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Jumbo Package: Alabama gets good news on the injury front

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Star linebacker Reuben Foster is a go for Saturday.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama starter still 'questionable' for Vols after concussion, another returns to action | AL.com

Linebacker Reuben Foster practiced Wednesday in advance of Saturday's trip to Tennessee. Right guard Alphonse Taylor has yet to reach that point, Nick Saban said Wednesday. "I would say he's probably pretty questionable for this game but there's no decision that's been made," Saban said.

Shank is still down, but given Lester's second half against the Hogs, that may not be the most critical loss. But, great news did emerge: Joshua Jacobs is a go, and star ILB Reuben Foster is ready to play. He practiced Wednesday with the first team and seems to have been medically cleared.

Tennessee Volunteers' Jalen Hurd expected to play vs. No. 1 Alabama

Tennessee coach Butch Jones says he expects Jalen Hurd to play Saturday against No. 1 Alabama after the junior running back missed a 45-38 overtime loss at Texas A&M last week with an unspecified injury. Jones said Wednesday on the Southeastern Conference coaches' teleconference that Hurd is "back full strength." Hurd was at Tuesday afternoon's practice and was wearing a green noncontact jersey

Tennessee has had all kinds of dreadful injuries this year. They've lost Hurd, Evan Berry, Jared Reeves-Maybin, Cam Sutton and several others. Well, we know the running back corps will be completely healthy: Hurd will join Alvin Kamara and John Kelly this week.

NCAA committee proposes early signing periods, 10th assistant coach

Adding a 10th assistant coach isn’t a surprise when you consider how support staffs have exploded in recent years. Nick Saban has frequently called for a 10th assistant coach, whom he said would handle all special teams duties. “There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” Bowlsby said. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

This is an even bigger deal than restructuring the satellite camps. The addition of a 10th field coach would allow the Tide to finally have a dedicated special teams coach as well as put another excellent recruiter on the road (for instance, pulling Sark out of the booth and into living rooms across the West Coast.) Even better, this looks like it will easily pass in the April NCAA meetings.

If LSU-Florida isn't played, it has a 20 percent chance of wrecking the SEC standings - SBNation.com

Excellent article breaking down the three likeliest scenarios whereby the standings could be shot. The most likely one is that Florida finishes 6-1 and would win the East over a hypothetical 6-2 Tennessee team, despite the Vols tiebreaker in the head-to-head. This morass needs to be sorted out and soon -- there is too much at stake here. Expect the Vols to start howling with the chorus if they drop the 3rd Saturday matchup this weekend.

No smoke without fire: Players discuss the cigar tradition - The Crimson White

Unlike Allen, linebacker Rashaan Evans does smoke the cigars. He has experienced the smoke-filled locker room twice now, dating back to 2014 at Neyland Stadium after Alabama defeated Tennessee, 34-20. “That was my first [cigar] ever,” Evans said. “And honestly, that’s something I will remember for the rest of my life and hopefully I get to do it again.”

It's nice to see someone from Auburn get it. While Jonathan Allen stashes his with his keepsakes, Rashaan joins the others in gleefully violating this NCAA rule.

Nick Saban: 'I don't take any satisfaction' in rebuilding Alabama into dynasty | AL.com

I don't take any satisfaction in anything we've done here, because I'm just worried about winning this game," Saban said. "It's a slippery hill from the penthouse to the outhouse when you're in this business. So you don't take satisfaction. That's what causes lapses in games.

You take satisfaction when the score is 42-17, and then you go out and get your ass kicked in the next series. So you can't take satisfaction. You have to keep on grinding. That's what competitive people do and that's what competitors do and certainly what you have to do in this game."

I think the last person with as much focus and drive to dominate everything, everyday was Genghis Khan.

NLRB counsel: Northwestern had 'unlawful' limits on players, who are 'employees' - CBSSports.com

In a memo offering advice, the National Labor Relations Board's general counsel concluded some Northwestern University football team rules were "unlawful" and described the players as employees. Northwestern changed the rules in question so the language allows players to more freely post on social media, discuss health issues, and speak with the media.

The decision, which was first reported by ESPN.com, will be analyzed extensively about what it could mean for the 17 private universities in the Football Bowl Subdivision. There could be future challenges over player restrictions imposed by private universities. The NLRB only governs private employers and their employees, and has no power over public universities. The most relevant part of the Sept. 22, 2016 memo, from NLRB associate general counsel Barry J. Kearney was this footnote: "We assume, for purposes of this memorandum, that Northwestern's scholarship football players are statutory employees."

A couple of points here. 1. The counsel doesn't issue an order; that sole responsibility belongs to the NLRB. 2. This was an advisory and guidance memo only, with no binding force, and, in any event, simply assumed that the players meet the statutory definition of employees. 3. While the NLRB has already said they can impose jurisdiction on private schools, it has declined to do so, because it would destabilize the labor market...and that analysis doesn't change, even if the NLRB recanted and decided to declare athletes employees.

So, nothing changes here, really, despite the breathless reporting by CBS and ESPN.