The Jumbo Package | 03.19.14

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Bruce Pearl to Auburn is Bill Battle's worst basketball 'nightmare' come true, Finebaum says | AL.com

"Auburn has a better coach today than Alabama," Finebaum said. "Anthony Grant has been to the tournament one time at Alabama, he's 0-1. And there's no enthusiasm, there's no excitement. The program is rock-bottom.

"Bill Battle made a pragmatic decision and the one thing that Bill Battle had to hope for when he went to sleep on Friday night -- he had to hope Bruce Pearl is not hired at Auburn. Guess what? He woke up today and found out his worst nightmare -- at least from a basketball standpoint -- has come true."

We don't quote Finebaum terribly often here, as the guy is a career troll, but I feel like I saw a lot of this same sentiment expressed by many here.  So is Finebaum just parroting a popular knee-jerk reaction, or this his honest assessment?  Does the ickiness of agreeing with Finebaum cause some of our more pessimistic fans to pause and reevaluate the situation?

No mixed signals: Alabama's Trey DePriest the lead dog in Tide's linebacking corps | AL.com

"He certainly has the knowledge and experience and maturity to affect other players in a positive way," Saban said. "I think that’s something that’s going to be important for our defensive team that he not only contribute with his physical performance and do his job well, but how he affects everyone else."

DePriest can fill Mosley's void through his leadership but he can't literally occupy two spots. So while he's locked into one of the spots, younger players such as Reuben Foster, Reggie Ragland and freshman Shaun Dion Hamilton will compete to be the right-hand man to DePriest.

Shaun Dion Hamilton will see the field this year, but this is Reuben Foster's year to shine.

First look at D.J. Pettway back at Alabama practice, Dalvin Tomlinson back from knee injury | AL.com

Tomlinson's knee is looking good.  I can't overstate how high I am on this kid.  I put this in the comments a while back, but I'll post again up where more eyes will see it:

These are from my notes from where I was going to talk about him as my breakout player for the first podcast last year:

Tomlinson became the first wrestler in (GEORGIA) state history to win three career heavyweight titles when he pinned his opponent in Saturday’s championship match in a mere 9 seconds. Tomlinson finished his senior wrestling season 49-0 with a career record of 169-2.
He also carried a 3.9 GPA in high school and was recruited by Harvard.

I really really want this guy to be healthy. He has the smarts, the strength, and the hand technique to be a monster.

Alabama Crimson Tide looks to avoid pitfall of complacency - ESPN

Usually when Alabama players gathers for the Fourth Quarter Program, strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran’s grueling series of workouts, there are more than a few who aren’t altogether excited for the challenge. Going from the couch to the weight room isn’t an easy transition, especially when it comes only weeks after the season ends.

But this year was different.

“Stepping into that Fourth Quarter Program, it’s usually like, ‘Aww, man, it’s the Fourth Quarter and we’ve got to run,’” DePriest said prior to practice on Monday. “But guys were actually excited to go out there and run and see if they can push themselves to the limit.

“That’s another thing I’ve seen, that guys are pushing themselves to the limit and not just letting their mind control their body. They were pushing and actually telling themselves that they can do it.”

Well, this is encouraging.  Hopefully, it isn't just lip service, and we'll see some results, but if a team this talented really is that hungry, the country better prepare itself for the reckoning.

For college running backs, talent increases as NFL money decreases - CBSSports.com

The once-glorified position is now one of the NFL's lowest-paid. Since free agency opened last week, no reported deal for a tailback has surpassed $14 million in total potential earnings, money dwarfed at least twofold by marquee players at several other positions.

Patrick, the country's fifth-best running back in 2015 according to 247 Sports, doesn't want to switch to safety or receiver any time soon, but he does follow the NFL from afar. He knows there wasn't a first-round running back in last year's draft.

He knows that tailbacks are, more than ever, supporting actors in a rushing-by-committee offensive approach.

Young players might not base their career outlook on hard NFL dollars – at least not yet – but they are paying attention.

Lane Kiffin's Manhattan Beach house bought by Vince Vaughn - CBSSports.com

Lane Kiffin's Manhattan Beach house looks like it could be in a movie. No surprise, then, that it was recently sold to actor Vince Vaughn for $6.5 million.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the 7,308-square-foot home, built in 2002, sits on a half-acre lot with a swimming pool and spa, a guesthouse and an outdoor kitchen. Inside the Craftsman-style home features vaulted ceilings, a stone fireplace, six bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Trent Thompson, nation's top overall prospect, lists Tide 2nd behind Georgia | AL.com

Westover defensive tackle Trent Thompson of Albany, Ga., released his latest top 3 schools to 247Sports today. In order, they are: Georgia, Alabama and Florida State.

Many recruiting reporters believe Thompson is destined to be a Bulldog, but the 6-foot-4, 290-pounder remains uncommitted.

"I do not want to commit early because I want to give everyone a chance," Thompson said. "I want to see how (Georgia's) season goes and if Coach Mark Richt is going to still be there."

Ha.  Did this kid just put Richt back on the hot seat?

Falcons agree to one-year deal with Arenas | Atlanta Falcons blog

The Falcons agreed to a one-year deal with returner/nickel back Javier Arenas on Tuesday, his Atlanta-based agent Hadley Engelhard told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team announced the deal later.

Arenas, a former star at Alabama, was drafted in the second-round (50th overall) by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 draft. Falcons assistant general manager Scott Pioli was Kansas City’s general manager at the time.

Arenas, 26, who played three seasons with the Chiefs was with Arizona last season. He’s played in 63 games and has made 12 starts.

I'm not an NFL guy, but this influx of Bama guys in the past 3-4 years might actually change that a bit.  I doubt I'll ever have a team that I root passionately for, but it is nice to turn on any random game on a Sunday afternoon and know there'll be at least one Bama player there to root for.

Alabama freshman Shannon Hale reflects on first season, playing for Anthony Grant | AL.com

With Anthony Grant returning for a sixth season, he'll have 76 percent of the scoring back from the 13-19 team.  That includes Shannon Hale, the freshman who finished the season as well as anyone.

"I think we're going in a positive direction," Hale said. "We have good guys coming in to help us. I think we'll be good."

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