornerback position, but Trevon Diggs anticipates being better than the competition. He saw how important he is to Alabama’s secondary last season, as the Crimson Tide gave up huge plays to Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson.   It lost in the […]]]>

This is the money year for him. 

Next year’s NFL Draft will be stacked at the cornerback position, but Trevon Diggs anticipates being better than the competition. He saw how important he is to Alabama’s secondary last season, as the Crimson Tide gave up huge plays to Georgia, Oklahoma and Clemson.  

It lost in the College Football Playoff National Championship meeting to the Tigers, and it was due to Alabama’s back five being out of sync. Prior to sustaining a foot injury versus Arkansas, Diggs was one of the team leaders in tackles (20) and carried a team-high six pass breakups. 

RELATED: Nick Saban, Alabama developing pass rushers for this season

Once a four-star from Maryland, Diggs enrolled at Alabama as an elite athlete in 2016 and played at both wide receiver and corner. After becoming a full-time defensive back in 2018, Nick Saban has had Diggs working at corner and star (nickel) to develop his versatility. 

The 6-foot-2, 207-pounder has big-play athleticism, length and ball skills and with experience surrounding him, this gives Diggs a chance to recapture what he lost.

According to Pro Football Focus, the site is high on him this season.

He finished third in the Southeastern Conference last year among players at his position for most forced incompletions in coverage (min. 25 targets). 

Diggs forced an incompletion 27.3 percent of the time, which puts him behind Kristian Fulton of Louisiana State University (29.3%) and Eric Stokes of Georgia (40%). The younger brother of NFL receiver, Stefon Diggs, was named to the 2019 Preseason All-SEC first team by the league’s coaches. 

Along with displaying toughness, Diggs prides himself on matching the pass patterns of receivers and forcing quarterbacks to make perfect throws.  

He trained all summer to prepare himself for this moment, and now Diggs is ready to assist a veteran secondary to a national championship and be a first-round draft pick.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Nick Saban, Alabama developing pass rushers for this season https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/18/nick-saban-alabama-developing-pass-rushers-for-this-season/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 21:41:53 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64216 Part of being a dangerous team in college football is having players that can successfully affect the passing game of an opposing program.  So many things were missing from Alabama football in 2018; however, the biggest issue happened in the College Football Playoff title game. Trevor Lawrence of Clemson provided a masterful performance at quarterback […]]]>

Part of being a dangerous team in college football is having players that can successfully affect the passing game of an opposing program. 

So many things were missing from Alabama football in 2018; however, the biggest issue happened in the College Football Playoff title game. Trevor Lawrence of Clemson provided a masterful performance at quarterback and it was because he had time to distribute the ball. 

No dirt, blood or even an ounce of sweat (if any at all) was spotted on his jersey, as the true freshman torched the Crimson Tide for 347 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 44-16 win back in January.

While frustration rested on the faces of Alabama’s defensive backfield, it was also without its best edge rusher – Christian Miller – who was injured. 

RELATED: Nick Saban praises true freshman at ILB, despite competition

A quality rotation of pass rushers is what made Alabama special in 2015 and 2016; the years where the team totaled 50+ sacks. The additions of Brian Baker (defensive line) and Sal Sunseri (outside linebackers) to the coaching staff were to assure the Tide’s return to being aggressive. 

Both have transitioned well and though Alabama held some players out of its second preseason scrimmage, Nick Saban said the team has some guys that have the ability to rush. 

“Anfernee Jennings has been a good pass rusher. Terrell Lewis has been a good pass rusher. Raekwon Davis has developed into being a much better inside pass rusher,” Saban said. 

“We want LaBryan Ray to develop as an inside pass rusher. Christopher Allen can rush a little bit off the edge, I think King [Mwikuta] as a freshman has some ability to rush.” 

With names such as Ray, DJ Dale and Stephon Wynn working back from injuries, the Tide has been getting some fresh faces acclimated into the system. Both Mwikuta and Kevin Harris II (true freshman) earned reps on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and look to improve. 

According to Anfernee Jennings, senior at outside linebacker, he told reporters that Harris plays fast all the time and has a “high motor.” Sunseri has been training both freshmen and at some point this season, maybe one (if not both) shows the capability to contribute to the team. 

Regardless of finishing tied for 10th in college football for sacks (45) last year, Alabama could not drop signal callers to the ground in the postseason. This led to its secondary getting burned and ultimately not bringing home a national title. Saban could see the biggest number for sacks ever in his tenure this fall, but health and focus both stand as the most important factors. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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5-Star LB, Sav’ell Smalls, releases top 6 https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/18/5-star-lb-savell-smalls-releases-top-6/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 19:43:15 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64681 2020 5-Star linebacker, Sav’ell Smalls, released his top six on Sunday and included the Tide. One step closer to the finish line…#TOP6 pic.twitter.com/gePrN785iQ — Juize 🥤 (@SavvySmalls_9) August 18, 2019 Smalls is a product of Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington. Oregon, Florida State, Washington, Tennesse and Washington State rounded out his top six. […]]]>

2020 5-Star linebacker, Sav’ell Smalls, released his top six on Sunday and included the Tide.

Smalls is a product of Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington. Oregon, Florida State, Washington, Tennesse and Washington State rounded out his top six.

Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class features a nice group of linebackers with commitments from some impressive commits. Smalls could join this group if the Tide is able to pull him from the West coast.

Smalls showed he is capable of playing in multiple positions during his junior season, including wide receiver. The 2020 prospect is also a force coming off the edge on defense.

With Alabama’s linebacker depth raising questions going into this upcoming season, getting a commitment from Washington in the future could be big for the Tide.

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Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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ESPN to feature Alabama commits this week in the Geico ESPN HS Kickoff https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/18/espn-to-feature-alabama-commits-this-week-in-the-geico-espn-hs-kickoff/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 18:21:22 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64675   The High school football season is set to begin this week in several states and ESPN is expected to feature three Alabama commits in their first slate of high school games this weekend. Alabama commits, Chris Braswell, Thaiu Jones-Bell and Traeshon Holden, will have the first game of their senior seasons broadcasted on ESPN. 5-Star […]]]>

 

The High school football season is set to begin this week in several states and ESPN is expected to feature three Alabama commits in their first slate of high school games this weekend.

Alabama commits, Chris BraswellThaiu Jones-Bell and Traeshon Holden, will have the first game of their senior seasons broadcasted on ESPN.

5-Star defensive end, Braswell, and St. Frances Academy will play on Saturday and kickoff is set for 11 p.m. CST live on ESPNU. The Panthers will take on Miami Central at Traz Powell Stadium.

This game will be followed by the Carol City High School and Deerfield Beach High School matchup, which will feature Alabama 4-Star wide receiver commit, Jones-Bell. The 4-Star wide receiver committed to the Tide on May 20. This game is scheduled to kick off at approximately 3 p.m. CST and will be broadcasted on ESPNU as well.

The Tide’s other 4-Star wide receiver commit,  Holden,  and Narbonne High School will wrap up the night on ESPNU when they take on Buchannan High School at 10 p.m. CST.

Alabama targets, Marcus Dumerville and Jordan Bursh, will also play on ESPN this upcoming week.

NUMBERS FOR ALABAMA COMMITS:

#10 Chris Braswell

#7 Thaiu Jones-Bell

#6 Traeshon Holden

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Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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Patriots’ RB Damien Harris powers team to win over Titans in NFL Preseason https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/patriots-rb-damien-harris-powers-team-to-win-over-titans-in-nfl-preseason/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 02:49:55 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64661 It may have been hard to give up honey buns and delicious snacks in the name of football, but it was worth for Damien Harris. The former five-star and workhorse at the University of Alabama debuted in his preseason game for the New England Patriots on Saturday versus the Titans.  He was underrated at times […]]]>

It may have been hard to give up honey buns and delicious snacks in the name of football, but it was worth for Damien Harris. The former five-star and workhorse at the University of Alabama debuted in his preseason game for the New England Patriots on Saturday versus the Titans. 

He was underrated at times in his collegiate; however, Harris remained a productive leader and quality teammate. His hard work under Nick Saban translated into him being eighth in school history for career rushing yards (3,070) and a third-round pick of this year’s NFL Draft.  

Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in pro football, but New England has lacked a consistent physical presence in its rushing attack. Harris may have provided Bill Belichick exactly what the franchise needs, as he carried the load 14 times for 80 yards in a 22-17 win. 

RELATED: Good People Still Exist; Freddie Kitchens Attended a Funeral and Coached a NFL Game in the Same Day

He led all backs in carries and yards for the Patriots, while pounding the Titans defense for an average of 5.7 yards per rush. His long run of 20 yards in the first quarter was the definition of what he constantly did at Alabama.

Harris read his offensive line, made a quick cut and bounced the run outside.

He nearly scores on the play, but New England ultimately scores a touchdown. 

Like he did at the NFL Combine, Harris showed his skills at receiver too. 

The Kentucky native caught all four passes thrown to him for 23 yards, with his longest reception going for 10 yards. He totaled 103 yards from scrimmage in his first game as a professional athlete and there is definitely more to come from Harris at this level. 

He was a 1,000-yard rusher twice at Alabama, but Harris may be even better in the NFL. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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WATCH: What does true freshman linebacker, Christian Harris, bring to the table? https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/watch-what-does-true-freshman-linebacker-christian-harris-bring-to-the-table/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 02:45:56 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64662 Alabama true freshman linebacker, Christian Harris, got a chance to work with Alabama’s starting group in the Tide’s final scrimmage of fall camp. Our own Scouting/recruiting analyst, Justin Smith, gives his thoughts on what the true freshman brings to the table. WATCH VIDEO BELOW:]]>

Alabama true freshman linebacker, Christian Harris, got a chance to work with Alabama’s starting group in the Tide’s final scrimmage of fall camp. Our own Scouting/recruiting analyst, Justin Smith, gives his thoughts on what the true freshman brings to the table.

WATCH VIDEO BELOW:

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Nick Saban praises true freshman at inside linebacker, despite competition https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/nick-saban-praises-true-freshman-at-inside-linebacker-despite-competition/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 01:48:00 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64654 He is in a five-man race to start at the second inside linebacker role – opposite Dylan Moses – but Christian Harris took a big step forward on Saturday.  The true freshman from Baton Rouge, La., was next to Moses in warmups prior to scrimmaging at Bryant-Denny Stadium and played with the first-team defense. A […]]]>

He is in a five-man race to start at the second inside linebacker role – opposite Dylan Moses – but Christian Harris took a big step forward on Saturday. 

The true freshman from Baton Rouge, La., was next to Moses in warmups prior to scrimmaging at Bryant-Denny Stadium and played with the first-team defense.

A four-star via Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Harris saw time on offense, defense and special teams at University Lab School and helped the program win back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018.

RELATED: TDA’s Stephen M. Smith Recaps Crimson Tide’s Final Fall Scrimmage

He has the size (6-2/244) to potentially be a middle “Mike” linebacker, but Nick Saban wants to continue seeing Harris grow at the position. After impressing distinguished guests, the Crimson Tide’s head coach took to the podium with words of praise for the freshman. 

“He did a good job,” Saban said of Harris. 

“He’s a football player and it’s important to him. He runs and hits people. When we had guys like this in the past… C.J. Mosley played as a freshman, Dont’a Hightower played as a freshman, Rolando McClain played as a freshman… We just put them in and played them. They got some on the job training. There is still competition at that position, but he’s a guy that has made plays throughout fall camp.” 

With senior Joshua McMillon (knee) out for the season, Saban wants to get Harris playing like a starter in the rotation.

He is battling Markail Benton, Shane Lee, Jaylen Moody and Ale Kaho for the job; nevertheless, he comes from the same school as Christopher Allen and he wants to succeed.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Good People Still Exist; Freddie Kitchens Attended a Funeral and Coached a NFL Game in the Same Day https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/good-people-still-exist-freddie-kitchens-attended-a-funeral-and-coached-a-nfl-game-in-the-same-day/ Sun, 18 Aug 2019 00:54:25 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64648 Earlier this past week the Pittsburgh Steelers fans and family suffered a major loss as wide receivers coach Darryl Drake suddenly passed away at the age of 62. Drake had a profound impact on his coworkers and players he coaches. As well as Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens who attended Drake’s funeral in Tennessee […]]]>

Earlier this past week the Pittsburgh Steelers fans and family suffered a major loss as wide receivers coach Darryl Drake suddenly passed away at the age of 62. Drake had a profound impact on his coworkers and players he coaches.

As well as Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens who attended Drake’s funeral in Tennessee just a few hours before the kickoff of the team’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Kitchens and Drake both coached on the same staff with the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17.

 

Along with Kitchens, other notable attendees of the funeral were Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith and current New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher.

By all of these former/current players and coaches making a point to attend the funeral of Drake, it goes to show you how big of an impact he had on the lives he was able to touch while coaching in the NFL.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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TDA’s Stephen M. Smith Recaps Crimson Tide’s Final Fall Scrimmage https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/tdas-stephen-m-smith-recaps-crimson-tides-final-fall-scrimmage/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 23:28:46 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64645 Touchdown Alabama senior reporter Stephen M. Smith was on the scene for Alabama’s final scrimmage of fall camp. See Stephen’s recap of the major stories from the scrimmage as well as head coach Nick Saban’s comments from his press conference. *Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP […]]]>

Touchdown Alabama senior reporter Stephen M. Smith was on the scene for Alabama’s final scrimmage of fall camp.

See Stephen’s recap of the major stories from the scrimmage as well as head coach Nick Saban’s comments from his press conference.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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WATCH: Nick Saban’s Post Scrimmage Press Conference https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/watch-nick-sabans-post-scrimmage-press-conference/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 21:12:11 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64596 Head coach Nick Saban takes to the podium following Alabama’s final scrimmage of fall camp as the team continues to work towards week one against Duke. You can watch the full video from Saban’s press conference below.   *Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock […]]]>

Head coach Nick Saban takes to the podium following Alabama’s final scrimmage of fall camp as the team continues to work towards week one against Duke.

You can watch the full video from Saban’s press conference below.

 


*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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Another Alabama Running Back Injured During Saturday’s Scrimmage https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/another-alabama-running-back-injured-during-saturdays-scrimmage/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 20:57:51 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64630 During Alabama’s final scrimmage on Saturday, more unfortunate news regarding their backfield occurred as redshirt freshman running back Jerome Ford went down with a sprained ankle. After the season-ending injury to five-star freshman Trey Sanders, Ford has been the main guy to fill in as the team’s third option at running back. During Nick Saban’s […]]]>

During Alabama’s final scrimmage on Saturday, more unfortunate news regarding their backfield occurred as redshirt freshman running back Jerome Ford went down with a sprained ankle. After the season-ending injury to five-star freshman Trey Sanders, Ford has been the main guy to fill in as the team’s third option at running back.

During Nick Saban’s press conference following the scrimmage, he confirmed Ford’s injury along with a timetable for return.

“Jerome Ford is probably the only guy that his any kind of injury,” said Saban. “Ankle sprain, (Ford) may be out for a week.”

As the crimson tide’s week, one matchup against Duke approaches in two weeks another injury to an already banged-up backfield is certainly not ideal.

Ford arrived at Alabama as the no. 6 all-purpose running back in the 2018 class according to 247 Sports. Although he saw limited playing time as a true freshman he did rush for 33 yards on just three carries in a mop-up role against the Louisianna Ragin’ Cajuns.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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Alabama QB Mac Jones stands out in both preseason scrimmages https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/alabama-qb-mac-jones-stands-out-in-both-preseason-scrimmages/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 20:53:54 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64632 He’s tired of people sleeping on him.  After having a strong first scrimmage, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones returned to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday with an encore performance. He has been fending off true freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, younger brother of Tua Tagovailoa, and according to Nick Saban, Jones is “way ahead” of Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson. […]]]>

He’s tired of people sleeping on him. 

After having a strong first scrimmage, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones returned to Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday with an encore performance.

He has been fending off true freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, younger brother of Tua Tagovailoa, and according to Nick Saban, Jones is “way ahead” of Tagovailoa and Paul Tyson.

Saban said the redshirt sophomore got more opportunities to work with the first-team offense. 

RELATED: Should Alabama RB Najee Harris get the Derrick Henry treatment this season?

“He’s been in the program for a couple of years,” Saban said of Jones. 

“He knows the offense. He’s really smart. He makes good decisions for the most part. The big thing we have been trying to get him to do is when he doesn’t make a good play, don’t hold on to it. He’s done a much better job of it. He has been very productive in both scrimmages.” 

Per sources, Jones did really well toward the end – leading two strong drives. 

His teammates believe in him and with each practice, Saban is starting to feel more confident with Jones taking the field. Tua Tagovailoa remains the No. 1 option, but it is good for the Crimson Tide to see Jones rise and step up.

The Crimson Tide enters its final sessions of fall camp next week, starting on Monday, as it plans on getting prepared to face Duke on Aug. 31. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Alabama Updated 2020 Commitment List https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/alabama-updated-2020-commitment-list/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 19:43:40 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64616 Alabama’s 2020 class is standing 22 strong as the Tide prepare for the 2019-2020 football season. The Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Justin Smith, has updated TDA’s commitment list and scouting reports. To view the entire list, player rankings, scouting reports, photos and more: CLICK HERE The biggest change in Alabama’s 2020 commitment list […]]]>

Alabama’s 2020 class is standing 22 strong as the Tide prepare for the 2019-2020 football season.

The Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Justin Smith, has updated TDA’s commitment list and scouting reports.

To view the entire list, player rankings, scouting reports, photos and more: CLICK HERE

The biggest change in Alabama’s 2020 commitment list was Jackson-Olin product, Quandarrius Robinson, jumping to a 5-Star recruit after putting on some good performances at national camps this summer.

Justin Smith hosted Robinson on the latest edition of his recruiting show, “The Process”, where Robinson broke down his commitment to Alabama, relationship with Sal Sunseri and more.

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Should Alabama RB Najee Harris get the Derrick Henry treatment this season? https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/should-alabama-rb-najee-harris-get-the-derrick-henry-treatment-this-season/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 19:42:18 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64611 Sometimes, a set of circumstances happen to force someone into action.  At the University of Alabama, head coach Nick Saban normally goes with a committee of two to three running backs. He likes to not only keep players fresh, but also throw different looks and dynamics to various defensive coordinators to confuse them. This has proved […]]]>

Sometimes, a set of circumstances happen to force someone into action. 

At the University of Alabama, head coach Nick Saban normally goes with a committee of two to three running backs. He likes to not only keep players fresh, but also throw different looks and dynamics to various defensive coordinators to confuse them. This has proved to be successful for the six-time national champion; however, there are times when one guy has to carry the load. 

The Crimson Tide first experienced the moment in 2015. 

Kenyan Drake was coming off a gruesome leg injury in the previous season, and not too many people knew how healthy he would look.

Despite his blend of toughness and versatility in the passing game, Tide fans were still hesitant. Alabama also signed a five-star back in the 2015 class – Damien Harris – but he was not ready for the big stage yet.

RELATED: WATCH: Alabama’s Final Scrimmage of Fall Camp

With this going on and the team trying to bounce back from two years without a national championship, Derrick Henry took matters into his own hands. He worked out all summer, pushed his weight to 242 pounds, and prepared himself mentally to get the ball every time. 

His mindset led him to delivering the Tide its first-ever 2,000-yard (2,219) rusher in school history for a single-season and he would go on to win a Heisman Trophy and help the program win a national title.

For junior Najee Harris, this situation is heading for him next.  

Harris, like Henry, was a five-star prospect in the 2017 class. 

Listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, the California native possesses great athleticism and has the strength to carry the rushing attack.

He’s developed patience in the last two years and despite Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs getting more action in 2018, Najee led the squad in yards per carry average (6.69) through 15 games and totaled 783 yards rushing with four touchdowns. 

Steve Sarkisian, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, said at the Open Practice that he wants to consistently run the football to open everything else up.

He mentioned that at every coaching stop on his journey, he has had one 1,000-yard rusher. A question was asked on whether he would be for Harris getting 25 to 30 carries a game (if needed) and Sark is fine with it. 

An injury to Trey Sanders (foot) and rumors sparking on an injury to Jerome Ford in the scrimmage has opened the conversation of should Harris get the Henry treatment this fall? 

Since Sarkisian is about balance and doing numerous things well to frustrate defenses, do not be surprised if the team choses to lean on Harris more. Alabama has Brian Robinson, Keilan Robinson and Chadarius Townsend (at receiver now), but it’s something to think about for Harris. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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WATCH: Alabama’s Final Scrimmage of Fall Camp https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/watch-alabamas-final-scrimmage-of-fall-camp/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 18:39:16 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64591 It is officially two weeks until Alabama kicks off against the Duke Blue Devils and the crimson tide look to tidy up loose ends with their final scrimmage of fall camp at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Watch footage from Alabama’s practice below. *Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP […]]]>

It is officially two weeks until Alabama kicks off against the Duke Blue Devils and the crimson tide look to tidy up loose ends with their final scrimmage of fall camp at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Watch footage from Alabama’s practice below.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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Alabama prepares for second scrimmage of fall camp https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/alabama-prepares-for-second-scrimmage-of-fall-camp/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 18:13:42 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64592 It’s 94 degrees and sunny in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as Nick Saban and the University of Alabama football program are at Bryant-Denny Stadium for its second scrimmage of fall camp.  While this practice will test the speed and efficiency of the players in a game-like situation, Saban is also looking for some guys to step up […]]]>

It’s 94 degrees and sunny in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as Nick Saban and the University of Alabama football program are at Bryant-Denny Stadium for its second scrimmage of fall camp. 

While this practice will test the speed and efficiency of the players in a game-like situation, Saban is also looking for some guys to step up at critical positions. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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WATCH: Stephen A. Smith’s Full Speech to Alabama https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/watch-stephen-a-smiths-full-speech-to-alabama/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 16:08:25 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64586 After being one of Alabama’s guest speakers earlier this week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith left the crimson tide with some words of wisdom. The First Take commentator spoke to the team about life after football, enjoying the moment and even a little bit about Carmelo Anthony on Bama Cuts. But today ESPN has released the […]]]>

After being one of Alabama’s guest speakers earlier this week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith left the crimson tide with some words of wisdom. The First Take commentator spoke to the team about life after football, enjoying the moment and even a little bit about Carmelo Anthony on Bama Cuts.

But today ESPN has released the full speech from Smith which can be viewed below.

Whatever your opinion may be about Smith there is definitely a lot of valuable lessons within his speech. It is also refreshing to see somebody not sugarcoat things and to tell people how real life and life in the NFL really is.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

 

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Game Managers to Game Changers, Why Nick Saban Made the Switch https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/game-changer/ https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/17/game-changer/#respond Sat, 17 Aug 2019 09:05:02 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=62698 Saban won championships with lots of game managers, so why the switch now to a game changer? Read and understand the need for this change and if it's working]]>

It started with Greg McElroy and though he hated the phrase, it fit what Saban wanted, game manager. McCarron continued the streak even though deep down he wanted to be a gun slinger and from there several players filled the role. Mostly older, wiser guys who wouldn’t make a lot of mistakes.

It was all about ball control offense with someone at the helm who wouldn’t make a lot of mistakes. To a large part, even Jalen Hurts fit that category. But once Saban made the decision that despite super effort and results that the Hurts era was over, so was the game manager.

Now Saban is an excellent recruiter, he usually knows what he wants and what he’s getting when he signs a player. But Tua is a talent that surpassed what Saban had hoped for. This was a guy who could absolutely see the whole field and sling the ball anywhere on the field, to anyone and put it in places where even though covered, it looked easy.

Saban’s average margin of victory went way up. Scoring went way up. Now Saban’s famous “Make their ass quit” quote meant simply burying them so quickly that they just quit. It used to be his dominating defense that made them want to quit. Not anymore.

So why did Saban make the switch?

First of all, he could see some grey hairs on his offensive philosophy and he was seeing teams giving him problems with quick striking, hurry up offenses and he saw his offense not built for quick comebacks and winning track meets. Then there were those games like in 2010 where the offense couldn’t score more that 21 points and lost to South Carolina and LSU. Speaking of LSU, remember the 9-6 loss the following year? Saban sure did. In 2014 it happened again when they only scored 17 and lost to Ole Miss and struggled in a win the following week beating lowly Arkansas 14-13. He needed a team that could score more than that on a consistent basis.

Alabama needed to change things up and come up with an offense that put some points on the board, big points.

So he brought in Lane Kiffin and Kiffin paid off. The offense got quicker, he had some quarterback runs that helped with the unpredictability and he had quarterbacks who could throw the deep ball to stretch the field and keep the running game going. As a result, the scoring went up.

But that was just the beginning of the metamorphosis. Hurts brought the true dual threat to the team, but there were too many times when his legs did what his arm was unable to do. While Hurts did improve his passing, Tua was just doing unbelievable things that Hurts just couldn’t mimic and the last of the game managers was gone and the game changer took stage.

This season Saban wants the best of both worlds, running the ball a little more, controlling the clock a little more, but still turning the game changer loose enough to keep the defense completely at odds over what to do.

He’s hoping this keeps his defense on the bench a little more as they develop into a world class unit and when they face an equally talented offense.

And it’s not a decision he’s going to go back on anytime soon. Even though Saban has said publicly he wants to go back to a more ball control offense that will keep hi defense on the bench a little longer. What Saban really wants is to maximize each offensive drive into being a scoring drive and not just go for the home run all the time.

With Mack Jones and Taulia Tagovailoa on the bench, when Tua’s gone, this offense won’t be gone. Alabama went from averaging 35 points a game in 2015 to over 45 points a game last season. But the real difference was that during the regular season they averaged 31 of those 45 points a game in just the first half. This truly was just burying them quickly and making them want to quit. His 2018 team was scoring about the same number of points in just the first half of the game as his 2015 team did in the whole game.

In his heart, Saban will always be a defensive coach and he always will be, but he’s learning that it’s ok to play good defense while you’re up 28 or so points. This is a change he can live with.

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Larry Burton has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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Competition at inside linebacker heating up for Alabama https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/16/competition-at-inside-linebacker-heating-up-for-alabama/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 02:29:59 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64562 The knee injury to Josh McMillon was disappointing, but it was not a crippling blow for Alabama football. He was entering his fifth year (redshirt senior) and had full knowledge on lining players up on defense; however, McMillon has not played in a lot of big matchups.  Nevertheless, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are still […]]]>

The knee injury to Josh McMillon was disappointing, but it was not a crippling blow for Alabama football.

He was entering his fifth year (redshirt senior) and had full knowledge on lining players up on defense; however, McMillon has not played in a lot of big matchups. 

Nevertheless, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are still in search for someone that can play alongside Dylan Moses at inside linebacker.

Five names have been summoned to emerge; however, only one will win the job. In the team’s second week of fall practice, true freshman Shane Lee was spotted behind Moses in positional drills.

Although this is a positive, it has been sophomore Markail Benton on the field with Moses – upon the Tide going into its nickel look.

RELATED: Nick Saban provides updates on Tide DL DJ Dale, Stephon Wynn in fall camp

Benton, a four-star in the 2017 class, was tabbed as a top-12 linebacker prospect from all recruiting sites.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder from Central High School (Phenix City, Ala.) was a former teammate of Clemson’s receiver, Justyn Ross, and he played in 14 games last season. 

According to sources, he played really well in the first scrimmage.

Benton totaled 14 tackles and while he is as an elite athlete, maybe all it took was an injury to a teammate to push him. The quartet of Lee, Jaylen Moody, Ale Kaho and Christian Harris are all younger than Benton, yet all are highly talented.

Lee and Moody stepped up in the spring game back in April, as he each one totaled an interception.

Kaho brought the Tide’s 2018 recruiting class into the top-five nationally and has a skill set that rivals former standout, C.J. Mosley. 

Harris, a true freshman, was a stud at University Lab School in Baton Rouge, La., and has the potential to be the next great inside linebacker.

With the second scrimmage coming on Saturday and the matchup versus Duke in two weeks, Saban is ready for someone to emerge now. 

“A lot of competition is there,” Saban said to reporters on Thursday at inside linebacker. 

“We need somebody that will step up and be responsible to do a job and develop the confidence of the players around them and develop confidence in themselves that they can play winning football. Whoever steps forward to do that the best will win the job.” 

Competition breeds winners and it’s game on at weakside linebacker. 

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Former Alabama CB Cyrus Jones set for breakout season in the NFL https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/08/16/former-alabama-cb-cyrus-jones-set-for-breakout-season-in-the-nfl/ Sat, 17 Aug 2019 01:28:08 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=64554 Things are now clear for Cyrus Jones.  He’s back in his hometown of Baltimore, Md., and enters his second full season (fourth year overall) with the city’s legendary franchise. One of the things that Ozzie Newsome did before stepping down as general manager was restoring Jones to the Ravens. Despite being selected in the second […]]]>

Things are now clear for Cyrus Jones. 

He’s back in his hometown of Baltimore, Md., and enters his second full season (fourth year overall) with the city’s legendary franchise.

One of the things that Ozzie Newsome did before stepping down as general manager was restoring Jones to the Ravens.

Despite being selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots, Jones did not feel at home with the likes of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and Robert Kraft at Gillette Stadium. 

RELATED: Minkah Fitzpatrick’s Mom is Not Happy with the Dolphins

After two years with New England and being moved from its practice squad to Baltimore’s group, Jones played his first full season with the Ravens in 2018. Pairing him back with former Crimson Tide standouts such as Marlon Humphrey, Anthony Averett and Tim Williams has brought Jones much excitement for this fall.

In a matchup against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night for week two of NFL Preseason, Jones displayed the instincts and leadership traits that made him a blue-collar cornerback at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban. 

The former four-star finished with five tackles – including three solo stops – and one quarterback pressure, to help the Ravens earn a 26-13 win.

While players like Quinnen Williams and Josh Jacobs also put in quality efforts in their NFL debuts, Jones really stood out on the field. 

Prior to the NFL, he played four years at Alabama from 2012-15. 

Jones had 106 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, seven interceptions, 28 pass breakups and four forced fumbles in his tenure. He became a weapon on special teams in his senior year, totaling 530 punt return yards with four touchdowns on 42 returns.

Jones averaged 12.62 yards per punt return in 2015, and brought one back for a score against Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.

Jones’ athleticism and ball skills (one interception) led to the Tide capturing a dominant, 38-0 win over the Spartans. 

He was the most valuable player of the game. 

During his time at Alabama, Jones was a member on two national title teams (2012, 2015) and three Southeastern Conference title squads (2012, 2014-15). He is now ready to prove to NFL fans why he was one of the best defensive backs in college.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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