Happy week before game week, folks!
We've already covered the QB race in the scrimmage recap, but
even though everyone has to be sick of reading about it since it's an important topic, we will open with some additional insight. First off, lots of folks are asking why David Cornwell seems to have fallen off the face of the earth where the coaches are concerned. Well...
Much talk about David Cornwell being in the doghouse; can confirm it was not a verbal disagreement with HC Nick Saban & OC Lane Kiffin— Drew DeArmond (@DrewD977ESPN) August 23, 2015
It was an off-the-field incident, after a subpar end of spring practice, that set the tone for a poor fall camp; pic.twitter.com/XRaCLRK5q6— Drew DeArmond (@DrewD977ESPN) August 23, 2015
First tweet is in response to rumors that Cornwell spouted off to the coaching staff about the reps he was getting. No idea what this purported off-field incident was or if it's even true. Do with that info what you will. On to the guys who actually have a shot to play this season...
Could it be that that Alabama has made a call on quarterback? Or if not made a call, narrowed the field a bit? All the reports from today’s scrimmage indicate that Alabama seems to be leaning to Jake Coker and Alec Morris.
Seems that Crimson White editor Sean Landry is hearing that Coker is still very much in the mix, with the race down to those two horses as the groupings would suggest it has been all along. Regarding Morris, perhaps we should have paid more attention to some ultimate insider remarks from back in March:
To Sims and others connected to Alabama's program, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Morris is an intelligent, dependable player with the best grasp of Alabama's playbook of any quarterback on the Tide's roster and a coach's level understanding of the position. Those qualities, Sims predicted, will make the redshirt junior a legitimate factor in Alabama's starting quarterback competition. "He's going to factor big-time," Sims said.
Blake cites a specific example where Morris saw something from the sideline that ended up working on the field. He goes on:
"Alec Morris is a great guy, someone that's very motivated. He helped me out a lot this year when I came off the field from making a bad play. I was probably down on myself too hard, and he would come up to me and give me a lot of encouragement, and I think that helped me out a lot. He's not all about himself. He's about his teammates first, and he pushes every guy to the fullest. He only played like three snaps this year, but he was the best leader off the field, on the sideline..."
"He's a great guy, and I think he deserves whatever he gets next year, and I hope for nothing but the best for him."
I think that qualifies as a ringing endorsement. Considering the skill position talent around him, the QB's primary roles will be leadership and smart distribution of the football. In that regard, it sounds like Alec was at the head of the class from the outset.
Enough about the QBs. On to some other stuff:
OSU is the first ever unanimous No. 1, receiving all 61 first place votes. TCU followed the Buckeyes for No. 2, with Alabama at No. 3, just like in the AP Poll. Eight SEC teams are ranked in the top 25, followed by six in the Pac-12 and three each in the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12.
Well, that settles it. May as well just cancel the season, right?
Ohio State not a lock: Since 1976, 7 teams received 90% of 1st place votes in preseason poll. None won nat’l title— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) August 23, 2015
Alabama faces seven teams ranked in the preseason AP Top 25— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) August 23, 2015
Won't be easy for sure.
DB Minkah Fitzpatrick The hype train surrounding the No. 1-ranked player in New Jersey is reaching breakneck speeds. Though the 6-foot-1, 194-pound defensive back was late to arrive at Alabama, he’s wasted no time assimilating himself to the defense. Junior defensive back Maurice Smith said he’s "come on strong" and is "learning the plays a lot faster than I think we did as freshmen." In a telling statement, Saban said the rookie is "very instinctive and learns quickly, understands concepts." Seeing as that’s the hurdle most newcomers struggle with, it’s no wonder Saban said that if he continues to progress, "[He] could make some contribution for us this year."
A big, fast, physical CB with outstanding cover skills? Yeah, let's find a way to get this kid on the field. Nothing helps your DBs like a great pass rush, but you can't send extra pressure unless you have guys you can trust on an island. Hopefully Fitzpatrick becomes one of those "island" players.
1. Alabama: Not much to argue here. The Crimson Tide has size, depth and talent up front led by A'Shawn Robinson, Jonathan Allen and Jarran Reed. They also have one of the SEC’s top linebackers in Reggie Ragland. Alabama must replace Trey DePriest and leading sack man Xzavier Dickson but has several promising options, including Ryan Anderson, ready to claim starting roles.
One area that we really shouldn't have to worry about. The talent and depth up there is phenomenal.
Below, I've ranked all 128 FBS teams. This isn't a stat projection. It's my own opinion. This was like a series of ladder matches: who would I pick if these two teams played on a neutral field? I adhered mostly to the conference-specific power rankings I had already crafted, though in rare cases (Utah State, which has since suffered injuries and suspensions), I did some rearranging.
Tier 1: Contenders 1. Ohio State 2. Alabama 3. Oregon 4. Baylor 5. Georgia 6. TCU
Our own SaxonRBR is crying in a corner somewhere, pondering life, as his mentor eschews statistical analysis for off-the-cuff internet #HotTakes. Hey, he has us at the top of the conference so I'm not complaining. In all sincerity, Connelly's posts are always worth a read and this piece is no exception.
The University of Oregon boasts the Jaqua Academic Center — the Taj Mahal of academic services, Gaul calls it — a lavish three-story, 40,000-square-foot, $42 million facility financed by Nike founder and Oregon alumnus Phil Knight. It is equipped with tutors, ADHD specialists, life-skills advisers, psychologists and other staffers, as well as plenty of laptops on loan. Meanwhile, Gaul notes, the university’s top students toil in the Robert D. Clark Honors College, a Depression-era structure with little air conditioning. Those students typically receive a $5,000 grant, one-tenth of the value of a football scholarship. Such a contrast makes "a mockery of the university’s purpose," Gaul writes. "Schools are rewarding the wrong students."
Hey, Uncle Phil - the chem lab is running a little short this month. Can they get a few grand for some glassware?
Sorry, won't bother you again.
"I’m not going to go either way because I have to go there [to Mobile] tonight and I know the passion for both teams," Trump added. When it came to Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Trump said, "The job Alabama has done, your coach at Alabama, he’s been phenomenal."
Hmmm. Sorry Donald, but I'm afraid you aren't getting Nick's vote. Not because of your politics, mind you, but because he apparently fantasizes about sleeping with Hillary f'n Rodham Clinton. (<---OK, maybe he didn't say that exactly...) Maybe Nick should, dare I say, shoot her an email?
Wait, that just got weird. Moving on...
In case you missed it, hoops commit Terrance Ferguson had a big weekend:
2016 Bama commit and consensus 5-star Terrance Ferguson apparently showed out at the recent Under Armour Elite 24 camp, a win in the three-point competition among his exploits. He also mentions helping Coach Johnson with a little recruiting.
He's working on some four-and-five stars, folks, including big men. Fellow RBR member Pachyderm Pride made an interesting comparison:
@RBR_Josh feels like getting Julio in 08— PachydermPride (@Elephantidae1) August 22, 2015
The Julio Jones commitment was something of a landmark moment that raised the bar for football recruiting. In the current college basketball landscape, a team led by elite freshmen can challenge for a national title. If Ferguson is successful in bringing some of his buddies to the Capstone, the 2016-17 season could be very special. By the way, did you see his crazy 360 dunk?
Incredible. The man can do that while having one of the best three-point strokes in the nation. Can't wait to see him in action.
Nominee for Tool of the Week:
We only have some tidbits of his antics via Twitter, but here are the key points that we can focus on. Sarkisian was definitely drunk at the event and slurring his words during the speech. That's been confirmed by multiple sources at the party. Sarkisian dropped an F-Bomb while introducing his team to the donors.
I've seen some people downplay this - "You mean football coaches drink and swear? Shocking." - which completely misses the point. This was a formal event meant to wine-and-dine, and impress, donors. To have the head football coach, in all likelihood the highest paid USC employee, show up sloppy drunk and using inappropriate language has to be embarrassing to the University. In fact, it could easily be a fire-able offense if the powers that be are so inclined. While he did apologize, it appears that Sark is struggling with the spotlight. Will be interesting to see how long he lasts.
Last but not least:
Please don't forget to put your name in the hat to win the Bama-UGA tickets at the link below. These are good seats and will be a hot ticket, plus you get to help a deserving family that has hit hard times through absolutely no fault of their own. Each $25 donation earns one entry into the drawing, and the odds of winning are going to be pretty decent. I'm in already.
That's it for today, folks. Roll Tide.