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The Jumbo Package | 12.17.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Alabama practice report: Former 5-star RB Bo Scarbrough makes surprise debut, starter not spotted | AL.com

Running back Bo Scarbrough made his first appearance at an Alabama practice. The former 5-star recruit was cleared to enroll in January. He was part of the 2014 signing class, but was not cleared to enroll with the rest of the incoming class as he worked to gain academic eligibility.

Scarbrough wore the No. 1 jersey and practiced third in line with the running backs. He will not play with the team at the Sugar Bowl against Ohio State on Jan. 1 in New Orleans.

Here's some footage of Bo's debut:

Also noted in the practice report was the conspicuous absence of starting left tackle Cam Robinson.  Turns out there's nothing to worry about on that front:

Traffic jam makes Alabama players late from first Sugar Bowl practice | AL.com

Cam Robinson was one of three Tide players who was late to Tuesday's practice because of tie-ups on the roads in Mississippi. Players had a few days away after classes ended last week before returning for the mid-afternoon practice Tuesday in Tuscaloosa. Robinson is from Monroe, Louisiana.

Coach Nick Saban said the late players made it back in time to the second half of practice Tuesday. Also missing on the line was reserve Grant Hill. Saban said he was sick.

After 10 days without football, Alabama leaders 'calling everybody out' in first Sugar Bowl practice | AL.com

The 10-day layover ended with the first of seven on-campus practices before breaking for Christmas. Players described a spirited workout in the indoor complex.

"We was on each other," quarterback Blake Sims said. "Leaders was calling everybody out. I think Coach (Nick) Saban liked the way he saw practice today. Even if we did things bad, he liked the way the leaders was trying to get on everybody and try to let everybody know we were trying to keep the same rhythm we left off with."

Nick Saban reacts to Lane Kiffin's comments, short joke at awards ceremony | AL.com

The Alabama offensive coordinator was speaking at the Broyles Award banquet last week when he voluntarily made a quick Nick Saban joke about their passionate sideline talks. Kiffin held his hand up about waist-high to reference where Saban reached in terms of height.

A sheepish grin and a point to the video camera in the back hinted he knew this would get out. It did.

And Saban heard it.

"I thought it was humorous," Saban said Tuesday.

Skip to 13:45 in the press conference video below.  Opinions may differ (Bammer texted me last night with the interpretation that Saban was cool with the joke), but Saban doesn't look terribly amused while the words "I thought it was humorous" come out.

This isn't really about the joke, though.  It's about a larger question of how long this delicate balance is sustainable.  The playoffs are coming up, and by rule, coordinators are allowed/required to be made available to talk to the press.  Hopefully, Kiffin can keep the front page quips to an absolute minimum to avoid creating further distraction on what will already be the biggest stage.

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen denies contact with Michigan, others - CBSSports.com

Mullen's name was mentioned earlier this year in connection with the Florida job, but by the time Will Muschamp was officially out it did not appear as though Jeremy Foley was planning to seriously pursue the former Florida offensive coordinator as a candidate.

Mississippi State's sudden rise to No. 1 in the country has made Mullen a popular candidate in this coaching cycle. Bulldogs fans can rest easy, for now, knowing that signs are pointing to him remaining in Starkville for 2015.

Grab your popcorn, folks.  You're about to witness the rare "Coach Parabola", when a coach shoots to the top of the hot list following an unprecedentedly good season, and then fails to capitalize on the moment at the apex, only to watch in horror as the following season is the exact opposite of a meteoric rise.

Videos

Nick Saban Tuesday press conference

Tuesday practice footage (running backs, offensive line, defensive backs, wide receivers)

Blake Sims (quarterback) interview

Ryan Kelly (center) interview

UNRELATED GIF OF THE DAY

Because I can't watch this without cracking up.

Unrelated song of the day

In case you missed it, Kendrick Lamar burned down Colbert's studio last night when he debuted this ridiculously good song: