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Jumbo Package: Friday, 11 September 2015

Crimson Tide notes and other news...

It's hard to believe that it's been 14 years since America stood still, rocked by unconscionable acts of evil. Take a moment today to remember the victims, first responders, and their families. While you're at it, be sure to spend a little time with those most important to you - if that day should have taught us anything, it's that none of us is guaranteed tomorrow.


On to football...

Alabama football: A variety of factors led to Saban picking Coker to 'go first' - The Anniston Star: Sports

Saban said Coker has "improved a lot here." He said Coker gets rid of the ball quicker. Saban also praised Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin for doing a "good job" helping Coker develop since transferring to Alabama from Florida State. Those improvements coupled with the chemistry that Coker has built with teammates gave him an edge over Bateman, Alec Morris and others. "Cooper Bateman is a really good athlete and has done a good job well," Saban said. "I just felt like, it was a gut feeling that this was the right guy for our team. I talked to players a lot too. A lot of our players, sort of without saying, had a little confidence in the guy. And I think that’s always important."

The last two sentences speak volumes. To my eye, Jake Coker was clearly the best passer on the team at A-Day and has by far the most natural arm talent of the bunch. The job is his to lose at this point. Let's hope he doesn't.

Pressing SEC quarterback questions (and answers) entering Week 2

I thought Coker played well. Well enough to solidify his starting role. He isn’t as mobile as Sims was, but I think he can move around the pocket well and drive the ball downfield. Not having Amari Cooper hurts the Tide more than anything else on that offense. If there’s one thing about Bama, it’s that they will always have top-notch athletes. So expect a new "Amari Cooper" to emerge and be the go-to guy for Coker. We’ll see how that offense evolves in the next few weeks.

I'm not sure I agree that there will be a single go-to guy for Coker this season, as Robert Foster, ArDarius Stewart, and Calvin Ridley all have WR1 ability. If Coker can continue to distribute the ball accurately in the intermediate game as he did in Arlington, this team is going to be impossible to cover without committing extra players which, of course, takes men away from run support. Pick your poison.

Spread helps boost college football rushing numbers | Wisconsin Badgers |

As the spread has evolved, teams have become more likely to check into running plays at the line of scrimmage. "The run-pass option stuff has become more and more prevalent throughout the game," Anderson said. "You truly have multiple options every play. That's what I've seen change — how versatile the spread systems have become and how multiple they have become."

Great write-up here highlighting the spread-run game that is sweeping college football. As an aside, I often see "RPOs," or Run-Pass Option plays, confused with "POPs," or Play Option Passes. A "POP" pass is the play that Auburn cheated like hell on executed to perfection near the end of the game that shall not be mentioned in 2013. These are typically roll-outs that allow the QB to decide whether to pass the ball or tuck it and run, while some poor DB is isolated and forced to make a decision on what to take away. An RPO, or "packaged play,"actually gives the QB the option to either hand the ball off or throw it based on a read. Lane Kiffin frequently utilizes RPOs to attack defenses, particularly those who stack the box.

Tell those Texas boosters to back Charlie Strong (and forget Nick Saban) |

What does trouble at Texas have to do with Saban? Probably nothing, but it wasn't that long ago that some of the Big Cigars that throw lots of money at the UT program made it clear they wanted to give Saban the keys to their burnt orange kingdom. How persistent were they? Remember what Saban said during a July speech in Pensacola? He said his agent, Jimmy Sexton, "called me about 15 times about Texas" just two years ago.

The sun rose in the east, water is wet, and somebody is talking about Nick Saban and Texas.

Paul Finebaum goes in depth on ESPN piece: 'I'll take Nick Saban over Urban Meyer' |

I don't bet, but if someone said you must put down a bet on whether Nick Saban ever wins a national championship, I would lean toward him winning another one and maybe two. I just think he's that good, that committed and that passionate. In spite of the love affair with Urban Meyer, I've seen this movie before. Urban is a phenomenal coach, but something usually happens. I'll take Nick Saban over Urban Meyer in terms of the battle for number one. It may not be this year. It may be. I don't know. No one can easily predict college football. But I'll be shocked if Nick Saban doesn't win at least one more national championship at Alabama, and possibly more.

I concur, Pawwwwlllll. I think Saban is going to be around a while yet.

Why don't college football staffs have kicking, punting coaches? -

Maybe there's so little proper specialist training on campus because so few college coaches have kicking or punting expertise. CBS Sports reviewed the backgrounds of every special teams coach at a Power Five conference team and found only two who used to be a punter or kicker. Texas A&M special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Banks was twice named an All-Pac-10 punter at Washington State, and he kicked in junior college. Kansas State associate head coach/special teams coordinator Sean Snyder was an All-American punter at Kansas State.

Yes, Coach Saban, why doesn't Alabama have a kicking coach? Not like we need one or anything...

Nick Saban gets worked up about special teams during weekly radio spot

"Aight, because all of your negative thoughts and all your, I hate to say it, I’m not going to say it. You know what I want to say. It starts with a ‘b’ and the second word starts with an ‘s’ about what you say about these guys really affects them in a negative way. It really affects them in a serious way. So you can do what you want to do, but I love them both and I rub their neck every day. I believe in them. I trust in them and they’re going to do a better job. "And the biggest problem is people who criticize them and don’t think they have confidence in them, then the players are going to feel the same way.", sorry Coach. Forget I said anything. Please.

Notre Dame would stop playing major college football if schools paid players | Dr. Saturday - Yahoo Sports

And if that somehow comes to pass, [Father Jenkins] says, Notre Dame will leave the profitable industrial complex that is elite college football, boosters be damned, and explore the creation of a conference with like-minded universities. That’s right: Notre Dame would take its 23.9-karat-gold-flecked football helmets and play elsewhere.

Sure it would. Can you imagine the meltdown if Notre Dame decided to move down a level? Have mercy.

How former Alabama TE Corey McCarron landed at MTSU, will return to Bryant-Denny Stadium |

After graduating from Alabama in May, the younger McCarron transferred to the Murfreesboro, Tenn., school for one final year of college football. Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstill quickly dismissed the idea that his new transfer could help crack Alabama's code before Saturday's game.

Will be good to see AJ's little brother play in Tuscaloosa one last time.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban makes Mercedes tailgating van - Extra Mustard -

Nick Saban is the co-owner of a Mercedes dealership in Alabama, which has designed and produced a nine-seat luxury van with three televisions, a cooler, hardwood floors and massage chairs, because the only thing as American as college football is luxurious excess.

I think they call it the Gumpmobile.

3 pretty easy ways to make college football better -

And most people over five years old realize that just because something is valuable to you doesn’t mean it’s valuable to everyone. Sometimes, letting a football player walk into college classes without paying is like giving Madden 16 to your Aunt Bernice or a basket of shoehorns to a walrus.

While I don't agree with all the solutions here, the highlighted point is one that is lost on many. A college education does not provide the same value to everyone.

That's it for today, folks. May the Tide play a mistake-and-injury-free game tomorrow against what should be an overmatched foe. Roll Tide.