The Alabama football team returned to practice Tuesday afternoon as the top-ranked team in the country for the first time this season.
After a 59-31 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday, the Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0) leapfrogged Clemson in both major polls as the Tigers held on for a 21-20 victory over North Carolina.
High-flying Alabama and 25th-ranked Texas A&M (3-2, 1-1) both have a bye this week before playing at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at Kyle Field.
“Bye weeks are good,” Alabama junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith said Tuesday before practice. “But then again, I mean, you want to play football. Now it’s like Saturday comes and I don’t have a game. I never have time like this to myself, so, yeah, I’m going to sit inside and play the games and stuff, but I’d rather be out there playing the game of football.”
Smith is a big reason Alabama ranks fourth in the nation in scoring (51.8 points per game) and (554.6 yards per game). Smith was named the Maxwell Award player of the week after catching 11 passes for a school-record 274 yards and a Southeastern Conference-tying five touchdowns.
Smith has 31 catches for 537 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He’s complemented by Jerry Jeudy (38 receptions, 488 yards, six TDs) and Henry Ruggs III (17-361-4).
All three take pride in their blocking.
“We were actually talking about that the other day, about who’s the best blocker,” Smith said. “Right now, everybody says I’m in the lead, but I feel like last week Jeudy and Ruggs kind of got off up there with the blocks they had on a couple of my plays, so I feel like it’d be all them two for right now.”
Making Alabama’s offense go is junior Tua Tagovailoa. The Heisman Trophy runner-up from last season was the Davey O’Brien Foundation’s quarterback of the week for the second time in three weeks. He completed 26 of 36 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns against Ole Miss.
For the season, Tagovailoa has completed 113 of 148 passes (76.4%) for 1,718 yards and 23 touchdowns with no interceptions.
NOTES — Smith said Alabama started slow against Ole Miss and that the Crimson Tide will work on their tempo this week. ... Smith said he’ll be playing Madden NFL and watching football Saturday.