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Jumbo Package: Friday, 30 January 2015

Today's JP is dedicated to an old, familiar friend, Tom Roberts. The "man behind the mic" and longtime Director of Broadcasting retired yesterday after 36 years at the University and after providing us all with thousands of hours of that silky voice, unabashed enthusiasm, and trademark wit. We'll miss you, Tom.

I hate to brag, but today's "Package" is huge...

9 things you need to know about Alabama DB coach Mel Tucker, history with Nick Saban |

Mel Tucker's done his share of college coaching. And for the last 10 years, he rose in the ranks leading NFL defenses.

In Casagrande's story, Nick Saban is quoted as saying what we've all known: Tucker's hiring puts Kirby Smart back with the linebackers, where our defense is better, where he is a better position coach, and ultimately where he is a better defensive coordinator.

Brandon Harris' high school coach told him to leave LSU - Tiger Tracks

"Last time I talked to him, I was trying to talk him into transferring to go to junior college," Harris never saw significant playing time again, despite Miles saying several times over the final months of the season that Harris would play.

There are two ways to handle a quarterback controversy: You can take the Saban/Kiffin approach, tell the media to get lost, and start the one who's played better and for whom the offense responds. Or, you can take the Les Miles and Cam Cameron approach, which is to isolate and anger both players, lie to one of them, refuse to develop either, and then have a looming mutiny. Miles has never been noted for his development or handling of quarterbacks, but this could be his worst bit of coaching to date.

9 Innings with Coach Gaspard - ROLLTIDE.COM

"When I thought of putting this blog out, I wanted to be sure that each installment would cover a wide range of topics, giving fans an inside look at things that only people close to the program can personally provide."

I didn't know Coach Gaspard had a blog either, but this is a well-done insider look at the program. Above is the third of nine planned posts.

The Crimson White :: :: Crimson Tide will rematch No. 1 Kentucky

"The bottom line is you can’t come into games with unrealistic expectations in terms of how things are going to go for you individually or for the team"

Coach Grant's soundbite does not exactly imbue me with confidence for Saturday's trip to Rupp. We'll have your  Preview and Processing the Numbers coming later today.

Mario Cristobal Hits Big Time as FIU Flounders | NBC 6 South Florida

But where Cristobal really is making his mark is on the recruiting trail. The young coach was always considered a great recruiter, but he’s really made his name known while at Alabama.

Yes, Cristobal is a very good young head coach. And, yes, he will get a call for another head position sooner rather than later. That said, you have to believe that Coach Cristobal's ties to the South Florida/Miami region got him the job coaching the Alabama offensive line.

Alabama hires former UAB assistant coach Jody Wright as director of player personnel |

"Jody is extremely well-thought of in the state of Alabama and throughout the southeast when you talk to anyone involved with football at the college or high school level. He is also very organized and has excellent people skills, which make him a great fit for this role."

There was a lot smoke going around re: Jody Wright stepping into Kevin Steele's old job. Now, it's official. This is a tremendous hire, even if it's not one that will garner a lot of headlines.

Alabama Places Second in Preseason SEC Softball Poll - ROLLTIDE.COM

Defending national champion Florida is the preseason favorite, earning 11 of a possible 13 first-place votes. Women's College World Series participant Kentucky was picked third, LSU fourth and 2014 SEC Tournament champion Georgia fifth.

No surprises here, as Florida is the media's runaway favorite. To be the king, you have to kill the king.

The Crimson White :: :: 'Bama bubble' key as gymnastics faces UK

...On the road, crowd sizes vary, leaving less fan energy for the team to draw from. Instead, the team will have to rely on what the gymnasts called their ‘Bama bubble,’ focusing on what’s going on within the team.

Interesting story about crowds and how disparate attendance on the road can impact a gymnastics squad.

Butch Jones says search for new OC is going ‘exceptionally well’ - News Sentinel

Finebaum asked Jones if Tennessee fans could expect a hire soon after National Signing Day on Feb. 4. "Absolutely," Jones said. "We’re multi-tasking right now, but everything is about a gut feeling and finding the right fit."

You must read this story. Butch tries to paint a rosy picture regarding the Vols' OC vacancy, but it sounds like a little too much spin. Given that many of those VHTs would probably like to know what offense they'll see for a few years, and that he's dragging this out past NSD, a few Tennessee commits may be ripe for the plucking.