3. Saban's take: There will be something Alabama's coach will go off on this week. He seems to store up all his angst for this time of year after the draft, after passage of NCAA legislation, and for whatever perceived threat to the empire exists.
I thought Alabama's coach had aired his grievances fairly succinctly in our conversation earlier this month. If I had to guess, Saban will focus on staff sizes, which seems to be in the cross-hairs of the NCAA.
4. Auburn to the SEC East? First of all, dismiss anything Pat Dye says because, well, he's Pat Dye. The former Auburn coach has been out of coaching for a quarter century and has no real say in the situation. He does like to hear himself talk, though.
But it seems the idea of Auburn moving from the West to the East has at least become a conversation piece. It would supposedly balance out what has become an imbalanced SEC.
The East hasn't won a conference title since 2008. In fact, the East champ has been within two touchdowns once in the title game since that year.
So, yeah, maybe move Missouri to the West for the "better" geographic fit. I'm sure Saban and Malzahn would absolutely love the possibility of playing twice a year. Hey, and maybe in back-to-back games!
Nothing has actually started happening yet, but the headlines are starting to get fired up and everyone is preparing for any morsel of news that might come out of Destin this week. More than likely, there won’t be much other than a few quotables here and there, but you never know. Maybe Auburn will finally get moved into the East where they belong. I’d still prefer to just never have to play them, but that would be a step in the right direction.
Alabama is after several in-state standouts. The biggest one in size is 6-foot-4, 360-pound nose guard Jalen Cunningham from St. Clair County. Multiple sources indicated last month that Cunningham was extremely high up the nose tackle board for Alabama, but he has not committed yet. Why? That's the big question. Things seem to look good for Alabama now, but the picture could clear up after the first camp set for June 4-6.
Jackson-Olin four-star Coynis Miller is a high priority, as is Mobile Christian four-star Andres Fox. Both are ends in high school. Alabama has shown high interest in Lee-Huntsville's Malik Langham and Huffman's Allen Love. Karl Dunbar was at Love's spring game, but they have not received offers yet. Maybe that comes at camp.
Recruiting for 2018 has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, so it never hurts to start looking at some of the big players within state borders. There aren’t any huge names in Alabama along the defensive line this year, but there are definitely some quality 4-star players that I’d love to see not go to Auburn.
No news out there right now, but guys like Cunningham, Miller, and Fox are some names to watch.
This figures to be a classic Nick Saban team. The offense will be rooted in its ability to run the ball with a deep group of backs and a dangerous quarterback in Hurts. How Alabama rebuilds the front seven will say a lot about the effectiveness of a defense hit especially hard by graduation.
The opening weekend should be tremendous — a matchup with Florida State in Atlanta’s new dome. The result won’t knock the loser from playoff talk, but it’ll add a degree of difficulty before conference play even starts.
Athlon Sports just put out their preview of Alabama’s 2017 squad for the summer. If you like quick, accurate summaries of the players who will be at each position, mixed in with a little commentary, this is your link.
This team has a lot of talent and a lot of questions. But, having a returning QB for the first time since 2013 has to count for something.
Earlier this morning, we kicked off our series looking at the best position groups in the SEC.
Now we turn our attention from the team to the individual as we try to figure out the best players at each position. We start at quarterback, a position in which the line between production and potential can be easily blurred.
1. Alabama QB Jalen Hurts: At the end of the day, a quarterback is judged on his record. And, frankly, Hurts was impeccable in that respect as a freshman, helping Alabama win the SEC and reach the College Football Playoff with a 14-1 record. The kid is pretty talented, too. The dual-threat QB amassed 3,734 total yards and 36 touchdowns while basically learning on the fly. With the maturity that comes with a year under his belt, along with the possibility of an improved deep ball, Hurts could be even more productive as a sophomore.
Speaking of Jalen Hurts, he just got ranked by ESPN as the top QB in the SEC. Considering the fact that a large chunk of the Alabama fanbase doesn’t even think Hurts should be the starter, this really highlights just how weak the QB class in the SEC is right now.
After Hurts, they have Nick Fitzgerald from Mississippi State, Austin Allen from Arkansas, Shea Patterson from Ole Miss, and Jarrett Stidham from Auburn.
Jarrett Stidham. A guy who hasn’t yet even played a game in the SEC yet is ranked higher than every single QB in the SEC East. Ridiculous.