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Jumbo Package: Special teams a focus for Tide; that crowded Alabama backfield, and more

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It is a third of the game after all.

Western Kentucky v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Tide did not practice yesterday; they resume practice today. But, we’ve still got some stuff for you.

Six backs, one ball

How will Alabama manage its crowded backfield?

It's going to be hard enough for Burns to decide on a starter. Damien Harris, who led the team with 1,065 yards last season, might be the favorite to hold on to the job. But as we saw late in the season before he broke his leg against Clemson, Scarbrough is a 6-foot-2, 228-pound force of nature with the ball in his hands. During the Iron Bowl, SEC Championship and two rounds of the College Football Playoff, he rushed for 454 yards and six touchdowns.

Only once during Saban's tenure have we seen four running backs garner 40 or more carries in a season, and that was in 2009 when Mark Ingram had a supporting cast of Trent Richardson, Roy Upchurch and Terry Grant. Even then, you had Greg McElroy rushing the ball only 54 times at quarterback, compared with the 191 rushes Jalen Hurts had as a true freshman quarterback last season.

One word, baby: Wishbone.

Joking aside, I do think we may see a transfer over the summer: Emmons (So.,) Jacobs (So.,) Scarbrough (RS So.,) Robinson (Fr.,) Damien (Jr.,) Najee (Fr.) — that is a very crowded backfield. The best that the Tide can hope for, in terms of the long-term health of the depth chart, is 1. patience from the backs, or 2. that Bo or Damien (or both) light it up this year and then go pro at the end of the season. That makes a far more manageable roster situation in 2018.

If Alabama makes it into the 2018 season without any transfers, it will be Burton Burns’ crowning career achievement. He is the best in the business though, and is universally loved by his guys, so if anyone can pull it off, he just may be the one to do so.

Ex-player accuses Lane Kiffin’s FAU of pulling a job offer after landing a recruit - SBNation.com

Carter alleges Kiffin led him to believe FAU would hire him as an assistant strength coach, a job that carried a $40,000 salary and relocation expenses. Carter’s lawsuit says he is close with a former blue-chip running back whose profile matches that of D’Anfernee McGriff. Carter believes Kiffin’s FAU used his relationship with the recruit to lure the player to Boca Raton.

Carter says Kiffin led him to believe his hiring was “done,” Walsh wrote. But after Signing Day, FAU informed him he wouldn’t be hired, citing two previous misdemeanors on his record.

And the report just gets weirder and weirder. Basically, AC was strung along to get McGriff to sign with FAU. Then, when it came time to pay back the recruit’s high school coach, FAU never returned his calls, never sent him new hire paperwork, hired more new staff, and then reneged on the offer.

Best part? Carter’s suit has been filed in Shelby County, Alabama not Boca. I’d love to be the plaintiff’s lawyer here and get that quick-kill settlement. There is zero chance this sees a courtroom.

To the greater issue, I now freely admit that I was wrong about Lane Kiffin. For every one step forward he takes, he takes three steps back and then slams his testicles in the cutlery drawer. He’s not ready to be a head coach, much less at Alabama. And he may never be ready to rejoin the ranks of serious programs. So, yes, I was wrong.

Make Special Teams, If Not Great, At Least Respectable Again!

Alabama Crimson Tide Football assistant Joe Pannunzio brings 'energy, enthusiasm' to special teams

Pannunzio, who has more than a decade of experience in coaching the third facet of the game, is exactly the man for the job to turn things around and get guys excited about special teams.

“I think his energy and enthusiasm will be really important on special teams, and I think he’s a good teacher and I think it’s going to help some of our young players who probably need to be core special teams guys for us,” Saban said. “I think one of the things that hurt us last year -- we lost six guys through the course of the season.

“We had six guys transfer last year then we lost six guys through injury for the year, and I think those things affected us at the end of the year, probably more on special teams more than any place else because it makes some players play too many plays, and it affected the quality of how I think we played on special teams.”

That is a great point by Saban on the interplay of injuries, lack of depth, effectiveness of special teams and overall performance in late game situations. That is a man who deep-thinks about football the way I think about the evolution of heavy metal ..or the way that Josh thinks about integrating assholishness into his everyday life.

On the subject of playing multiple positions, Travis Reier was hosted by CBS Sports and gave a nice little interview detailing the Tide’s usual Spring experimentation with position changes

Alabama experimenting with position changes - CBSSports.com

Suboptimal

Alabama men's swimming starts NCAA championships | The Crimson White

After an opening day with only one event, the championships continue with a full slate of prelims and finals on Thursday. The first prelim begins at 9 a.m. and finals begin at 5 p.m. The events include the 200 freestyle, 400 medley, and 200 individual medley relays, as well as the 50 freestyle and 500 freestyle.

Alabama is in its first-ever swimming NCAA Championships as one of the 24 teams. That inexperience showed, as the Tide finished 22nd out of 24 teams in yesterday’s relay. The teams look to bounce back today with a full slate of events. Best of luck and Roll Tide.

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EDITORIAL: The below does not represent the views of Roll ‘Bama Roll, its editors, Vox, SB Nation, or anyone other than its author, to wit, me.

This wasn’t thought out very carefully

If you plan to attend an Arkansas football game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in 2018 there are a few things you should know. First of all, leave your umbrella at home, even if it’s raining. They aren’t allowed inside the stadium. Also, don’t bring your own food or beverages, as they’re also prohibited inside the stadium.

Feel free to bring a gun, though, because that will be perfectly legal.

Yes, Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law Wednesday that will allow Arkansas citizens to carry a gun inside publicly-funded buildings within the state, including the football stadium and basketball arena at Arkansas, as well as other buildings on campus.

This is not some anti-gun rant. I’ve owned guns my entire life; I grew up hunting, and we ate what we killed. Every single man in both sides of my family served in the military and owned or still owns a firearm. Hell, I live in Memphis voluntarily, which you may recognize as a pretty shooty place.

But, the only thing more abundant than guns in Appalachia is the crazy in Arkansas.

Liquored-up, rabid SEC football fans + firearms is a terrible, terrible idea. Someone (maybe a few someones) is going to get menaced/assaulted/wounded/killed by a firearm at the stadium (or, more probably, the parking lot.) There are times and places for common sense, and there are times and places for commonsense regulation: A tribal environment of a hundred thousand screaming people with abundant alcohol and a mob mentality is damned sure one of them. Failing the former, it’s nice to fall back on the latter.

The law is expected to go into effect this year, but not be implemented in Razorback Stadium until 2018. And, while it does require a concealed carry permit, that is a mere 8-hour course in Arkansas. Moreover, Arkansas is a shall-issue state, meaning if you have a conceal permit from a place that requires a less-stringent process, then Arkansas will give you a CC license in the Natural State.

This is going to hurt attendance, to be sure — I’ve cancelled my 2018 trip for the Alabama game. I just hope that it does not result in actual harm to people who came to take in a game, not be exposed to a drunken Bubba dick-waving with a handgun.

Feel free to call me a CommieNaziDemocrap in the comments below. I’ll be the CommieNaziDemocrap not going to a road game in Arkansas.