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The Jumbo Package | 05.14.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Stacy Revere

Nick Saban responds to criticism of AJ McCarron, claims of playing hurt while at Alabama |

The talk of McCarron's cockiness caught Nick Saban off guard.

"It does surprise me because he was never that way to me and I think that if you asked a lot of his teammates, they would probably say the same," Saban said. "I think that AJ is a very good person. And regardless of what he ever said to you and whatever way he left you with an impression, if he could do something to help you, he'd be the first person to be there to do it.

"He is a good person and in the long run, he will certainly get the chance to prove that he can be a good leader and a good quarterback in the National Football League."

I don't know what to believe anymore.  Is Saban simply covering for AJ?  Is he blinded a bit by their personal relationship?  Is AJ the guy the fanbase has started perceiving him to be, or is this simply a situation where a guy has overcompensated for insecurities, and ended up coming off badly?

Watch the video for yourself and see what you think of his response.

Nick Saban proposes changes to bowl selection, says hoops-style committee could assign all games |

As the country braces for the first season of the playoff, Alabama coach Nick Saban has an idea for another twist on how things are determined. He spoke about the idea when asked about the overwhelming negativity for a nine-game SEC schedule.

"I think we have to change the whole system," Saban said before the Montgomery stop of the Crimson Caravan on Tuesday. "I understand everybody's point of view on this. Everybody wants to be bowl eligible, they look at it like if we have another conference game, that's seven more losses of everyone which would minimize the number of teams that could get in bowl games.

"Well I think on the other end of it, the committee that's going to pick the top four teams for the playoff are really picking the top 12 teams for all six sort of championship bowl games, whatever they call it now. Well, why don't we do it like basketball and let them pick all the teams for all the bowl games. Then it doesn't matter what your record is."

This is a radical suggestion from Coach Saban, and I was with it, right up until the whole "losing-record teams can still go to a bowl game" bit.  I have argued on several occasions against raising the 6-win threshold, because I love watching college football, which means I'm not in favor of having less of it.  The idea that five win teams could go to bowl games regularly, though, doesn't sit well with me.  I understand Saban's point about "the best team."  I even think that the point has merit, as a 5-win Vanderbilt is a better team (and probably more deserving) than a 6-win Troy University.  But I still don't think I could accept it mentally.  When two 6-6 teams square off, it's fun because both teams are fighting to end their season with a winning record.  A 5-7 team would simply be trying to have less of a losing season.

Jonathan Allen among Alabama Crimson Tide players emerging on defense - ESPN

LB Reuben Foster: Someone on campus needs to show Foster the proper way to tackle. He’s always been a reckless head-first linebacker, but after a series of neck stingers, you’d think the staff would have gotten him to change his ways. Well, at A-Day he dove head-first again into a pile and dealt himself a concussion that sent him to the locker room. Even so, with C.J. Mosley gone and a spot at inside linebacker up for grabs, expect Foster to push for more playing time. Injuries are a concern, but his athleticism is too much to keep off the field.

This is a situation that has the potential to loom large during the season.  A couple of years ago, when I was looking at his high school tape, it was obvious that Foster is a violent tackler.  He's going to have to clean up his form, though, if he's going to make it through a whole season unscathed.

Five emerging Alabama Crimson Tide players on offense - ESPN

WR Robert Foster: Many might not remember that Foster was a late arrival as a true freshman, getting cleared by the NCAA and showing up at almost the last possible minute for practice in the fall. Still, he was listed as the second-string ‘Z’ receiver behind Kevin Norwood and Kenny Bell. In case you were sleeping under a rock, those two have graduated and moved on. And while Foster might not start, he should make a contribution as those around the program have been impressed by his big-play ability.

Where do Alabama's draftees fit on NFL depth charts? |

C.J. Mosley, LB, Baltimore (1st round, No. 17 overall) This looks like a perfect fit for Mosley -- a 3-4 defense that accustomed to strong linebacker play for a club whose general manager is Ozzie Newsome. The main competition for a starting role at Will linebacker in the Ravens' 3-4 may be former Auburn standout Josh Bynes, who started six games there last season. 2014 outlook: Opening-week starter.

He's going to get to be a starter by beating out an Auburn player, you say?  Well, consider the pot sweetened.

LSU AD: 'There may come a day' for SEC beer sales -

But no team in the SEC yet sells beer at its college football games, because league policy prohibits in-stadium alcohol sales. LSU athletic director Joe Alleva told the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, however, that the SEC might revisit that policy in the coming years.

"I think there may come a day that we may sell beer at college events," Alleva said, per "At some point -- I don't know if it will be five years from now or 10 year -- at some point I think it's going to happen." Alleva cited West Virginia's success with their sales and improving the "fan experience" as reason the SEC would "have to study and look at in the future."

Potentially unpopular opinion of the day: I'm not sure I want this.  First off, because of the number of inebriated individuals I encountered my first couple of games in Bryant Denny, it wasn't until my third or fourth trip that I realized that they didn't sell beer in the stadium.  In fact, when I was there for Rocky Block, I had a girl sitting directly behind me that was so drunk, I spent the first half in mortal fear of being puked on.  I'm not sad that she didn't have access to beer from the concessions.

I don't think I would want this because I don't want the college football atmosphere to become something that resembles the atmosphere at an NFL game.  Full disclosure: I've never been to an NFL game, but the descriptions I've heard make it seem as if the stands are full of drunken louts shouting obscenities and generally keeping the game day from being a family-friendly experience.

Maybe the introduction of libations to the concession offerings wouldn't change a thing, but I wouldn't want to see the Bama gameday experience become less of a family affair.

USF strength coach resigns over Aaron Lynch tweet -

USF strength and conditioning coach Hans Straub has resigned after sending a tweet over the weekend criticizing former Bulls defensive end and San Francisco 49ers fifth-round draft pick Aaron Lynch.

"Thought an organization with 5 Super Bowl titles would have a stricter draft criteria. Clearly, integrity & character are not a priority," Straub posted to his personal Twitter account Saturday.

The tweet was deleted, but Straub was nonetheless placed on indefinite leave before USF announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon.

Oof.  Terrible look for the program.  It's no wonder this guy had to go.  You can't be slamming your school's draftees, no matter what (for further reference, please see "Saban, Nick").