| GAME THREAD ⭐ Alabama vs South Carolina ⭐ CBS TV - 2:30 CT

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Bama News


Will Muschamp knows Saturday's game against second-ranked Alabama will be the ultimate test for his football program in Year 4 at South Carolina.

The Gamecocks, who were the last SEC East team to beat Nick Saban's Crimson Tide in 2010, are trying to record their most impressive victory in Muschamp's tenure during the SEC opener for both teams.

"Offensively, it all starts with Tua (Tagovailoa)," Muschamp said to open Tuesday's press conference. "He’s a fantastic football player. They’ve recruited really well at running back position. Big backs. They’re always big up front along the offensive line. Defensively, they’re always tough to move. They’re really talented on the back end.

"Really well coached on defense. Special teams, with (Jaylen) Waddle, he's probably as good a guy there is in our league back there."

Muschamp, who's 1-11 against Top 25 teams at South Carolina, said this summer he believes this is the best team he has fielded in Columbia and his players will welcome the challenge of battling through the nation's toughest schedule this fall.

In addition to Alabama, South Carolina will play Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and Clemson down the stretch — all teams ranked inside the Top 20 in the latest AP Poll.

Here's what Muschamp said Tuesday ahead of Saturday's 3:39 p.m. ET kickoff vs. the Crimson Tide:

ON TUA TAGOVAILOA'S ABILITY, PRESSURE
"If you scale back and give him time, it’s an issue as well. You’ve got to do a nice job in your rush lanes. Don’t let him evade. His ability to extend plays and what we call off rhythm plays is pretty much uncanny. We need to do a good job of staying in coverage."

ON LEARNING UNDER SABAN AT LSU
"I learned a lot as far as obviously from as scheme standpoint, you’ve got tone philosophically aligned with him as far as how he sees the game. The evaluation process in recruiting as far as the critical factor and definitions for every position, I think he took that a step further with the Dolphins and the NFL Draft. The evaluation process has really helped me and our programs moving forward. How we ran the offseason program, we do very similar things. How we install in training camp and how we do spring ball. How we practice is very similar to how we practice when I was with Nick. "

ON ALABAMA'S OFFENSE
"I think Alabama has evolved a little bit but that goes back to the players and talent level they’ve had at each position. They want to take advantage of the QB now. It’s all about taking advantage of the guys in your offense. That’s where you see the touches they’re trying to create for Jeudy and Waddle is what their accentuating on offense. "

ON WINNING 1-ON-1 MATCHUPS
"We’re going have to (win) 50-50 plays on both sides of the ball. There’s going to be middle field coverage in this game and you’re going to have opportunities to create explosive plays in 1 on 1 situations."

ON IMPROVING TACKLING VS. ALABAMA
"We emphasize it every week and every day. We work on it every day. That’s not something that’s anything new. We still have some young guys that need to bring their feet more on tackles. We’ve got to leaner in this league if you stop your feet, you have zero chance. If you stop your feet against a really good athlete, you have zero chance at making the tackle. If you leverage the ball the correct way and miss the tackle, I’ll never say a word about it. To me, it’s about leverage and bringing your feet. "

ON FRESHMAN QB RYAN HILINSKI
"Ryan has a really good mindset. He's a guy who comes in the building and works extremely hard and watches a lot of tape. He's a very confident man in his abilities. He's got a lot of confidence about him in a very positive way.
"No different than last week and the opponent is much different, but we've got to play well around him. Defensively, let's gain some field position. All of those things are all the same for every week whether it's a veteran player or a young player being more successful."

ON 1-1 START, CHANGE AT QB
"I think I've got a pretty comfortable feel about where we are. We didn’t finish the game in Week 1. I feel comfortable about this football team about where we are. We’ve got to be able to adjust and adapt and that’s why you recruit. That’s why we’re in the situation we’re in."

ON KNOWING SABAN PERSONALLY, PREPARATION
"I don’t think it has a whole lot of bearing on the game. There’s 11 players from Alabama and 11 from South Carolina. Those guys will determine the outcome of the game. The familiarity on each side of things is a little blown out of proportion. I haven’t worked for Nick since 2005. That's a long time ago. "

ON SABAN’S PERFECT RECORD VS. FORMER ASSISTANTS
“You’ve got to beat Alabama. At the end of the day, they’re not going to beat themselves. You’ve got to have an aggressive mindset when you go into the ballgame. At the end of the day, there’s going to be four to six plays that will determine the outcome, just like every other game we play. Don’t treat it any different than any other game. "

ON ESTABLISHING THE RUN
"No question, you can’t get into a one dimensional game against this group. They rush the pass very well on the edge and get good push in the middle.”
 
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Bama News

What Nick Saban said about the Gamecocks



The South Carolina Gamecocks will open up Southeastern Conference play this Saturday facing the best team in the league. The Alabama Crimson Tide, led by head coach Nick Saban, will come to Williams-Brice Stadium for the first time since the 2010 season.

The Gamecocks were able to pull the upset that day over the top-ranked team in the country. They won’t have the same opportunity this year as the Crimson Tide (2-0) are ranked as the second-best team in the polls.

But this is an opportunity for a Saban protégé, South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, to knock him off for the first time. Former Saban assistant coaches are 0-16 against their former boss with a combined score of 650 for the Crimson Tide to 220 against all others.

Muschamp has gone against Saban on a pair of occasions - once in his first year as the head coach at Florida and a second time in his final year leading the program. The first time, the Crimson Tide won by 28 points. The second time, it was 21 points.

Going into this year’s game, Saban has a tremendous amount of respect for Muschamp’s Gamecocks.

“This is not an easy place to play,” Saban said on Monday. “We’re going to have to do a great job of getting our guys ready to play certainly their best football game of the season to have success in this kind of environment against this kind of quality football team.”

Below, check out what Saban and several of his players had to say about taking on Muschamp and the South Carolina Gamecocks this weekend at Williams-Brice. Kickoff is set for 3:39 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.

OPENING COMMENTS

“I think overall after watching the last game, there were certainly some areas we made some improvements as a team. But I think overall, from start to finish, we didn’t play the way we’d like to play from a consistency standpoint. We just weren’t clean and crisp in some of the things we tried to execute. One of the things you don’t want to create - people see your vulnerabilities regardless of what you’re doing, whether it’s playing offensive line, covering a guy on defense, reading the right things, running the right routes - it really doesn’t matter. Those things get exposed down the road if you don’t get them fixed. That’s certainly something we can take away from this game in terms of our consistency in performance.

“One thing I would like to say is I know it was a difficult day for our fans because of the circumstances surrounding the weather. I’d like to thank the fans for supporting the team and a lot of people hanging in there to try to support the team. I know the players really appreciate it. It was a difficult circumstance for a lot of folks. Hopefully our administration will continue to try to play some of these games at a different time.

“We certainly look forward to the SEC opener this week. Will Muschamp has done an outstanding job of building a very, very good program at South Carolina. They had a successful season a year ago and are a very well-coached team in every phase of the game. Their guys play hard, and reflect the personality of their coach. This is a good football team.

“They have a lot veteran players coming back - I think 15 starters, including both of their specialists. Their offense is second in the SEC, or whatever, over 500 yards per game. They’re leading the SEC in rushing at 310 yards per game. They have a really good offensive line, have some really good skill players, couple of good wide receivers. I thought the freshman quarterback played flawlessly last week for the first game he’s played in. They do a lot of things on offense that are very difficult to defend.

“Defensively, they’ve got good players, got a good front. Those guys are aggressive and play extremely well.

“This is by far the best special teams group we’ve played, specialists and special teams, certainly this year but ranks right up there with anybody we’ve ever played against.

“This is not an easy place to play. We’re going to have to do a great job of getting our guys ready to play certainly their best football game of the season to have success in this kind of environment against this kind of quality football team.”

ON JAKE BENTLEY TO RYAN HILINSKI …
“Oh, he played great. The guy was like 26-for-30, or whatever (he was 24-for-30) and he had a lot of yards. He certainly didn’t look like a freshman quarterback out there. He’s a good athlete, has a good arm, he was very accurate, made good decisions, got rid of the ball, got the ball out of his hand quickly and executed the offense extremely well.

“No disrespect because we think Bentley is a really good quarterback and certainly an experienced guy, but they didn’t miss a beat in this game in terms of the quarterback position.”

ON THE 2010 LOSS TO SOUTH CAROLINA ...
“What year are we in now? 2019? Most of our guys were in grade school when that happened. But what I remember from it is we got the lining kicked out of our britches. I don’t know if you know what that means, but it means you got your butt kicked so bad, you don’t’ have a seam in the back of your pants. I remember that, but I’ll ask the players today if when they were in sixth grade, if they remember it, but we’ll see.

"If they don’t remember it, I don’t know how it motivates them, but I know this is a tough place to play and we have a lot of respect for the team that we’re playing. I think the players on our team need to have the proper respect in terms of what they need to do to prepare to play a good team like this."

IN WHAT WAYS HAS TUA GROWN MENTALLY?
“Tua has more knowledge and experience of the offense right now and he’s more confident in understanding not only what to do, but why it’s important to do it. He’s got a lot more knowledge of what the defense is trying to do and how they’ll respond and react to certain things. That should help him in his decision-making and judgments.

"I don’t think we were real crisp in the passing game - and I’m not talking about any fault of Tua’s, but sloppy in protection, sloppy in route running, calling seven-man protections and getting too much pressure in the pocket. There’s a lot we need to clean up in the passing game."

WIDE RECEIVER JERRY JEUDY FINDING WAYS TO IMPROVE …
“Jerry has done a good job and been very productive. With all receivers, the constant thing we’re trying to get our guys to do - yeah, we want you to play great when you have the ball, but we also want you to play great when you don’t have the ball.

"I think that’s a general theme we want to get across to all of our guys, because whether it’s a running play or a passing play when you’re not getting the ball where you have to block or convert an RPO to blocking, these things are critical to helping your teammates, no different than when your teammates better do a good job when you get the ball or you won’t have a chance to be successful. Jerry has been pretty good with the ball and as a group, we’d like to improve a little bit when we don’t have the ball."

MORE FROM NICK SABAN ...
Jordan Battle and Daniel Wright on the field …

“I thought those guys both played well. It was an opportunity for them to get some experience, and they did. We sort of rotated guys around back there in the game. I think there were seven or eight guys playing different circumstances in different situations. I wanted to get those guys the chance to play some.”

Assessment of Jaylen Waddle and his punt return style …

“Obviously we had one big return called back because of a very poor decision by a player in terms of block in the back. He’s been very productive. We get a lot of alternative kicks, which takes great judgment on his part as to when do I field the ball, when do I not field the ball, when do I stick it in the middle when it’s a middle return and when do I try to get outside? He’s always done a pretty good job of that. We want to continue to help him improve at his decision-making so we can continue to have the best production possible in this area.

THOUGHTS FROM STAR RECEIVER JERRY JEUDY ...
On being the first SEC game … “We have South Carolina this week, and they’re a great team. We should have the same mindset as we do every other week - just go out there and dominate every opponent.”

On if Nick Saban has said anything from the environment at Williams-Brice … “I didn’t hear anything from him yet, but I heard things from other coaches. They have a loud environment, but we can’t let that distract us from our mission and what our goal is.”

THOUGHTS FROM QUARTERBACK TUA TAGOVAILOA
On going on the road for the first time … “This is what you prepare for is games on the road like this when it’s going to be a hostile environment, it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be hard. This is what we prepare for. Offensively, what we can do is look at the things we can improve on and need to work on and try not to make the same mistakes we made the previous games.”

What were you doing in 2010? … “I think I was in seventh grade, or eighth grade. Seventh grade. The last memory I had, I was playing for a championship when I was that level. But I didn’t really pay attention to college football, as far as the SEC or Alabama. We’re out there on the west coast. We’re just looking at Pac-12 teams. 2010, that was a long time ago. It’s almost 2020.”

THOUGHTS FROM LINEBACKER TERRELL LEWIS ...
On facing a freshman quarterback - do you want to pin your ears back and rush? …“We’ll play it like any other quarterback. I wouldn’t say pin our ears back, because I wouldn’t think they’d want to say, ‘Freshman quarterback, we going to throw the ball, throw the ball.’ So you can’t pin your ears back. You have to stop the run first, then make them have to pass the ball. We definitely are eager to play a freshman quarterback because he hasn’t seen us and just now starting to play, but it’s another quarterback.”
 

TerryP

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Much to everyone's chagrin, I expect to see the team come out sluggish in this game.

I expect UofSC to script a lot in the early going looking to take advantage of what they've seen in the past. IE: inexperience in the interior linebacking corps. I'm not terribly concerned about that. It may result in some early points but I believe we'll see them adjust like we're accustomed to seeing.

If you look at the team you can see areas that aren't as developed as they have been in the past. I guarantee you the staff at UofSC feels the same way. Bama doesn't have a running game they'll respect and they'll try to attack the middle of the line. It makes perfect sense. The staff in Columbia think "Bama is beatable." They are right, but I don't believe they have the ability to do so. They do have some players who can present some matchup problems so I'd suggest don't get too worked up with what you see early on.
 
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Bama News


After playing without the top two centers on its depth chart against New Mexico State, the University of Alabama football team had some promising presences at practice on Tuesday as both Chris Owens and Emil Ekiyor Jr., the most experienced players at that position, were back at practice during the media viewing period.

Alabama worked outdoors in preparation for Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. CT SEC opener at South Carolina. The Crimson Tide is currently a 25-point favorite in that contest.

There was also some good news on the defensive line, although it was a day of mixed results. Freshman Justin Eboigbe , who was receiving first-team reps in August before a foot injury that has sidelined him for the first two games, was back in regular gear for a second consecutive day. Meanwhile, freshman Antonio Alfano, who did not dress for the New Mexico State game, continued to be absent from practice during the media viewing period.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said last Saturday that Alfano is “going through some discipline things with me,” but indicated an eventual return was possible.

As part of a season-long multimedia series celebrating the 150th anniversary of college football, ESPN released its poll of the Top 150 teams in History. The rankings were generated by a panel of 150 voters who selected the better team in thousands of computer-generated head-to-head matchups.

Eighteen different Alabama teams were included in the list. The undefeated 1979 team was the most highly-rated at No. 8, with the 2009 team, the first of Saban’s national championship squads at UA, coming in at No. 10.

The other teams on the list were 1992 (No. 21), 1966 (No. 38), 2015 (No. 42), 1961 (No. 45), 2011 (No. 51), 2016 (No. 65), 1978 (No. 68), 2012 (No. 75), 2018 (No. 87), 1930 (No.91), 1977 (No. 93), 1945 (No. 98), 1925 (No. 114), 1934 (No. 123), 1973 (No. 129) and 1964 (No. 143).

Four of the teams that Alabama considers to have been “national champions” — 1926, 1941, 1965 and 2017 — did not make the list. Alabama does not recognize 1945, 1966, 1977, 2016 or 2018, all of which made the list, as national championship teams.
 

Rolltide24

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I was at the 2010 game at it's a memory I will erase after this Saturday. It was awful. Their fans acted like they'd won the Super Bowl. Altercations broke out between fans after the game, one Bama fan even ran over a USC fan (accidently) after a fight. it was just an ugly experience. My daughter was 4 and it was her 2nd ever Bama game and she still remembers it.

One thing I hope for this weekend is that we get back on track for our defense scoring. I looked back the past 10 games and we've had one TD by our defense. Not sure about special teams. That was Jennings I think, back against Citadel. I'm ready to see a couple of pick 6's or scoop and scores, to get this defense pumped and putting points on the board.
 
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Unless Nick is sandbagging in the Bama running game area then I expect Bama to really struggle with the Chickens. Hopefully Bama will not help them with turnovers. I expect we will know much more about the 2019 version of The King when the horn sounds. Ten Bears is still sticking with his 10-2 prediction. He actually believes there is a decline in the 2019 Crimson Tide.
 

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I think this is the week our running game gets back on track, and I think our defense is up to the task, do I expect a 40 point blowout no but I just feel like there is a little extra motivation this week but we shall see
 

NickelDoubleDog

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Unless Nick is sandbagging in the Bama running game area then I expect Bama to really struggle with the Chickens. Hopefully Bama will not help them with turnovers. I expect we will know much more about the 2019 version of The King when the horn sounds. Ten Bears is still sticking with his 10-2 prediction. He actually believes there is a decline in the 2019 Crimson Tide.
I don't think the run game has had enough time to gel.

Game 1, the starting 5 were new together. But they had to start without the Top 3 (maybe 4) RBs. After Harris and BRob came back it wasn't great, but Duke provided unique looks and then the game became a blowout and at the end the backup OL sprung Ford for a picture perfect long TD run through a huge hole on an outsize zone run.

Game 2 was vs a terrible team but there were some better results. Game 2 also had a new lineup due to 2 guys being injured, and a new C.
 

Bamabww

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Stephen Garcia! oh no, not him. He has bad juju for Bama.

I'll be surprised if we don't struggle on offense in the first half. I think we'll win the game but won't cover.
 

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Wow, kind of surprised I see so many that have us winning a messy one this weekend. I think we destroy them. We have weak sports, for sure, but as a whole, we have a dominant team. Our linebackers and defensive backs are very solid, so I don't see much of a passing threat from South Carolina. our defensive line needs some work, but they are almost there. On offense, our line needs to keep working hard, but I also think we have a passing game that can work around any short comings, hence how we picked it up against Duke after our line faltered.
 

TerryP

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Wow, kind of surprised I see so many that have us winning a messy one this weekend.
Much to everyone's chagrin, I expect to see the team come out sluggish in this game.
That's not what I'm suggesting at all. Starting sluggish in the first road game with some of the problems we've seen in the first two games isn't a stretch. I don't see it as a doom and gloom look either. It's just one of those "time to adjust" things during a game.

If you look at both teams there's only one group I'd give UofSC the advantage with and that's their running back corps. That's not due to talent, but due to production thus far. In all other areas they are clearly over matched.

We're not talking about a game that the bookmakers are looking at as one with a touchdown advantage for the Tide. We're looking at a game where they see four and five times that amount. I won't be surprised to see UofSC have a little scoring success: 14-17 points. I'll be surprised if Bama isn't in the 35 point range.

Which translates to...?

I think we destroy them.
 

BamaFan334

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That's not what I'm suggesting at all. Starting sluggish in the first road game with some of the problems we've seen in the first two games isn't a stretch. I don't see it as a doom and gloom look either. It's just one of those "time to adjust" things during a game.

If you look at both teams there's only one group I'd give UofSC the advantage with and that's their running back corps. That's not due to talent, but due to production thus far. In all other areas they are clearly over matched.

We're not talking about a game that the bookmakers are looking at as one with a touchdown advantage for the Tide. We're looking at a game where they see four and five times that amount. I won't be surprised to see UofSC have a little scoring success: 14-17 points. I'll be surprised if Bama isn't in the 35 point range.

Which translates to...?
Gotcha. I definitely think they score some points, but I also do not see them stopping our offense. I have our offense in the 45 point range.
 

TerryP

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Nice job on the graphic ...

 
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