Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Now, I think bulletin board material is overrated. Teams don’t often win or lose games based on emotional cues. Games are decided based on talent and preparation and game plans, not ‘who wants it more.’ Motivation makes a difference in the weight room and the film room, not on the field.
So when senior LSU defensive back Dwayne Thomas says the Tigers will be “dominating” Alabama because LSU “wants it more,” I don’t know that I agree.
Thomas deserves credit for his honesty, certainly, but when you’re a little tipsy at the office holiday party and you tell your boss’s wife that her suit makes her look like a chubby Margaret Thatcher, “I’m just being honest” doesn’t really get you off the hook, you know what I mean?
Thomas points out that LSU’s defense has “shut down” a few prolific offenses lately, particularly Ole Miss last week, and that’s a point well made. LSU has one of the best defenses in the country, despite being prone to conceding explosive plays. This game will almost certainly be a close one that hangs on a few plays.
Thomas went on to say that Jalen Hurts, who has been sacked just 10 times this season and only three times on the road, will turn skittish once he takes a few hits from the LSU pass rush, and that his favorite targets – presumably Calvin Ridley, ArDarius Stewart and O.J. Howard – will be covered too tight by the LSU secondary for him to complete passes.
LSU’s pass rush has accrued 20 sacks this season, good for 27th in the nation. Alabama leads that category with 32. Notably, there was no mention of Alabama’s rushing attack, ranked ninth in the nation by yards per game.
Now, I don’t expect Thomas to be thinking about these statistics, and I can’t blame him for being confident, which is just as important to high performance as preparation. But to paraphrase the immortal poet Jim Croce, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t tug the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger, and you don’t mess around with” noted football clap-back artist Lane Kiffin.
- AL.com’s Kevin Scarbinsky: Jonathan Allen should be a Heisman candidate.
- Reuben Foster was shocked by Mack Wilson’s hit, which means a lot, considering Foster’s prior record.
- LSU coach Ed Orgeron points out that Lane Kiffin’s offense has changed significantly since they worked together at Tennessee.
- Right guard Alphonse Taylor remains out with a concussion.
- All the things the AL.com group got wrong predicting the season. You’ll need an hour or two. Just kidding.
- Alabama added Louisiana-Lafayette to its 2018 schedule. Also, people from Lafayette get upset if you call it ULL, because apparently it’s the only University of Louisiana to them.
- In early lines, Alabama is a near double-digit favorite regardless of opponent in the national championship game.
- From SEC Country’s Marq Burnett, injury updates and a practice report.
- Shehan Jeyarajah on the five biggest threats to an perfect Alabama season.
- Leonard Fournette “looks as good as ever” and other thoughts from Nick Saban’s midweek teleconference.
- And finally, USAToday released its annual database of coaches’ salaries. Nick Saban is behind only Jim Harbaugh in terms of compensation, but more interesting, if less relevant, is his buyout clause.
- Roll Bama Roll has a statistical breakdown of Alabama’s win over Texas A&M and a detailed preview of basketball season.
Thursday night lights
Not the best slate for a Thursday, but still some entertainment value to be had. No. 25 Virginia Tech travels to Pitt to start the evening at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. Virginia Tech’s quarterback is efficient and has a decent arm, while Pitt is prone to blow coverages. Give me Virginia Tech -3.5.
The late slate has some excellent #Pac12AfterDark potential as Cal and USC will face off in the Memorial Coliseum at 10:30 p.m. on ESPN, with an over/under of 75 points. Both teams boast powerful offenses, with Cal’s average of 44 points per game ranked ninth in the nation. Neither team, however, cares the least little bit about defense. USC should win this game, but the line is too high for me. Give me Cal +16.5
Built by Bama
- Landon Collins was named NFL defensive player of the week for a two-interception performance against the Rams.
- JaMychal Green is a starter for the Grizzlies and the only Alabama player active in the NBA.
- Former Alabama halfback Bobby Humphrey took his father to the University practice facility to spend some time with his son, Marlon, on Wednesday.
Took my dad to T-town today; he was excited. 3 generations. pic.twitter.com/WtF42mvczc
— Bobby Humphrey (@thehump26) October 27, 2016
Around the Capstone
- Soccer closes its regular season slate at home against Vanderbilt tonight. Watch on SECNetwork+.
- Softball freshman Elissa Brown has been called in the U.S. junior national team. Incidentally, she’s from a town called Eclectic, Ala., which I just found out was a place a couple of days ago.
- Highly rated basketball recruit John Petty decided to reschedule a trip to Kentucky and set a date for his commitment: Nov. 10.
Sources telling me John Petty will not visit Kentucky this weekend. My experience n recruiting tells me he will end up at Bama. We will see
— Barry Sanderson (@Barrysanderson) October 26, 2016