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The Jumbo Package | 12.14.11

Longtime Alabama football recruit switches to Georgia Tech | AJC College Sports Recruiting

"Alabama said they would give Justin a shot at quarterback and he believes them, but Coach Johnson’s offense is centered around guys with Justin’s type of talent and Justin has a point he wants to prove to a lot of people about being a quarterback and not just an athlete," Justin’s father, Milton Thomas, told the website. The elder Thomas also went out of the way to praise Alabama coach Nick Saban, who had lengthy conversations with the prospect’s family over the past two days. When Thomas committed to Alabama last November, he told TideSports that Saban would give him a shot to play QB in the team’s pro-style offense.

The interplay of recruiting, eliteness and pro-style versus spread schemes | Smart Football

For the truly elite-level recruiting teams, I think the agnosticism of pro-style treats them well because they basically recruit incredible players and then figure out the system and scheme later. Moreover, spread offenses, option offenses, and really any pass-first offense (including West Coast attacks of which I’d put Georgia in the category) require very good quarterback play. Alabama and LSU are basically designed to win in spite of their quarterbacks; Nick Saban does not want to return an all world defense with a bunch of five-star playmakers and lose because his QB was a junior and had some "growing pains", which absolutely happens at every level. In other words, if you get be a top 5 recruiting team every year, it’s not that you want to be pro-style it’s that you want to be "system neutral." They can get superior talent and can fit plays around those incredible guys. Note that this isn’t the same as "fitting your scheme to your players," because we’re talking about first round draft choice guys not guys with certain strengths and certain weaknesses. I leave aside whether pro-style is truly more attractive to recruits or not.

Community -

We're just a few days away from the official start of bowl season and I'm pretty fired up about that. This week's Tuesday Top 10: the match-ups I'm most intrigued by: 1- BCS National Championship Game, Jan. 9: LSU vs. Bama: I realize many of you don't want to see a rematch of a game that didn't have a single TD the first time out. To me, Les Miles is always Must-See TV and I'm very curious to see how Trent Richardson does against the LSU D the second-time around. Also, curious what the Honey Badger does on a stage this big.

Players arriving at college early in search of early playing time |

What makes a blue-chip football recruit leave high school early? Coaches and players cite a laundry list of reasons -- from easing into the academics of college to getting acclimated to new teammates -- but the biggest reason is the simplest: A desire to play early. "I'm just going to get an early start on learning the offense and getting bigger and stronger -- just getting adapted to college," said Daphne running back T.J. Yeldon, an Auburn commitment who ran for 116 yards in Saturday's Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic and could be the next Mr. Football. "Yeah, it should help me play early."

If Alabama beats LSU in BCS Championship Game, bonuses to coaches would top $1 million |

Win or lose, each coach will get a bonus worth 16 percent of his salary. In fact, the bonuses aren't even conditional on Alabama playing in the championship game. Merely being in any BCS bowl is worthy of the extra pay. But the bonus for head coach Nick Saban is different. He will receive $200,000 - roughly 4 percent of his $4.7 million salary - for getting No. 2 Alabama into the championship game. For defeating No. 1 LSU, he would collect a $400,000 bonus. - HURT: McElwain doing double duty

It's quite possible that McElwain coaching for Alabama against LSU will turn out to be a boon for Colorado State as well. Certainly, the Rams will get far more ESPN mention - the gold standard in the realm of collegiate athletics media exposure, like it or not - than the amount (zero) they would have received otherwise during BCS week. It isn't going to be a CSU infomercial, but it will be positive publicity. And since nothing succeeds like success, it would enhance McElwain's recruiting effectiveness for years to come if he could add a second national championship ring to go with his first.

Who was the SEC's most disappointing? - SEC Blog - ESPN

South Carolina won 10 games for only the second time in school history, but failed to make it back to the SEC championship game after being the heavy favorites in the SEC East. The offense certainly underperformed for most of the season, but the defense was the backbone of this team and without it, South Carolina doesn’t get to its double-digit win total. Plus, this team was without Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore for most of the year. Still, that ugly Auburn lost shouldn’t have happened and it cost the Gamecocks their shot at Atlanta.

Les Miles popping up on media’s NFL radar again | CollegeFootballTalk

In fleshing out a list of potential replacements for Tony Sparano, and despite how it worked out the last time the college route was taken by the organization, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel lists Miles as a possible candidate for the opening with the Miami Dolphins. After finishing your eye roll, you can read the pros and cons as listed by the paper:

Pros: He’s the new Nick Saban or Pete Carroll, and there’s no where else for him to go but the NFL considering his salary ($3.75, plus performances bonuses) and growing reputation needs to be stroked.

Cons: Too many college coaches (Saban and Bobby Petrino) have put their toe in the NFL’s water and decided this life – where some players have more power and influence than the coaches – isn’t meant for them. He’s served as an assistant in Dallas, so he knows what he’d be getting into. You’d have to wonder what’s his motivation?

The SEC as Muppets - And The Valley Shook

Alabama is Kermit. Look, the truth hurts. Bama, like Kermit, is the premier program of the conference what with their twenty billion titles or whatever. They get all of the plaudits and are the leaders of this ragtag mob. The perception of the conference is tied to Bama, just as the fortunes of the Muppets are tied to Kermit. Damn them. Though, unlike Bama, Kermit uses his powers for good.

Craig James is running for Senate. Yes, that Craig James. - Dr. Saturday

To anyone who's spent the last two decades listening to James speak professionally about the subject he knows best — football — the idea of him presiding over sophisticated matters of legitimate national concern is both hilarious and terrifying. In light of his apparent campaign to oust the most successful coach in Texas Tech history on behalf of his entitled, under-performing son, it's borderline appalling.

Inside Mike Leach's Playbook: Four Verticals, Via Cougar Sports Weekly - CougCenter

On it's face, it looks just like the ultimate sandlot play you remember from recess as a child -- the kid with the strongest arm at quarterback tells everyone to just "go deep." How can that possibly work at the highest levels of football? But when you see what it does to different coverages, you see why it's so incredible.