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The Jumbo Package | 08.08.14

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes.

Today's soundtrack: "Forgot about Dr(ake)"
Today's soundtrack: "Forgot about Dr(ake)"
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Power 5 Conferences Get Autonomy - Team Speed Kills

The Power 5 conferences got a little more powerful today, as the NCAA's board of directors approved a new governance plan that gives them autonomy within the structure.

What does that mean? In short, the ACC (which includes Notre Dame), Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC will now be able to make up rules that apply only to themselves. The most visible changes that will come from this largely will have to do with increasing the amount of money they can spend on their athletes: full cost of attendance stipends, longer term scholarships, more medical coverage for former athletes after they graduate, giving money to families to allow them to travel to games, etc.

SEC's Super Sophomores for 2014 college football season - ESPN

A’Shawn Robinson, DE, Alabama: The Crimson Tide’s most disruptive defensive lineman last season, and one of the SEC’s most disruptive defensive linemen, was just a freshman. The 6-4, 320-pound Robinson is poised for a huge sophomore season after leading Alabama with 5.5 sacks a year ago. He started in only two games last season, but can play end or nose in the Tide’s base 3-4 set and move inside to tackle when they go to four down linemen.

I just wanted to throw this is as a reminder that our best defensive line performance of the last three years came from a freshman.

How Alabama's injuries, suspensions tested - and will continue to test - its depth on defensive line |

"We thought that the defensive line was an area we had pretty good depth going in with the guys that we recruited," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "But, you know, it's provided an opportunity to create more reps for some of the younger players."

Asked to name the players who have made the most of these increased opportunities, Saban rattled off six.

At end, sophomores Dalvin Tomlinson and Jonathan Allen and junior D.J. Pettway have been seen working with the first group throughout the first week. None of the three have ever started a college game, but all are seasoned and primed to perform in their own way.

I know it's early yet, and most of these absences are likely of the short-term nature, but it's not an inspiring way to start the season to have so many missing from a unit we are expecting much from.

Alabama exercising caution with DE A'Shawn Robinson as he deals with minor knee injury |

Alabama defensive lineman A'Shawn Robinson, a preseason first-team All-SEC selection, is dealing with a sprained knee but won't require any surgery, coach Nick Saban said after Thursday's practice.

Robinson, a menacing 6-foot-4, 320-pound sophomore, was not seen at Thursday's indoors practice or either of Wednesday's two sessions. He likely won't be seen for the next few.

"It's probably going to take a few days before we get him back out there – maybe as much as a week or so," Saban said. "We're saying he's kind of day-to-day, but we're going to pretty cautious with this kind of thing, especially at his position because it's not easy to function as an inside player if you have a sprained knee. We're going to be pretty cautious with him."

Watch Alabama's RBs prepare for more pass-catching opportunities |

One hint that surfaced in April, though, came from sophomore running back Derrick Henry, who indicated he'd be doing more than just taking carries and running up the middle.

"I feel like we're being used more," Henry said. "We're getting out running more routes, being one-on-one with the linebackers. Just getting out and being receiver-type running backs. I think it brings more to the offense because we're doing more than just running the ball."

Get a closer look at Alabama's offensive line during a pad-thumping start to practice |

As you'll see in the video, the first group remains unchanged from last week's start to camp: Cam Robinson at left tackle, Arie Kouandjio at left guard, Kelly at center, Alphonse Taylor at right guard and Austin Shepherd at right tackle. The second group Thursday was Brandon Greene at left tackle, Isaac Luatua at left guard, Bradley Bozeman at center, Dominick Jackson at right guard and Grant Hill at right tackle.

Except for a potential battle between Alphonse Taylor and Dominick Jackson at right guard, I dare say we have a starting five in place.

Lane Kiffin not out to rebuild Alabama Crimson Tide offense - ESPN

Kiffin, for his part, seems to understand what he’s walked into. And rather than trying to rebuild his reputation by putting his stamp on Alabama, he’s doing the wise thing and trying not to do too much.

"As far as the offense, the last thing we'd want to do is come in and change a bunch of stuff," he said. "As I mentioned before, it's a great offensive staff that's been together here. Had a great run here last year on offense, the number of players had great success last year. Really just coming in and looking at some things, very small changes just to make sure at the end of the day we're putting our great players in the best position to utilize their talents in the best position for us to win games."

That, in a nutshell, is Kiffin’s job description. He’s the caretaker of Alabama’s offense now.

I'll be a bit of a contrarian here, but I think there is a strong possibility that we are going to see a much bigger change to our offense than most are expecting.  Think of the last couple offensive coordinators that Saban has hired.  When McElwain came in, he installed the wildcat and pistol formations (albeit not in his first year).  When Nussmeier came in, he tried to bring a re-emphasis on I-formation (that is until we lost our only real option at fullback).

Saban didn't get to be the best by resting on his laurels, and if he wanted a guy to just be a simple caretaker, he could've found dozens of other options that would be easier personalities to manage, and that would also provide less unnecessary media attention.  No, Saban brought in Kiffin for a reason, and he will be given the latitude to install some potentially significant modifications to our offense.  The comments and video above certainly make it seem that more running back passes certainly may be a part of that.  I can't wait to see what other wrinkles might show up.

Alabama players make marks in preseason openers |

Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick from Gadsden City High intercepted a pass thrown by Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown for one of the highlight plays of the night.

In Baltimore's 23-3 victory over San Francisco, nose tackle Quinton Dial from Clay-Chalkville High led the 49ers with 10 tackles and linebacker C.J. Mosley from Theodore High led the Ravens with five tackles.

Them Bama boys ain't nuthin but a buncha busts at the next level, PAWWWWL.


Nick Saban Press Conference:

Thursday Practice Footage:

Highlight of Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake running drills:

Quarterback drills throwing towards the viewer: