| FTBL PRE-GAME THREAD: Alabama visits Mississippi State Saturday night.

1CrimsonTider

Touchdown Club
Here's what Mississippi State coach Mike Leach had to say about hosting No. 5 Alabama this week:

Q: What was the biggest thing you and your guys achieved over the bye week?
ML: We got a lot of really good work with the young guys. We got some good work on the fundamentals. I'd like to think that we were able to rest some of our guys a little. We really don't have that luxury. We are not a real deep team. We are kind of a one-layer team. We have to keep our skillset sharp. So the balance between keeping your skills sharp and resting is a tricky one.

Q: Playing against Alabama is always tough, but how much does playing them coming off a loss change things?
ML: The rankings are all out of whack. Anybody that thinks there are 30 teams better than Texas A&M is out of their minds. Someday when I am in your position I'll go right down the list and tell you which ones. You had two good teams play, and the home team won. John Wooden used to say "Never be surprised when the home team wins." That is a heck of an atmosphere there. I love playing at Kyle Field. It is a heck of a place to play. Two really good teams played, and Texas A&M won.

Q: When you throw it as much as you do in your offense, are interceptions an occupational hazard or what would you consider to be an acceptable number?
ML: I don't think any are acceptable. Zero is an acceptable number. You try to guard against them at all costs. It is kind of the same when a ball carrier has it. How many fumbles is an acceptable number? They happen from time to time, but there is no acceptable number.

Q: When you play teams that recruit at such a high level, is it more important for players to play above themselves or to simply play consistently within the system?
ML: You have to be disciplined enough where your best is always enough. You've got to be disciplined enough to do your best focusing. Don't be discouraged. Don't get too hyped up if something good happens for you. The discipline to constantly bring your best effort and not get distracted by the highs and the lows, I think it takes quite a bit of discipline to do that. That is the key. Nobody can play above themselves because that is above themselves, so that's not very possible.

Q: How closely will you look at the tape from the Texas A&M and Alabama film considering you just played the Aggies?
ML: We will definitely look at it a bunch. It is a pretty good representation of them. One thing with Alabama is we're watching a team that played them to the wire, which not everybody does, so that is beneficial from that tape.

Q: This would mark a full season's worth of starts for , but what do you feel like he's done the most this season to look like a pretty serious player?
ML: He's just improved overall. [He] operates quicker. He is operating quicker now than he has.

Q: Your offensive line has played well in the past two games. Is that a matter of them growing more comfortable playing together?
ML: I think they still haven't logged very many reps together. They have logged more than when they started for sure. I think logging reps together and steady work in practice. They are a group that works and wants to improve, so they are motivated. That has helped too.

Q: How much has having coming back helped that offensive line as a veteran presence?
ML: He is not a veteran in having played a lot, but he is just a talented guy. That is the one thing I got to thinking about Scott is that he really hasn't played that much. He is a really talented guy, and he's got really good feet. He moves well for a guy of his size. He is a massive guy and a pretty smart guy. He needs to stay relaxed and focus on the job at hand and then he is pretty good.

Q: What do you think of Alabama's Bryce Young and what sticks out the most about Alabama based off the tape?
ML: He is good. Obviously, he is good. He is the next good one. They have a lot of players who play hard and aggressive. They are just good quality players.

Q: What are your thoughts on the wide receivers progression and where they stand right now?
ML: [They're] still a work in progress. We are improving though. We would like to improve faster. We are getting better. We are more tightly synchronized than we have been. We have developed some depth to the inside receivers, but we've got to try and find some depth to the outside receivers. We just have to keep getting better really.

Q: With a team like Alabama, how do you make sure players don't get too down if they make a big play?
ML: You just have to try and stay even-keeled. We always fight that with a young group, but I have seen some positive things. I thought we did that through the [Texas] A&M game, so that was a pretty good practice in regard to that, also doing that in a tough environment where it's tough to communicate.

Q: How important is experience against Alabama last year in terms of playing the team rather than the helmet sticker?
ML: Good question. I don't know for sure. The biggest thing is you don't want to squander plays because of the helmet sticker. Sometimes you see teams do that. A team like Alabama is good enough that you can't afford to do that under any circumstances. You want to make sure you don't squander plays, reconciling that you are playing a talented opponent. You just want to worry about yourself and go do the best that you can and focus on that and consistently do that as the game has ups and downs.

Q: After beating a ranked team yourself, what do you tell your guys about not paying attention to the ranking beside a team's name?
ML: We have done a decent job of that recently. Just go out there and play. I guess what I said before - which is boring and it's not fun for you guys to write about so in most cases you probably won't - if you can, go there and be the best self you can, just lock in to your job, do it the best you can and don't get distracted by what might happen. Everybody's seen it. All you have to do sometime on Saturday is turn on the game. Some player comes frantically to the sideline, "Okay, they did this. Well, okay they did this. The cheerleader ran around the stadium three times and then the Shetland pony came out and ate a hot dog on the 50 yard line, so now what do I do?" You have to eliminate all the clutter and just focus on what counts. The other thing is you have to trust the guy next to you to do the same thing. If you can do that together, that will put your best foot forward. That will put you in the best position to execute a play. You've got to do it over and over.

Q: How do you combat your guys relaxing a bit after seeing Alabama lose last week?
ML: If we relax against The University of Alabama, then we are the stupidest team in college football. If we relax under those circumstances, we may have some very good qualities, we may have some very positive things, but you really have to be a dumb team to relax if you are playing Alabama or anybody like them. Really, our schedule, if you relax playing our schedule, period. I can't think of anybody you can relax on, at least not around here or coming up.

Q: What does Nick Saban do from a coaching perspective that separates himself and makes him difficult to coach against?
ML: I have known him for quite a while. What I have always thought he does best is that I think he evaluates really well. He's in a position where he can get pretty much anybody, but I think he evaluates as far as which ones to take very well. The other thing is he is not afraid to tell somebody no or push somebody hard. Occasionally, somebody will get some five-star parade or All-American and then he's afraid to coach them. Coach Saban is not afraid to coach that guy and push that guy. I have always thought the strongest thing he does is evaluate and push guys.

Q: How difficult is it to play as the best version of yourself as a young team?
ML: I just think they have to clear their mind and focus on it. Obviously, everybody has trouble with it. We can have debates on the effectiveness of it. We have everything from safe rooms to service dogs. Everybody is obviously struggling with it with life coaches and all the rest. But in the meantime, we're going to try to remove some of the clutter and go ahead and have the position coaches as life coaches and try to clear their mind and just get them to focus on what counts.

Q: When you're in a ballgame like this, how difficult is it to not do something out of character like fake a punt or go for it on a fourth and long?
ML: I think it is tricky. There is a temptation. You've got to resist this by players and coaches both. There's sometimes a temptation to do too much. You've got to focus on your job and have the discipline to focus on your job and don't try to do too much. If you try to do too much, it just devolves into street ball. You're just calling random plays, and the guys are just trying to anticipate where the ball is going. They're running a variety of different directions on both sides of the ball. Everybody is just guessing. It's like when you were a kid out in the cul-de-sac or in the backyard or in the vacant lot. You try to have it a little more precise and controlled than that.
 

Justneedme81

Sideline Club
They can throw the ball 60-65 times a game and we have little to no pass rush it's a concern. Also rushing the QB this many time a game will exhaust a D-line. They were off last week so should be fresh.
Don't think it'll be a concern this weekend. If everyone changed their mindset from what I've heard, things should be little better this weekend.
 

mando

Sideline Club
You would think this will help but the team has lost a lot of days where they could have been maximizing their improvement by bringing the focus on details to each practice. Can't get those days back. With that said they are talented enough that minor improvements will be enough to beat most teams. Minor improvements for instance would have beaten A&M.
 

252BAMA

AKA: ALA2262
Bama Club

What’s Going To Happen​

The 2019 Alabama team lost to Joe Burrow and the epic LSU squad. A week later it won at Mississippi State 38-7.

In 2018, the Tide lost to Auburn, but went on to its next game to thump Clemson in the College Football Playoff on the way to the national title.

In 2015 – it’s hard to find Tide regular season losses – the team followed up a loss to Ole Miss with a 34-0 win over ULM, and it rocked Mississippi State 24-7 a week after losing to LSU 9-6 in 2011.

The blowout outlier was a 14-13 win over Arkansas in 2014 a week after losing to Ole Miss, but in general, the Tide fix the glitch whenever there is one.

2013 was the last time Bama lost back-to-back games, and that came on the Kick Six against Auburn followed up by a totally heartbroken loss to a jacked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Same thing in 2008 – a brutal SEC Championship loss to Tim Tebow and Florida led to a lifeless Sugar Bowl loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

The last time the University of Alabama lost back-to-back regular season games was all the way back in 2007. That was the last time the school lost to Mississippi State, too.

The Bulldogs will get a few passing yards to keep this interesting, and the better-than-you-think defense will keep this from getting out of hand, but you’re messing with history here if you think Nick Saban is about to lose two straight regular season games.

Alabama vs Mississippi State Prediction​

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 20

 

alabamajack

Sideline Club

What’s Going To Happen​

The 2019 Alabama team lost to Joe Burrow and the epic LSU squad. A week later it won at Mississippi State 38-7.

In 2018, the Tide lost to Auburn, but went on to its next game to thump Clemson in the College Football Playoff on the way to the national title.

In 2015 – it’s hard to find Tide regular season losses – the team followed up a loss to Ole Miss with a 34-0 win over ULM, and it rocked Mississippi State 24-7 a week after losing to LSU 9-6 in 2011.

The blowout outlier was a 14-13 win over Arkansas in 2014 a week after losing to Ole Miss, but in general, the Tide fix the glitch whenever there is one.

2013 was the last time Bama lost back-to-back games, and that came on the Kick Six against Auburn followed up by a totally heartbroken loss to a jacked Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Same thing in 2008 – a brutal SEC Championship loss to Tim Tebow and Florida led to a lifeless Sugar Bowl loss to Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

The last time the University of Alabama lost back-to-back regular season games was all the way back in 2007. That was the last time the school lost to Mississippi State, too.

The Bulldogs will get a few passing yards to keep this interesting, and the better-than-you-think defense will keep this from getting out of hand, but you’re messing with history here if you think Nick Saban is about to lose two straight regular season games.

Alabama vs Mississippi State Prediction​

Alabama 38, Mississippi State 20

😆🙄 They also said Appalachian State would beat ull. I think Alabama wins by 27+
 

Destiny's Child

It's Rolling Baby
Century Club
I think we are in dire need of a Bye week. Normally the game going into a bye week doesn't go well. I think this might be the best possible opponent for this week besides Vandy or South Carolina. Miss State under Leach is extremely predictable and while he has a pretty good QB developing we will be in zone the whole game. The QB runs shouldn't be as effective while we are in Zone and we can just sit back read and relax. As long as we tackle well and stop the missed tackle parade this should be stress free on defense.

My solution would be to sit To' To' for one game and let someone play who can tackle. He is great at reading the play and being in the right spot only to be out of control and miss the tackle. I say play 42 and 8 this week.

The dogs have been playing better on defense so they will try to copy the A&M plan some. I just don't know if they can count on 3 of our pass catchers going brain dead again and if they do I pray that we put in some other receivers who want the ball.

I say Bama wins 42-10
 
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