Real life is rudely intruding today, but there are some neat stories here: Supply your own takes and conversation in the comments (that's what you do, anyway!)
2016 Football Media Days Student-Athlete Attendees Alabama Jonathan Allen, Sr., DL O.J. Howard, Sr., TE Eddie Jackson, Sr., DB
Alabama redshirt freshman linebacker Adonis Thomas is transferring, BamaOnLine has confirmed. AL.com's Matt Zenitz first reported the inside linebacker's decision to leave the Crimson Tide program Wednesday evening. Joining the Tide football program last summer, Thomas redshirted during Alabama's national title-winning season. Thomas was a four-star recruit in the 2015 cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite. A product Central Gwinnett (Ga.) High School, Thomas was the No. 11 overall outside linebacker and No. 19-rated player in the state of Georgia.
The Opening officially got underway on Wednesday in Beaverton, Ore., with Elite 11 competition. Twelve quarterbacks, including Alabama quarterback commit Tua Tagovailoa from Hawaii, participated. Receivers and tight ends were there also, including 6-foot-6 Alabama receiver commit Tyrell Shavers and Auburn tight end target Tre' McKitty, who announces his commitment this weekend.
If you read just one story today, make it this one. News on Tua, Alabama target Nico Collins, and other goings-on at The Opening.
On Thursday, the NFL suspended the former Alabama All-American for 10 games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the Cowboys announced. McClain missed the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The suspension indicates that McClain has failed a drug test in Stage 3 of the NFL's Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse. The policy reads: "If a player's first positive test result after advancing to Stage 3 is for marijuana, the player shall be suspended without pay for 10 regular-season and/or postseason games."
NFL Network has been counting down the top 100 players 10 at a time. On Wednesday night, NFL Network reached the top 10 and, as part of its final show in the countdown, revealed the 10 players who just missed the top 100. Cooper was on that list, coming in at No. 103. [Julio is no. 8, btw. These are voted on by NFL players.]
Alabama announced that Alex Gholston and Quanesha Burks would represent the women's track and field team on the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-America Track & Field/Cross Country team. Gholston claimed one of 15 first-team spots while Burks represented the Crimson Tide on the second-team.
Another day and another preseason watch list for University of Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. The senior tight end was named to the John Mackey Award watch list Wednesday morning a day after being included on the Maxwell Award watch list a day earlier.
This strategy was really popularized by the 2009 Nebraska Cornhuskers, who determined to stop trying to handle four-wide Big 12 offenses with traditional linebackers and came up with their "Peso" defense that flooded the field with defensive backs that could handle either playing in the box or covering inside receivers... The key was having a pair of brilliant cornerbacks with four safeties and only a single, true linebacker (Lavonte David) playing between them in the defensive backfield:
A very cool story on the hybrid safety/LB trend that the HUNHS has helped generate. Even in the SEC you're seeing the LB position become smaller at most schools for this reason. It also includes a very nice breakdown of how five safeties are often on the field for teams like Ole Miss running their base cover-three scheme.
The Tide had the best D-line in the nation last season, and even with Jarren Reed and A'Shawn Robinson gone to the NFL, they're still in the running again. This bunch was a big reason why 'Bama led the nation in sacks last year (52) and was in the top three in total D. In truth, if edge-rusher supreme Tim Williams (10.5 sacks) was deemed a "defensive end" instead of a linebacker -- technically he plays the 'Jack' position, a hybrid DE/OLB -- 'Bama would probably have the top spot here.
WADR to Bruce Feldman, Alabama has the best front in college football...again.