With fall camp in full swing, we will be bringing back the daily Jumbo Package to spoon-feed
you lazy people you, our valued readers the top news of the day. Included at the end are videos of Saban's Sunday press conference along with those of Kirby Smart and Lane Kiffin, the latter two representing the only time those gentlemen will speak to the media this season. I frankly see no reason for you to get anything accomplished at work today. On to it...
Cornerback Maurice Smith worked some with the first-team defense opposite Cyrus Jones. The junior broke up a deep pass intended for Ridley in 2-on-2s, though he was beaten by wide receiver Robert Foster on an intermediate route over the middle on the next play. Others saw time opposite Jones as well, including redshirt sophomore Anthony Averett and freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick. Sophomore cornerback Tony Brown was consistently with the second-team defense prior to suffering an apparent injury late in practice. Brown was run over by Foster and stayed down for several moments before walking to the locker room with a trainer in obvious pain with an apparent upper body injury.
Many of us have worked under the assumption that the starting CB job opposite Cyrus Jones is Tony Brown's to lose. Based on the first few practices, it appears that he will have plenty of competition. Minkah Fitzpatrick looks like the real deal, getting first team reps in short order.
Just 16 hours earlier, though, rumors were flying. Injured in Saturday's practice, the message board mill churned hard. Broken foot was the first tale that pushed panic buttons and started an all-out Internet vigil. Be careful what you believe, though. "It was just rumors," Robinson said with that smile Sunday. "It was just a little knee sprain. I'm fine. I'll be alright."
You hear that? Cam Robinson is laughing at you people. I hope you're embarrassed.
In the funny news of the day, Alabama used play cards to signal in plays. One card had a hamburger on it while another had a Miami Dolphins helmet. It'll be interesting to see if the Tide employs that strategy during the season.
Can't say that I'm terribly enthused at the thought, but if it helps to put up points then I can live with it.
"Calvin has really kind of showed some elite talent of guys over the years we've been able to be around," Kiffin said. "A couple of Biletnikoff winners and a bunch of All-Americans, he's shown that talent. Now there's a long way to go to get to that level, but his speed when he catches the ball and his transition, if he does the other things all the way through, which is a lot, he's going to be really special."
So far we have heard rave reviews of Robert Foster, ArDarius Stewart, and now Calvin Ridley who Kiffin is essentially suggesting may be as good as a certain #9 who left town after last season. The rest of the SEC doesn't really want to think about that.
"Mel does a great job with the kids," Smart said. "He has a great demeanor. Kids really respect him. They know he’s got a lot of NFL experience, so he comes in very confident. He’s worked with Coach Saban before. He knows all of our terminology, understands it. He’s able to relate to the kids and talk to them about it. He does a really good job as a teacher with the kids. "He’s helped me tremendously from the perspective of, what are new ways to create turnovers? How did we do it everywhere I’ve been? You get somebody with that much experience, with the people he’s coached under and with, it’s very efficient for us as a defense."
I still say that if Alabama's defense becomes the turnover machine I'm hoping it will, Mel Tucker will have been the most important recruit of the offseason. So far I like what I am seeing and hearing from the defensive backs.
"I really had to learn from this experience," he said Sunday at Alabama’s media day. "I really had to change my priorities and what I wanted to do in life. I wanted to graduate. I just had to change the way I think. I apologized to my teammates and told them it was a mistake that I can learn from and grow from. And from now on, I’m 100 percent committed to the team." Matais-Smith, who recently added the hyphen to his name to honor his mother, Gina Matais, said it was paramount that he grow and mature from the latest incident to avoid any more in the future.
I wasn't aware that Geno had changed his name, but this is a nice story that offers some insight into why Saban didn't simply toss him off the team after his second DUI.
There is little doubt that Kenyan Drake will play critical role for the Crimson Tide in 2015. See how well the senior running back has recovered from last year's devastating injury has he runs, cuts, and catches passes in the video above.
Kenyan Drake looks absolutely healthy, which is huge for the team. I would not recommend asking Saban about his health, however.
I told him that he was drastically off base, that my only intention in being there was as a reporter – to which he replied: "You’re all strictly business? Nothing else?" I walked out. He followed me. I hailed a cab. He followed me in, grabbing at my arm and scooting closer and closer in the dark back cabin until I was pressed against the door. I told him to stop. I told him it was not OK. He laughed. When I reached my apartment, I vomited.
Pig of the week award goes to: Norwood Teague. In case you hadn't heard, Minnesota's AD was forced to resign amid sexual harassment allegations. Reading this woman's story, I have a hard time believing he will find similar employment any time soon.
And, the aforementioned videos:
There you go, folks. Let the countdown begin. Roll Tide.