Practice: Some good news.
"Execution for a first scrimmage was probably OK, not where it needs to be," Saban said. "Certainly we have a lot of things to work on. The defense is probably a little ahead on the offense which is not unusual in terms of their ability to execute and do their job, have a little more experience which certainly helps, especially early on." Saban said the secondary was better and he likes the way the group plays. "Having Eddie [Jackson] and Geno [Smith] at safety makes us a little more athletic, little more speed, little more range on the field," Saban said.
The secondary looks better this season, as we expected it would. Please note, haters, that Saban is pleased with the safety play. OH, NO, WHERE WILL YOUR HOT TAKES COME FROM NOW?! Sadly, we have that answer for you as well.
Check out photos from Alabama's 13th practice of the fall.
We like running back photos, yes?
Practice: The bad news.
As expected, Jacob Coker was not out there for a second straight practice. Alabama's statement said it wasn't a major injury, but this is a huge week of practice between the two scrimmages. Game week for Wisconsin starts in exactly two weeks, so it will be interesting to see how long the absence lasts and how it will impact the competition moving forward. -- The four quarterbacks worked in pairs doing drills with running backs. David Cornwell and Blake Barnett were throwing to the backups while Alec Morris and Cooper Bateman worked with Derrick Henry and Damien Harris.
Coker missed a second practice with a gimpy foot and/or wounded pride. We're not hearing particularly good things from camp regarding the play of the quarterbacks. What's that old saying about quarterbacks, "Got five, got none?"
I have to joke, because, with exactly two weeks left until Alabama-Wisconsin meet, the situation is looking murkier, not clearer.
Want to see a defeated, broken Nick Saban? Sure you do. As a fan, this won't make you feel better. As a human being, it is encouraging to see that he is human.
Alabama's Nick Saban discusses the team's quarterback situation.
Blech. I'm going to be sick. Please note the primary concern here is "winning the team," a skill which eluded Coker all last season. It doesn't appear as though he, Cornwell, or any of the other contenders have taken the offense by the horns and showed that they can be the man with any degree of consistency.
Consistency and leadership are at least as important as getting the right throw to the right receiver. And, simply put, no one has been able to string together a consistent effort.
Avery Johnson's statement
When five-star shooting guard Terrance Ferguson committed to Alabama on Monday, it gave the Crimson Tide their highest rated recruit in a decade. It also signified to the rest of college basketball that first-year coach Avery Johnson isn't playing around. "Avery has this mystique, this persona about him," said Jerry Meyer, the director of basketball scouting for 247Sports. "I expect Alabama to be a major player in national recruiting."
This is just a great read on T-Ferg, the all-everything SG that had committed to Alabama after narrowing his selections to Kansas and the Tide.
Tony Bradley, a 2016 four-star power forward from Bartow (Fla.) High School. Bradley (6-10, 235) would be enormous pick up as the elite big man is trending to North Carolina at 100 percent based off of 14 predictions on the Crystal Ball. Bradley is rated the No. 7 power forward and the No. 28 overall player in the country per the 247Sports.
And, T-Ferg wasted no time recruiting for Alabama, hitting Tony Bradley up on Twitter in what will be the first of many entreaties to the big man. Getting one person to believe is often all it takes for a talent infusion and renaissance to occur. See "Shaun Cody" at USC in 2003.
In each of these instances, incredible offenses were able to damage what has frequently been an indomitable Nick Saban defense. Not a ton of damage; in each loss, the victor still managed fewer yards per play than its season average, and in only one of the three was an offense able to score even 30 points. In fact, each loss was defined at least as much by Alabama's offensive failure. The Ohio State loss was addled by three second-half interceptions, two in Buckeye territory. The Auburn loss included four missed Tide field goal attempts and a fourth-down failure inside the Auburn 15. The A&M loss featured a lost fumble at the A&M 34 and a final-minutes interception in the end zone.
Losing is not just a linear failure: In Alabama's major losses the past few seasons, the offense was the culprit as much as the well-documented defensive breakdowns.
Bill Connelly's preview of the Tide is a great one.
Around the SEC, some bad news and some dumb S(*$@
Running back Johnathan Williams may never suit up for Arkansas again — and if that's the case, his coach is OK with that." Bret Bielema believes that Williams' NFL draft stock will not suffer too badly in the aftermath Williams' season-ending foot injury, suffered Saturday, and he'll hopefully be playing somewhere on Sundays a year from now.
You hate to see JWill go down like that, reversing all of those trendy Arkansas picks to boot. That said, it's not like Alex Collins is dogmeat. The Arkansas running game will still be nasty, just not quite as formidable as expected.
"We didn’t score touchdowns in the red zone. We should have put 60 on them, and we didn’t," Malzahn said. "That was the most disappointing thing, when you have a chance to do something special and don’t, and then we gave up all those fourth-quarter points. "We let them off the hook, but we’ve got them at home this year."
If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets, Gus. If I hadn't have been born so short and generally so pacific, I'd be a supermodel and/or benevolent tyrant of a banana republic. Seriously, there's so much stupid in here to unpack, I'm not even going to attempt it. Suffice it to say, this may be the most least self-aware person in the State of Alabama.
18-months ago, when the regional National Relations Board in Chicago ignored 60 years of precedent, the very real public/private split in higher ed, and indeed the Board's own rulings regarding graduate students as non-employees, I explained that there were at least three tiers of appeals for the Northwestern players to clear and that I did not believe any attempt would be successful.
Strike up the band.
The National Labor Relations Board on Monday blocked a historic bid by Northwestern University football players to form the nation's first college athletes union, dealing a blow to a labor movement that could have transformed amateur sports. In a unanimous decision, the board said the prospect of union and nonunion teams in college could lead to different standards at different schools -- from how much money players receive to how much time they practice -- and create competitive imbalances on the field.
That's the thrust of the ruling too: unionization necessarily leads to P4P, a situation that creates a market where one does not exist, and introduces uncertainty and imbalance into this newly-created non-existent market -- all are things which unions ostensibly are meant to deter.
What does it mean for CAPA and other would-be unions going forward? Not much.
Under the board's reasoning, a union could be formed only if it included all players in a conference, a highly unlikely scenario. In the Big Ten conference, for example, state laws in Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana make a players' union impossible.
As any ruling would have only applied to the 17 schools at the D1 level, every public institution would have been dragged along unwillingly. The NLRB has never compelled union membership where none has been wanted, as upholding the Chicago panel's decision would have required. However, there is hypothetically a way for a union to still be created...and it's above. Now, do you think that's going to fly at literally every public institution in America, where State law often preempts an attempted union creation by student-athletes? This conversation is a non-starter. The CAPA is expected to drop any planned appeal.
Pay for play, and the narrow reach of O'Bannon, takes us back to a somewhat balanced approach. As students, you can license your image and profit from that reach, after your eligibility is over. While eligible, however, you are a student, not an employee, thus no union applies to you...this is very much the same ruling the Court made with respect to graduate students at UC-Davis.
The best argument for P4P still seems to fall under antitrust laws. The problem with that, however, is that Congress can readily exempt the NCAA from antitrust laws, and do not think for one second that the NCAA wouldn't be successful making that happen either.
/gets ready to read 10 pages of Roscoe's paraphrased "Das Kapital" commentary regarding student athletes and Marxist labor theory.