Yesterday in an interview with KnoxNews, I was asked how Saban perpetually hauls in the very best classes in America: I listed institutional support, winning, facilities, the staff, Saban's notorious living room charm among others. I could have rattled off a dozen more, including the above.
Back to the bad ole' days
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a proposal to alter a rule that went into effect last season. The revised rule will allow head men’s basketball coaches to call timeouts while that coach’s team is in the process of inbounding the ball, starting in the 2016-17 season.
This new rule allows a coach to ask for a timeout if, for example, a player has trouble inbounding the ball and is close to committing a five-second violation. A rule prohibiting coaches from calling a timeout in live-ball situations went into effect last season, allowing officials to grant only timeouts that were called by players. That rule left coaches unable to call timeouts once the referee began the five-count for the player inbounding the ball to a teammate.
I don't like sideline timeouts once a clock has begun to tick, and I don't like it any sport. Once the bell is rung, you let your guys make their decisions. Call me OCD, but I really liked the gamesmanship that comes with making sure your players can recognize the situation, are prepped accordingly, and can execute. It rewards preparation, coaching and game smarts. And, it makes for better basketball certainly, when teams are on their heels. Now, we're back to Calipari's best friend, micromanagement from the sideline. Make no mistake, this hurts pressing and trapping teams -- particularly those on a run, flustering their foes.
That's interesting, Notre Dame
ALABAMA: Nobody gets a number 25 or above, because Nick Saban is sick and tired of the media overhyping this championship team that returns a bunch of players and consistently gets the best recruits! They haven't done ANYTHING! Don't look at them, they're hideous, you fools!
ICYMI: Notre Dame has decided to award the No. 1 jersey, on a rotating basis, to the player the coaching staff feels best exemplifies ND effort etc. It's weird as hell for a national power on par with Alabama to be this bereft in nonsense. Anyway, EDSBS has some other suggestions worth a chuckle. Alabama's is surprisingly true, though.
How much worse can it get? Much worse, apparently.
WACO, Texas — Three more women filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Baylor University on Wednesday, saying the school did nothing to help them after they reported being sexually assaulted on or near campus.
Already, Baylor is trying to settle a similar lawsuit filed by former student Jasmin Hernandez, who was attacked by former football player Tevin Elliott in 2012. Elliott is one of two former Baylor football players convicted of sexual assault since 2014. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify sexual assault victims, but Hernandez has spoken publicly to draw attention to the case.
Every day I think it can't get worse, it does. What in the actual hell is going on in Waco?
Worth a click
Who is Alabama's toughest opponent?
LSU. Ole Miss is ranked higher in Sporting News’ Top 25 and has knocked off Alabama in each of the last two years, but the biggest game on the schedule right now remains LSU. Consider this: Alabama shut down Leonard Fournette in a 30-16 victory against the Tigers last season. Alabama went on to outscore its next seven opponents 228-80 en route to winning the national title.
We have more on this very question later this week, as our editorial board answers hard questions about the 2016 team. For now, I'd throw Tennessee, LSU, Ole Miss all in one big bag and shuffle them up -- they all represent different challenges, and they all are on the road. Woof.
Our gymnasts are smarter than yours
Senior gymnast Lauren Beers was named an academic All-American for the third straight year on Tuesday, and sophomore Mackenzie Brannan earned the honor for the first time, the University of Alabama announced in a press release. Beers completed her undergraduate degree in exercise science and holds a 4.0 grade point average in her graduate sports management program. Brannon has a 4.0 grade point average in psychology. Beers is also an eight-time All-American who helped the Crimson Tide to four NCAA regional titles and back-to-back SEC championships in 2014 and 2015. Brannan is a four-time All-American in her first two seasons at UA. Alabama finished third at the NCAA championship this year.
Student-athlete means something. Mackenzie and Lauren get it. Add to that Haylie McClennan's at-large NCAA female scholar-athlete of the year and Ryan Kelly's at-large NCAA male scholar-athlete of the year awards, and you can tell this administration, and these kids, get it. I could not be prouder of the classroom work Alabama athletes have put in and their much-deserved recognition.
Alex Scarborough: This is too easy. The second I saw "outside linebacker," my mind went not only to a specific player, but to a specific moment. I’m sitting in the press box at AT&T Stadium in Dallas in January. It’s Connor Cook in the pocket, oblivious as ever. It’s a poor sap of a right tackle falling victim to a vicious spin move. It’s me laughing while I watch Tim Williams doing Tim Williams things, getting his fourth sack in the last two games. And in that moment, I honestly wonder whether a career backup with no starts can make the leap to the NFL. And if he doesn’t, I believe he could be the best pass-rusher in the SEC in 2016.
Tim Williams is a bad, bad man. Another year polishing his technique and becoming an every-down player is a terrifying prospect, especially with the horrifyingly-hateful Reuben Foster as his mate on the inside. No. 1-11, this is probably the most athletic defense Alabama will have ever fielded; though not as deep as 2015, this year's team will be an entirely different level of hell to contend with.
In February, the NCAA Football Rules Committee approved a proposal to allow electronic devices to be used for coaching purposes in the press box and locker room, but not on the sideline like in the NFL, during games beginning this fall. That proposal was approved a month later by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which in April, chose to delay implementation until 2017 after feedback from conference commissioners as to guidelines for consistency, cost and other issues. "I think that's part of the reason that the brakes were applied," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said earlier this month. "To say, 'Let's figure out exactly what might be implemented and how it can be implemented on an appropriately consistent basis.'"
The NFL has been using tablet tech for years, and MLB is just now getting on board. After much delay, big time college football finally gets the same access to technology. For those staffs that scheme well and think quickly, this is a tremendous boon. I tend to agree with Coach B here: this is an absolute game-changer.