Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
I was going to write something clever here, making you think it was about the election and then actually writing about the College Football Playoff rankings, but I don’t have it in me. Alabama is still ranked No. 1, and potentially matched up with Washington in the Peach Bowl. Washington has been impressive in its undefeated schedule but hasn’t played anyone with the kind of aggressive defensive front as Alabama. The Huskies have been carried by quarterback Jake Browning and an aggressive passing offense that makes use of the middle of the field, but, again, the defensive backs he’s faced aren’t anywhere near Alabama’s class.
That’s not to say that Washington would necessarily be a walk-over for the Crimson Tide. It’s very difficult to compare across conferences, particularly this year. But of the top-ranked teams Alabama could face, most Alabama fans would probably like to see the Huskies.
- One of the most unheralded members of the Alabama defense, Ryan Anderson, is unheralded no longer, from Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News.
- With an historic defense and a prolific offense, where does Nick Saban see room for improvement? Special teams, as reported by AL.com’s Matt Zenitz.
- Bradley Bozeman had to replace an NFL starter at center. He’s done so with flying colors, from AL.com’s Rainer Sabin.
- Elsewhere on the offensive line, SEC Network and AL.com analyst Cole Cubelic loves Cam Robinson.
- There are two ways to manage the turnover battle. The most obvious is to create a positive turnover margin. The other is to nullify your opponent’s advantage by defending the short field. Alabama calls the latter the “quick-change” defense, where it excels.
- Alabama’s defenders discuss the anatomy of a sack, from AL.com’s Michael Casagrande.
- Wednesday’s practice report features injury updates and shuffling on the offensive line.
- And finally, John Parker Wilson and Lauren Sisler break down the only touchdown of the Alabama-LSU game below:
Built By Bama: Election edition
David Rader was Alabama’s co-offensive coordinator for three seasons under Mike Shula. He was a press box OC, one of the minds behind the Jumbo Package, and generally speaking, not very good. Before his time at Alabama, he was head coach of Tulsa, where he lead the Golden Hurricane to two bowls and a national ranking, despite posting a career 49-80-1 record as a head coach.
He is now a Republican representative in the Oklahoma State Legislature.
- Elsewhere, Kevin Norwood makes the Giants practice squad.
Poll of the week
Surely you’re not tired of these, yet!
Around the Capstone
- Volleyball hosts Auburn on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
- Women’s basketball announces a schedule of promotions for the season.
- Men’s basketball releases parking information for the Nov. 15 mid-day matchup against Dayton.
Let’s talk about Adam Griffith
No player on Alabama’s roster inspires as much hand-wringing as the kicker. To half of the population, Griffith is an unreliable, hopeless case who should be benched. To the other half, he is the overmaligned, underappreciated hero of the national championship game. The truth, unsurprisingly, is somewhere in the middle.
By most metrics, Griffith is average. He is the 82nd-best kicker in the nation this season by field goal percentage (65). His season-long successful kick of 48 yards places him 42nd. He has made just 2 of 5 field goals attempted over 40 yards or more, good for 51st in the nation. He has, however, made the 12th-most extra points in the nation, a perfect 44 for 44.
On kickoffs, Griffith is more of the same: 54 percent of his kicks end in touchbacks, and his kickoff success rate, a measure of how well he pins teams deep, ranks 48th nationally.
Griffith has talent. His range and the skill he exhibited during the onside kick in the national championship make that clear. He lacks consistency, however, and a kicker, above all, needs to be consistent. The whole purpose of #TeamThreePoints is to place the certainty of a field goal over the risk-reward of attempting fourth-down conversions. With Griffith, that certainty is mediocre at best. Essentially, if Alabama is facing fourth-and-short at any point inside the opponent’s 40-yard line or so, the Crimson Tide should go for it. Adjust “and short” for whatever yardage you think Alabama can secure 65 percent of the time.
None of this is to say that you should hate Griffith, or send him the kind of vitriol kickers too often get. Quite the opposite, actually. Spare me your #CollegeKickers, as well, because that’s an inane movement that ignores that, when you have 128 different FBS teams, you’ll actually get a wide swath of talent. Did you know that Sebastian Janikowski and Adam Vinatieri were both #CollegeKickers once? Really makes you think.
Anyway, it is important to understand what we’re really dealing with when we talk about Griffith. The reality is, his production and talent do not match those of the players around him, who are at the top of their field by any metric. That’s why he sticks out when he misses a field goal that most kickers probably would convert and draws ire when he misses a chipshot. He doesn’t necessarily make Alabama much better, but he doesn’t make them worse.
That’s it from me today. Go in peace, and be good to each other.