Category Archives: Alabama

From the (e)mailbag

So, I got this question from a reader (thanks, Sean!):

Good evening, Senator:

I’ve been watching UGA vs Alabama games during my vacation, and i wonder what the difference is, in your opinion.

Ultimately, I’d chalk it up to two factors:

  • Alabama’s offensive line
  • An extra year of experience under Sarkisian’s belt

As has already been documented, the talent level between the two programs is extremely close at this point.  What separated ‘Bama last season, not just from Georgia, but from every other team in D-1, was an offense that was locked and loaded from the get-go.  There was no transition to speak of with the Tide’s offense; the skill position guys were experienced and settled in the scheme that Sark ran.  He, in turn, had already tweaked what he took from Lincoln Riley (no shame in that, as long as it worked — and it did) for a full season before 2020 and was thus able to focus on in-game play calling, something he clearly excelled at.  The o-line was as good as I saw last season.

Compare Georgia with that.  Matt Luke took over from Sam Pittman.  Not only did he change the blocking schemes, but he had to do so while replacing both tackles.  The Dawgs also plugged a new offensive coordinator into the mix, and while Monken was a clear upgrade from Coley, especially as a play designer, he wasn’t given any spring practice time to work with his charges.  Add on top of that a quarterback situation that wasn’t resolved until the last third of the season and you’ve got an offense that was clearly working behind the eight ball compared with Alabama.

It feels a little strange to write all that without mentioning the defenses, but that’s how it played out, at least in my mind.

The good news is Georgia should be in similar straits to ‘Bama for ’21 in terms of comfort with the offensive scheme and the quality of the skill position players.  What we don’t know — and what may ultimately determine how far the Dawgs go this season — is how well the o-line will mesh.

That’s all I got.  What say y’all?

66 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

Don’t cry for me, Tuscaloosa.

Brandon Marcello ranks the 2021 SEC schedules from hardest to easiest.  Clocking in at number fourteen is a certain defending national champion.  ‘Bama starts with the benefit of not having to play itself, but that’s not all.

Nick Saban hasn’t lost more than two games since 2010. The toughest stretch? Ole Miss and at Texas A&M in the first two weeks of October.

Brutal.

15 Comments

Filed under Alabama

Observations from the Senior Bowl

Perhaps one day Jamie Newman will let us know what he was thinking when he bailed on Georgia’s 2020 season, because based on this ($$), if he followed an agent’s advice, that dude must have one smooth sales pitch.

… Newman is a sturdy, mobile passer, but his 2019 film showed shaky pocket presence and undeveloped passing reads. With improvements as a senior in SEC play, some around the league thought he could turn himself into a top-100 draft pick.

Now he’s hoping for a hot week at the Senior Bowl to get the attention of NFL teams.  Good luck with that, Jamie.

Meanwhile, here’s an observation that will blow you away (at least it did me):

Seeing Jones removed from the Alabama offense will be helpful for evaluators. The fact that an NFL prospect all-star game is a slight step down in talent compared to what he had in Tuscaloosa says a lot about that Crimson Tide offense.

I’m not sure when I’ll get over my double take every time I reflect upon the fact that Georgia led Alabama late in the third quarter at Tuscaloosa last season.  With Stetson Bennett at quarterback…

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UPDATE:  Stay classy, my brothers and sisters.

Newman will be wearing a Demon Deacons’ helmet as he looks to take the next step with an impressive week in front of NFL general managers and head coaches this week, Senior Bowl officials confirmed.

“We had to put him in Wake Forest stuff,” Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy said. “If we put him in Georgia stuff ….  the vitriol among DawgNation on Twitter has been unbelievable.”

Haven’t y’all got bigger things to fret about?

94 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Today, in leveling the playing field

Bill Connelly makes two points in one here:

Competitive disadvantage done left the barn, people, and paying players isn’t gonna change that.

62 Comments

Filed under Alabama, The NCAA

About last night

Confession time:  I changed my pick in the Fabris Pool at the last minute and went with ‘Bama to cover, because I saw a cryptic Kirk Herbstreit quote that Ohio State had a fairly serious injury situation it was dealing with at game time.  It did turn out that two starters on the defensive line were out, along with the starting kicker, but the main thing was Justin Fields was obviously nowhere in the vicinity of 100% healthy.

That all being said, the biggest issue of the night had nothing to do with health.  It was Ohio State’s complete inability to cover DaVonta Smith.  It’s not like they didn’t know what they were dealing with, either.

Someone posted a comment to the effect that on defense this season, the Buckeyes pretty much played in their base set all the time, counting on being able to out-athlete the opposition.  That may have worked before, but facing a team with NFL-level talent at the skill position and an NFL offensive coordinator, it wasn’t the best way to approach last night.  Sarkisian did a brilliant job getting his best player open time and time again and OSU never adjusted.

This play in particular made me shake my head in admiration:

Weirdly enough, and maybe it’s just me, but it reminded me of this play call of Jim Chaney’s, in the 2018 Tech game.  Yeah, I know, but I have to think Mac Jones’ eyes must have lit up the exact same way Jake Fromm’s did when he saw the alignment of a linebacker on a fast receiver in the slot.

Anyway, there was nothing cheap about that win and I won’t be sorry to see guys like Smith, Harris and Jones plying their wares in the NFL next season.

36 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Strategery And Mechanics

Go big, or go home.

I see Sark has quickly embraced one of college football’s greatest traditions, living vicariously through another program.

That ought to carry him through a season or two in Austin.  Maybe.

12 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Not too shabby

Jesus, Georgia faced three of the top five finishers in this year’s Heisman voting and Jaylen Waddle, and still managed to keep Alabama’s offense roughly in check until four minutes were left in the third quarter.

23 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

Did somebody get the number of that truck?

I don’t know if you saw this play during the SECCG, but, man.  You won’t see a better tackle all year.

A wide receiver who hits like a safety.  Hell, there are plenty of safeties who don’t hit like that.

34 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Strategery And Mechanics

JT ain’t played ‘Bama.

This is some list.

Siri, how many of those teams managed that with their fourth-string quarterback?

9 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

My first SECCG question

Can Florida survive against Alabama if it loses the turnover margin battle?  I’m thinking hells no.

48 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Gators, Gators..., Stats Geek!