Happy Friday, everyone. Coming off of his 1,000th career victory, Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy will lead his team into Columbia to take on what should be an overmatched Mizzou squad. Congratulations to him on his landmark achievement. Meanwhile, the baseball team will host Arkansas as the Gym Tide compete in the regional championships.
On to football:
“It’s a very important season for me, just because I have to showcase my athleticism,” Hand said. “I’ve been waiting. I’ve been working. So, I’m just ready to showcase.
“It was a humbling experience (waiting my turn), but I’m glad I went through it. God has no mistakes in a man’s life, so I was just riding the wave. I just kept chopping at the wood, and now’s my time.”
It is indeed Da’Shawn’s time to shine. It is downright unreasonable to ask anyone to fill the shoes of Jonathan Allen, the most complete defensive lineman seen in Tuscaloosa since Marcell Dareus, but Hand has that type of ability. If he can fine tune his technique a bit, including his first step which has been a limiting factor, the sky is the limit for him this season.
"He's been in the program for a while so I think he's really got a lot of good knowledge and experience," Saban said. "I think the thing we've always tried to do is get him strong enough that he can go out there and sustain playing at the point. I think he's made an improvement in that area and certainly can help us in the pass rush category. That's something that getting a little bigger, helping him turn speed into power, and that'll be certainly something that would help him be a more effective rusher. We're pleased with the progress that he's made."
Miller is now listed at 240 pounds and Saban noted that the outside linebacker has indeed "gained a little weight."
It’s easy to forget that Miller has been in the program as long as Rashaan Evans has. He came in as the #3 OLB in the class on the 247 composite, behind Evans and LSU signee Clifton Garrett. With Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson finally out of his way, Miller will have an opportunity to show the speed rush ability that earned that lofty rating.
A bit of trivia for you: In the 2014 class, Alabama signed three of the top five OLB prospects. Evans was #1, Miller was #3, and they also signed the #5 guy. See if you can name him without cheating. It will probably surprise you.
"Every coach has a different coaching style," Alabama running back Damien Harris said. "Everybody has their own personality, their own persona that they bring. But he's a real high-intensity guy, and he really emphasizes attention to detail, focus, high energy on the field, attention to detail in the meetings. So, he just brings those good qualities to our offense, and I think he's done a great job coaching us and we all enjoy him, so I think things will go smoothly in the future."
Hmm, high intensity and attention to detail, eh? Sounds like a certain somewhat diminutive, straw-hat wearing fellow often seen dressing down defensive backs on hot August afternoons.
Travis Reier of BamaOnline observed Daboll with the quarterbacks on Thursday, and came away with a couple of nuggets. Like everyone else, he is blown away by Tua’s arm:
A left-hander who can spin it like that isn't easy to find. https://t.co/h4SpGVdckt— Travis Reier (@travisreier) March 31, 2017
He also mentioned the obvious camaraderie within the QB group and lauded Jalen Hurts for being the ultimate teammate once again as he has welcomed the newcomers with open arms.
Some video of Daboll with the quarterbacks:
Needless to say, intensity and attention to detail weren’t qualities typically assigned to Daboll’s talented but laid back predecessor:
“USC wins it. Look at Pete’s old teams and how they play. He goes 6-1 in BCS games, only loss is to Texas in the Vince Young game. Now (if the game is played) at the beginning of the season, maybe not as much. That’s how Coach (Carroll) was, they were going to be fresh, now if you look at Alabama, no one wants to play Alabama at the beginning of the year. Because how (Saban) has them ready to play at the beginning of the year. Someone told me the other day that Coach Saban is one or two games over .500 in his career in bowl games.”
I actually happened to be awake and near a computer when FOX tweeted the link to this interview, so I listened in. Lane continues to speak highly of Coach Saban and the Alabama program. He praised the fans for their passion and knowledge and called himself a “huge fan” of Alabama football. He says that he hasn’t spoken to Coach Saban in a while but that they text often. He also had some interesting insight on Steve Sarkisian, a great friend that he speaks to regularly. Like Kiffin, Sarkisian’s children are still on the west coast. Lane expressed frustration in the difficulty of travel home from Tuscaloosa that required the drive to Birmingham and inevitable connection in Atlanta. It’s obviously much easier to just hop the plane in Atlanta and head west.
He also lambasted host Clay Travis for reporting on the “Joey Freshwater” thing, swearing that he has never used the name and that his reputation in that regard is undeserved. Interestingly, Travis apologized to Lane for some of his reporting and admitted that he was overly critical of someone who he didn’t know. There seems to be a mutual respect between these two, which could be interpreted in a couple of ways.
On the USC vs. Alabama debate, what do you think? Could any of Saban’s teams have knocked off that 2004 USC squad that beat Oklahoma by 36 to win the national title?
King, a transfer from Memphis, played in Alabama's first seven games before a lung infection shut him down for the year. An ex-starter at small forward, King averaged 3.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in the Crimson Tide's first seven games of the season.
After graduating this spring, King is expected to be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
Congrats to Nick on finding a home. If he can stay healthy and play to his potential, the future can still be bright for him.
Former Alabama men's basketball coach Anthony Grant has officially been named the next head coach at Dayton, the school announced Thursday morning. This comes after Dayton's previous head coach, Archie Miller, left the Flyers for the Indiana Hoosiers job.
Speaking of finding a new home, Dayton has replaced perhaps the most successful coach in the history of their program with Anthony Grant. #Grantsketball lives.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.