1. Mac Jones...Heisman winner or just a good Alabama QB?
RBR: Man, you really want to start a civil war among ‘Bama fans? I think right now we have to view Mac Jones similarly to how we viewed Joe Burrow early last year. He’s looked shaky in the past and doesn’t really ‘wow’ you with crazy good throws and perfect mechanics. But at the same time, he’s putting up historic numbers without the benefit of playing cupcake games.
Mac’s got a very accurate deep ball and he’s a patient enough guy to be happy to keep running checkdowns if the opposing defense is trying to play deep.
The biggest worry we all have with him is that he’s proven to make some really risky throws in tense situations and has a tendency to start throwing off his back foot if the pressures getting to him. That mentality has turned into some big plays and hasn’t bit him yet this season, but he got bailed out a few times by his receivers against Georgia, and we all saw the two pick-sixes against Auburn last year.
But yeah, if he keeps putting up these kind of numbers, the Heisman is his.
2. Alabama tends to be the best defensive team in the SEC. What happened against Ole Miss and the Lane Train?
Well, “tends to be” hasn’t really been the case since 2017. Alabama’s defense has gotten worse each of the last three seasons, and everything went wrong against Ole Miss. They’ve been utterly horrendous at covering tight ends and running backs this season, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a front seven collectively bite on play fakes with such consistency. The cornerbacks have been really, really good, but with the linebackers and safeties totally unable to cover anyone with a pulse in the passing game, it just fell apart.
That said, we did see them come out and have great second halves against Georgia and Tennessee. But also, Jarrett Guarantano has a four-year track record of making defenses look good.
3. What will Mississippi State have to do to stop Mac Jones and the Alabama offense?
It’s about as cliché of an answer as you’ll ever hear, but you have to get pressure. Blitz, blitz and blitz some more. Make Jones antsy and he’ll start pushing some risky throws. If you get an interception and gain a little bit of a lead, Alabama can’t lean on Najee Harris as much, and then you can blitz even more.
4. MVP’s: Offense and Defense. Go.
Offense: I think it has to be offensive line as a whole. This is looking like Alabama’s best offensive line unit since 2012, and possibly better. They’ve barely let Jones be touched this season, and Harris has pretty much never gotten stopped in the backfield. The dude averages six yards per carry every game, and almost never has a run longer than 20 yards to buoy the average up. The running game is about as consistent as it gets.
And if I had to pick one, it would be center Landon Dickerson. The senior might be crazy (there’s at least one play a game where he’s finishing a pancake block with his helmet flying off into space somewhere), but his energy really rubs off on the whole offense.
On defense, my personal pick is Josh Jobe. The first-year starter at left outside cornerback has barely been targeted all year. Against Georgia, he broke up a critical third-down pass, deflected another third-down pass for an interception to his teammate and also was the only player on the whole team to not bite on a wide receiver reverse.
5. Saturday’s game will be the best offense in the SEC vs. the best defense in the SEC. On the flip side, Mississippi State’s offense has struggled since Week 1. Will Alabama rush three and drop eight as every other defense has since LSU?
I hope so. Knowing Alabama’s current defensive coordinator, though, he’s gonna come out blitzing and sticking to man coverage for a half as we are killed by a million checkdowns and crossing routes. Then at halftime, Nick Saban and his crew of analysts step in and go to the same defense that’s worked against Leach for a decade.
6. If you could dress up as anything for Halloween (and not get judged) what would it be and why?
I’d be Samus Aran. Space suit and a giant cannon for an arm. She’s always been my favorite video game character.
Plus, wearing a helmet means I don’t have to make small talk every time I accidentally make eye contact with someone.
7. Halloween is a scary holiday. There’s no need to make it even more horrifying by beating the Dawgs viciously. What’s your prediction for Saturday’s game?
42-13 ‘Bama. Everyone is mad because the Tide misses covering the spread by one point.