Happy Monday, everyone. It was a busy and successful weekend for Alabama sports. We'll start with some football notes and move on from there:
Smart's not sure. He's just glad he has Riley Ridley on his roster.
"I do have a good relationship with his brother," Smart said after Saturday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium. "His brother was very adamant that he wanted Riley to come here. I can't really tell you why; I don't know why. But he just wanted him here."
The headline here raised some eyebrows, insinuating that Calvin told Riley to go to UGA rather than come to Alabama. It could very well have been that Calvin talked Riley into going to UGA over South Carolina, where Riley had been committed. In any event, he will certainly have an easier time getting on the field at UGA. It appears that his athletic gifts aren't quite on par with his older brother's at this point.
-- Marlon Humphrey: Cornerback (returning starter)
-- Tony Brown: Star
-- Anthony Averett: "Done a nice job. Really made some improvement" and has been at cornerback.
-- Maurice Smith: Star and safety because of Jackson's injury
Those were just the few he listed after the first of three scrimmages. Players like safety Ronnie Harrison have drawn positive reviews from Saban this spring.
Needless to say, Tony Brown won't be at the Star position for the foreseeable future. While depth isn't a strength right now, the return of Eddie Jackson will solidify everything. Jackson and Harrison will likely man the two safety spots, backed up by Deionte Thompson and Hootie Jones. At CB, Marlon Humphrey and Minkah Fitpatrick will form possibly the best starting tandem in the country, with Anthony Averett, Kendall Sheffield, and Maurice Smith competing in the nickel and dime. There is plenty of talent to go around, with or without Brown.
A big part of the 2015 competition was the leadership component. It took longer than Saban wanted for someone to assume that role. After one scrimmage, this battle is a long way from that step.
"I think two things have to happen," Saban said. "I think a guy has to win his teammates over but I think you've also got to be put a guy in position to be able to do that. We rotated a lot of guys around today. We're trying to give everybody a chance right now. We'll evaluate how they did on film and divvy up the reps for next week."
"I think some young players are not really ready to take the responsibility of the role that some guys have an opportunity to take when they're freshmen," Saban said. "I think that the experience that Damien gained last year certainly helped his maturity in terms of what he needs to do to be a productive player and how he needs to compete at this level. I think he learned a lot of those things last year."
This is where AL.com milks one press conference for multiple articles over several days. The QB competition won't be settled for some time. It is good to hear positive remarks about Damien Harris. In case you missed it, CB969 had a nice recap of the first scrimmage on Saturday.
Moses, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker who transferred to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., from University Lab in Baton Rouge, has Alabama as his No. 2 school. He had visited Alabama on Monday and said then that the Crimson Tide still led. Moses also visited LSU and Texas this week. His top five now includes Texas, Alabama, LSU, USC and UCLA.
Moses was once committed to LSU.
Recruiting news has gotten so silly. Moses was committed to LSU, then named Bama as his leader, and has now moved on to Texas. Where he ends up is anyone's guess.
"The goal was to qualify for the national championships," Duckworth said. "Of course we wanted to win - that’s always what we want to do - but first or second is what it took to qualify, so that was the focus. We did what we set out to do."
In addition to being the Tide's NCAA-record 31st regional title, it is also the Tide's 12th in a row, the longest streak in program history.
Twelve consecutive regional titles. Good luck and Roll Tide to the gymnasts.
With a series victory on the line in Sunday's rubber match between Alabama and Florida, the Crimson Tide came out on top with a 3-0 victory, handing the Gators its first shutout loss of the season. Alabama (31-7, 5-4 SEC) is the first SEC team to win a series over Florida (34-3, 9-3 SEC) in over a calendar year and the first team to beat them twice all season. Behind solid pitching and defense from the Tide, the four runs scored by the Gators over the weekend's three games is their lowest total over a three-game stretch this season.
Ho, hum. An Alabama team went on the road and took a series from the #1 ranked Florida Gators. Sounds like the softball team is readying for another deep postseason run.
Promising Key for next basketball season:
Braxton Key had a game-high 20 points, including two free throws in the final seconds, to lift Oak Hill Academy to its first DICK’S Sporting Goods High School Nationals and earned the tournament Most Valuable Player.
Key had 10 points and eight rebounds in a semifinal win against Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) and 12 points and seven rebounds in a quarterfinal win against Utah’s Wasatch Academy. He also blocked Miller Grove’s final shot attempt to preserve the victory.
Great game for the Tide's lone high school signee for next season. The roster will certainly be deeper in terms of talent.
Lastly, the baseball team dropped two of three to UGA. Roger's recap will be up later in the morning.
That's about it for today. Have a great week.