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Jumbo Package: Monday, 23 March 2015

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Your daily dose of off-season malaise.

Hoops

What's next for Alabama basketball as focus turns to Bill Battle's coaching search? | AL.com

Of the 13 roster members, eight were freshmen or sophomores. That group will face a decision about returning or looking elsewhere since coaching changes typically result in transfers. After Tuesday's NIT win over Illinois, most of the underclassmen were non-committal about their future with Alabama.

Ours is a young team, and may be younger when the new staff enters. A lot will depend on who the Tide loses with the hire.

Mississippi State expected to finalize deal to make Ben Howland coach - CBSSports.com

Mississippi State and former UCLA head coach Ben Howland are putting the finishing touches on a deal that would make the 57-year old the Bulldogs' next head basketball coach, multiple sources told CBSSports.com. The deal is expected to be officially completed by Monday barring any last-minute snags. Terms have yet to be disclosed. One source called the deal "imminent."

Speaking of a new hire, it best be a good one. Like the SEC-West in football the past five years, basketball has decided to become competent as well. That competency begins at the top. Mississippi State may have hit a home run.

5 attributes Alabama's next basketball coach must possess | AL.com

Sell the Sport There didn't seem to be much coming from Grant's office when it came to convincing the public Alabama basketball was on the rise. You didn't see his name in the headlines and there was limited interaction with the media.

These are Cassagrande's bucket-list items. TEASER: The Roll 'Bama Roll staff have just completed a comprehensive roundtable covering all aspects of the coaching search and what we think is required from the next head man. First Installment this afternoon!

Spring football

Alabama spring football refresher: 3 key questions as Tide returns from spring break | AL.com

-- At running back, the questions start with Tyren Jones' suspension that Saban said continues after the first practice. Redshirt freshman Ronnie Clark was back with the running backs after beginning last fall at safety, but moving after injuries limited depth in early October. The Tide already lost Altee Tenpenny to transfer, but gained former 5-star Bo Scarbrough.

That Ronnie Clark has flirted so much with RB is telling, particularly with the non-existent 2-deep at safety going into Spring. It tells me that he's one helluva athlete first, and, second, that the talent at safety -while not very experienced- has a ton of potential.

Alabama WR Amari Cooper's combine 40 time was faster than previously thought, report says | AL.com

NFL teams were informed that the time released for Cooper was incorrect and that the former Alabama wide receiver's actual time was between 4.35 and 4.38 seconds, according to Yahoo!. Only two wide receivers ran the 40-yard dash in faster than 4.35 seconds at the combine -- UAB's J.J. Nelson (4.28) and Miami's Phillip Dorsett (4.33).

Not sure where this "Amari Cooper is slow" rumor started, but more than enough DBs have seen the back of No. 9's jersey to tell you that you're not catching him. Glad to see the numbers finally give credence to our apparently lying eyes.

Five burning questions for new coordinators - ESPN

Can Doug Nussmeier build an offense at Florida? I understand that this sounds like a broken record, but if Florida is going to do anything of interest during Jim McElwain's first year, the Gators have to find an offensive identity.

Forget Doug Nussmeier's offensive identity. Does anyone think for a second this offense won't be Coach Mac's baby? Not I. McElwain's offense will use the tools in front of him: be it running Kapri Bibbs into the ground in 2013 or throwing to Rashard Higgins a billion times in 2014, Mac will get the last call here. Given Florida's returning players, I'd look for a return to 2012 Florida paleoball, when Mike Gillislee was such a weapon.

Alabama Position-By-Position Breakdown: Special Teams

Coach Nick Saban noted in a game week press conference that he [Former No. 1 PK recruit, Adam Griffith] was playing through an undisclosed injury, which Griffith later revealed prior to the Tide’s College Playoff semifinal game as a stress fracture in his lower back.

Yeah, being a kicker is really easy, you guys. Half of the people dumping on these guys won't walk across the house to get a beer if they have a hangnail, much less play tackle football, at a position placing intense torque on the core -- and do so with a broken back.

Oh, yeah. And our punter is amazing.

Miscellany

Florida State trying to schedule Alabama and Auburn - Tomahawk Nation

The game against Alabama would likely be to open the 2017 season in the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium. Florida State won its last meeting against the Crimson Tide 21-14 in 2007, Nick Saban's first as head coach of the Crimson Tide...

This is rematch that that I've REALLY want. That 2007 Alabama team was woeful, talent-wise, and the 2007 'Nole were woeful under lame duck Bowden. It was in the slop, with terrible playcalling, one game-changing blown assignment; no one wanted to be there (players or fans,) and it showed. Easily one of the most disinterested Alabama football games I've ever seen. The rematch, a decade later, with the two most talented teams in the nation, will be a season-opening playoff elimination round.

Steve Spurrier still loves to take shots at Tennessee - CBSSports.com

Even though the Gamecocks lost to Tennessee last season and had the same record as the Volunteers, that's not going to keep Spurrier from taking shots at the boys in Knoxville whenever he can.

National treasure.

NCAA drops immediate eligibility hardship waiver for transfers | Dr. Saturday - Yahoo Sports

NCAA athletes who transfer will no longer be able to apply for a hardship waiver to become immediately eligible at a new school starting in 2015-2016. The NCAA approved the change in April 2014 allowing transfers a possible sixth-year of eligibility.

This rule makes little sense on its face, and, after thought, is even worse. What the NCAA, who's never known for capricious decision-making, has done is say "transfer, and after the crisis passes we'll determine whether it was such a hardship that we'll give you that year back." I wasn't aware that hardships were being abused, but I don't think I'd like the NCAA judging the validity of my transfer, after the fact, essentially based upon how everything works out

Finally

PR firm warned UAB not to announce end of football until after season - SBNation.com

The University worked with public relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co. to prepare plans to shut down the football, rifle, and women's bowling programs in September of 2014 ... on numerous occasions UAB president Ray Watts maintained that the decision to shut down the programs wasn't made until November.

Holy shit, Ray Watts. Don't worry about getting fired, worry about getting shot. This is as low down and skeezy a move by the UAB admins and BoR as you'll see. At least, Ray, FFS never leave a paper trail. You are dumber than cut bait. In real life, this is also how "Major League" plays out -- the gritty underdog gets their legs sawed off underneath them without ever being told...even if there is a magical run, the Mayflower van is still dragging your crap to Indianapolis under cover of darkness.

The complete documents are here...they are slimy.