No pressure, kid!
In April, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer brought up a future NFL Hall of Famer while discussing Tua Tagovailoa, sharing his belief that Alabama's freshman quarterback already "throws it better than Aaron Rodgers threw it as a sophomore at Cal-Berkeley."
On Tuesday, former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and current FAU coach Lane Kiffin compared Tagovailoa to a current Hall of Famer and a fellow lefty.
"He's going to be a phenomenal player," Kiffin said during an interview on Tide 102.9 FM. "Best comparison I think would probably be, from watching him in high school, probably Steve Young. Kind of smooth release like that. Not super fast, but really quick feet and really quick release."
Those are some comparisons, man. One is a hall-of-famer and the best lefty in the game (sorry, Snake, no disrespect;) the other is a first-ballot future Canton honoree. Expectations are already ridiculously high for a player who has not seen a meaningful snap. It will be up to his coaches, some bad plays down the road, and his own inner strength to keep him grounded and/or not let the expectations crush him.
Saban Speaks (Spoiler: He’s still mad as hell)
Coach has much to say on everything from his golf game to recruiting rule changes to the unforgiving nature of Augusta to freshman redshirt proposals to what he thinks went wrong in Tampa. He’s not shy to volunteer an opinion or answer a question. Enjoy.
More best of...
As you’ve seen, AL.com has been running an all-time series featuring Bryant offenses and defenses. Today, the staff take a look at Bear’s assistants / coaching tree. It is safe to say, you’ll recognize a few names on this list.
We've met the All-Bryant offense and defense. Now it's time to select the top coaches who shared the Alabama sideline and practice field with Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1958-82. Keep in mind that coaching titles were somewhat more flexible in those days than they are now, with position responsibility often shifting and shuffling from year-to-year.
Stopping modern offenses
Manny Diaz (former DC at Mississippi State, among others, and now at Miami with Mark Richt) anchored the Mothership’s podcast this week. There’s really interesting stuff in here, including his schemes to stop modern offenses. Diaz always had very good defensive lines and is an excellent developmental coach for secondaries. This is worth your time.
The Redshirt Proposal : Proponents and a tweak
Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney have been the latest high profile coaches to publicly weigh in supporting the proposed redshirting rule. Of all the justifications, Jimbo’s makes simply the most sense, and one that is overlooked:
For years, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has wanted players to get five years of eligibility. Others advocated giving players five years to play four. Their reasons had nothing to do with bowls. Fisher pointed to the scholarship numbers, the wear and tear on teams, the ability to help alleviate depth concerns and player safety.
This is a concern that is also being echoed by Ed Orgeron, Dabo Swinney, Dan Mullen and others. If the NCAA is serious about player safety, this may be one of the better things it can do to reign in the impact of seeing 100+ plays a game without also costing players eligibility after inevitable fatigue-related injuries. Also at the link in the this ‘graf are coach suggestions for possible tweaks to the proposal.
This is weird
Adam Rittenberg did his list of Top 10 High Stakes Games for 2017, and, as he says:
What qualifies as a high-stakes game? Think about a team with a long losing streak against a rival. Think about a coach entering the season on thin ice who needs a breakthrough. Think about games that launch teams into particularly challenging portions of the schedule.
Here's our list of 10 high-stakes games entering the 2017 season.
Not included, however, is Alabama-Florida State, the teams that will enter 2017 as almost-certainly No. 1 and No. 2. Is it a playoff elimination game? For Florida State it may be, given that the ACC is expected to take a slight dip this season in overall SOS. Alabama may get the benefit of the doubt if it is razor-thin. Still, no one wants to start the season behind the eight-ball (remember how stressful 2015 was starting the season 2-1?)
Anyway, here it is:
Cantankerous Assistant Edition:
Surprise! Will Muschamp, like his mentor Nick Saban, likes tense coaches meetings. Seriously, though, in this interview Boom explains what he learns from Coach Saban and emphasizes a quality that we have seen, but the media ignore, about him: Nick’s ability to adapt.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want a bunch of Yes guys. We want to get in the room and have healthy discussions,” Muschamp said. “I don’t have all the answers. It’s something I learned from Nick. There were plenty of times he had something in his mind he wanted to do, and someone in the room brought up an idea to do it differently, and that’s one of the things Nick does a great job of, being flexible about things and able to change. ‘Maybe that is a better way to look at it.’
Shut it down
Greg Byrne’s remarks were a very public reminder (primarily to recruits and those that would poach the head man,) that Nick Saban will retire in a white and crimson Nike polo. So, feel free to sign-on, Mr. Football (and keep your grubby hands off, NFL.)
Saban’s new contract earlier this month will pay him more than $11 million in 2017 as part of a deal that goes through 2024. The school has said many times he's been more than worth it. The coach is 65 years old now and has been at Alabama for 10 years. NFL rumors persist, but there is actually no buyout if Saban leaves, and he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to.
“Obviously with the new agreement with coach Saban, hopefully that sent a strong message he's going to be finishing his career here at Alabama," Byrne said on 105.5 WNSP. “I'm glad it is something we don't have to worry about anytime soon.”
Nice story on Coach Johnson’s hiring process: The staff put together a list of 12-15 nationally regarded guys, mostly unknown to them, and then started pounding the phone to find the best associate head coach it could. He thinks he has his man in Coach Rosemond. This is a cool glimpse into the hiring process in college athletics.
“He has a great work ethic, he had a good run on the Oregon staff and obviously he’s familiar with the SEC, he’s familiar with Alabama, having coached at Samford,” Johnson said. “It just takes a lot when you’re hiring a coach. They have to check a lot of boxes. And I know everybody talks about recruiting and that’s a high percentage of it, but when we’re recruiting, even though a guy may have the lead on a recruit, it’s all of us pitching in to help.
“We think he’s going to help in a lot of different ways, and he’s off to a great start with the other guys, Coach Pelphrey, our associate head coach, and Coach Antoine Pettway -- both of whom we think are going to be head coaches here sometime soon in the future.”
Speaking of future, the Tide Staff is still waiting on Braxton Key to decide what he wants to do...
Key, an SEC All-Freshman Team selection, has one week left to make that call. And while his head coach keeps in touch with him, he doesn’t know what Key’s decision will be.