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Jumbo Package: Know Thy Enemy Edition

You think having a QB controversy is a mess? Try not having your offensive line sorted out.

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He's not an offensive linemen, but the big fat dancing kicker, Rafael Gaglianone, is my spirit animal.
He's not an offensive linemen, but the big fat dancing kicker, Rafael Gaglianone, is my spirit animal.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good luck with that

Injuries leave offensive line unsettled at No. 20 Wisconsin | College Football

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Injuries have made it difficult for Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst to settle on a starting offensive line. The 20th-ranked Badgers return two starters, senior left tackle Tyler Marz and junior center Dan Voltz. But positions on the rest of the line appear to up for grabs less than two weeks away from Wisconsin's challenging opener against Alabama in Arlington, Texas on Sept. 5. It's possible there could be three first-year starters for a program known for imposing front fives.

Sure, Alabama has a nice little battle going on at right guard, and then there's that whole quarterback morass. Still, I'll take the Tide's problems over Wisconsin, who hasn't settled on three starters on the line. Not a big deal, it's not like the Badgers are playing the best front seven in football in 10 days or anything.

A focused defense is an angry defense

Chris Black and Dillon Lee discuss the end of fall practice - The Crimson White

Senior linebacker Dillon Lee said making it through the final scrimmage does not mean the players are done working. He said the defense plans to focus more on defensive fundamentals because raising the number of turnovers it gets is always important. "I don’t think – you know, how ever many [turnovers] it is – it’s ever enough," he said. "We can always do better."

How the 'pop pass' has changed Alabama's defense since dominant 2011 season |

Four years later, a touch of that confidence is back in Tuscaloosa. "No, we aren't trying to bend, said Pettway, now a key member of the defensive line who wasn't trying to make comparisons to 2011. "We're trying to be a steel curtain. We're trying to really make history."

Great stuff by Kirby on the schematic changes that Alabama is instituting. Couple that with a recruiting focus meant to be more versatile up front, more depth in the secondary, a renewed emphasis on creating turnovers, as well as a Vulcan-sized chip on their shoulder, and the Tide defense is going to be ridiculously fun to watch this season.


Nick Eubanks Eyes Late-Season Decision - Alabama - Scout

Eubanks is everything that colleges are looking for in a modern-day tight end. He's a big, smooth athlete who can really run and rack up yardage after the catch. Eubanks is a legit 6-foot-6 and should really fill out nicely over his college years. He can continue to work on his consistency catching the football, but is much improved in that department from the last time I laid eyes on him. Eubanks put forth the effort and really spent time on his blocking over the offseason, but is more of a threat in the pass game at this stage in his career.

This guy is so smooth to watch. Not knocking Alabama's own O.J. Howard, but think Eric Ebron -- he's that sort of gifted. Obvious contenders are obvious: LSU, Alabama, USC etc.

So, what do you want to fight about today? Onathan-Jay Aylor-Tay's impact?

A couple of high profile instances at Alabama (among others) and Baylor, resulted in some very swift decisions regarding transfers of players with checkered pasts.

Big 12 supports prohibiting transfers for violence issues

The Big 12 athletic directors are unanimously backing a policy that would prohibit schools from accepting transfers who were disciplined for violent acts at their previous schools. In a text to The Associated Press, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says conference athletic directors "supported a policy draft similar to that of the (Southeastern Conference)."

Impossible to think this won't quickly pass and become the B12's guiding principle. Still, as Cecil Hurt notes below, why are we singling out some sorts of violence over others. A player with a history of violence against anyone should raise red flags, right?

CECIL HURT: Transfer rule has gray areas, but it's needed |

The rule, however, has some uncertainty, some gray areas. For instance, no one argues that sexual or domestic assault is heinous. Of course it is. But is simple assault somehow better? Shouldn’t all violence be equally disqualifying?

Practice, Preseason

Alabama practice report: Notes on QBs, Bo Scarbrough and Bradley Sylve |

If Alabama has made a decision on its starting quarterback, coach Nick Saban didn't do anything to suggest that during the portion of Tuesday's practice open to the media. Jake Coker and Alec Morris were part of one group. Coker went first, as he has since the spring. Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett and David Cornwell were in the other group.

Nick Saban ain't tellin' y'all anyway. But, I think we can look at the weather cock and see which way that vane is tilting. (Psssst. Rhymes with "Gallic Chorus".)

In other news, Bradley Sylve's effort to rehab a poor 2014 has been stymied a bit by surgery, and Bo Scarbrough is out there trying to practice while hopping on one leg. Lord help the defenses that get a hold of that kid the first time he finally suits up.

Preseason Coaches All-SEC teams announced - ESPN Video

Oh, hey, its Reggie Ragland, and he brought four others with him (you can probably guess them before even watching the video.)

Stop what you're doing. Read this. (long preview, long form.)

7 coaches explain what goes into game week | College Football 2015 Season Preview

There's a reason Pinkel and Alabama's Nick Saban, who also played for James, use the word "process" so frequently. Pinkel craved the structure.

* * *

They have processes for evaluating processes. And they've got checklists. June and July checklists, Monday and Wednesday checklists. Game day checklists. Camp checklists. Pinkel's probably got a leaving-the-house checklist. Thursday's might be the most important. "The Thursday checklist is meticulously about everything that can happen on Saturday, everything that we're going to do. We'll sit down as a staff, and we'll go through about 25 different fundamental items.

* **

We tried three fake kicks in the [2015 Citrus Bowl win over Minnesota]. Two of them worked. Those calls were made on [that bowl's equivalent of] Thursday. "The neat thing about that is, we do it in a calm setting where you're more likely to make intelligent decisions. So you're not caught up emotionally in everything."

Wonderful journalism here. Seven coaches discuss gameday preparation and removing as much of the guesswork out of decision-making as possible.


Despite playing nice most of the day, some tempers still flared unnecessarily. Let's take a breather and look at this adorable toddler hug a puppy. That is happiness, my friends.