Happy Monday, everyone. It was a successful home weekend on the diamond as both the baseball and softball teams managed two of three from Auburn and Georgia, respectively. The series ended the regular season for the ladies, who begin postseason play this week:
Alabama finished the regular season with a 45-11 overall record and 16-8 mark in SEC play. That placed the Crimson Tide as the No. 5 seed in the 12-team tournament with an opening matchup against 12th-seeded Mississippi State (25-30, 3-21 SEC) on Wednesday, May 11 at 6:30 p.m. CT live on the SEC Network.
Alabama swept the Bulldogs earlier this season in Tuscaloosa, outscoring them 23-2 over three games. The winner of that game will advance to Thursday’s second round to face fourth-seeded Auburn (46-9, 16-7 SEC).
The Tide has been ranked in the top five nationally for virtually the entire season, but earned only a five seed in the conference tournament. Such is life in the SEC.
We are getting deep into the dead season for football news, but there are a few links out there for you to discuss:
It hasn't been discussed much in the aftermath of Bo Davis' untimely and unexpected departure, but Saban now faces one of the biggest rebuilding jobs of his tenure at Alabama, and it goes beyond replacing his starting center and quarterback as well as his Heisman Trophy tailback. This rebuilding job includes an almost total makeover of one half of his coaching staff, the side nearest and dearest to the head coach's heart.
Offensive assistants have come and gone, but this is the first time that the entire defensive side has to be rebuilt. Bringing in guys such as Pruitt and Ansley who have worked under Saban previously should certainly help the cause, but there is still no word on the DL coaching search. How concerned are you about the defensive turnover? Vote and discuss in the comments.
Transfers are inevitable, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin acknowledged before the 2015 Sugar Bowl. But that comes with sitting out a year unless they already have a degree. Bateman would be the only one in that category after graduating Saturday, but he was the first-team quarterback on A-Day.
Congratulations to Cooper Bateman for earning his degree in only seven semesters, starting as an early enrollee in 2013. Like Jake Coker, this puts him in the somewhat rare position of having two years of immediate eligibility should he decide to transfer. Of course, it is highly unlikely that he transfers this off-season since he's in the thick of the race for the starting job. If someone else wins the job, one has to believe that he will transfer after the season.
Blake Barnett is a serious contender to start under center in 2016 for Alabama, and he’s using some interesting tactics in an attempt to become a more precise and accurate passer. Watch below as Barnett uses a soccer goal in a quarterback drill that you’ve likely never seen before
This is an interesting tactic. Blake is using the soccer goal to simulate the second level of a zone defense so that he can work on dropping the football behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties.
"First off it’s just the measurables right off the top," Branham said. "He’s barely fifteen and he’s 6-foot-6, 353 pounds. He’s got a tremendous first step, he’s as aggressive as any kid I’ve ever coached as a senior, right now as a freshman. We saw all these measurables inside of the weight room and the classroom and the goals in his future, and we really felt over the next few years that he would end up with more offers than any person could imagine."
Amazing that we are even talking about a player who is a full three years away from high school graduation, but 350+ as a high school freshman? The concern with Evan has to be that he grows too much - being that he's only 15, he could easily end up close to seven feet tall. It's awfully tough to get leverage at that height. Coach Avery might need him on the boards though.
"I think it’s unfortunate what happened," Saban said. "I can’t really comment on it. I don’t know that much about it. I don’t (use) Twitter or text for those very reasons. I don’t want anything to be misinterpreted. I would encourage our guys not to do that.
"But, you know, it’s a free country. I know we have a lot of regulations in the world right now for what we can and can’t do. I would rather our people be responsible and not have to be regulated."
Coach is choosing his words carefully, but there is little room for misinterpretation there.
At the Cincinnati Bengals' rookie minicamp this weekend is a player whose final collegiate game came two seasons ago. Former Alabama punter Cody Mandell is at Cincinnati's minicamp as an invited tryout player.
Cody has looked good in preseason stretches thus far. Hopefully he will stick somewhere soon.
That's about it for today. Have a great week.