Jalen Hurts

Super Preview

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Super Bowl LVII is this weekend and it features a matchup of two top seeds. The Kansas City Chiefs (16 – 3) and Philadelphia Eagles (16 – 3) both dominated this season.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid coached the Eagles from 1999 to 2012. In Philadelphia he had a reputation of not being able to win the big game. He coached the Eagles to five NFC Championship games, only winning one. They lost Super Bowl XXXIX to New England.

He became the head ball coach in KC in 2013 and won Super Bowl LIV. They played Tampa Bay the following year in Super Bowl LV and got blown out.

For quarterback Patrick Mahomes, this will help define his legacy. Based on talent he’s an elite QB but he is judged on championships. If the Chiefs win this will be his second Super Bowl win. That will give him more SB wins than Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young and Kurt Warner.

This will be the first Super Bowl matchup that features two black starting quarterbacks.

“To be on the world stage and have two Black quarterbacks start in the Super Bowl, I think it’s special, and I’ve learned more and more about the history of the Black quarterback since I’ve been in this league,” Mahomes said. “The guys that came before me and Jalen set the stage for this, and now, I’m just glad that we can kind of set the stage for guys that are kids that are coming up now.”

“I think it’s history,” Jalen Hurts said in Philadelphia. “I think it’s something worthy of being noted. It’s come a long way. I think there’s only been seven African American quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl. To be the first in something is pretty cool, so I know it will be a good one.”

Mahomes led the league in passing yards (5,250) and passing scores (41).

The game also features the first time two brothers will face off. Tight end Travis Kelce (KC) and center Jason Kelce (Phi) are both Pro Bowlers. Travis was third in the league in receiving yards (1,338) and he had 12 touchdown receptions. It’s safe to say he’s the focal point of the offense.

Philly has the #2 total defense in the NFL, only giving up 20.2 points per game and 301.5 yards per game. They also led the league in sacks with 70 during the regular season. They primarily did that with just their defensive linemen.

Kansas City was second in the league in sacks with 55. They rank 11th in total defense with 21.7 ppg and 328.2 ypg.

The Chiefs had the top offense in the league and Philadelphia is ranked third.

Running back Miles Sanders is an underrated threat. He was fifth in rushing with 1,269 yards and 11 TD’s. Hurts is a true dual threat quarterback, rushing for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was also tenth in passing yards (3,701), 22 TD’s and 6 picks.

The Eagles feature two elite wide receivers is A.J. Brown (1,496 yards) and DeVonta Smith (1,196 yards).

I think this will be a very close and exciting game. I give the slight edge to the Chiefs.


Rolling Tide

By: Kenneth Harrison Jr.

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Alabama has been a college football powerhouse since the 1920’s. They returned back to the top program in the nation when they hired Nick Saban in 2007. He has won 5 national championships since taking over in Tuscaloosa, including last year.

The topic all off-season has been the quarterback controversy. Everyone is aware Jalen Hurts has been the quarterback the last two seasons. He led the Crimson Tide to the national title game in both years. He played poorly against Georgia and he was replaced by freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa led the comeback and threw the game winning touchdown.

He is the starter but it seems like Saban doesn’t want to lose Hurts by making that announcement. This could be a distraction throughout the season.

Hurts has already spoken to the media and said nobody including coaches talked to him at all about his playing situation.

I’m going to assume Tagovailoa is the QB for the entire season. He can add an element that Bama has lacked in the Saban era, a big-time quarterback. They typically rely on a strong running game and defense and they have average quarterbacks. It will be interesting to see how the offense will look with someone that has NFL first round talent.

Senior running back Damien Harris will get the bulk of the carries. He rushed for 1,000 yards the past two seasons. Left tackle Jonah Williams is also a great lineman so he will help open holes and protect the passer.

Linebackers Mack Wilson, Dylan Moses, defensive ends Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs, will lead the defense. I expect the defense to be good again but the secondary will be the weakest unit.

The season begins on September 1st in Orlando against Louisville. Lamar Jackson left for the NFL so the Cardinals will have a new quarterback. Bama will win the game by 30 plus points.

The first home game of the season is Week 2 versus Arkansas State. The Red Wolves are overmatched and will get destroyed.

The Crimson Tide travel to Oxford, MS to take on Ole Miss next. The Rebels got spanked 66-3 last year. I expect another big loss for Ole Miss but not nearly that bad.

Texas A&M will be the next opponent. The Aggies have only beaten Alabama once since joining the SEC and that was during their first year in 2012. Jimbo Fisher is now the head coach at A&M. This is a 20-point win for Bama.

Louisiana-Lafayette comes to town to end September. This will be another game to pad stats and correct mistakes.

The next three games are at Arkansas, Mizzou and at Tennessee. Arkansas and Tennessee have new head coaches. These will all be easy double-digit wins for the Tide.

After a bye week, the first real test is November 3rd at LSU. I call this a test because the Tigers also recruit well and have great athletes.

The big difference is they are coached by Ed Orgeron and they can never develop a competent quarterback.

Miss State comes to Tuscaloosa and this will be a tough game. The Bulldogs have lost former head coach Dan Mullen so I give the edge to Alabama.

The Citadel is the tune up game before the season finale. The goal is stay healthy during this 50-point win.

Finally, they get a chance to avenge the loss to Auburn last season November 24th. Their stud running back Kerryon Johnson has departed for the NFL. This will also be a tough game.

Alabama should finish undefeated or 11-1 at worst.

Alabama Crimson Tide Preview

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Nick Saban nearly capped off his first decade as head coach for Alabama with his fifth national championship, but fell short at the last second.

Now in his 11th season, the Crimson Tide look to right that wrong and bring the title to where it they think it’s the most comfortable; Tuscaloosa.

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Future of SEC QB

draytonBy: Drayton Hogarth

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

While the Southeastern Conference has been the dominant football conference for years, now there is one question that is difficult to answer, “Where are all of the quarterbacks?”

Media and college football fans have been pontificating in recent seasons, why doesn’t the SEC have more viable field generals if it is the greatest conference in the country?

Well, Alabamas Jalen Hurts, Jacob Eason at Georgia, Gamecock signal caller Jake Bentley, and Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson are all looking to change that perception as each of them now starts for their respective schools.

These true freshmen have come in and earned starting spots at four schools around the conference. Be it by outright winning the job from the beginning of the season or by taking over mid to late in the season, these young kids have come onto campus, honed their craft and have seized their opportunities to lead their teams both now and into the future.

Even though the conference has long had a history of both power offense with a defensive-minded foundation, the run of quarterbacks dates back well into the annals of time as Bart Starr, Joe Namath, and Fran Tarkenton are some of the historic NFL names that got their start in the SEC.

The tradition continued until the last four years or so. In particular, with the graduation of Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger after the 2013 season, the SEC had hit somewhat of a lull in top flight NFL caliber quarterbacks.

Well, good news football fans, or bad news if you are an SEC antagonist, the level of quarterback play in the SEC is about to hit a very high level; likely an all-time high.

When you talk SEC football, one may as well start with Alabama. And this topic is no different as Coach Nick Saban has entrusted his current team’s offense to the hands of a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Jalen Hurts.

Hurts has stepped in for last season’s starter of the National Championship team, Jake Coker, and has seemingly brought an added dimension of the quarterback read option to the mix.

Hurts, along with a dynamic defense, has put Alabama right back at the forefront of the college football championship again this season.

Georgia Bulldog, Jacob Eason, has the eye of the NFL already. The huge 6’6” 240 pounder out of Lake Stephens, Washington, has the size and amazing arm strength that the NFL desires.

Statistically, Eason has been fairly steady. However, it is when the game is on the line that the young signal caller has elevated his game and seems to truly get dialed in with his receivers.

At South Carolina, Coach Will Muschamp gave young Jake Bentley the reigns after the Gamecocks struggled mightily for the first half of the season. Bentley has come in and pushed the Gamecocks to possible bowl eligibility by showing good poise and a willingness to hang tough and make plays. Bentley shows just enough mobility to keep defenses honest.

The latest true freshman to get the starting nod is Shea Patterson at Ole Miss. The Rebels have had a hugely disappointing season after entering with major championship aspirations.

Recently, leader and longtime starting quarterback Chad Kelly went down with a knee injury. Rebels coach Hugh Freeze went against the norm and pulled the redshirt off of Patterson, three quarters of the way through the season and despite a 4-5 record.

Patterson came in and actually led the Rebels to a major comeback over the Aggies of Texas A&M. Patterson would throw for over 350 yards in his debut, and would shine in the fourth quarter going 7/10 for 119 yards and two touchdowns, including a dramatic scramble and pass on one of those scores.

So everyone can relax and just sit back and enjoy (even more) these next three to four years of SEC football as the quarterback position is in very capable hands.