Quick Thoughts on The Packers Draft Picks

2.)  Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State:  

Like most collegiate d-linemen, Worthy coasted at times, but that won’t fly in the the NFL.  Anyone who saw him play knows Worthy’s explosiveness and ability to penetrate are rare for 305 pounds.  The Packers DL Coach (Trgovac) is going to have to stay on him to develop him into the player the Packers want him to be.


3.) Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt:

Hayward adds much needed depth in the secondary for the Packers. He probably doesn’t have the upside of Perry and Worthy, but he’s a much safer choice because you know what you’re getting with him. Hayward is excellent playing in zones, is smart, and has great instincts (15 INTs).  He should at least be an effective nickel corner.

4.)  Mike Daniels, DT, Iowa: 

He’s a high-energy player (which you can’t teach), but his short stature is what pushed him down draft boards.  He is an explosive, technical and tough player that should at least find a role as a pass rusher, something Green Bay certainly needed last year.  It’s just my hunch, but I bet he develops into a good player.  Most the guys that are hard workers, and always give 100%, but have been told they’re too small their entire career don’t stop working until the reach their goals.  


5.)   Jerron McMillian, S, Maine:  

He ran a 4.36 at his Pro Day.  He’s a hard hitter and tough competitor.  He should at least be able to compete for the #3 safety spot and be a solid contributor on special teams.


6.)  Terrell Manning, ILB, North Carolina State:

Considering he played outside at NC State, he’ll have to adjust playing inside in the 3-4 defense.  He’s short for an inside linebacker, isn’t overly physical, and doesn’t take on blocks very well.  But he had as many turnover-producing plays as any linebacker in the draft.  Over time, he might have the tools to start if he doesn’t have more knee problems. 


7.)  Andrew Datko, T, Florida State:  

He was a starter at LT for Florida State for 4 years, but he doesn’t have the athleticism to play LT in the NFl, and his shoulder problems scared off most teams.

8.)  B.J. Coleman, QB, Tennessee-Chattanooga:  

He has a good arm,  above average accuracy and his decision-making is pretty good.  He had an adequate career after leaving Tennessee when Lane Kiffin handed the starting job to Jonathan Crompton.

Scouts question if Coleman has the right stuff to be a leader.  He’s smart and meticulous in his preparation, but his single-mindedness is said to be over the top.  Teammates don’t gravitate to him.  If he starts calling out receivers in Green Bay as has in his past, I think it’s safe to say that he won’t be around long.


Quick Thoughts on The Packers taking Nick Perry

The Packers were in desperate need for a pass rusher opposite of Clay Matthews, who was double- and sometimes triple-teamed last year, and they landed USC DE/OLB Nick Perry (6’ 3”, 271 lbs) with their first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.  Perry is a physical freak (4.64 40, 35 reps on the bench, 38.5 vertical, and 124.0 inch broad jump), who flashed big-time ability during his career at USC.  The knock on him was that his film was very inconsistent, and that turned off some teams.  Most scouts believe you either have a motor, or you don’t.  The rate of players that seem to bust from USC has been high.  Some personnel people apparently regard USC as a soft program with entitled players, and I would have a hard time arguing against that.  Guys like Clay Matthews and Troy Polamalu are the exceptions.   

I like the pick.  He has very good athleticism, strength, and burst for a guy with his size, so he shouldn’t have any problem adapting to OLB in Green Bay.  He should be able to drop back into coverage in Dom Capers’ defense, and we already know he can rush the passer (lead USC in sacks his freshman and senior year).  As far as his inconsistent motor, I am not too worried about that because I think he’ll get pushed hard by OLB Coach Kevin Greene and OLB Clay Matthews, and he’ll end up maximizing his ability.  He shouldn’t have to do too much because he’ll be playing opposite of one of the best players in the NFL (see: Matthews, Clay).  It will be a big success if he can fit into the defense, and just take pressure off of Clay Matthews, so teams can no longer double and triple-team him.  But like in any Draft, only time will tell.      

Mike Tyson Highlights - Destroyer In Prime


A-Day 2012

A-Day 2012

Alabama coach Anthony Grant’s pre-SEC tournament press conference (via AL.com)

I Knew The Saints Were Dirty Back In ‘09

It was blatantly obvious during the 2009 NFC Championship that the Saints were trying to injure Favre by any means necessary, whether it was a clean hit or a blatantly dirty/late hit.  The tone was set early in the game when Favre was carrying out a play-fake to Percey Harvin, and was intentionally hit late by the Saints DE two to three seconds late.  All the Saints fans I know couldn’t see or comprehend it at the time because they were too blinded by their fandom, but it was obvious what the Saints were doing.  There is a huge difference between trying to hurt a player, and trying to injure him by any means necessary.  Plain and simple.  

I have no problem with a defensive player hitting someone as hard as they can, and trying to impose their will on their opponent, but as long as it’s within the rules of the game.  Intentionally hitting someone low, late, cheap, or pile-driving them into the ground with an intent to injure them is inexcusable - especially when the defender gets financially rewarded for that dirty hit.  Football is a physical game, but there is no place in the sport for a player to get paid/rewarded when they intentionally injure an opponent and have them “carted off” the field.  

Peter King caught up with Favre and got some quotes from him on the issue and on the ‘09 NFC Championship Game:

With Favre, the reaction is rarely three words long. “I’m not pissed,” he said. “It’s football. I don’t think anything less of those guys. I would have loved to play with Vilma. Hell of a player. I’ve got a lot of respect for Gregg Williams. He’s a great coach. I’m not going to make a big deal about it. In all honesty, there’s a bounty of some kind on you on every play. Now, in that game there were some plays that, I don’t want to say were odd, but I’d throw the ball and whack, on every play. Hand it off, whack. Over and over. Some were so blatant. I hand the ball to Percy Harvin early and got drilled right in the chin. They flagged that one at least.


"I’ve always been friends with Darren Sharper, and he came in a couple times and popped me hard. I remember saying, ‘What THE hell you doing, Sharp?’ I felt there should have been more calls against the Saints. I thought some of their guys should have been fined more.”

****


Coach Grant, JaMychal Green, and Andrew Steele in the post-game press conference after last night’s win over Auburn.

Aaron Rodgers answers my question on "The Aaron Rodgers Show" a couple days after the unfortunate loss to the Giants.  


I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal.  I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany. 

The 10 Recruits I’m The Most Excited About

It is very difficult to pick just ten guys in this class because the coaching staff picked up so many outstanding prospects yesterday, with probably the best class we’ve signed since 2008, but I’ll give it a shot.  I tended to lean more towards the prospects that I thought had a better chance making an impact in the near future.

Landon Collins – S – How could a Bama fan not get excited about stealing the best player in Louisiana, who also just happens to be one of the best players in the country, especially considering what he had to deal with from his mom?  He’s a perfect hybrid safety, who is as comfortable playing the deep middle of the field as he is playing close to the line of scrimmage.  Might remind some Tide fans of Mark Barron.  Depending on how quickly he picks up the defense, we could easily see Collins playing a lot next season. 

 

Amari Cooper – WR – Cooper is a natural receiver with big-play ability and very good hands.  He’s got good length but, like most freshmen, he’ll need to add more bulk now that he’s on campus.  Cooper is a good route-runner and also a solid vertical threat.  Saban requires his WRs to be extremely sound fundamentally (especially in blocking for the running game) before they see the field - and that’s usually the biggest adjustment for the young WRs at Bama - but I could still see Cooper making an early impact next year.

 

Eddie Williams – WR/S – Williams is an absolute elite-level prospect at safety and at wide receiver.  At safety he’s a headhunter and a punishing tackler, but it sounds as if he’ll start out his career at WR (adding Landon Collins probably allowed this to happen), and I’m excited about adding his big frame (6’4”, 210 lbs) to the receiving corps.  Williams is an absolute beast as a deep threat and he excels at going up and catching the ball (high-pointing the ball) with a DB contesting the pass.  His physicality also makes him tough to tackle on the short and intermediate throws, and I imagine he enjoys blocking as well.  He could be an early contributor, and it would be a welcomed addition to the offense among Tide fans that missed having Julio Jones, and his physical play, at the WR position last season. 

Ryan Anderson – DE/LB – Whoa…. This guy comes to play with bad intentions.  I’m extremely high on this kid’s potential.  He could be Courtney Upshaw 2.0 if he develops like he should.  This dude is extremely competitive and has a real mean streak playing the OLB/DE “Jack” position.  He definitely does not shy away from contact and is not a fun guy to try to block (just ask the guys that went up against him at the MS/AL All-Star Game practices).  Not only does he have a mean streak, but he also has a high motor, which is something that you can’t teach.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he played some next year, but I would be a little surprised if he played a lot because of the talent ahead of him on the depth chart (Adrian Hubbard and Xzavier Dickson).    

 

T.J. Yeldon – RB – With the departure of Trent Richardson to the NFL, Bama wanted another horse in the backfield to compliment Eddie Lacy & Co.  After all, is it possible to have too many running backs in your backfield when you are competing in the SEC?  Yeldon is a tall, lean RB with a versatile skill set, very good hands out of the backfield, and a propensity for hurdling defenders.  He might need to add some more bulk to consistently run between the tackles in the SEC, but I could see him as a change-of-pace RB or a 3rd down RB next year (although Dee Hart might take the majority of those snaps).  I’d expect him to play some next year.  How much depends on how high the staff is on Dee Hart, who I think has loads of play-making ability (just go back and watch some of the runs he had in last year’s A-Day game).  I like Kenyan Drake a lot too, but I think Yeldon is much more likely to make an immediate impact.         

 

Reggie Ragland – LB/TE – I’m a big fan of Ragland and his versatility.  He has the skill set to be another Rolando McClain or he could even play TE and remind some people of a young Antonio Gates (Ragland is also an explosive basketball player).  At linebacker he’s a typical Alabama linebacker that plays downhill with great closing speed and explosive tackling.  Plays with good intensity.  I’m not going to lie, I’m really intrigued with the possibility of Ragland playing TE and giving us our first difference-maker at the tight end position, but he would excel at linebacker too.  If he starts out at TE, then I could see him playing next year.  If he plays linebacker, I could see him playing in spots but probably not on a regular basis.  At worst he definitely looks like an impact player on special teams next year.

 

Travell Dixon – CB – Dixon was a big commitment in my opinion.  High-level college football has changed over the last few years, with recruits wanting to get on campus earlier (mid-term enrollees), and in turn go to the NFL earlier, so impact JUCO guys are needed from time-to-time to fill the gaps created by “misses” in recruiting and those elite prospects that leave early for the NFL.  Saban’s track record is pretty darn solid when it comes to bringing in JUCO players, and there are high expectations for Dixon next year.  He’s one of those few CBs that has great size (6’1”, 190 lbs) but still has fluid hips and quickness.  He was one of the best JUCO players in the country for a reason.  I’d look for him to start next season.   

 

Deion Belue – CB – Another JUCO CB that committed to Alabama a couple years ago, but did not qualify.  Belue is an explosive player, and might be one of the most underrated players in this class.  He has great ability at the CB position, and elite-level talent as a return guy (which is what really excites me the most).  He’s fast, with good closing & recovery speed.  Lookout for him in the near future.   

Geno Smith – CB – Like most freshmen, he’ll need to add some bulk to adequately press receivers at the line, but he is a playmaking corner that comes to a team in need of cornerbacks.  He plays well in space, and is a smooth corner with good ball skills.  But the attributes that could get him on the field early are his football IQ and the fact that he’s a good tackler, who isn’t afraid to come up and help in run support. 

 

Brandon Greene – OT – It’s very doubtful that Greene will play next year, but I think he has great potential as a RT, and there’s a need at that position.  We’ll probably lose DJ Fluker to the NFL after next season, so Greene was a pretty big pickup in this class.  He’s athletic and has the perfect skill set to play right tackle.  He’s physical, excels in the running game, and doesn’t have a problem getting to the second level.

List of prospects on campus for Junior Day

Here is the list of players that supposedly made it to Tuscaloosa for Junior Day:

Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Loganville (Ga.) Grayson - 

Reuben Foster, LB, LaGrange (Ga.) Troup County - 

Altee Tenpenny, RB, North Little Rock (Ark.) West - 
Hunter Henry, TE, Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy - 
Kendell Beckwith, DE/OLB, Jackson (La.) - 
Tim Williams, DE, Baton Rouge (La.) University - 
Jake Thomas, OT, Columbus (Miss.) -  
Darian Claiborne, LB, Port Allen (La.) -  
Deon Johnson, ATH, Spanish Fort (Ala.) - NR
Jonathan Cook, ATH, Spanish Fort (Ala.) - 

Tyrone Crowder, OG, Rockingham (N.C.) - 

Kamryn Melton, CB/ATH, Dothan (Ala.) - 
Bradley Bozeman, OL, Roanoke (Ala.) Handley - 
O.J. Howard, TE/ATH, Prattville (Ala.) - 
Dee Liner, DL, Muscle Shoals (Ala.) - 
Ardarius Stewart, ATH, Fultondale (Ala.) -  
Kyle Bosch, OL, Wheaton (Ill.) St. Francis - 
Logan Tuley - Tillman, OT, Peoria (Ill.) St. Francis -    
John Diarse, Ath. Neville (La.) - 
Noland Sharpe, OL, Destrehan, La. -  
Jason Smith, Mobile (Ala.) McGill Toolen -  
Earnest Robinson, Pinson (Ala.) Pinson Valley -  
Carl Lawson, OLB/DE Milton (Ga.) –  
Alvin Kamara, RB, Norcross (Ga.)-   
Jarren Johnson, WR/ATH, Jackson (Ala.)-  
Walker Jones, LB, Memphis (TN) - NR
Connor Mitch, QB, Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield -  
Grant Hill, OL, Huntsville (Ala.) - 
Nate Andrews, WR, Fairhope (Ala.) - NR
Bo Scarbrough, Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Northridge - 2014 All-American 
Tre’ Williams, Mobile (Ala.) St. Paul’s - 2014 All-American

K.C. Crosby, LB/TE, Bamberg (S.C.) Bamberg-Ehrhardt - Class of 2014

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TeamSpeedKills.com: Quantifying Alabama's Defensive Brillance

Upsahw

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Link: Evaluating Alabama's Defense

Saban's D

Aaron Rodgers for MVP

Peter King did a  pretty good job explaining why he voted for Aaron Rodgers over Drew Brees as the Most Valuable Player in the NFL:  

The MVP dilemma. Brees made it a horse race, and more than that. In the end, early this morning, I struggled with what to do with my vote, one of 50 for the annual Associated Press NFL awards and All-Pro team. I could go Brees, or I could go Rodgers, or I could, as I’ve done before, split my vote half and half. I thought a lot about doing that, and I can see why some voters might do that. Unlike baseball, the football MVP is done by voting for first place. Not first, second and third, or more than that. Just one vote. So that was a consideration in a very tight race.

Brees has had, arguably, the greatest statistical offensive season a quarterback has ever had, with the most passing yards, the best accuracy, and the fourth-most touchdowns in a season (46). Rodgers set the NFL mark for passer rating, became the first passer to have 12 straight games with a rating over 105, led the Packers to the best record in the league, and had the best passing season the Packers have ever seen — which is saying something, considering their Hall of Fame heritage (Arnie Herber, Bart Starr and soon Brett Favre).

Sometime after 5 this morning, I finalized my call. I decided not to split the vote, because I thought it would be a cop out. I felt I had to make a decision. And I picked Rodgers. Four reasons:

1. I thought Rodgers was better for the full season. Rodgers was 14-1, Brees 13-3. So much can go into wins and losses, and each man did more than any on his team to lead to those wins. But in the two midseason losses that ultimately cost the Saints the second seed in the playoffs, Brees was less than perfect, and it hurt his team. In a six-point loss to Tampa Bay in Week 6, Brees threw one interception late in the first half that Josh Freeman turned into a touchdown three plays later. Late in the fourth quarter, down six, Brees threw an interception in the end zone. Two weeks later, New Orleans went to St. Louis and lost by 10 to A.J. Feeley and the Rams. Brees threw one interception that was returned for a touchdown, and the other was turned into a touchdown pass by Feeley. In Rodgers’ first 12 weeks of the season, he ground up every opponent with remarkable efficiency, throwing 37 touchdowns with just five interceptions … almost the same way Brees played at the end of the season. In the last eight games, Brees was as brilliant as Rodgers was for the first 12. The Saints were 8-0, and he threw 27 touchdowns with four interceptions, and was a paragon of accuracy. But those two losses to, as it turned out, 4-12 and 2-14 teams, with Brees mistakes a factor, weighed on my decision. In the end, it was like watching two almost perfect skaters, and one lands the quad and one has a perfect program except for double-footing the landing on one jump.

2. Brees had five multiple-interception games, Rodgers none. Not decisive, but a factor. I also thought the TD-to-interception differential (plus-39 for Rodgers, plus-32 for Brees) and the yards per attempt (9.25 to 8.33, in Rodgers’ favor) was a factor.

3. I wanted to respect statistics but not be overwhelmed by them. I have tremendous respect for Brees the team player, and I couldn’t care less that he was throwing the ball up 22 with three minutes to play against Atlanta. All he’s doing is executing the plays that are called. But I don’t want numbers, some of which are exacerbated in blowouts like the 62-7 rout of the Colts (Brees) and 45-7 rout of the Vikings (Rodgers), to affect the vote unduly, particularly since Brees threw 155 more passes than Rodgers.

4. Rodgers won the head-to-head matchup. Again, not overwhelming. But a brick in the wall.

As for the Flynn performance, I think it could be evidence that it’s the system and the supporting cast as much as the player that makes the quarterback in Green Bay. But how much stock do you put in one game? Is it anecdotal or absolutely proof? I think it’s more of the former, but I just don’t think we have enough proof. How do we know that if Chase Daniel, Brees’ backup, started against the Panthers Sunday with all that talent around him in the passing game, and with a superb play-caller in Sean Payton who knows what Daniel does well and what he doesn’t, that he wouldn’t have thrown for 330 and four touchdowns? We don’t.

One of the things that bothers me about not voting for Brees is that I think, overall, he’s been the best quarterback in football over the last six years, with a phenomenal record of achievement. And he hasn’t won an MVP. I sincerely hope he does before he retires, and if he wins it this year, I won’t be bothered at all, because Brees has been a great difference-maker this year. I just think Rodgers has been a little better for the full season.

****

It’s also important to note that, while Rodgers finished fifth in passing yards, he finished 16th in pass attempts.  Brees attempted 663 passes, while Rodgers finished the year with only 502 pass attempts. Give Rodgers another 150 attempts, and based on his averages, he would have ended the season with around 6,000 yards. 


Armchair Film Review: Tennessee

With “The Game of The Century” just a few days away, I figured it might be time to get back on the horse and start posting again.  Here are my brief, procrastinated thoughts about Bama’s 37-6 vicory over the Vols.

  • That was a pretty bad INT by AJ at the beginning of the game, when he did not see the UT linebacker drop into coverage, and threw the ball right to him.  But on the bright side, it was our first turnover in SEC play, and it’s good for AJ to get that bad throw out of his system before the LSU game this weekend.
  • Hightower is playing like a man possessed this year!  I thought he would have a BIG year, being two years removed from his knee injury, but he might be even better than I thought he’d be this season. 
  • We’re getting better on the deep throws, but there’s always room for improvement.  By my count we were 2-4 on deep passes against UT.  I think the deep throws will be a huge factor in the LSU game.  They’ll stack the line to slow down T-Rich, so it’ll be up to AJ, Maze, Bell, or White to step up and make plays down the field.  My X-factor pick for that game is Kenny Bell (more on that later).
  • For some reason we’ve had a tendency to come out flat or slow at the very beginning of games, and that was the case in this game as well.  We gave up early leads to Florida, Ole Miss, Vandy, and again against Tennessee.  Hopefully that will not be the case against LSU, but only time will tell.  One thing I will say about our team is that I love the way they respond to adversity.  If the defense gives up a big play, then the offense methodically drives down the field and responds with points (most of the time).  In this game, our defense stepped up and stopped UT after AJ threw the interception.  
  • AJ seemed like he was a little off his game against Tennessee.  He played pretty well, but his throws were slightly off at times (i.e. overthrowing Williams in the endzone and not hitting Hanks in stride 3 times).  He needs to have a really good game against LSU, so hopefully he took time to clean up his mechanics during the bye week.
  • CJ Mosley looks better each game, and looks to be getting back to 100%, which is really good timing.  We’ll need him to play well against LSU TE DeAngelo Peterson and some of the option runs with Jefferson.
  • Like most young QBs, AJ has improved each and every game.  I loved how he ran the ball into the endzone on our first touchdown, and didn’t force the ball into coverage.  At one point in the Vandy game, AJ could’ve run the ball into the endzone but decided to throw the ball to DeAndrew White instead, and it took a heck of a catch for it to be a TD.  There’s no need to throw it when you can run it in.  AJ is learning and getting better each game.
  • I also loved the call and the throw to Kenny Bell for our 2nd touchdown.  We stopped them on a 4th down play (if I remember correctly) and we decided to go with a play-action pass to the endzone on our first offensive snap.  I loved the aggressiveness. 
  • Against UT we used a power formation with Fluker AND Barrett Jones lined up on the right side of the line.  I’m not sure if we’ve used that before, or if I’ve just missed it, but those run plays were money.  I’m sure we’ll see more of that against LSU.  It looks like one of those classic formations where the defense knows you’re about to run to that side, but still can’t stop it.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we ran something to the left or threw out of that formation to try to catch LSU napping.  I would say we’d run a misdirection play out of that formation, but that’s not what you do against LSU.  They’re too fast for that to work.  The way to beat LSU is to run right at them, smacking them in the mouth, and running the ball north and south. 
  • T-Rich’s 3rd quarter TD run was nasty!  I still don’t know how he got through that sliver of a hole in the O-line and broke those tackles to get into the endzone.   

Armchair Film Review: Florida

Alabama worked over the Florida Gators to the tune of 38-10 last Saturday night in The Swamp.  Here are a few notes and observations from the cheap seats…

  • Well, a couple of my preseason predictions are looking pretty good at this point.  One was that our defense would be better than it was in ‘09, and the second one was that Trent would win the Heisman.  We’ll see how the season shakes out, but those two predictions are in pretty good shape right now.  T-Rich just has to keep up his Heisman momentum over the next three games because they won’t be in the national spotlight (Vandy, Ole Miss, and Tennessee).
  • Florida came out of the game in some 2 TE formations that caught the Bama staff a little off guard.  But not only does Alabama have the best coaching staff in the country, but I believe they’ve also got the best coaching staff at making adjustments during the game.  Teams might be able to surprise them a little in the beginning, but our staff gets control of the game after they adapt and adjust to what their opponent is doing.
  • Dre was beat off the line on the first play from scrimmage that resulted in a touchdown pass. He didn’t get a bump at the line, Lester had his eyes in the backfield so he was slow to give Dre help over the top, and Brantley made a perfect pass.  It’s disappointing that happened on the Florida’s first play, but I care more about how our team responded after that.  The Florida crowd was hyped up for the game, and they exploded when they scored on that pass.  It was one of the loudest atmospheres I ever experienced (in the beginning of that game).  The fact that our team did not panic, and worked their way back into the game, eventually dominating Florida, speaks volumes for the type of team we have this year.  Dre responded well too.  He didn’t have a pass completed on him the rest of the game.
  • After UF’s touchdown, our offense responded with a nice, long, powerful drive that resulted in a field goal.  Our O-line and RBs really just wear their opponents down.  It’s like a fighter that repeatedly goes to the body.  Body Blow! They might not hurt at first, but by the later rounds your opponent will have no energy, will have lost his will to fight, and he ends up wilting to the ground in submission.  That’s what our offense does to our opponents.  They wear them down, and make their ass quit by the 4th quarter.
  • Our O-line really seems to be coming together at the right time.  I wasn’t sure how good we’d be along our offensive line because we had the find a left tackle and the answer seemed to be moving our best guard to the tackle spot.  That seems to have worked out better than anyone could’ve imagined up to this point.
  • It felt like we threw a good bit on 1st down (and early downs - typically run downs) to keep Florida off balance.  
  • It was a really good job of improvisation by AJ and Kenny Bell in the 1st quarter scramble and throw in the redzone that should’ve resulted in a touchdown. Kenny Bell has to make that catch.
  • I’m not sure what the stats say, but we need to improve our kickoffs.  Foster seems to get good direction and trajectory on most of them, but when he mishits it, our opponent gets the ball on or around their own 40 yard line.  That’s not good.  The one good thing is that our kickoff coverage unit has been pretty good all year. 
  • Nico did a good job filling in for Mosley in the game, although he made a few mistakes early.  He got really lucky that Brantley led Rainey out of bounds on a short pass that would’ve been a touchdown.
  • Our special teams unit was able to produce a huge response of their own (after UF scored a FG on their second drive) when Maze took the following kickoff back to the Florida 30 yard line.  A few plays later Trent was able to run the ball into the endzone to tie the game.  Maze has really developed into quite a playmaker as a return man.
  • AJ has definitely improved at keeping his eyes downfield when he’s moving around inside or outside of the pocket, but he needs to continue to improve in that area.  He missed Smelley wide open in the endzone on the 1st & Goal with about a minute to go in the 1st quarter. 
  • Our offensive line really manhandled the Florida defensive line for the majority of the game.  
  • You can watch our defense play and easily tell that the coaches emphasized stripping the ball and manufacturing turnovers this year.
  • Upshaw continues to have a heck of a year.  This is the kind of year that Bama fans were expecting out of him and Dareus last year, but unfortunately both of them were hobbled with injuries the majority of the season.
  • Nick Gentry continues to be somewhat of a unsung hero along our defensive line. He doesn’t have the physical attributes of most of the guys on our D-line, so I guess that’s why he goes somewhat unnoticed, but he always makes a few plays a game where he’s affecting the opposing QB.  He had a great rush that forced Brantley to throw the ball off his back foot, which resulted in Upshaw’s pick 6.
  • I love seeing us continue to use Michael Williams in the passing game.  He’s a real weapon for us, and he combines with Brad Smelley to make a pretty formidable TE/H-back duo. Smelley is a nice, reliable option at that position.  I’d like to see us split Williams out wide close to the goal line and try to throw him a jump ball at some point this year.  At 6’7” he would be a complete mismatch for a CB or safety.
  • The only thing our offense is missing at this point in the season is the threat of the deep ball.  AJ has missed on the few shots we’ve taken down the field so far this season.  If teams think it’s hard to stop our running game now, then wait until we start hitting on those deep passes and they have to worry about us throwing over their heads.
  • Cody Mandell finally had a pretty good game punting the ball, but our kicking game has got to continue to improve.
  • Even our zone defense is nasty.  Our guys will sit back in the zone, and then react faster than probably any team in the country.  It really is fun to watch our defense do work. 
  • It was fun to watch our guys smash the Florida players up and down the field.  I know the Florida defenders were tired of it because they finally became unglued and committed a couple unsportsmanlike penalties.
  • I love AJ’s fiery competitiveness.  He was jawing with Easley after the roughing the passer penalty.  AJ was also going nuts when scored a few plays later, which resulted in a little pep talk from Coach Saban. 
  • AJ has really shown a great poise and calmness in the pocket for the most part.  There are times where he looks a little hesitant and almost like he’s operating in slow motion, but I guess that should be expected from a first-year starter.
  • We might have the best tackling defense in the country.  Again, it really is fun to watch our defense play.
  • Chance Warmack looked better in this game.  It seemed like he was getting more consistent push and moving his guy out of the way more than he has thus far.
  • Our pass protection was pretty outstanding in this game.  
  • Dre continues to show outstanding leadership qualities.  He’s always around guys to encourage them or pull them away from the opponent if it’s getting heated.  He went up and put his arm around John Fulton to encourage him after Saban chewed him out. 
  • T-Rich seems to get stronger as the game goes on.  He was literally carrying defenders in this game, and put the team on his back in the second half when we needed to shut the door on the Gators.