Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
The midpoint of game week and the news cycle is much calmer than last week, even if Alabama’s fans’ nerves aren’t. Judging by the conversations I heard today, a general state of anxiety over Alabama’s impending schedule has settled over campus. While many Alabama students previously believed in an undefeated season by divine right, the prospect of a loss is being considered with the type of stress usually reserved for a failed test. For most students I’ve talked to, that loss is taken on a distinctly orange hue.
Our poll results show a small measure of confidence in Alabama, with roughly half of you selecting Alabama to win but Arkansas to cover the two-touchdown spread this weekend. Only 15 percent are picking Arkansas for the upset.
- Per Tommy Deas and Aaron Suttles at The Tuscaloosa News, former Alabama assistant coach Bo Davis was paid $316,666 in August after his resignation. Alabama, unsurprisingly, did not release that information in a records request.
- Erik Evans, head of the crack legal team that runs Roll Bama Roll, has an excellent breakdown of the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the O’Bannon case.
- RBR also has this lovely, picturesque statistical breakdown of Alabama’s win on Saturday.
- From Rivals, a rundown of high school sophomores to watch is headlined by an Alabama commit.
- Also from Rivals, Nick Saban narrowly outstrips Urban Meyer in the race for 5-star recruits.
- Today at the Player Hater’s Ball, Da’Ron Payne fires back.
- Saban says special teams need to tighten up.
- AL.com’s Rainer Sabin quantifies freshman RB Joshua Jacobs’ early season performance.
- From SEC Country’s Marq Burnett, a limited linebacker and other practice notes.
- USAToday’s playoff committee ranks Alabama No. 1. A reminder: WWE announcer Jim Ross is on this committee.
- CBSSports’ non-Jim-Ross-having committee puts Alabama at No. 2.
- Sports Illustrated has Alabama vs. Washington in the Peach Bowl/semifinal.
- Fox Sports says nine teams can beat Alabama this year. In the SEC: Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee and LSU.
- From BamaOnline’s Charlie Potter, Rashaan Evans details his recent injury and comeback.
- His colleague, Travis Reier, gives some instant feedback from Tuesday’s practice.
- And finally, former Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson sits down with AL.com’s Lauren Sisler to break down Alabama’s offense:
- Former Alabama WR Kevin Norwood signed with the San Diego Chargers.
- Kenyan Drake offered this inspiring tribute to his junior year injury:
Praises due to the most high ?? pic.twitter.com/0EeEliKWEu
— Kenyan Drake™ (@KDx32) October 4, 2016
- Chris Samuels, former Alabama standout offensive lineman, Shaw High School alumnus and fellow Mobilian, is Alabama’s representative on the SEC Football Legends Class. 251.
— SEC (@SEC) October 4, 2016
Around the Capstone
- The Crimson White’s Cody Estremera has a preview of women’s basketball’s return to Coleman Coliseum.
- Fresh off a tournament win, Alabama’s women’s tennis doubles pair is headed to the ITA All-American Championships.
- Both cross country teams remain in the top 5.
- Men’s golf finished fifth after a late surge at the Jerry Pate Invitational.
Alabama’s top 5 freshmen
This season has been somewhat of a rarity for Alabama, given the large numbers of freshmen who have seen the field. Saban’s never been exactly reticent to play his kids, but the Crimson Tide usually boasts depth nonpareil. In honor of the youth revolution, here’s my top 5 freshmen for the season.
5. Mack Wilson – LB
Already enough of a physical beast to get a look at both sides of the ball in the SEC and snagged a pass intended for O.J. Howard, which is more than Clemson’s DBs can say.
4. Jonah Williams – OL
It’s hard enough to start as a freshman on Alabama’s offensive line. It’s so much harder to stand out to the tune of three POTW honors and to grade out at 80 percent or better in each of your first four career starts.
3. Trevon Diggs – WR/DB/KR
The younger brother of Stefon Diggs has shown that speed and agility runs in the family. He remains fairly unused as a receiver, with only 6 catches for 51 yards, but his ability as kick returner is self-evident, with 166 yards on seven returns and a season-high of 41 yards.
2. Joshua Jacobs – RB – 34 carries, 250 yards, 3 TDs; 5 catches, 77 yards
This was the spot meant for Bo Scarbrough. Jacobs was essentially unheralded compared to the unrelenting hype given to Scarbrough. Through five games, Jacobs has been the definition of efficient, flourishing in place of a limited Damien Harris. It’s not clear how much of a role he’ll have when Harris comes back, but his ability to hit a hole and then work efficiently on the second level reminds me of Mark Ingram.
1. Jalen Hurts – QB – 84 for 135, 989 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT’
The obvious choice and also 2 for 2 at the top spot in one of these lists. As if winning the job as a true freshman wasn’t enough, Hurts has improved week over week. Against Kentucky, he showcased an ability to place the ball on deep passes, especially important in the post-Barnett era. His legitimate dual-threat status brings an asset Lane Kiffin hasn’t had at Alabama, and it’s paid off. Barring the occasional fumble, Hurts has taken care of the football, which, for this Alabama team, may be the single-most-important path to success.
Pride goeth, Part 2
I honestly didn’t expect this to be a recurring feature, but after the pizza nonsense yesterday, there’s a new “hype” (?) song set to Sexy Back by Justin Timberlake. It’s short, I promise. Just listen.
This song features a reference to that time Saban’s daughter punched a girl in the face, Harvey Updyke and, somehow, Mike Price. All in a minute and a half. That’s a lot of Alabama minutiae for a team that hasn’t beaten Alabama in a decade.