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The Jumbo Package | 04.23.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

"Hey, you know I'm allowed to catch the ball, right, coach?" - O.J. Howard
"Hey, you know I'm allowed to catch the ball, right, coach?" - O.J. Howard
Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama inks lucrative new multimedia rights deal -

For the latest example, see this report from the Sports Business Journal on the Crimson Tide's new multimedia rights contract with Learfield Sports, which will pay the school "at least $150 million to $160 million over 10 years," i.e. "double Alabama's guarantee previously" with Learfield.

Per SBJ, the contract will give the Tide the third-highest multimedia rights deal in the country behind Texas and Notre Dame -- though both the Longhorns' and Irish's deals include television rights for football.

And that's the most remarkable thing about the new deal; Learfield doubled it despite the assets involved being reduced.


SEC commissioner Mike Slive 'ecstatic' as SEC Network looks to secure regional carriers |

The SEC has secured distribution deals with AT&T U-Verse and Dish Network, but DirecTV and regional cable providers across the conference's footprint have yet to sign deals.

"Instead of being disappointed we're absolutely ecstatic," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said Monday at the APSE Southeast Regional meeting inside the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The SEC Network signed its first national distributor, AT&T, before its formal network announcement in May 2013.

Adding Dish Network in January provided the SEC fans another national option, but a regional cable provider has not yet been signed.

As a U-Verse subscriber, I'm set.  Anybody who's not in yet needs to be picking up the phone, though, lest you miss out on extra SEC goodness.

Ohio State lands Alabama transfer center Chad Lindsay -

Alabama transfer Chad Lindsay, who started four games for the Tide last year, is transferring to Ohio State. "It's done. Go Buckeyes!" Lindsay told in a text.

No hard feelings, and we wish him the best of luck, but hearing Lindsay say, "Go Buckeyes"...


Mike Slive: Decision on 8-or 9-game SEC schedule coming soon -

The debate over the SEC league schedule format should end with a decision in the coming weeks, according to SEC commissioner Mike Slive.

Speaking at the Associated Press Sports Editors' Southeast Regional meeting at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Slive indicated that a decision needed to be made before the creation of the 2016 league schedule. Currently, there are four formats under consideration:

The four formats under consideration are (1/2) an eight game schedule with/without permanent cross-division rivals, and (3/4) a nine game schedule with/without permanent cross-division rivals. I really don't have a bead on where this thing is going, and I could reasonably see the conference landing on any one of these options.  If any is less likely than the other, it's probably the 8-games with permanent rivals, since that's what we have now, and there seems to be a call to change.

Nick Saban updates Alabama injuries involving Reuben Foster, Grant Hill after A-Day |

Three days later, coach Nick Saban had a few updates before the Crimson Caravan kickoff in Huntsville on Tuesday evening.

Linebacker Reuben Foster got "a slight concussion" when diving for the legs of Kenyan Drake late in the first half Saturday. The rising sophomore appeared to hit his head on Drake's leg before going down hard. Foster, who made two tackles behind the line with the second team, appeared woozy and was helped to the locker room early.

You never want to here that a guy has suffered a concussion, but in this case, I'm glad to hear that it wasn't Reuben's neck.  After suffering a "stinger" in his neck a few weeks ago (after which, he started sporting a cowboy collar), I had very real concerns about his future health when he went down in the A-day game.

Alabama Crimson Tide defensive line shows strength, depth at A-Day - ESPN

A-Day might not have featured the finest quarterback play. It might not have been the introductory moment offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin was hoping for, either.

One thing did, however, go over incredibly well for Alabama on Saturday. The defensive line answered this spring’s most hard-to-pin-down question with a resounding yes.

Yes, Alabama has excellent depth up front on defense. And, yes, the line seems ready to get after the quarterback more than it has in seasons past. All you had to do was watch Kiffin’s passing game fold under pressure time and time again to see that.

Alabama receivers break down perils of playing slot as roles shift in evolving offense |

"Inside, it's different where you might have a safety and a linebacker trying to re-route you and you have to try to avoid and all that," Jones said.

The guy Black least enjoyed encountering was middle linebacker Reuben Foster. "Yeah, running those crossing routes and you see him and your eyes kind of open up," he said with a grin.

It sounds like the new system will see receivers used in a variety of positions.  That should make life a bit more difficult for opposing teams that try to scheme to isolate and limit particular playmakers.

T.J. Yeldon still best running back for Alabama Crimson Tide - ESPN

Those numbers listed earlier -- 1,235 yards, 14 touchdowns, 207 carries -- they were all Yeldon’s in 2013. In what has become a symptom of the greater Alabama fan, overlooking established starters for the next big thing, Yeldon’s accomplishments were lost in the shuffle.

Never mind that he was named first-team All-SEC by the league’s coaches. Never mind that he followed up the best season of a freshman running back in school history by improving his production in every important category.

Never mind that he’s only now a junior and could very well make the leap to the NFL after this coming season.

Henry will be around for a while longer. His turn will come. Yeldon’s time is now.

Well said.  Yeldon did a fine job of quieting the rabble Saturday, and he did it in a somewhat unspectacular fashion.  That's not meant to be a knock at all.  T.J. went out and provided a workman performance, while showing flashes of brilliance.  His steadiness was noticeable and he will rightfully be the man this fall.

While it is a common trait among sports fans, maybe the article is right to point out that the tendency to disregard the proven for the promise of the unknown seems to be particularly prevalent among Bama fans.  This is not without good reason, of course.  Every year, it seems the recruiting classes get better and better with more star players that were even more hyped than their predecessors.  We would do well to remember, though, that this isn't 2009 anymore.  Any 5* kid that comes in now will almost certainly be trying to beat out a veteran 5*-caliber player.