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Jumbo Package: Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Your daily dose of Crimson Tide news and notes

Would you want to face this guy after getting beat deep?
Would you want to face this guy after getting beat deep?
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama hires ex-Bears DC Mel Tucker to coach secondary - College Football -

The 43-year-old Tucker is beloved by players and a renowned college recruiter, landing NFL first-round pick Ted Ginn Jr. and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith while coaching at Ohio State. His hiring means that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, who had also coached the secondary, will slide back to his positional duties of coaching inside linebackers.

One thing that can be said about Nick Saban is that he takes action when there's a problem. This move pretty clearly indicates that he hasn't been pleased with the development of his secondary players. This looks like a great hire as Tucker has successfully coached DBs at the college and NFL levels and even has some experience as an NFL DC with mixed results. In 2011, his first season calling plays on defense, his Jacksonville squad finished sixth in the league. Unfortunately he was unable to duplicate that success in Chicago. Still, his pedigree as a DB coach is unquestionably strong. From 2005-2008 his Cleveland Browns defenses averaged better than one interception per game with 73 in four seasons.

Alabama, Auburn target Chidi Valentine-Okeke discusses his delayed decision |

"This is a period when I have to make a tough decision in my life," Valentine-Okeke said during the program. "I feel good, but schools are calling you. It's hard. I wanted to commit today, but I decided to changed my mind this afternoon. I just want to feel free this week to make the right decision.

Most folks seem to think we are third with this young man, but he is obviously struggling with his decision. He is projected as a big time OL who would be a welcome addition to the class.

Assessing Alabama's 2015 class the week before signing day | Saturday Down South

Unlike a typical Alabama class, though, this one is light on linemen and heavy on the edges, at least at the top. Just one of Alabama’s seven highest-rated commitments is a lineman — five-star defensive tackle Daron Payne. He’s the only one of the top seven that weighs more than 205 pounds, according to 247Sports.

Interesting fact. It's apparent that Saban continues to try and build a faster, more athletic team, particularly on defense.

Coach Bear Bryant and Pres. Gerald Ford share time on the campaign trail and the practice field |

"President Gerald R. Ford apparently decided to do something about the possibility of rain during his visit Sunday to Mobile. Paul "Bear" Bryant, legendary head football coach at the University of Alabama, will ride with the President and be on the speaker's platform at Mobile Muncipal Airport, according to a White House spokesman Saturday... Football fans, especially the followers of the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama and opposing coaches, know of the legend that Bryant can walk on water as well as control the rain." -Press-Register Sept. 26, 1976

Great story. RIP, Coach.

Alabama basketball: Grant still looking to beat Donovan - The Anniston Star: Sports

"Every game has a life of its own," Grant said Monday. "We can’t take what happened in the last game and carry it over, whether it’s good or bad. We’ve got to get prepared for Florida. It will be important for us to get off to a good start and try to maintain that and play 40 minutes of good, solid basketball."

Coach Grant can try to pretend that he doesn't care about the record against his mentor, but I'm not buying it. He knows what it is and wouldn't be human if it didn't grate at him at least a little. Here's hoping he can get the Donovan monkey off his back tonight. Coverage from Saxon and Bamabrave4 later today.

INSIDE TIDE: Alabama gymnastics climbs to No. 6 |

After posting its highest score of the season to take down then-No. 1 Florida on Friday night, the University of Alabama gymnastics team rose one spot in the weekly national rankings to 6th. The Crimson Tide recorded a 197.4 on Friday, bringing the team’s season average to 196.6. Oklahoma, LSU, Florida, Michigan and Utah are the five teams ranked ahead of Alabama, while Nebraska, Arkansas, Penn State and Oregon State round out the top 10.

Retiring Alabama broadcasting legend ready for emotional final coaches show Monday night |

In the end, Roberts said most of the shows blend together after all the years. A few with Nick Saban stand out for the huge crowds and memorable answers. Roberts chuckles remembering the first time Saban dropped an expletive on the air in the show before playing Mississippi State in his first season. "I was just scared to death we were going to get all kinds of phone calls," Roberts said. "But nobody did, and it was fun.