I met with Brent Taylor from rollbamaroll.com to get some answers on the Alabama Crimson Tide.
1. What’s the vibe in Tuscaloosa after Saturday’s loss vs. LSU?
Lot’s of wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. For the most part, everyone is occupying themselves with trying to come up with every possible scenario that winds up with Alabama still in the playoffs, and then arguing with each other about which one is right. Those that aren’t busy there, are trying to come up with reasons for the failure: anything from busted recruits two years ago to coaching turnover to Tua Tagovailoa being like Brett Favre with “Hero Ball” (this is used derisively, blaming over confidence as the issue for offensive woes). I mean, all of this happens year round for Alabama fans, but a loss exacerbates it.
2. I just don’t see any reason for Tua to play against Mississippi State this weekend. Do you think there’s any chance Tua gets snaps on Saturday?
I disagree. If he’s good to go, he needs to play. It was obvious he had barely practiced for 3 weeks in the first half against LSU before he found his rhythm again in the second half. I think he needs to play to keep his game and chemistry sharp. On top of that, Mississippi State is, in my opinion, a better team than their record. And quite honestly, I don’t trust Mac Jones to get an easy win like he did against the putrid Arkansas defense.
3. Najee Harris is probably one of the most underrated backs in college football. Why do you think that is?
Najee was a top-5 recruit a couple of years ago, so it’s weird to think of him as underrated. Part of the issue is that his first two years, he split a lot of time with Damien Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Bo Scarbrough. And at the same time, the introduction of Tua Tagovailoa to the world saw the national attention go from Alabama’s running game to their passing game for the first time in the Nick Saban era. This year, Najee finally got his chance to be the starter. With some offensive line issues early in the season, the running game was mostly non-existent. Harris often showed substantial ability to make guys miss in a variety of different ways, but struggled to really find holes in the line. He didn’t really start putting things together until about 4 games ago. His performance against LSU was the best of his career on the biggest stage, so I don’t expect he’ll be underrated much longer.
Mississippi State ALWAYS makes Alabama play ugly the week after LSU. Your run game is gonna make a whole lot of yards on our defense, but eventually stalls in the redzone more often than not. Tua plays the first half and gets out at halftime with a 3-score lead, and Alabama only scores once in the second half. Final score: 38-16
5. Hey, could y’all take it easy on Saturday? There’s just no need to drop 70 on us. We know you can and we respect that. Love you, Nick.
Oh don’t worry, he’ll call off the horses as soon as he can. We have to have two goals: the first team offense and defense have to look overwhelmingly powerful to make sure the playoff committee doesn’t dismiss them, and they have to stay as healthy as possible.
That’s all from Brent and Tuscaloosa. The Mississippi St. Bulldogs will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide this Saturday at 11:00 am CT at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, MS.