Louisville lost its 2016 Heisman Trophy-winner Lamar Jackson to the NFL, as he declared early following his junior season.

Now, it has redshirt sophomore quarterback Jawon Pass, who played in six games last season and competed 23 of his 33 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 62 yards and a score on 13 carries.

“I think we’re going to do our best to affect him up front to help our secondary out,” Alabama linebacker Christian Miller said. “I think that’s going to be our game plan, affect the passer.”

Which is no surprise.

But Alabama lost all of last season’s starters in its secondary. Deionte Thompson is probably the most experienced returner since he started both playoff games.

So, it’s not so much who’s behind center for Louisville that matters to Alabama. It’s how the defense is going to perform overall on its side of the ball.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a concern,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “But I’d say, how are we going to establish an identity on defense with the players that we have ? Are they going to be able to play together? Are they going to be able to sustain performance? If something bad happens, are they going to be able to respond the right way?”

Team motto

On his right wrist, Alabama defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs wears two rubber bracelets. One is black with white writing. The other is red with black print.

They both say: Don’t Waste A Day.

“That’s a team motto,” Buggs said. “Every time we come here, we can’t waste a day. We got to get better each and every day, and that’s the standard here that Coach Saban has no matter who you are.”