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Jumbo Package: Monday, 23 February 2015

An afternoon edition of the JP, with links, notes, and myriad other things designed to wreck your productivity!

Landon running...away from Baton Rouge?
Landon running...away from Baton Rouge?
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Here's your good news

UNC runs the Four Corners offense to honor Dean Smith -- and scores! -

UNC opened their game against Georgia Tech with an on-court tribute to the late, great Dean Smith: running his famed Four Corners offense. And to make it even sweeter, the Tar Heels got a bucket, with Marcus Paige finding Brice Johnson on a backdoor cut.

The basketball world lost Dean Smith last week. What a helluva' way to honor him. Related, don't think for a second Coach Grant wouldn't run the Four Corners. Can't you see it now? Dribbling and standing around for 39 minutes and 58 seconds to set up a last second shot that doesn't even draw the rim? That's the stuff of Grantsketball fuzzy dreams.

Here's your bad news

Josh sent this tweet to us the other evening during the game. Grant has been, at best abysmal at Alabama -- feasting on cupcakes and losing to teams in our own punching class. In his six seasons at the Capstone, Alabama has beaten tourney-time competition just 15% of the time. And, for that past three seasons (including Saturday's loss to UGA,) the Tide have won about 7% of such meetings. Put another way: In good years, Alabama beats Top 50 teams one out of seven meetings. Since 2012, they do it about once out of fifteen attempts. Wholly unacceptable.

Crootin' and Eligibility

Alabama Extends Offer To Second Clay-Chalkville Wideout

One day after landing one Clay-Chalkville High School wide receiver, Alabama now finds itself in a position to land a second.

I've got some La Quinta rewards points leftover. I'm probably going to donate them to WR Coach Billy Napier so that he doesn't have to keep driving back and forth from Pinson.

Bobby Petrino was hardly the first coach to pull a surprise grayshirt on a recruit -

One FBS recruiting coordinator disagreed on the reasoning. "More often than not, it's about perceived talent, what the coaches think. If they asked this kid to grayshirt, it's not because they're deeper at running back than DB. It's because they feel like he's the most expendable in that class regardless of position.

Interesting discussion as to why certain athletes are given greyshirts (Alabama offered greyshirts to two such players in 2012, both coming off major medical issues where they would be unable to play that season in any event. One case, that of Darius Philon, in accordance to the Black Prophecy grew our Dark Lord Saban's nefarious legacy was overblown and became a national brouhaha. BUt, there are many reasons for doing so, and, shocking, some coaches lie while others do not.

4 ways getting rid of redshirting would make the NCAA better for players -

"By removing redshirting, you can focus on the best interest of the student-athlete, which is sometimes not addressed by our current system. If you have a system where everyone's eligible, and say you're up by 28 points in a homecoming game and want to play a freshman, why not allow that player to learn and gain experience?"

Grayshirting is one side of the equation to balance a roster; once someone is on campus redshirting is the other part of the equation to balance the two-deep. MSU's athletic director, Scott Stricklin, has the most commensensical approach we'll ever see: Five years of eligibility. Period. No petitioning to the NCAA when a player goes down, no complete deprivation of a year of play to avoid "burning a redshirt," and, yes, it would benefit student athletes. The South has some of the worst public education in America, is an exceptionally poor part of the country, and many entering student athletes, particularly first-gen students, do need an adjustment period. This isn't breaking news, and Stricklin's proposal will benefit entering students as much as will those who finish early, start grad school, and "pursue a career in something other than football." This is especially true, since 2016 ushers in new, more difficult qualifying criteria. Speaking of which...

The NCAA's big freshman ineligibility debate is premature at best -

Why enact a new policy before the impact of the policy that takes effect 18 months from now can be measured?

Bud Elliot makes a great point about the now-four other conferences looking into hamstringing freshman eligibility. With the new criteria in place, shouldn't we, you know, actually see how it's working out before we preemptively declare that everyone in football and basketball needs to be sat aside for a whole year to academically adjust? Personally, I think casting such a broad net on only football and basketball is not only an anti-competitive measure, but it is is very paternalistic and not more than a little racist.

Hot takes

Coker Locks Up the Job [50 Predictions for 2015]

"If there's one thing I've learned over the years, you can't worry about all the other stuff outside," Coker told Alex Scarborough of "I just try to go to practice and not read anything. Just stick to the program."

Coker has the right mental attitude, and a world of physical skills, but it's probably premature for Bleacher Report's national guys to predict him as the starter. Too much talent on the bench behind him, and, frankly, his decision-making and headspace have to catch up with the arm.

Alabama QB Cooper Bateman [Players most likely to transfer]

Although we all know what assumptions do, let’s assume that Coker wins the job this time around. That would leave four scholarship quarterbacks behind him. Alabama lost a pair of quarterbacks to transfers following the 2013 season in Parker McLeod and Luke Del Rio but none after last season. The depth chart would have to thin out some, right? If Bateman doesn’t win the job, look for him or Morris to make the move out of Tuscaloosa.

B/R is riding this whole "Coker as starter thing" out, eh? And, I'm not even sure that they have this one right. Coker, as a fifth year senior, would be one-and-done. I can see Bateman and/or Morris waiting it out to compete for the starting job in 2016. Quarterbacking is of necessity a position of patience. Now, if Barnett wins the job, all (transfer) hell would break loose: You cannot expect one of/both of those guys to sit on the bench for the remainder of their career.

Whitfield: Braxton Miller will be '100 percent' by summer | NCAA Football | Sporting News

Ohio State senior Braxton Miller is throwing footballs, and quarterback guru George Whitfield says the quarterback will be healthy by the time camp starts.

Speaking of transfers, what is Ohio State supposed to do? How do you bench J.T. Barrett? How do the Buckeyes ignore Cardale, who ran a more physical variant of the offense? And, importantly, how do you not play Braxton Miller? Absurd as it seems, we may see a rotational system to play their best all around guy, while also keeping the future QB happy, and a third-string player getting starts in paycheck slaughters.

Tennessee's Butch Jones Opens Up on Mike DeBord Hire, Developing QBs and More | Bleacher Report

"With Mike DeBord, he has the same offensive philosophies. We've really benefited from the experience he’s gained in the last five years in the National Football League."

Yeah, Butch. A guy who hasn't coached at the college level in almost a decade, and hasn't set foot on a field in 18 months, and who runs a pro-style offense, and has missed the entire trend of the HUNH, has no recruiting connections to SEC country, is really gonna' benefit your team. I still don't buy this one. Easily the worst offseason hire of any SEC team.

USC Football: Trojans' crazy hype, Ohio State's title run | FOX Sports

Bill Connelly joins Stewart Mandel on The Audible to discuss why Florida State was overrated in the polls in 2014, why Ohio State's playoff run actually wasn't a huge surprise, the crazy hype surrounding USC entering 2015 and much more.

Erik #Hot #Take coming: USC is still staring at three losses in 2015. The Trojans had serious losses up front, and, for a team that already has issues being manhandled by manball, that doesn't bode well. Crosstown rival UCLA is built for more sustained success and doesn't have a village idiot coaching them. Speaking of hype covering up systemic coaching issues...

Math says: 2014 Florida State was the luckiest team of past 17 years -

What does "2014 Florida State was the luckiest team in 17 years" mean? It means that while nothing's guaranteed**, expecting a substantial dip in the first year of the post-Jameis Winston era is probably the right move.

Number three luckiest team? 2010 the surprise of no one. While we're on the subject of SEC schools and cash money...

SC AD: SEC Network to Pay Out $5 Million - Team Speed Kills

That's not far behind the $7.6 million that Big Ten schools will get from their far older and more established network.

SEC Network has already paid dividends in just its first year. TSK speculates that, if these early returns were known, that may be why several schools broke the bank in the offseason (Boom at Auburn, Chavis at A&M, Hugh Freeze's extension, etc.)

Alabama notes

Alabama's T.J. Yeldon says he was 60 percent in Sugar Bowl loss to Ohio State |

Alabama's soft-spoken former running back had a laundry list of injuries in his final season with the Crimson Tide.

The one that seemed to hinder him the most in the season's latter stage was a nagging, and oft-severe, hamstring injury.

Rolando McClain violates substance abuse policy: Three things to know -

But when you take this violation (his third, apparently) in context with his past issues with the law, with his commitment to football (he did retire once already, after all) and his up-and-down play throughout his career, it's difficult to justify floating him a big-money offer.

Oh, Ro..not again? Someone keep the him the hell away from weed and the hell out of Decatur. This was especially a big blow, because McClain was already in the mix as a long-term player for the 'Boys. Now, he has all-but guaranteed himself the league minimum and, worse, uncertainty as to whether he has a job back in Dallas.

6 former Alabama opponents give candid answers to what it was like facing Tide |

Michael Bennett, DL, Ohio State "Who's the best offensive lineman you faced all year?" Alabama's left guard Arie Kouandjio. "I thought that he had the whole mixture. He was fast on the field. He was very athletic on the field. He recovered quickly during pass rush then at the same time, he can move you in the run.

Good to see Arie get a little love. He was just a quiet rock at left guard for years, helping his injured brother and assisting freshman Cam Robinson at left tackle. High praise from one of the nation's better defensive linemen.

Landon Collins sometimes wonders what if he went to LSU instead of Alabama |

Now, three years after mom opposed the move to Alabama, how does she feel about it now? Collins laughed when asked. "That would be a question you'd have to ask her," he said. "That's so hard to answer that question because she to this day won't answer that question for me. Every time I ask, she just says I'm glad you did what you had to do and got out of there."

Interesting story here, particularly in that Landon notes he knew most of those guys, knew the program and the place, and that it wasn't a good fit for him. Now, his mom (at least privately) is happy he "got out of there." This naturally leads to the question of what is going on in the LSU program or Baton Rouge that would make them say that?

Combine (and Amari Cooper stealing the show)

Amari Cooper might be too good at what he does -

There are talent evaluators who work for NFL teams watching Amari Cooper's film who will say that what they saw from him at Alabama is likely as close to the best you'll ever see out of him. I know because it's exactly what I would say. And I, nor them, are probably going to be wrong. Hell, what I see on film is pretty damn good, now. The Amari Cooper I see on film doesn't have many, if any, holes in his game.

That's about the size of it. He doesn't have many highlight reels, Top-10 plays because everything he does he makes look absurdly easy.

What they're saying nationally about Amari Cooper after NFL Combine |

Here's a sampling of the coverage for the potential top-5 pick in the NFL draft.

Fantastic quotes from scouts, personnel folks and others. Suffice it to say, White may have the speed and a little height, but there is not a person in Indianapolis not in love with Amari Cooper.

NFL Combine 2015: Results, highlights and live coverage from Indianapolis -

The top NFL prospects have gone through the paces at the combine. Defensive backs are the only group yet to finish drills.

The mothership has a great hub for recruiting news, broken down by day and position. It's worth your visit.


Police: Children's panda sex shirts 'indecent' -

BANGKOK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Police in Thailand are requesting the public's help to battle a new threat -- children's clothing bearing images of sexually active pandas.