Happy Friday, everyone. The softball team's Thursday night tilt with Auburn was postponed due to weather and will be played at 11am CDT today on ESPNU, the winner advancing to the semifinals to be played at 4pm this afternoon. Meanwhile, the baseball team is in Fayetteville for a weekend series against Arkansas.
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Would he cast the deciding vote if there were no real consensus on a playing rule like pace of play or a recruiting issue like satellite camps? Imagine Saban as commissioner - I did two years ago - helping to push through a 10-second rule.
Would he impose discipline on players and coaches who run afoul of NCAA rules and regulations in the name of what's good for the game? Imagine Shaw as commissioner - ESPN.com suggested the Stanford coach as an ideal candidate - suspending Muschamp for his sideline tirade in last year's Iron Bowl.
This is a moderately interesting debate. Politics run rampant in college football as the SEC continues to dominate on the recruiting trail, thanks in large part to an abundance of southern high school talent that doesn't exist in some areas of the country (of course, Alabama also plucks four-star center prospects from Buckeye country and turns them into rare first round draft picks with Master's degree in hand, but I digress.) In theory, an overlord focused on doing what's "best for the sport" might necessarily look to level the playing field in some fashion, which probably wouldn't be good for the SEC. On the other hand, Saban supports the idea. What are your thoughts?
Assuming the Tide get their usual standard of play at inside linebacker and nose tackle, it's going to be virtually impossible for most of their 2016 opponents to get much going offensively. They've always been really good at sitting back in cover 2 and daring opponents to work down the field, but when that is paired with this kind of pass rush, most teams can just turn out the lights.
This is a nice read on the mothership about the evolution of Alabama's line play. The depth of talent on the offensive line was always a concern even as Alabama was winning recent national titles, buoyed by a remarkably durable starting group. That is certainly not the case at this point, as Alabama can lose a blue chip upperclassman to off field issues and still have three blue chip tackle prospects competing for one opening. On the other side, affecting the quarterback has certainly morphed into sacking the quarterback as the team focused on more speed and less size on the edges.
For the third season in a row, Alabama exited spring practice with an unresolved quarterback competition. Of course, the Crimson Tide eventually found answers the past two seasons, reaching the inaugural College Football Playoff in 2014 (with Blake Sims) and winning their fourth national title under coach Nick Saban in 2015 (with Coker). Junior Cooper Bateman might have the edge heading into preseason camp, but he'll continue to be pushed by Blake Barnett, Jalen Hurts and David Cornwell.
There will be no shortage of hype for this team going into the season.
Alabama's appearance at the SMSB camp will give Harbaugh and Co. a little taste of their own medicine. Michigan made national headlines last summer when it when on an extensive satellite camp tour which included a stop at Prattville High School. Prattville linebacker Dytarious Johnson committed to the Wolverines after the camp, and Michigan has made plans to return to Alabama this summer.
We're sending Bobby Williams as the lone representative. Take that, Jim!
Warning: the link has a photo of Harbaugh in nothing but khakis.
Baker (6-foot-7, 300 pounds) is ranked as the nation's No. 1 junior college prospect by 247Sports. The Tide and Tigers are hoping to sway him away from Georgia, his current leader. Arizona State and Mississippi State round out his top five. "I'd say they're pretty much all even other than Georgia, just because I have a good relationship with Coach (Sam) Pittman... and the success he's had with sending some of his offensive linemen to the league," Baker said. "I consider them my leader."
Hey Elliott, in case you haven't heard, we just dismissed an upperclassman OT and our LT will be headed for the first round after the season. Come on down.
Alabama had seven players selected in the 2016 NFL Draft, and Washington becomes the eighth Tide player signed as an undrafted free agent this month, joining quarterback Jake Coker (Arizona Cardinals), wide receiver Richard Mullaney (Houston Texans), linebacker Dillon Lee and defensive lineman D.J. Pettway (New Orleans Saints), nose tackle Darren Lake (San Francisco 49ers) and offensive tackle Dominick Jackson and safety Geno Matias-Smith (Washington Redskins).
Poor Washington was constantly picked on as the best matchup for the offense in a very talented secondary. Good luck to him.
"We’ve been very, very fortunate through the years to have very few players suffer issue and problems when we were coaching them," Saban said. "But we have had some. And it’s one of the most devastating things that you have to go through, even as a coach. I never experienced it as a parent.
"I’m here to help the young people," he continued. "This is not a political thing for me, alright? This is all about how can we help our youth have a better opportunity with our help and assistance, that we can see warning signs of something that is very, very preventable."
Just another example of evil Saban not caring about the kids. As far as politics go, if Saban ran for governor he'd win in a landslide.
For Alabama’s weekend rotation — juniors Geoffrey Bramblett and Nick Eicholtz and sophomore Jake Walters — the most important time of the week doesn’t take place on the pitcher’s mound but midweek behind home plate. "That’s where a lot of the bonding happens," said Walters, the Tide’s regular Saturday starter.
The Tide's offense has been inconsistent at best this season, but the pitching staff has kept them competitive. This is a nice read about the team dynamic of the three front line starters.
That's about it for today. Have a weird Friday the 13th followed by a great weekend.