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Jumbo Package: Bama Pros With Strong Showings

In the waning weeks before the season kicks off, Alabama players in the NFL had solid performances

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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Starting with the obvious

AJ McCarron puts together solid debut vs. Tampa Bay

He also orchestrated the only touchdown drive for the Bengals in the fourth quarter as he handed the ball off to James Wilder Jr. for a five-yard score with 2:45 to go in the game. Tampa Bay ultimately won the preseason contest by a score of 25-11. The former Crimson Tide quarterback had not participated in a game since Alabama's Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma in January of 2014 but looked solid in his first NFL game, although he did mostly threw check-down and intermediate passes and did not attempt to push the ball down the field.

How did AJ McCarron play in his first NFL preseason game? |

For the game, McCarron completed 11-of-15 passes for 97 yards. Dalton completed 6-of-13 passes for 46 yards with two interceptions.

It wasn't necessarily pretty, and McCarron did not get to test the field, but it was (mainly) a smart, efficient performance after a two-year layoff from live action. If you're the Bengals, that's probably good news, as Andy Dalton looked like cold sewage served in a dirty ashtray. Dre Kirkpatrick also played a solid game for the Bengals.

Quinton Dial Survives, Thrives In Bay Area - Alabama - Scout

San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Tomsula was the defensive line coach before taking over the helm in 2015. Quinton Dial was under his tutelage for two years. Tomsula said, “He’s been on an upward track the entire time he has been here. He is making Alabama proud. He is doing really well this year. Our plans for him this year are he is competing and you’ll see him play a lot of football.”

With the dismissal of headcase Aldon Smith, coupled with Dial's steady development, the latter has earned himself a starting spot for the 49ers defensive line. Meanwhile, also in San Francisco, UDFA DeAndrew White is impressing coaches with his effort and versatility, including a big time punt return over the Cowboys. White is being worked at as a returner on both units and at WR. He is on the cusp of a roster spot.

Not happening

Atheist Group Demands Removal of Alabama University Football Chaplain - iFreePress iFreePress

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a non-profit organization working to enforce the separation of church and state, has said practices at several public universities are unconstitutional. Other universities, such as Auburn, give chaplains offices in the stadium. The group also reportedly interviewed atheists players who felt religion had been imposed on them while playing college football.

FFRF does have a litigation history, if that means anything. For now, however, I wouldn't expect anything substantive to come from their formal demands to remove chaplains at the 25 institutions cited in the Foundation's report. All except three, it should be noted, are public universities in the South, where little things like the Constitution have never particularly troubled state institutions.

How exciting was SEC in 1969? 'Splendid' classic highlight tells us | NCAA Football | Sporting News

Judging by this nearly 25-minute highlight reel, the centennial season of college football was a pretty wacky one in the SEC, chock full of pigskin peculiarities. For starters, Kentucky, despite going 2-8, figured into, like, half of what Humble Oil and Refinery (your local Esso dealer) deemed the season's most exciting games, and not just because their quarterback's last name was Tingle.

Fun viewing, if you have 20 minutes to kill to check out some history.

Fall Camp

2 freshmen standing out on Alabama's kick coverage teams |

"Minkah has turned out to be a really good special teams player," Saban said, later adding, "Shawn Burgess-Becker is even a guy who's done a nice job on special teams so far." While the Tide lost significant special teams contributors like standout safety Landon Collins, Alabama has returning special teams standouts such as linebackers Dillon Lee and Shaun Dion Hamilton.

When the beat guys are looking for special teams angles, you know it's time for the season to start. But, in all seriousness, Alabama needs more playmakers on kick coverages, where Alabama had an adjusted F+ ranked just 75th last season.

Where do Alabama's top position battles stand following 2nd scrimmage? |

Redshirt junior Alphonse Taylor has been the first-team right guard during recent portions of practice open to the media, ahead of redshirt sophomore Bradley Bozeman.

Inside linebacker Sophomore Shaun Dion Hamilton was the first-team inside linebacker next to Reggie Ragland in Alabama's base defense during the spring while junior Reuben Foster was first-team when the Tide went to their sub-packages.

Now THIS is probably the best read ole Aye Ell Dawt Com has had in a while. Alabama, blessed with abundant talent at ILB has apparently decided to try and play all of them. One battle I don't think we expected to play out this way has been the re-emergence of Shank. Taylor, who has had an uneven two seasons at Alabama, appears to have overtaken Bradley Bozeman. I wish I could be more enthusiastic about this development, but if Taylor has gotten that much better over the last season, let's declare victory and run the damn ball -- where Taylor is at his best. (I'm trying to be optimistically Gumpy, y'all. It's a bad fit on me.)


College Football Playoff primer: What's new this season, and when to watch | FOX Sports

One year and one Ohio State national championship later, I assume most college football fans know the drill by now, but there a few notable changes for 2015-16 about which you may have questions. Here, I do my best to provide some answers.

Good primer for the changes to this year's CFBPO, including dates and times. Of course, we hope you'll visit Roll 'Bama Roll for that information, as the Tide wins its 16th national title in Glendale, Arizona January 11th, 2016. (see, I told you. I'm trying.)

SEC to honor Slive with Prostate Cancer Awareness Games

Southeastern Conference teams will hold Prostate Cancer Awareness Games throughout September on all 14 member campuses to honor former Commissioner Mike Slive. Slive, 75, retired earlier this year after 13 years leading the SEC. He battled prostate cancer through his career.

Lots of events, PSAs, helmet ribbons etc on tap for the league in September. Frankly, it's probably a good thing. Look, I love the ta tas as much as the next person and have no problem with the Pink campaign, but some cancer awareness for the old twig n' berries is probably a good idea too. No one likes a doctor shimmying a cold KY finger up the pooper, but if you're over 40 it's time to do your doodie.