Early Penn State predictions for 2021: Tough opener, stat leaders, QB transfer?

Penn State returns plenty of familiar faces, but its roster will look different next season. The Nittany Lions will continue being more active than ever in the transfer portal, and they begin the offseason with a third offensive coordinator in as many seasons. A lot can happen between now and late April, assuming spring practice […]

Ohio State vs. Alabama: A giant film study

Kerry Coombs, Ohio State’s first-year defensive coordinator, laid out the challenge clear as day. “It is a complete offense,” he said of the looming test against Alabama in Monday’s national championship game. “There are five All-Americans on the offensive side of the ball, a Heisman Trophy winner and the runner-up. They have great players, but […]

How freshman Will Anderson is giving Alabama the pass rush spark it needs

The moment that Will Anderson stepped on campus in Tuscaloosa as a true freshman from Hampton, Ga., the buzz started. It got stronger and stronger, even without spring practice. By the time the season arrived, it wasn’t all that surprising that the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder had earned a starting role on the Alabama defense. You can […]

The Athletic’s 2020 college football Freshman All-America team

The 2020 college football season was unbelievably challenging for freshman players in so many ways. There was nothing normal about what they were asked to do, playing their first full season in the middle of a pandemic. The dramatically different offseason was bound to affect the development curve for young players. But so many still […]

‘They’re Ball-Swarmers;’ Inside Notre Dame’s Dominant Run Defense Numbers

In Notre Dame’s meetings with Louisville, Clemson and North Carolina this year, Irish quarterback Ian Book has two fewer combined yards than the star running backs from those three teams – including sacks. Javian Hawkins (Louisville), Travis Etienne (Clemson), Javonte Williams and Michael Carter (North Carolina) combined for 52 carries and 164 yards against Notre […]

Why don’t the Hurricanes have more sacks? A defensive dive before N.C. State

When Gregory Rousseau opted out because of COVID-19 concerns prior to the season, the Miami Hurricanes still expected to have one of the best pass-rushing units in the country. And they’ve still been very good. With Temple transfer Quincy Roche and former No. 1 overall recruit Jaelan Phillips creating 22 pressures each at defensive end, […]

Alabama’s pass rush conundrum: How effective has it really been?

Is the glass half empty or half full? As with a lot of things, it depends on your perspective. Is Alabama’s pass rush effective or ineffective? Well, it depends on your perspective, how you interpret stats and which stats you value most. Here are the facts. Form your own opinion. Alabama ranks 12th in the […]

How Nick Saban’s change of philosophy turned the SEC into a passing league

Asked last week about his team and his conference’s many poor defensive showings thus far, LSU coach Ed Orgeron used a phrase to describe SEC offenses that would have seemed wildly incongruous up until very recently.  “This is a league where it’s like basketball on grass now,” he said. Click here to red the rest […]

Kevin Harris has emerged as South Carolina’s surprising star: ‘He’s been a stud’

COLUMBIA, S.C. — When Kevin Harris walked onto the football field for the first time as a 5-year-old, he received a veteran’s introduction to the game. “The first thing we did for 30 minutes was drive that sled,” said Derek Sills, who coached Harris that season and would continue to do so for the next […]

The Athletic’s 2020 preseason college football All-Who’s Actually Playing Team

A preseason All-America team one month ago would have looked a lot different than one today. In an ordinary season, Big Ten stars like Justin Fields and Micah Parsons and Pac-12 standouts like Penei Sewell and Hamilcar Rashed would have been lay-up choices for The Athletic’s All-America teams. But no one in the Big Ten […]

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