Redskins

No. 2 Alabama welcomes struggling rival Auburn

201211171315477052335-p2.jpeg

No. 2 Alabama welcomes struggling rival Auburn

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) So much has changed since the last time Alabama welcomed Auburn into its immense home stadium.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide, victims of the largest comeback in Iron Bowl history two years ago, is the team with flourishing Southeastern Conference and national title aspirations going into Saturday's game.

The Tigers (3-8, 0-7 SEC) bare scant resemblance to the team that Cam Newton rallied from 24 points down two years ago on their way to a national title.

With everything left to play for, Alabama (10-1, 6-1) is a 31.5 favorite in what might be one of the bigger mismatches the Iron Bowl rivalry has seen. The Tide defensive end Damion Square gives a simple explanation for what's dangerous about this opponent: ``It's Auburn.''

``It's a rivalry and it's important to them just like it's important to us,'' Square said. ``I know that they're going to come play some bigtime football. Those guys get recruited like we get recruited. They're real talented guys and they can do their job well. So despite what they've got going on down there, they're going to come down here and try to win them a football game.''

Auburn hasn't put up much of a fight against top-tier SEC competition the past two seasons, except for a two-point loss to No. 8 LSU early in the season.

Tigers coach Gene Chizik faces a performance evaluation by athletic director Jay Jacobs and President Jay Gogue after the game with his job potentially on the line.

Chizik said it will take ``a near-flawless'' performance to pull off the upset.

``Our guys understand this is a one-game season,'' he said. ``They're going into it with excitement and passion.''

A Tide win at nearly 102,000-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium would lock up a trip to Atlanta for the SEC championship game against No. 3 Georgia with a shot at playing for a second straight BCS title and third in four years. Alabama climbed into that position when Oregon and Kansas State were upset - the kind of fate the Tide is trying to avoid.

``If your best football game is not good enough to win, then I'm OK with that,'' Alabama coach Nick Saban said. ``I just want the players to play their best game and have the right disposition about doing that, rather than being caught up in the circumstances of what's at stake.''

Alabama is loaded with finalists for national honors like quarterback AJ McCarron (Johnny Unitas Golden Arm), center Barrett Jones (Outland Trophy) and Dee Milliner (Jim Thorpe Award).

Auburn has an ever-shuffling starting lineup at several positions including quarterback, where Jonathan Wallace becomes the second freshman passer to start for the Tigers in the Iron Bowl.

``No one's believing that we can go down there and win,'' Auburn defensive tackle Angelo Blackson said. ``Statistically, it's not possible, but as a team we're going to come in there and fight to the end. We're not going to lay down again. We're not happy to just be in the game with them. We're going to go down there and try to win.''

The numbers, at least, set the stage for a potentially lopsided game.

The Tigers will put the nation's 112th-rated offense against the No. 2 defense, which allows the fewest points nationally.

``There's not a lot of true what you would be able to say `weakness' on their defense,'' Chizik said. ``You've just got to find ways to get first downs and try to hit a big play here and there, but they're hard to come by.''

The Tigers will try to do that with tailbacks Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb - who returned a kick for a touchdown in last season's meeting - and wide receiver Emory Blake, easily Wallace's most reliable target.

Alabama tailbacks Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon bring the SEC's No. 2 rushing offense against a defense at the bottom of the league in defending the run. Making things even more interesting, Yeldon was a longtime Auburn commitment before signing with the Tide in January.

The freshman has already racked up 809 yards, just 61 behind his backfield mate Lacy.

``I'm happy he's on our side,'' Tide guard Chance Warmack said.

McCarron, meanwhile, faces a secondary that has had six different starting combinations and only produced one interception.

McCarron was getting Heisman Trophy buzz two weeks ago before a two-interception game against No. 9 Texas A&M.

Wallace was making his first SEC start that day in a 38-0 defeat to Georgia and might be one of several freshmen starting for the Tigers.

Auburn's Blake is hoping to get a chance to test the message he's heard from fans since arriving in the state from Texas.

``Even my freshmen year, I had some fans tell me, `It doesn't matter if you lose every game. As long as you beat Alabama at the end of the year, we'll be happy,''' Blake said. ``That's just how much impact this game has on our fans.''

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

kelley_vs_jets_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Redskins vs. Jets Preseason Week 2: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

After a fight-filled start to joint practices between the Redskins and Jets, the Skins' 2018 NFL preseason schedule continues Thursday night at Fed Ex Field against New York. 

Week 2 of the NFL preseason still doesn't provide a lot of answers to questions about team performance, but it begins to reveal the depth the Redskins could have this season.

One storyline that won't be taking place, is the return of former Redskin Terrelle Pryor, who told reporters after Monday's practice he won't be playing in the game.

The Redskins have bigger things to worry about though, like who will replace rookie Derrius Guice, who's now out for the year with a torn ACL.

The Redskins also have one less name in the fight for receiver depth as well, after Robert Davis suffered a season-ending leg injury as well. 

Ahead of Thursday's preseason matchup, here's everything you need to know to watch.

REDSKINS vs. JETS, PRESEASON WEEK 2

Who: Washington Redskins vs. New York Jets

What: Game 2 of the 2018 NFL Preseason

When: Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, 8:00 p.m. ET

Where: Fed Ex Field, Landover, MD

TV Channel: ESPN

Live Stream: Watch ESPN

Radio: Redskins Radio Network

Point Spread: Washington, -3

Over/Under: 39.5

Weather: 90 degrees, partly cloudy

REDSKINS vs. PATRIOTS TV SCHEDULE:

5:00 PM: Redskins 100
5:30 PM: Redskins Nation
6:00 PM: Best of the Sports Junkies
7:00 PM: Redskins Kickoff Live

REDSKINS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. New England Patriots, 7:30 p.m. (L, 26-17)

Week 2: Thurs., 8/16, vs. New York Jets, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)

Week 3: Fri., 8/24, vs. Denver Broncos, 7:30 p.m. 

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30, vs. Baltimore Ravens, 7:30 p.m. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

 

Quick Links

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

Jeff Green happy to reunite with head coach Scott Brooks on Wizards

The city of Washington, where he grew up near and was a star in college at Georgetown University, isn't the only factor that makes joining the Wizards familiar for Jeff Green. He is also reuniting with his former coach, Scott Brooks, who now leads the Wizards.

Long ago, Brooks was cutting his teeth on the sidelines while Green was finding his way on the court. When Green was a rookie on the Seattle Supersonics in 2007, Brooks was a 42-year-old assistant coach. The team moved to Oklahoma City the following year and by late November of 2008, Brooks was the head coach after P.J. Carlesimo was fired.

Brooks helped oversee Green's first four seasons as an NBA player and Green remembers those days well.

"He looked way better than he does now," Green joked.

Brooks, now 53, has a knack for taking playful shots at those he works with, whether that be players, fellow coaches or the media. Green is clearly on that level and feels comfortable ribbing his head coach, knowing he can both dish it out and take it.

All jokes aside, Green is still appreciative of the tutelage he received from Brooks back in the day.

"Scotty was my No. 1 guy, he’s always been, but when I first stepped foot on an NBA floor, he was there for me. He was a coach with Seattle when I first got into the league," Green said.

The NBA has taken Brooks and Green to very different places in the seven years since they split ways. Green left for the Celtics and has since played for the Grizzlies, Clippers, Magic and most recently the Cavaliers. Brooks stuck around with OKC through the 2014-15 season before he was let go. After taking a year off, he joined the Wizards.

Much has changed in Brooks and Green's lives. They have lost and gained jobs. Their families have grown. Now, they are back on the same team and Green is excited about it.

"We’ve been close and tight ever since. We never lost contact. So, I’m looking forward to being coached by him again. I know he’s going to put us all in great positions to succeed. We just have to do our part on the floor," Green said.

Green spoke with Brooks on the phone before deciding to sign with the Wizards as a free agent in July. His presence was one of the many reasons he felt Washington was a good fit.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: