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Jumbo Package: Backup quarterbacks, uncertain o line, pay-for-play, early signing and more

2300 words...You weren’t doing anything today, right?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn
Come on, Lester. Get it together, man.
RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Practice Notes

Alabama newcomers starting to turn heads during spring season | The Crimson White

Moses is one of multiple early enrollees that are already grabbing the attention of their veteran teammates. Jerry Juedy, a five-star wide receiver, is already seeing himself put into the lineup. Juedy stands at 6-foot-1 inch, 184 pounds. His frame reminds everyone of another Alabama player: Calvin Ridley.

Ridley and Juedy have similar frames and skill sets. Their teammates say there's little separating the two players.

“Only thing different is probably Jerry Jeudy is a little bit taller than Calvin (Ridley),” said wide receiver Cam Sims. “That’s it. They both nightmares for a DB.”

Former RBR veteran, Matt Speakman, has a great piece here interviewing the upperclassman on the Alabama youth movement. Their quotes will make you inappropriately tingly.

In our run-up to A-Day we’re doing something similar, talking about the less heralded guys, or position battles to watch, over A-Day. This is where the next crop of stars or contributors will possibly emerge. Be sure to check out the “One to watch on A-Day” series. All-Access: So who's going to be Alabama's backup quarterback? |

It makes sense that Saban and Daboll would want to see what happens Saturday and during fall camp to make any quarterback decisions beyond choosing a starter. In any case, all eyes at the spring game will be on Tagovailoa and Jones.

Everyone loves the backup quarterbacks, especially when they're freshmen fresh out of the box.

Judging from the snap distribution and the practice rotation, I think we can safely assume that Tua is the backup. Saban has also noted that Jones still needs a little work (not to mention some eating; he’s a lithe 190 pounds despite his great arm.) For 2017 Alabama goes into the season with an unquestioned starter. Now, if only the OL could get it together to protect them...


Alabama's offensive line remains in state of flux |

The Tide's offensive line is in the process of getting in sync as Alabama's coaching staff determines the right combination of personnel. Things appear to be settled on the left side of Bozeman, where Jonah Williams is the blindside protector and Pierschbacher is next to him at guard. But it's a different story on Bozeman's right.

Saban initiated a shakeup after he said the first-team unit didn't get "enough movement up front" during the team's first scrimmage of the spring earlier this month. Cotton then moved from right guard to right tackle, replacing Matt Womack. With Womack bumped, Deonte Brown was assigned to Cotton's old spot.

Explaining the change, Saban said, "Lester played a lot of tackle last year and he's done a really good job at guard. Sometimes we do things because we want to see what someone else can do and we want to make sure, like in Lester's case, that he could play guard or tackle next year."

I’d be lying if I said that offensive line, for the 4th straight year, has some concerns. And, since 2014, most of those concerns have been on the right side. Fortunately, there are three more practices (inclusive of A-Day) and a fall camp to sort this mess out — and it is a mess: no grouping has been able to get a consistent push and protection on the right side.

Win some, lose some, potentially win them all

Yesterday afternoon we told you Braxton Key was entering the NBA Draft, without an agent, so he has not forfeited his eligibility just yet.

Wing shooter, Ar’Mond Davis, who had previously announced his intent to transfer has now apparently backed off that commitment. I wonder how much of this has to do with Key’s decision to test the pro waters and how much is just a reconsideration? In any event, it gives the Tide depth on the wing if follows through with his re-commitment to Johnson’s club.

Tide guard reconsidering decision to transfer, per teammate

Earlier this month, Alabama junior guard Ar'Mond Davis announced via Twitter his intentions to transfer from the Crimson Tide basketball program after one year.

But Monday evening at Alabama’s annual basketball banquet, one of his teammates said Davis is considering returning to Tuscaloosa next season -- after announcing he would transfer.

“I wasn’t for it, but he decided to stay, so I’m happy that he stayed,” redshirt freshman point guard Dazon Ingram said after the banquet at the Bryant Conference Center. “He’s not going anywhere.”

No one knows what exactly the early signing period will bring. But, the speculation is wild: It runs from cost savings to more expensive recruiting; from an expedited process to the creation of another histrionic recruiting event.

NCAA might have moved up its recruiting circus instead of fixing a bigger problem -

Instead of relieving pressure with multiple signing days, will this funnel all the recruiting culture -- and the accompanying unsavory silliness -- into mid-December?

Dodd thinks so, although I don’t see any compelling argument to support that belief. The December signing period is for those who are firm commits, prospective early enrollees, and others who are ready to begin their college career; it is not a signing period for extended shenanigans, post-bowl changes of heart, post-season transfer considerations, and the like. Sure, there will still be shell-games with ball caps and ad hoc press conferences in institutionalized high school gyms, but on the main this is business-minded signing period for business-minded players and staffs.

Dana Holgerson agrees. But the more important discussion here is the way that early signing will affect the mechanics of the recruiting process, a process that seemingly favors programs with considerable resources to conduct in-season visits:

Dana Holgorsen: 'It will remove some of the Look At Me stuff'

It’s going to remove some of the ‘Look at me’ stuff that exists with one signing day, which I’m really excited about. That gets awful nauseating.”

But Holgorsen knows it’ll make in-season visits more important, which the Mountaineers haven’t done much, compared to others.

It’s going to make in-season visits a bigger priority. We’ve tried not to do in-season visits, but we’re going to have to have a bunch of in-season visits now,” he said, “which means we need more manpower, and we’re getting that. I think it’s going to be good.”

While Kirby thinks it is not going to be money saving (as it’s been pitched,) he doesn’t think it will be more expensive either, only that early signing will merely speed up the process, allowing coaches to go visit the next group of guys on the list.

“People think it’s going to cut down on cost. You’re not going to spend less because you do that,” he said. “You’re going to go see someone else. You’re going to go see the last 10 guys to get. You’re going to go see the next 2019 or 2020 kid more.

You’re going to do something with that time, but you’re not going to, what we call, babysit a recruit and see him over and over. I think that’s how it will affect it. It will speed up the process on other kids, because you’ll be going to see them more.”

College football coaching tiers: From Hall of Fame resumes to murky futures -

We present our 2017 college football coaching tiers, from the future Hall of Famers to ones fighting for their jobs. The guideline for inclusion was at least three full seasons unless the coach was a more established name at a new school. In that vein, career totality -- not just last season's results -- was factored in.

The Bear Bryant Tier: First ballot Hall of Famers

Nick Saban (Alabama), Urban Meyer (Ohio State)

There are only two active college football coaches who, right now, warrant being called the best in the game. They've both won multiple national titles and will go down without debate as some of the best coaches to ever walk the sidelines at this level. Saban is probably the best ever already but another championship will cement it.

No argument there. These two are plainly 1 and 1A on just about every Bryant-esque measure you want to tick off: recruiting, development, innovation, individual player honors, championships, graduating players, sending guys to the pros, and the like. The more interesting tier here is the “proven winner” category with some questionable picks where the “success in the Power Five” has been more flash than sustained effort. For instance, is Malzahn’s Auburn more an 8-4 type of program, or the charmed, vet-laden, 12-game winner we saw in 2013? I’d argue that he’s much more likely to win south of 10 games than meet or exceed that the Power 5 at least.

Keep an eye on this one:

Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court appointment likely good for NCAA |

Jenkins v. NCAA and “college athletes are employees” cases loom large as potential Supreme Court petitions.

One existing case aided greatly by the O’Bannon ruling is an antitrust lawsuit brought by Martin Jenkins, Nigel Hayes and other college athletes over the legality of capping athletic scholarships to tuition, room, board, books and fees. . .As the Jenkins case is in the Ninth Circuit, O’Bannon’s ruling serves as mandatory authority.

The lawsuit’s premise is simple enough: The NCAA, conferences and colleges have joined hands in an anti-competitive conspiracy to prevent athletes from being able to negotiate the real value of their athletic scholarships. As a result, Jenkins argues, players whose market value exceeds the value of an athletic scholarship are denied what they are rightfully owed.

This is quite a good, readable story about the possible effect of a fully-staffed Supreme Court on college athletics. We’ve broken down Jenkins a few times here. Largely, we don’t believe that O’Bannon, a case decided on common law grounds, is going to be compelling or persuasive when applied to heavily-regulated and administered employment relations and will be even less so since the NLRB declined to find the core holding Jenkins’ seeks — that college students are employees. As an arch-conservative with a demonstrable track record of siding with institutions and Big Guys, you can’t help but think Gorsuch will side with the NCAA on such matters. In any event, he will all-but certainly get a crack at it if Jenkins turns in the favor of athletes seeking pay-for-play.

Speaking of pay-for-play: This is a crude grasp of economics, morality, and reality.

NCAA rule expands coach salaries as player compensation remains unchanged -

There is never enough money to pay college football players. It’s one of the more common refrains from those who oppose athletes getting increased compensation. We’ve heard it from NCAA and team admins in court and in the press for years, even as the new College Football Playoff expanded one of many revenue streams.

Yet on Friday, the NCAA Division I Council approved a package of legislation, part of which allows teams to each hire a 10th assistant coach.

Sigh. This shit again.

Paying players means you must pay all the players. Over 80% of the nation’s athletic departments already operate in the red. Very few are self-sustaining, much less profitable. Ones that are, like Alabama, take those profits and in turn funnel them back into non-revenue athletic and recreational programs as well as the University’s general account -- lights stay on, research is funded, small scholarships are endowed, better faculty and students are recruited and retained, Katy Johnson from Anniston gets a rowing scholarship, John Pertweet from Atlanta can play intramural Quidditch.

Pay-for-play would simply decimate the good that those profitable programs do for their host school. One need only look at LSU, whose budget was damn-near zeroed out by a moronic former governor, to see what happens with the profitable programs: the school relies on the athletic cash of its revenue teams to help with budgetary windfalls.

No, we’re not going to talk about the impossibility of paid performance in conjunction with Title IX (because it is practically not possible,) nor are we going to talk about all the programs for whom this would be a tremendous competitive disadvantage if not a program killer (because you’d have about two dozen teams left in country.) Rather, I think it is enough to open one’s eyes and realize that the relationship between an athletic department and its university means that there is not enough damned money to pay players. It frustrates me when people argue that depriving the cash-making apparatus of its investment fuel, a deprivation that would harm immeasurable other athletic and academic programs, is a winning moral and economic strategy.


Man, that was long. Oh, well, beats being stingy.

Anyway, Alabama’s baseball teams hosts what may be its next-to-last winnable game of the season tonight, when Alcorn State comes to town (next week Alabama hosts Jacksonville State, and that may be the last winnable game of the year.) Alabama football is back on the field this afternoon for practice. They’ll have one more on Thursday, then A-Day on Saturday.

But, that’s it for today. Go forth to bad takes.