Dumber than cut bait
Will Muschamp doesn't have the greatest reputation as a smooth operator or a person to remain calm when the situation gets hectic. Nor is his on-field behavior one that would suggest that he has a great filter between his prefrontal cortex and his piehole. The SEC has a long (and hilarious) history of coaches who like to rib, needle, talk some smack and otherwise be an irritant. But, damn Will, some things you just don't say, and dragging Dabo Swinney's wife into a football rivalry is one of them.
I know; I know. He meant it as a joke. But, there are unspoken rules that govern this behavior, Will. You just don't joke about someone's wife, their mother, their kids or their dog.
4.] How quickly will Ben Davis become a factor in the rotation? After watching a true freshman named C.J. Mosley find his way on to the field in 2010, I'll never count out a newcomer making an impact at the inside spots. Mosley's path to playing time that year had everything to do with his ability to play in coverage. The athletic Davis offers some of the same physical attributes Mosley brought to the mix six years ago. Not only that, at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, the nation's top inside linebacker recruit for the 2016 cycle has the size needed to handle himself when things get rugged between the tackles. With that, exactly when we'll see Davis on defense will likely come down to his ability to grasp techniques and responsibilities that come with playing the position in the SEC.
I really like Five Questions series from BOL. Above is a very interesting one from the inside linebackers article: given the new starters in the linebacking corps, what is the realistic amount of playing time the talented freshmen (like Ben Davis) will see?
3.] Is this an area where a freshman might be able to make an impact? At SEC Media Days, I asked senior safety Eddie Jackson about depth in the secondary. This wasn't a case of inquiring about players by name, mind you, just a request for a general overview of where Jackson thought support for the starters would come from during the 2016 season. Unsolicitedly, Jackson pointed to Carter, a former two-way star on the prep level who quarterbacked Kentwood High School to a Louisiana state title last season. In another area of SECMD, Jackson also mentioned incoming freshman Aaron Robinson, a one-time Florida commitment who flipped to Alabama on Signing Day. Meanwhile, Jared Mayden fits the bill physically of what you typically see from a freshman contributor and Nigel Knott, while in need of bulk and strength, may be the most gifted athlete of the incoming quartet. In other words, with Carter leading the way, expect all four of the newcomers to be in the mix for a secondary in search of help at the third corner, safety, star and money positions.
As with the linebacking corps, there are talented freshmen in the secondary. Eddie Jackson, the unquestioned leader of the unit, had some high praise for incoming players. As we saw last season with Minkah Fitzpatrick, if you can make plays, there is room on the field for you. This year that is especially true since the third corner position is anyone's to grab.
"A mature man position..."
"We spent a lot of time studying Ryan," Pagano said, "and there wasn't much that we didn't know about him as a football player, as a man, the character that he had, the family that he came from, his work ethic, his football intelligence, his passion for the game, leadership qualities. Everything that we saw and learned through the process of evaluating him, we're seeing the same thing here day in and day out. From Day 1, we threw him in with the 1's, and he's made mistakes like everybody's going to make mistakes, but he's unflappable. He doesn't get rattled; he doesn't get shaken. He's able to move on when bad plays happen."
Ryan Kelly is effusively praised by Colts coach, Chuck Pagano, the latter of which had some great words of thanks to the Alabama coaching staff for their identification of character guys and their ability to maximize their potential in college.
Speaking of Ryan Kelly
Forget what you've read or heard regarding the biggest challenges facing the University of Alabama's revamped offense for the 2016 season. It's not quarterback or even running back that will prove hardest to replace. No, that chore falls to Ross Pierschbacher, who must supplant starting center Ryan Kelly, a first-round NFL Draft selection and winner of the 2015 Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's best center.
Ryan Kelly was not just the best player on the offensive line, or even the offense. He was the most valuable player on the team period, and was so for at least two years. His loss is going to be very difficutl to overcome, even for a player who is as versatile and quietly-excellent as Ross Pierschbacher. One this is certain, those are huge shoes to fill, and hopefully the Tide can get them laced on right in a hurry.
Good on you
Former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro might get a second chance at a pro football career. Prothro, whose hope of playing in the NFL ended with a broken leg in 2005, has been brought on as a coaching intern by the NFL's Carolina Panthers, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. He will be reunited with Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula, Prothro's coach at Alabama from 2003-06.
Excellent news that Prothro will get a shot in the pros, even if it is coaching and not playing. Mike Shula owed him that ....especially since he cost Tyrone his career with terrible personnel management (SarcasmFont...or not...or is it?)
Changing the culture #BuckleUp
Yesterday, during the release of Alabama's out of conference basketball slate, the Tide took a different tack than just a quick presser or release: Coach Avery Johnson threw a midsummer party to draw attention to his program and generate excitement for the upcoming season.
Additionally, in a pleasant departure from the previous regime, CAJ takes nearly every opportunity he can to speak to students, classes, community groups, the media -- if you have a minute, he'll evangelize about the program he envisions and the progress he's making. It's wonderful to see him engaged in the community and selflessly promote it in a way the University has not.
The Alabama men's basketball team finalized its 2016-17 non-conference schedule, head coach Avery Johnson announced at the Summer Tip Off event in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday night. The event, which was held in front of a standing room only crowd at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, featured one-on-ones with Johnson and the rest of the coaching staff, while each Crimson Tide player used a touch screen to unveil the schedule game-by-game in what was a first-of-its-kind event.
Johnson also remains open to media conferences and interviews as much as his schedule allows, which increases the publicity and success of the entire basketball program, he said. "My job took a complete 180 from [Anthony] Grant to [Avery] Johnson," Jordan said. "Although I’m way busier, it’s a good type of busy, because I’m in high demand thanks to Johnson’s willingness to interact with the media." Johnson said he hopes his product will attract more fans in upcoming seasons. "For those of you that didn’t come to a basketball game, give us a chance next year," Johnson said. "I think you’ll love the product we put on before you and you’ll be proud of your basketball team as much as you are your football team."