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What does Alabama have to do to beat Georgia?


What does Alabama have to do to beat Georgia? One blueprint is out there. Score 45 points and then, with the ball and the lead in your hands in the back half of the fourth quarter, actually put the ball in your hands of your Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and let him win or lose the game for you.

Wait, sorry. That was a different game. That blueprint doesn’t apply to Alabama.

Here’s something Alabama can do, and it’s the same thing that Georgia will need to do to beat Alabama: Do what Auburn did.

And what did Auburn do to the Dawgs? They loaded up against the run and made Jake Fromm beat them. The same duo that ran through Oklahoma like water through a tissue was wholly ineffective in Georgia’s only loss of the season, combining to rush 20 times for 48 yards. That ineffectiveness but the game in Fromm’s hands, and Auburn feasted on him. He was sacked four times and threw 28 passes, completing 13 for 184 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

In fact, Fromm has thrown the ball 28 or 29 times three times this season, and they happen to be Georgia’s three most competitive games of the year — a 1-point win at Notre Dame in Fromm’s first start, the Auburn loss and the double-overtime escape against Oklahoma. That doesn’t necessarily mean Fromm was bad in those games, it just means that every play Fromm drops back to pass is a play Chubb or Michel aren’t charging toward the line of scrimmage.

Alabama will be without Dylan Moses and Anfernee Jennings, but if any team can survive the loss of those two, it’s Alabama.

On the flip side, Alabama’s offensive game plan is the opposite of its defensive plan: Run the ball and stay out of 3rd and long. Hurts has thrown all of 13 passes on 3rd down with between 7 and 9 yards to go — including five games where he didn’t throw a single such pass — completing five. On 3rd and medium (between four and six yards), Hurts is 15-of-27 for 210 yards, good for an efficiency rating that ranks 84th nationally.

Not surprisingly, Auburn’s offensive line won the line of scrimmage in its 40-17 win over Georgia back in November. The Tigers ran the ball 46 times and threw it 25. Jarrett Stidham threw 23 of those passes and was highly effective, averaging 9.3 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

It’s a simple game plan, yes, but that’s the point. This is a throwback game, a first-to-20-wins type of slug fest. And if Alabama is going to win on the scoreboard, it’ll first have to win at the line of scrimmage.

Chip Kelly and UCLA land ex-Washington QB K.J. Carta-Samuels

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K.J. Carta-Samuels may have left Washington, but he’s not leaving the Pac-12.

Carta-Samuels brother, Austyn, revealed on his own personal Twitter account that K.J. will be transferring to UCLA. “Chip Kelly, you just got yourself a QB,” the recruiting coordinator at Missouri wrote.

The younger Carta-Samuels brother subsequently told that Kelly is “a huge reason why” he chose to move on to the Bruins.

In early December, Carta-Samuels announced that he would be leaving Chris Petersen‘s Washington football program.

Carta-Samuels will be joining Kelly’s squad as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be one of the players fighting for the right to replace three-year-starting quarterback Josh Rosen. Earlier this month, Rosen did the somewhat expected and left early for the NFL draft.

A four-star member of UW’s 2014 recruiting class, Carta-Samuels was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of California. Budda Baker, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was the only signee in the Huskies’ class that year rated higher than Carta-Samuels.

Carta-Samuels played in 25 games over the past three seasons. He ended the Huskies portion of his collegiate playing career with 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in completing 27-of-47 passes.

Bryce Love returning to Stanford for senior season

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This is certainly a surprising, if not extremely significant development.

Given his talent level and the position he plays, it’s been long thought that Bryce Love would be leaving Stanford early and declaring for the April draft.  Instead, Love’s father confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle in a text early Tuesday morning that his son will be returning to the Cardinal for his senior season.

The Chronicle wrote that “[t]he junior tailback didn’t make his decision until the last possible minute Monday night, the deadline for entering the NFL draft.”

Despite battling through an ankle injury that lingered throughout the latter portion of the 2017 season, Love was second in the country in rushing with 2,118 yards and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 19.  He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

With this decision, Love will very likely enter the 2018 season as the favorite to claim this year’s Heisman.

Report: Hugh Freeze visited Alabama’s football building Monday

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It wouldn’t take long to call the roll of head coaches who could get away with hiring Hugh Freeze at the moment, and Nick Saban is certainly at or near the top of that list. Based on word coming out of Tuscaloosa, a Saban-Freeze marriage could very well be on the horizon to test that theory.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, the disgraced former Ole Miss head coach was a visitor at Alabama’s football building on Monday. While the News didn’t detail the nature of the visit, writes that “Freeze was in the building today at Alabama to discuss the open offensive coordinator job.” Another national writer, however, downplayed the possibility of Freeze joining Saban’s staff.

Per the News, Saban has always held a healthy respect for Freeze given how much success, relatively speaking, the Rebels’ offense had going up against the Crimson Tide’s defense.

Saban is searching for a fourth offensive coordinator in less than 14 months after Brian Daboll left the team Sunday after one season to take the same job with the Buffalo Bills. Given Freeze’s credentials, he’d certainly warrant serious consideration to fill the opening; based on his exit from Oxford, he could be a tough sell in a lot of places.

Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a team-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach.

It was reported earlier this month that Les Miles was involved in Arizona’s search for a head coach and had an interest in bringing Freeze along as his coordinator if he landed the job. Not long after, after criticism came pouring in over the potential move, the earlier reports were walked back because of the stigma that still follows Freeze.

Ex-Nebraska WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr. reportedly lands at Arizona

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It appears Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will continue his collegiate playing career a little bit further west than where it began.

On the same day that Kevin Sumlin was hired as the head coach at Arizona, Nate Clouse of reported that Johnson will be enrolling at UA this week and play for the Wildcats. The son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Sumlin in 2018.

In late June of last year, Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Not long after, the wide receiver decided to take a leave of absence, with his famous father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and would not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

At the time, the plan was for the junior Johnson to return to Lincoln and play his college football for Mike Riley.  With his father’s college offensive coordinator dismissed at the end of the regular season, Johnson took to Twitter in mid-December to announce that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cornhuskers.

Johnson was a four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, but never played a down for NU. Before signing with Nebraska, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and USC.