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Jumbo Package: Friday, 10 April 2015

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The A-Day Game approaches, as Alabama hires a flurry of new coaches, and an old hand is increasingly grumpy.

Coach Tucker has his work cut out for him.
Coach Tucker has his work cut out for him.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Spring Football

'We've got a long way to go in the secondary' among Nick Saban's observations from last week's scrimmage | AL.com

"There were some guys on defense, Reggie Ragland had some really good production. I think the front seven on defense had some pretty good production and played pretty well for the most part. I think we've got a long way to go in the secondary."

Bad news first. The secondary is not performing very well. As he's aged, Saban has done a much better job of not directly criticizing units or individual players. In Spring, particularly, he likes to single out players for praise. But, when the most optimistic thing he has to say about pass coverage is how well the front seven performed? Yikes. Youth, injuries, inexperience, and a new scheme were always going to present a problem for Coach Tucker, but this is a broken record now on its third season, "the secondary needs work."

Alabama Football: How Much Faster Can Lane Kiffin's Offense Be in 2015? | Bleacher Report

Alabama's seven-plays-per-game jump is significant. Over a 14-game season, that's 98 more plays than it would have ran last year. But on the national level, Alabama is still below the midline in terms of tempo. It’s far below the blistering 90.3 plays per game that Baylor ran last year.

Alabama doesn't need to "blister," in fact, the way that CNS and crew practice, it's exactly the opposite: Control the ball, play fewer snaps, save yourself for the stretch run. We've all seen what happens to this team at or around the LSU/Miss. St/Auburn turn every year: this team is beat up to all hell. I'll take "midline" in terms of snaps, and certainly not 90+ per game. Lane Kiffin, however, seems to be speeding things up. That's fine to have in the arsenal, but with inexperience on the OL, and RB depth now an issue, I'm not sure how much we'll see it this season.

Scheduling

Alabama sets 2015 homecoming date, will face rising SEC program | AL.com

After celebrating the latest homecoming in decades in last year, Alabama's 2015 date is moving back to October. The annual event will be held Oct. 10 when Arkansas visits Bryant-Denny Stadium.

I'm all for a conference homecoming game, but I'd rather not play a team that could very well beat Alabama. Arkansas, with a senior QB, those lines, those RBs, and an intact coaching staff is not a fun prospect. The risk of "crying children at their first football game" screencaps is high with this one.

At Georgia Southern, beating everybody is the real tradition - SBNation.com

"It absolutely helped the mission of this university and this program, but from a scheduling perspective, Florida hurt us," Kleinlein said. "I’d love for people to call me and schedule our school. No one wants to right now."

This is an interesting read on what happens when a Sister of the Poor rises up and beats an elite program. Allegedly, no one wants to play the Ga. Southern. I'm somewhat dubious of that blanket statement unless Kleinlein is tacitly calling out "Georgia." And, who can blame the Dawgs for not scheduling the Eagles? UGA already faces one in-school non-con opponent; why take the risk of a second in-state game that presents no benefits? Win? You're supposed to. Lose? You'll never hear the end of it, and will help make Ga. Southern's program. Recruiting? It's Georgia: The Dawgs get just about every player in that state that they want.

Report: Georgia State will play Alabama in 2020, Auburn in 2021 - CBSSports.com

Citing an open records request, FBschedules is reporting that the Panthers will visit Tuscaloosa in 2020 and Auburn in 2021.

Instead, what you do is schedule the atrocious Panthers, as Alabama and Auburn have done. Hey, it's practically an FCS win but over a Sunbelt team. Nor are Alabama and Auburn alone: Wisconsin, Penn State, Oregon, etc. are all ponying up to pay for this body bag game.

All Avery Johnson, all the time

Avery Johnson makes positive impression on Alabama signee Brandon Austin, Montgomery coaches | AL.com

"I understand you use the players that you have to dictate what you do, but I don't see him changing from fast-pace action and Brandon's that type of player," Jackson said. "I think he's going to be uptempo, exciting and do what they have to do to win ball games."

Interesting take from Austin's coach, signaling that Alabama will be a more uptempo team -- which has to make everyone excited.

The Crimson White :: :: Johnson has plans for coliseum

"I had an opportunity obviously to tour Coleman. We have a lot of work to do," Johnson said. "We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of work to do in terms of seating, and there’s a vision I have in mind how I want to get the students involved in the game."

Speaking of exciting, our long national nightmare that is an inhospitable Coleman Coliseum may be coming to an end. Sorry Tide Pride, you may be getting Das Boot for people who will actually show up the game and make some crowd noise.

Alabama Men's College Basketball - Crimson Tide News, Scores, Videos - College Basketball - ESPN

Avery Johnson talks recruiting for Bama Paul Finebaum speaks with Alabama HC Avery Johnson about the upcoming season.

CAJ is hitting the media circuit hard, reaching out to both in-state players and signaling his intention to recruit nationally. The video is in the top-right corner.

Missouri's Johnathan Williams and Deuce Bello transferring - CBSSports.com

Johnathan Williams III, a sophomore this season, will leave. Williams will have to sit out a year, per NCAA rule, and have two years of eligibility remaining. Williams averaged 11.9 points and 7.1 rebounds this year.

With a class to fill, and lacking inside production, why not take a run at JWIII? The long, athletic forward would give the Tide some much needed rebounding and points in the paint.

Miscellany

Wes Hart Named Alabama's New Women's Soccer Head Coach

Bill Battle announced today the hiring of Wes Hart as the Crimson Tide's new head soccer coach. Hart joins the Crimson Tide from Florida State where he spent two seasons as an assistant coach, including the Seminoles' first national championship season in 2014.

Two hires in two days, and I was assured this was also a good one. Not following women's soccer, or any form of Commie Kickball, I'm not in a position to evaluate this hire aside from noting that a coach with a national title background is a good start.

Kentucky Wildcats lose top seven scorers to NBA draft

The Kentucky Wildcats will lose their top seven scorers -- Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison -- to the NBA draft from the team that won 38 straight games before losing in the national semifinals.

Seven. In one draft class. I don't think Alabama has placed seven players in the NBA the past 20 years combined.

LSU's Jalen Mills avoids trial, to enter diversion program

LSU defensive back Jalen Mills will enroll in a one-year pretrial diversion program instead of facing trial on a simple battery charge, a state prosecutor said.

Stop me if you've heard this one before: LSU player commits violent crime, is charged down to the least possible misdemeanor, takes a nol-pros deal where no guilt is admitted, enters diversion program, everyone pretends he's not a dangerous POS. "Justice" in Baton Rouge keeps on plodding along, but it's not black vs. white, or rich vs. poor, it's "LSU Tigers" and everyone else.

Bill Battle explains process of Anthony Grant firing, nearly announced his return at one point | AL.com

Battle said he met with Grant after the team went 3-5 against SEC competition in January. Battle suggested making announcement saying Grant would return for next season. Grant said they should hold off on any such proclamation at that point. Grant, Battle said, wanted to let the season play out and address the situation after the year.

Two things. One, you could tell at the Presser that ADBB is terrified of making personnel decisions, and the fact he was willing to give a Jan. vote of confidence in CAG is damning. Two, CAG had the gumption to say "hold off, I may not be getting the job done." Even as things went sour in Tuscaloosa, Grant was a class act. (Three. We narrowly dodged a bullet, you guys and could have easily had a seventh year of CAG.)

Which SEC Coaches Will Still Be Around in a Decade? - Team Speed Kills

2. Nick Saban The only reason he's not No. 1 is his age. He's not going to leave Alabama for any other coaching job college or pro, so it's all up to how long he wants to coach—or how long Miss Terry will let him. I do expect to see him stalking the sidelines at age 73, but I'm not 100% sure of it.

Nick Saban and I have one thing in common: We will die at our desks. I cannot imagine a retired Nick Saban, and, if we're being honest, neither can he.

TCU's Patterson criticizes selection committee about being left out - CBSSports.com

"I was told the reason we had a [selection] committee is we were going to take all that stuff out of it. [Conference] championship games shouldn't have mattered," Patterson said. "Their job was to watch all this film and pick the four best teams no matter who you played, what you did. All the sudden it came down to, ‘Well, they played a championship game but they didn't.' That's not what we were told. We were told they were going to pick the four best teams."

All I'll say to this latest Fine Whine out of the State of Texas is, "Gary, it's not that the conference championship game was the deciding factor. It's that the conference championship game gives every other participant yet another elite win, over a ranked team, on a neutral site. Try and offset that by scheduling more than Minnesota and maybe it won't be an issue."

Masters 2015: Live updates, scores, leaderboard, highlights and more from Augusta National - SBNation.com

This Masters truly feels like a crossroads with Tiger trying to get back in the fight and so many new world class talents joining the battle. With that background, here are some of nuts and bolts of this 2015 Masters.

For you golf folks, a great look at the field, the course, and one of the more intriguing topics of this year's event -- the changing of the guard. Hell, would a Nike ad lie to you? Coverage is underway at 9:45 CT.

Finally

The unspoken rule is that when the gloves are dropped, you don't fight the goalie. The exception to that rule is sweet goalie-on-goalie violence. Enjoy this wonderful compilation of goalies mixing it up. Have a great weekend. Roll Tide.