There was no practice yesterday, as the team gets settled in with their classes and so forth. Today, then, is just a big sloppy serving of miscellaneous news. But, we think we found some cool things to get you through this late summer Tuesday.
Tight end Hale Hentges is an example. As a freshman in 2015, Hentges was behind O.J. Howard, a potential All-American, and bruising run blocker Brandon Greene. But Hentges managed to find his way onto the field in a reserve role by the old-fashioned route: hard work. "It was a dream to contribute," Hentges, now a sophomore, said when he met with the media on Thursday. "Being on the field and (being) able to contribute to a national championship was something I'll never forget and I hope we can do it again this year."
Hentges has it together, both with his maturity and his play. He will see the field a good bit this year, and he is your Day One starter next season at tight end. He reminds me a bit of Colin Peak: a fairly physical tight end with nice hands.
One day up, the next day down. That’s essentially how Nick Saban described the quarterback competition between Cooper Bateman, Blake Barnett and Jalen Hurts. On one day a quarterback will look like he’s beginning to separate himself. The next day, however, another quarterback will take a step forward.
Every year Nick Saban picks one word to harp on. In 2015 it was "leadership." In 2016, it is "consistency." That is only going to come through game reps, I fear. Still, I'm very optimistic. I think by midseason this offense will be purring like Tawny Kitaen on David Coverdale's Jaguars. (You liked that 80s hair metal reference, don't you? #old)
His painting was revealed; his presence was felt. Family, friends and fans were in Tuscaloosa Saturday, Aug. 20 to honor the late Kenny Stabler, star quarterback for the University of Alabama, with the unveiling of his portrait at the Paul W. Bryant Museum. Titled "Unforgettable," the painting by renowned Alabama artist Steve Skipper shows the dynamic No. 12 in action, leading his team over the University of Nebraska in the 1967 Sugar Bowl with a play that Stabler chose to be memorialized.
A fantastic photo gallery here of the new "Unforgettable" print. Now, let's see if Alabama sues and harasses Steve Skipper and drives him out of the business like they did to Daniel Moore.
Offensively, left tackle Cam Robinson was the lone Crimson Tide representative on ESPN’s All-American team, while defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebacker Reuben Foster made the cut on defense. Punter JK Scott was also named a preseason All-American on special teams, giving Alabama four players on ESPN’s 25-player team.
The big injustice here is the absence of Eddie Jackson, who was a second-team unanimous All-American last season, and arguably Marlon Humphrey, who is quietly one of the best shutdown corners in the nation. Ridley's absence is going to look really foolish come December too.
"We knew we could beat this team," Clarida said. "We came out in the second half not wanting to sit back, so we wanted to press them and play aggressive and get to goal any way we can. I think we did that really well." Alabama sparked in the second half, showing that the team can rally behind one another when facing a deficit. When the Crimson Tide drew level with Murray State at 2-2 after goals from Clarida and freshman Logue Shamburger, the team did not want to stop there. They wanted the win.
This match was bananas: For you Commie Kickball fans, Alabama has, for the first time that I can recall, an aggressive team with the talent to finally be a threat in the SEC. Now, the whole "falling down 2-nil to Murray State" is still a concern, but baby steps y'all.
"I spent a lot of time on the LSU campus and around the whole city of Baton Rouge," he added. "It re-energized and reignited me, and got me back on the right track. "If not for Baton Rouge none of this [success] would have happened to me. In a lot of ways BR saved my life," he added. "It resurrected me."
I love Avery Johnson. That is all.
Before there was Joe Willie or Snake, before the Heisman Trophy winners, before television brought University of Alabama football into every living room in the state, there was still a superstar. Harry Gilmer.
More on Harry Gilmer's passing from Cecil, who as usual adds a nice human touch to one of Alabama's first superstars.
College sports teams often take up too much of our lives, but in times of crisis, we’re able to see the other side of that. Something so many people have invested in can combine forces across towns, states, and regions. LSU head coach Les Miles talked for five minutes about the Tigers’ campus again being a staging area for relief efforts (he says, "This so reminds me of Katrina," which struck during his first LSU season), worrying about players and family, and the members of his athletic department who’ve gone out in boats to rescue people.
More on the Louisiana floods, the most catastrophic natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard. If you can spare some time, donations, or a few bucks, our neighbors could greatly use it. Rally around: that's what we do in the SEC.
SB Nation's 2016 College Football Preview Magazine. Power rankings, huge team previews, original stories, and lots of fun stuff!
This is actually a fantastic piece of work from the incomparable Bill C, and there are some nice features in here as well from other writers. I'm not promoting for "yeah, go team Vox" reasons: I praise it, because it's good. SPOILER WARNING: As usual, Spencer and Kirk hate on Alabama, but we're used to that by this point.
Sizing up the national and conference competition
LSU - 10/1 This isn’t a longshot — it’s just an outrageous value for a team this good. Tennessee is going off at 14-to-1 and LSU (my title pick, irrespective of the money-making angle) is paying out a zero on every dollar you put down? It might not be a tremendous longshot, but it would be remiss not to mention it. You’re also betting on Les Miles to author the ultimate middle-finger season in SEC history — you gotta get in on that.
I agree here. At 10/1, LSU is a pretty good "longshot" bet for a team in the Top Five.
SEC West No. 2: Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) For the third straight year, Bama looks to make a College Football Playoff run breaking in a new QB. At least the new guy will throw to a superb crop of receivers led by Calvin Ridley and tight end O.J. Howard. The D will still be nasty, but I think they stumble en route to Atlanta with road trips to Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU.
I think Feldman forgets a game that gives me more concern than Ole Miss: Arkansas. WPS is going to be quite good this season, and, for the first time in forever they're healthy. More importantly, Alabama has traditionally not played its best in Northwest Arkansas.
If faced with the idea of taking the five conference favorites or the field, I’d go with the field. The reason is that I do not believe that the Pac-12 or Big 12 winner has a strong chance to win the national title due to their recruiting. If I could take any five teams, I’d be more inclined to take my chances with five of these six: Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Clemson and FSU. How about you? Let us know in the comment section.
I liked this story from Bud too. He spoke with several bookmakers about the safest picks for the national title, and the general consensus is that this year the top five-six teams in the country are really the only viable break-even bets. The disparity is just too great.
Oklahoma will start this season at No. 3 in The Associated Press rankings and is considered a serious contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year, but one of the primary questions for the Sooners will be how quickly a young offensive line can develop and open the way for stars such as quarterback Baker Mayfield and running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Much will depend on junior Jonathan Alvarez, who is moving from guard to take Darlington's place at center, and on the two other returning starters, sophomores Dru Samia and Orlando Brown. Their teammates and coaches believe they will be up to the challenge.
The books think Alabama and Oklahoma (not LSU or Clemson) are the two best teams in the country. But, the more I look at that OU offensive the more concern it gives me. There aren't a bevy of elite pass rushers in the Big 12, but teams with a great DL (looking at you Texas, Ohio State) could drop the Sooners' title hopes before Halloween, despite the extremely talented backfield the Dirt Burglars are fielding.