06 October 2009
Leave it to nxojkt and U2 to conspire to leave me a day where the media viewing period at practice was short and quiet...
There's not a lot to tell here, to be brutally honest. It's clear that Nick Saban is not terribly interested in serving up what the Tide is up to this weekend. He's got a ton of respect for Houston Nutt (who he allegedly recommended to replace him at LSU when he left for Miami), and Saban's not willing to tip his hand.
We do know a bit...
The Tide worked in full pads ourdoors for a couple of hours late this afternoon.
While there's musical linebackers all over the defense, one spot is very certain. Rolando McClain will start. McClain was honored as the Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. What will surround him is, at this point, anyone's guess. Cory Reamer worked outside again, which could open the door for Nico Johnson or Tana Patrick at the inside spot opposite McClain.
Jerrell Harris (who isn't eligible this weekend) continues to work in with the first unit a good bit. So, clearly he won't start Saturday. It's also likely the Tide will see a lot of nickel and dime packages this weekend - as they seem to every week. What's actually going to happen Saturday when Alabama lines up in a base look is anyone's best guess at this point. It could be a shell game for Ole Miss's benefit, and the Tide will look exactly like it did against Kentucky - or Reamer could stay outside and open the door for younger talent inside.
In other news, Gentry Estes has stepped up nicely into the role of first string Bama beat reporter after Ian Rappaport left for New England. Estes has an interesting story about Julio Jones's lack of touches, with a long quote from Greg McElroy:
"It seems like every interview I do, somebody is asking me, 'Why isn't Julio getting more involved?' Just because Julio is not catching balls doesn't mean he's not involved. He's very involved. He demands the eyes, four eyes are on him every time we snap the ball. That's two from a safety and two from a corner. He makes a difference whether he catches a ball or not. And the fact that people continue to question, 'Why can't you get the ball to Julio? Why can't you put it in his hands, he's such a good player for you?' Yeah, he is. He's a great player. That's why we can't get it in his hands sometimes.
"Obviously, I'm going to put the ball where my reads take me. And the fact that Julio is such a great target and a great talent, people are going to do their best to limit his touches and limit his production. We're very fortunate because in years' past we haven't always had a lot of solid wide receiver depth. But now we do. We have great players that don't even start every Saturday. We've got guys that come off the bench and make plays. You look at last week, I don't know how many people had catches but it was a solid number. The fact that we have that depth and continuity among the wide receiver corps is a big reason why we've been successful in the offense. And the fact that Julio is so unselfish, he understands that I'm going to give him the ball when I can. I want to get him the ball as best I know how. But when my reads take me elsewhere, I'm not going to force it."
Great quote. It's great when Bama is able to get that sort of leadership and intelligence from a position that was said to be a question mark coming into this season.
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