Happy Monday, everyone. As the slow season trudges along, we have a few interesting reads for you to pass the time:
Allen is gone. So are several other key figures from Alabama's defense that ranked first nationally last season. No problem. The Tide is armed with numerous young, former top recruits who will now step into bigger roles with the expectation that they'll help Alabama remain one of the top defenses in the nation. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Hall is one of them, a rising sophomore whom outgoing star outside linebacker Tim Williams referred to as the Tide's "future at the outside linebacker position."
"That's a young guy that doesn't even know how good he can be," Williams said. "He's already freakishly good. That's what the scary thing about it is. ... He can do it all. He's a monster."
Hall and Christian Miller are the heir apparents to the OLB spots vacated by Williams and Ryan Anderson. Miller has more pure speed, but Hall is a guy that has created a buzz since arriving on campus last summer. He is a fierce competitor with plenty of strength and explosiveness. He’s also stout enough to move inside on passing downs as Anderson did this past season, allowing another pass rusher such as Miller to line up next to him.
Of course, Williams and Anderson were aided greatly by the presence of Jonathan Allen. Da’shawn Hand's progression into that sort of standard bearer for the DL unit will be key.
As you know, Saban is still looking to fill three coaching vacancies, including the all-important offensive coordinator post. Things have been eerily quiet on that front. So, what might Saban be looking for in his play-caller?
In looking back at some of Saban’s past hires, there are a couple of trends. For one, his past four hires all had at least some NFL experience. Of the five hires, only Kiffin had previously coached in the SEC, and that was for one season at Tennessee.
Likewise, all five coaches have been a quarterbacks coach at some point in their careers. All five also played quarterback at the college level.
Interesting pattern here, and Godsey checks all of those boxes. We don’t know if he will ultimately get the nod, of course. One other name, New England Patriots TE coach Brian Daboll, has emerged according to insiders, though there seems to be no information on a scheduled interview.
Daboll would be an interesting name. He is the assumed heir apparent to OC Josh McDaniels whenever he gets another shot as a head coach, which was expected during this cycle and never materialized. Here’s what Pats’ SB Nation site Pats Pulpit had to say about Daboll in 2013:
It's no coincidence that the Patriots are seeing positive gains with their rookie wide receivers this year. Daboll's return signifies not just a base level of humility between Belichick and McDaniels, but it also shows the team wanting to turn a new leaf with player development. While Daboll spent most of his time with the offensive line over the offseason, his value runs deeper.
He's a versatile football mind that can help this franchise in the future. He's a potential replacement should Dante Scarnecchia retire. He's a potential offensive coordinator candidate should Josh McDaniels receive another opportunity, or for when Belichick retires. He's a scouting mind and could possibly take a route to the front office
Daboll worked as a GA under Saban at Michigan State for two seasons and has spent the bulk of his career under Belichick, so it’s no surprise that player evaluation and development are strong suits. He did not play QB in college and has limited experience as a QB coach, with only one season in the role ten years ago while a member of the New York Jets staff.
There has been no timetable on a decision, but you have to believe that Saban wants to get it done soon with spring practice about a month away.
The softball team is off to a roaring start:
Alabama softball wrapped up its season-opening weekend at the Kickin' Chicken Classic with a 9-3 win over Coastal Carolina, moving to 5-0 on the young season.
Alabama (5-0) scored nine runs on 16 hits, overcoming an early 2-0 lead by Coastal Carolina (3-2). Demi Turner tied a career high with four hits, going 4-5 at the plate, while freshmen Bailey Hemphill and Gabby Callaway were each a perfect 3-3. Hemphill slugged a two-run home run in the fifth inning, already her third long ball of the season, and Sydney Booker hit her own two-run homer three batters later, her second of the season.
In the circle, Madi Moore (1-0) earned the win with a complete-game effort, striking out a career-high seven batters.
Alexis Osorio dominated Coastal Carolina on Friday, throwing the fourth perfect game in school history while striking out 19 of the 21 batters faced. Great start for the ladies.
“For me, that merge happened the first day I stepped on campus,” Mazza said. “Everything was still recruiting until I got on campus. Once I arrived on campus, then reality hit me. It wasn’t something he did. There was just a feeling of, ‘He’s my coach and it’s time to treat this like a job.’ “
Mazza said Saban didn’t micromanage him, only pulling him aside on the rare instance when he thought something was wrong. Still, Saban’s impact on Mazza is immeasurable.
“The mindset he instills is molded in my brain,” Mazza said. “It’s opened my eyes to a lot of things in this world to be a better man. It carries throughout each day. It really improves my mental state to do well for others, push myself hard and finishing everything. Not just getting through, but destroying workouts, class, life, homework and studying.”
The de-recruitment process is always difficult for players who are accustomed to idolization on their high school campuses. To a man, the incoming recruits mention Saban’s honesty with them during the process. The guys who choose to come to Tuscaloosa do so with the understanding that they will have to compete with and alongside other players of their caliber, and that patience may be required.
Q: What kind of player is Alabama getting in Mac Jones?
Jones: I just like managing the game. I never like to do too much. I just get the job done. I do what my coaches tell me, and if I do that, I’ll be fine and I won’t have to make any crazy plays. Really just a role player and a pretty good leader. Roll Tide.
Sounds like a Saban player to me. The quarterbacks will be intriguing in the spring and fall.
BamaOnline has a few recruit reactions to receiving Alabama offers.
Trevor Lawrence (6-foot-6, 196 pounds, Cartersville, Ga.)
It's hard to pinpoint who exactly is on the top of Alabama's board here, but most 2018 quarterbacks have already made verbal commitments. One is Lawrence, a Clemson pledge who is ranked as the top prospect in the country. Nick Saban visited his school in January and Alabama will work hard to flip Lawrence, one of the best quarterback prospects in a while.
Trevor Lawrence is the reason that Miller Forristall, who had been a quarterback to that point, ended up at tight end. Miller was given the option to split time with the uber-talented Lawrence or switch positions and play full-time. He chose the latter and ended up starting for Alabama as a true freshman. He and Lawrence are apparently very close, and Forristall recruits him on a regular basis. It will be interesting to see if Alabama can make any progress with him.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.