Henry’s not quite Herschel, but Bama’s still great

Read all about it. Alabama wins again. (David Goldman/AP photo)

Read all about it. Alabama wins again. (David Goldman/AP photo)

These short takes are presented as a companion to the SEC championship game column, which can be found here. Alabama beat Florida 29-15. It wasn’t that close. It wasn’t close at all.

1. Derrick Henry broke Herschel Walker’s SEC single-season rushing record, but Henry isn’t quite Herschel Walker. That’s no sin. To these eyes, Herschel was the greatest player in the history of college football. And Henry did need 13 games to break a mark Herschel set in 11 games in 1981, his sophomore season. (For reasons that never made a lick of sense, bowl stats weren’t counted back then.) But Henry is terrific in his own right. He didn’t really run wild Saturday — he gained 189 yards on 44 carries, which is 4.3 yards per tote — but he kept pounding against a good defense that had to spend far too much time on the field. (Alabama held the ball for 43 1/2 minutes. A game lasts 60 minutes.) Henry should win the Heisman Trophy, which Herschel did not do in his sophomore year. (Did as a junior, though.)

2. It’s unclear whether this is one of Nick Saban’s very best Alabama teams, but it’s clearly one of his favorites. The curmudgeonly coach has a soft sport for this edition of the Crimson Tide, and much of that has to do with how Bama started. It fell at home to Ole Miss on Sept. 19, leading some to predict that this was the twilight of the great Saban’s reign. His team hasn’t lost since. The 38-10 deconstruction of Georgia in Athens on Oct. 3 was the pivot point, and much of what happened that day was repeated in the Dome on Saturday. Bama blocked a punt for points. Henry ran hard and well. Jake Coker made sound decisions. Freshman Calvin Ridley made a big catch. The defense dropped the hammer. Bama might not be the No. 1 seed in the College Football Playoff — then again, it might — but it’s probably the team to beat.

3. Florida just wasn’t ready for this. That’s no sin. This time a year ago, the Gators had just hired Jim McElwain to replace Will Muschamp. They have no offense — they ranked 104th among FBS teams in yardage entering this game, and with six minutes to play they had 81 yards and three first downs — and they can’t kick a field goal to save their lives, but the defense did splendid work and McElwain’s calming presence enabled Florida to claim the SEC East. Not that the East was very good this year; to be frank, it was the worst it has ever been. But the Gators figure to get better fast. The rest of this tepid division has been put on notice.

Reader Comments 0

20 comments
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Not that many Bill Bates size players for Henry to run over in today's college football

alphabama
alphabama

Mark Bradley blatantly failed to mention that Mr. Henry actually broke Mr. Walker's record with 41 less rushing attempts.  Not that anyone is asking or anyone wants to hear it....the facts.


CedricM
CedricM

Hopefully florida's bad QB starts next year---they lose a bunch of talent on D and will be way down. With kirby running things, the dogs can win the SEC east easily!!!

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Congrats to Bama for a great year. 


All the Best to Kirby. Mama called and he answered.

pride
pride

ESPN, NCAA, AJC writers = cowards.  I have not seen 1 negative comment on Henry's 90 carries in 2 games in the midst of a plethora of brain concussion/brain damage information filling the air waves.  Nick Saban ought to be personally responsible for any health problems Henry develops over time.  Truly a disgrace.

Mulk
Mulk

@pride As they say "it (the ball) ain't that heavy". It was probably worse on the people trying to tackle him 90 times.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@pride Nick Saban is in the process of making him a millionaire....as Mulk said.......if he has the athletic ability to tote the rock 90 times in 2 weeks, it probably was hurting UF worse than him.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@pride

With the name "pride" aren't you normally focused more on a man's other head?

CedricM
CedricM

the worst offense i've seen in the georgia dome since it opened! that was embarrassing---florida's QB is terrible---how does he keep his job???

Mulk
Mulk

@39Concepts He was able to get by in the SEC Least. And, I'm not sure that he was the weakest QB in the Least.

Pulpwood
Pulpwood

I wouldn't be so sure about Florida getting better quickly. If they don't have the same type of luck next year, they're a 4 loss team.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Pulpwood

Tennessee should be the favorite in the East next year, Although I heard the Gators are about to poach UGa 's big QB recruit.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Let me be the first to say Henry is no Herschel Walker.Not even close.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@FlatTire


Bowl will be an afterthought after all of the activity this week at UGa. Last projection I saw still had the Dogs and Penn State in the TaxSlayer Bowl (Gator) in Jville.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@Buschleaguer I disagree.........he is playing against much bigger, faster, stronger players than in 1981?.......I still think Herschel is better, but it is close........he has carried the rock 85 times the last 2 weeks.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

Henry also benefits from having bigger stronger linemen and fullbacks opening holes for him ,and much more a  talented QB and receivers to open up the running game for Bama.