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Jumbo Package: Thursday 26 March 2015

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Spring practice news and other notes.

"Kendrick?"
"Kendrick?"
Marvin Gentry/Derick E. Hingle

We'll start out with Saban's second press conference of the Spring. Several interesting topics were addressed, but the running backs were by far the most fun:

This is something that simply needs to happen this season. Kenyan Drake can be a key part of the passing game assuming, of course, that he is something close to full speed. Oh, and then this happened:

Whether a simple twist of the tongue (likely) or a brilliant marketing strategy that just happened to coincide with Lamar's album drop (not as likely) Saban managed to hang a nickname on his veterans in the backfield: "Kendrick." We should be able to have fun with this one, folks. Regardless of whether it sticks, however, it should not encourage anyone (ahem, Slice) to nominate any less-than-stellar choices for RBR sweetheart in the fall who may or may not share the name. OK, on to more serious matters:

Rewinding Nick Saban's comments on injuries, new assistants, Derrick Henry | AL.com

Young DBs like Hootie Jones, Geno Smith are getting more reps. Saban wants to see competition back there, not older players assuming they're going to step into a role because they've put in time waiting.

Typical coach-speak, but considering the young talent on the roster this should certainly ring true. As usual, Casagrande has a nice summary for you. Unsurprisingly, Derrick Henry is recognized for leading the way in terms of work ethic. Here's hoping he is able to take a big step forward this season. Anthony Averett getting some work at receiver is particularly interesting as well. Have to wonder if he's been passed up in the defensive backfield, but he's clearly a good enough athlete to compete somewhere. Full video of the press conference below.

Alabama Football: What Position Experiments Is Nick Saban Trying in 2015? | Bleacher Report

Johnny Dwight is going the Ball route, moving from defensive line to tight end. Running passing routes, he looks like, well, a converted lineman, but where he’s most likely to make an impact is as a blocker in obvious run downs.

Johnny Dwight is currently listed at 6'3" and a robust 300 pounds. That is one swole tight end, folks. Guess they needed a replacement for Brandon Greene since he's been moved back to the OL. Is this what we want tight ends to be? Why yes, I think it is.

Alabama just a 'football school?' Nick Saban not supporting that label | AL.com

Success hasn't been exclusive to football in recent years. Alabama's won national championships in gymnastics, men's and women's golf and softball since Saban resurrected the football program in 2007. "I think when you're good in everything, in this day and age, there's a lot of attention whether it's women's softball, tennis, our gymnastics program here, our golf program men and women's, basketball, baseball, I want to be good in everything," Saban said. "And I've tried to be supportive in every way to help them to recruit and to support their programs."

Something tells me that Saban is going to have a role in courting the next basketball coach. A guy like Marshall will need to believe that the football program is a benefit, and not a detriment, to basketball success.

SEC West: Which players will be missed most from the 2014 season? - ESPN

How valuable was Cooper? The Heisman finalist accounted for over 40 percent of the team's receptions and receiving yards last season. He took the term "go-to target" to another level. Now it's up to a group of talented but inexperienced youngsters to replace him. Chris Black might be the most proven at this point, but there's a trio of sophomores-to-be -- ArDarius Stewart, Cam Sims and Robert Foster -- that should all earn more minutes this fall. The talent is there, but it's going to take a team effort to fill the void left by Cooper. One guy can't do it alone.

OK, so maybe this falls under the category of "Captain Obvious" but it's still the offseason. You know?

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan staff to coach at satellite football camp in Alabama | MLive.com

Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan coaching staff will be guest coaches this summer in Prattville, Alabama for the Prattville High School football camp in June. The in for Harbaugh and company at Prattville is newly-signed cornerback Keith Washington, who will report to campus this summer. But the bigger prize is, obviously, face time in the state of Alabama -- one of the most talent-rich college football states in the country.

Haven't I heard somewhere that Alabama doesn't have any high school talent? Jim Harbaugh clearly disagrees. Good luck pulling coveted players away from the two in-state schools, Jim, particularly to try and get them to move to Michigan.

Nick's Kids to dedicate new playground | Local News - WVTM

The Nick’s Kids Foundation and the city of Tuscaloosa will dedicate a newly constructed playground at the Alberta School of Performing Arts at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday.   "This playground is more than a structure. It is an environment that adds ongoing, positive self-gratification for these children," said Nick Saban.

Saban is really struggling to keep up with the evil, soulless narrative media types and rival fan bases have tried to create for him. He and Miss Terry have obviously done much more in Tuscaloosa than build a championship football program.

Three Home Runs Lift Softball to 11-0 Win Over Georgia Tech - ROLLTIDE.COM - University of Alabama Official Athletic Site

Alabama's bats were hot on Wednesday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, as a pair of grand slams and a two-run homer ultimately helped lift the Crimson Tide to an 11-0 victory over Georgia Tech in six innings. It was the first time Alabama (23-7) had multiple grand slams in a game since May 3, 2008 and the three home runs are tied for the most home runs in a game this season. Danae Hays got things started with a two-run shot in the first inning and it remained a two-run game until the offense broke through in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring nine runs to earn the run-rule victory. Marisa Runyon's grand slam in the fifth was already her second of the year while Chaunsey Bell's game-ending grand slam was the first of the senior's career.

Two grand slams and a shutout. That's what we call sending the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave. Roll Tide, ladies.

What a surprise: Lovie Smith indicates Buccaneers will take Jameis Winston | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo Sports

It became obvious at the NFL scouting combine, when Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said he was comfortable with Jameis Winston's off-field past, that Winston would be the top pick. And at the NFL owners' meetings this week, Smith basically confirmed that Winston will be the pick, even though he left himself some outs.

You have fun with him, Lovie. Godspeed.

Full press conference video: