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Jumbo Package: Thursday 19 March 2015

News, notes, links, etc.

I don't know who starts these rumors either, Coach.
I don't know who starts these rumors either, Coach.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Alabama inspired to beat Illinois, Bill Battle inspired to hire a big-name coach |

If Battle really is willing to open the vault, he may understand something about his tenure as the Alabama athletics director that some Alabama fans don't understand about him. He didn't take the job to pass the time. He may not be in it for the long haul, but he has an opportunity to leave a legacy. There's a good chance this will be the only major hire he'll get to make. Not unlike Mal Moore with Saban, this is Battle's chance to make a final and lasting mark on his school. Why not aim high?

Scarb isn't typically a favorite around these parts, but this is well said. Hopefully Battle will look at this as a legacy hire. Yesterday the message boards were all abuzz about Tom Crean coming to Alabama. Seth Davis put a damper on that:

Now does this mean there is zero chance that Crean ends up in Tuscaloosa? Of course not. Still, this is another example of purported "smoke" from "trusted posters" on message boards getting folks all worked up over nothing. Battle is clearly aiming high here, let's allow him to do his thing.

Several players will be in the mix for Alabama offensive line openings, Nick Saban says |

The top candidates at guard are redshirt freshman Ross Pierschbacher, redshirt junior Alphonse Taylor, sophomore J.C. Hassenauer and redshirt sophomore Bradley Bozeman. Saban described Pierschbacher as "a guy that we had high hopes for."

The battle for the open OL positions will be at least as critical to the team's success as the much more publicized position battle of which we will not speak for a day. Pierschbacher and Hassenauer are both intriguing candidates, and hearing Verne butcher their surnames would be an added bonus.

What Alabama Football Players Are Up to on Spring Break | Bleacher Report

Let’s get a glimpse of what Crimson Tide players are doing with their break through social media. This is in no way an exhaustive list, but rather a snapshot into the lives of Alabama’s football team. Several Alabama players have hit the beach. Freshman cornerback Marlon Humphrey shared a picture of him, Da’Shawn Hand, Reggie Ragland, Derrick Henry and Rashaan Evans enjoying the sun:

Good to see the players hanging out together for some R&R. A little camaraderie can't hurt.

Report: Alabama adds Charlie Weis Jr. to support staff -

And while it's impossible to treat Weis's head coaching career as anything but a punchline (sorry, Charlie), there's something to remember before you crack wise on the Tide bringing Weis the Younger aboard: there are thousands upon thousands of coaches who would have given up limbs to have half of Charlie Weis's career, even without the money. (The staggering, staggering amounts of money.) And that career -- NFL play-caller, Sugar Bowl coach, etc. -- didn't happen entirely by accident.

OK, that's it folks. No more Charlie Weis fat jokes. In all sincerity, welcome Coach Weis to the staff.

NFL teams speaking highly of 'undervalued' ex-Alabama RB T.J. Yeldon |

The time --  a 4.52 that Yeldon heard some had as low as a mid 4.4 -- will do nothing but help the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Yeldon, whom draft analyst and former NFL scout Bucky Brooks tweeted about Wednesday. Several scouts and executives have described Yeldon, who ran the 40 in 4.61 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine in Feburary, as the "undervalued" running back in this draft class, Brooks said.

Sounds like TJ's stock is rising.

Sports Illustrated experts pick their 2015 NCAA tournament brackets |

The NCAA tournament field is set, and now it's time to begin filling out your bracket. Our experts—Seth Davis, Pete Thamel, Luke Winn and Brian Hamilton—have made their picks to help you make yours. You can also read our previews for each region of the tournament. For your chance to win $1 million dollars, submit your picks through our Bracket Challenge. If you need a printable bracket, you can download one here.

Insert Dr. Evil meme here. May the fun begin.