From the Sideline — Alabama Takes Another Step Forward in Win Over Texas A&M
Alabama's 41-23 win over Texas A&M last week was another example of the Tide's growth since the loss to Ole Miss.
Derrick Henry's warrior-like 32 carries, which resulted in 236 yards and a pair of scores, was worthy of SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors, as well as a rocket-shot back into the Heisman race (just don't tell him that).
Minkah Fitzpatrick was more than deserving of the accolades he received (SEC Freshman of the Week and National Defensive Player of the Week from the Walter Camp Foundation), as was Eddie Jackson - the player he shared one with (FWAA National Defensive Player of the Week).
You can run through a long list of players, who collectively helped the Tide roll to its third win over a ranked opponent away from Bryant-Denny Stadium. However, I'm not sure any was more important - looking forward to the back half of the season - than the effort of quarterback Jake Coker.
Since he first walked on campus, the expectations for the Mobile native have been so high, you would have thought he was the Heisman Trophy winner at FSU - rather than the guy he backed up. While Coker's emergence may have been behind the schedule that most had set for him (including Coker himself), it has clearly now occurred.
If you just look at his passing numbers from College Station (19-25 for 136 yards and no TDs), you wouldn't be blown away. The seven carries for 13 net yards isn't overwhelming, either.
However, if you saw the hits that he took - and gave - you'd be hard-pressed to question his toughness. If you saw his teammates reaction, you'd be hard-pressed to find somebody that doesn't think this is clearly now his team.
Regardless of how the story of Alabama's 2015 season unfolds, Coker will have a lead role.
The next chapter comes on Saturday, when the Tide hosts Tennessee for a 2:30 Central kick.