Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
Out of the open week doldrums comes news of Alabama’s first night game of the year, predictably at LSU in two Saturdays, part of a CBS tripleheader. While LSU’s student section endures the same nonsense pearl clutching as Alabama’s, a night game in Death Valley is still, for my money, the best road trip in the conference. The fans are indescribably loud, the food is delicious and the Golden Band from Tiger Land is possibly the best in the conference.
It helps, for Alabama fans, that Death Valley hasn’t been the unassailable fortress it is to other, more Ole Miss-like programs. I still remember being in the arena when T.J. Yeldon ran in a last-second screen pass to beat LSU in 2012, my first season traveling with Alabama. The silence was nearly as deafening as the roar of the crowd had been.
Alabama has escaped Death Valley with a last-minute win each of the last two trips down. With a depleted Coach O-led Tigers awaiting this year and earth-shaking road environment, LSU might be the toughest opponent left on Alabama’s slate this season.
- Jonathan ‘Superman’ Allen leads Alabama’s players of the week. He was also named SEC defensive player of the week.
- Alabama has started the process of replacing Eddie Jackson and other notes from The Tuscaloosa News’ Aaron Suttles.
- Speaking of which, possible Jackson replacement Minkah Fitzpatrick was named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe award for the nation’s top defensive back.
- Jonathan Allen said Saturday that he thought the talk about Trevor Knight was ‘very annoying.’ Same.
- SEC Country’s Marq Burnett with more in-depth analysis of the win over Texas A&M in Off the Marq.
- Get it? Marq?
- Alabama is ‘sticking by‘ linebacker commit VanDarius Cowan, who was kicked off his high school team, reports SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner. I admit to knowing only the details of the situation that have been reported, but I question the way this all has played out, from a coaching point of view. Cowan is not the first highly-rated recruit with attitude issues, but if football is the great educator that many believe it to be, I find it unlikely that kicking this kid (and he is a kid) off of his team is in his best interest. Perhaps this is all part of a lesson being taught in a now-very-public way by his coach. Whatever the situation, I hope Cowan is learning from it.
- From Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, this could be the year for Lane Kiffin’s head coaching resurrection.
- The life and times of FunnyMaine – real name Jermaine Johnson, the man behind these videos:
— FunnyMaine (@FunnyMaine) October 23, 2016
Nick Saban asserted Monday that Mack Wilson’s infamous hit on Speedy Noil wasn’t targeting, because the kick returner wasn’t “defenseless.” This much is true. Noil clearly had time to turn himself into a ball carrier and active player, no longer able to enjoy the protections of say, a quarterback mid-pass.
However, this assessment ignores two parts of the targeting rule. The original construction of the targeting rule, which mostly remains in place, outlaws the use of the crown of the helmet to strike an opponent. Noil doesn’t bend into Wilson’s helmet. The linebacker specifically contacts with his helmet first, and replay is indecisive at best regarding whether Wilson leads with the crown of his helmet.
That brings us to the final sentence of the rule’s text: “When in doubt, it is a foul.” That’s a guideline in place because of the ability to review the play, which admittedly then places the burden of evidence on the accused targeter to overturn with “incontrovertible video evidence,” but this is not a court of law. When the game is moving that fast, it’s impossible for a referee to tell for sure whether Wilson should be judged to have used the crown or side of his helmet. The play should have been flagged; that much is clear.
What should also be clear, though apparently is not, is that this no-call had no material effect on the outcome of the game. Fifteen yards of field position to start this possession would have put the drive stalling at the Alabama 46-yard line instead of the Texas A&M 39. Even if you believe Texas A&M’s kicker has a 63-yard kick in him, three points hardly would have swung the game. As far as the ensuing ejection goes, I’m not sure a freshman linebacker who only sees the field on special teams as a gunner was the key to Alabama’s game plan.
You can read Nick Saban’s full comments to the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club here.
Around the Capstone
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) October 24, 2016
- Basketball single-game tickets are on-sale now.
- The student-athletes advisory council held a Halloween event for local children.
I just want to say thank you to everyone for checking on me and all the prayers all I know is how to bounce back, as a team we still have unfinished business and I'm not going anywhere until it's over, I want to say thank you to coach Saban and the coaching staff and also the University Of Alabama for the best four years of my life I learned and grew a lot now it's time to help coach my boys up and finish this thing…God Is In Control???RTR!!
Eddie Jackson’s on-field career at Alabama is almost certainly over, but he appears to be as invested as ever. I’ve always been impressed by Jackson’s composure and character. I hate this injury for him, but his attitude and resilience is to be commended.