Bama’s Waddle Back training, title game status unclear E! News UK

Alabama star receiver Jaylen Waddle has returned to training. Now the question is, will he be able to play the title game Monday night against Ohio State?

Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian said Waddle trained on Tuesday, but deferred questions about his status to coach Nick Saban, who did not speak to the media on Wednesday.

Well, see where it goes from here, Sarkisian said. Obviously, we have about a week before the game.

Waddle hasn’t played since breaking his right ankle while returning the kickoff against Tennessee on Oct. 4. One of the most dangerous returning men in the country, he had surgery after the game.

In his absence, DeVonta Smith continued to rack up enough numbers to win the Heisman Trophy on Tuesday. That would require the Buckeyes to defend this formidable pair.

I think you absolutely have to prepare yourself like he’s going to play, said Ohio State Defensive Coordinator Kerry Coombs. He is an extraordinary athlete, an extraordinary receiver.

Waddle had 557 yards and four TDs in the Tide’s first four games, while opponents mostly dismissed him.

Waddle made three of the programs the five longest kills. His career average of 19.1 yards per catch ranks second among Tide players with at least 100 receptions. He also returned two punters and a touchdown kick in his career.

I think he’s coming back to it, Smith said. Sure, it’s going to take a little while just for him to get comfortable with everything, but he looks good on me.

Quarterback Mac Jones agreed. Neither player offered an opinion that Waddle would play.

That would be really cool, Jones said. Jaylen has worked really hard to get back on the pitch and I know he wants nothing more than to play but I think they’re just going to make that decision down there.

But that’s his choice, and I feel like looking at him, he looks really good there. So see what happens.

GOOD DAY FOR BUCKEYES

A day later, a report raised the possibility that the college football qualifying championship could be delayed due to COVID-19[feminine[feminine problems in Ohio state, Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith told The Associated Press he expects the game to continue as planned.

In the COVID world, it’s day in and day out, Smith said Wednesday. Today was a good day.

AL.com first reported on Tuesday that Ohio State contacted CFP officials with concerns about player availability when the Buckeyes face Alabama No.1 on Monday night at Miami Gardens , in Florida. A person familiar with the situation confirmed those talks to the AP, but Smith and CFP executive director Bill Hancock both released statements saying there was no change to the schedule.

Smith declined to provide details of the virus issues in Ohio state, but said the team had trained on Wednesday.

Were in good shape. Ready to roll, says Smith.

Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson posted photos on Twitter showing her visit with coach Ryan Day and the team at the school’s indoor training facility.

I look forward to joining Buckeyes across the world on Jan. 11 to cheer on this very special team, Johnson wrote.

WEST COAST EXPORTS

The West Coast will be well represented in the national championship game among the players, if not the football programs themselves.

Alabama All-America tailback Najee Harris, wide receiver Chris Olave and Buckeyes All-America goalie Wyatt Davis are all from California.

Harris, for his part, misses the Californian sun, but he has no regrets about trading the West Coast for southern humidity and football.

They say a lot of the West Coast guys can’t play at conferences like this, the SEC said Harris, who was fifth in the Heisman Trophy vote. “So I wanted to kill that hype, I guess, in a way and show that we can play, that people on the west coast can play.

We have a lot more guys from the west coast playing in the SEC than ever before, so it’s good to see a lot of guys traveling.

MORE RESPECT FOR THE FIELDS

Coombs, who has coached football for nearly three decades, says Ohio State’s Justin Fields is one of the best quarterbacks of all time.

Fields, the Buckeyes’ sophomore starter and likely the NFL first-round draft pick, added to his resume on Wednesday when he was named the winner of the 2020 Chicago Tribune Silver Football Award as the best player in the game. Big Ten.

He’s in command of the offense, he understands where we want to distribute the ball, said Coombs, who was an assistant with the Tennessee Titans in the NFL last season after a five-year stint on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State. This is one of the best quarterbacks that I have ever seen and encountered, and we have had some really good ones here. He’s really good.

BATTLE IN THE TRENCHES

Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett has said he’s eager to face the offensive front of Tide, who just won the 2020 Joe Moore Award this week as the country’s top O-line. .

He’ll be won in the trenches, no doubt, said Garrett, who recovered from a gunshot wound to the face in August to become one of the Buckeyes’ defense leaders.

Games like this will be won in advance, ”he said. “If you can’t move the offensive and defensive lines, you have no chance of winning. Both offensive and defensive linemen are unsung heroes. We might not get the glamor and the flash, but it’s won and the better front is going to win this game.

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AP Sports editor Mitch Stacy and AP college football writer Ralph D. Russo contributed to this report.

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