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Jumbo Package: Saban vs. Fisher

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“Student vs. Teacher” is one of many storylines from the upcoming season opener.

Happy Monday, everyone. The Alabama and FSU sites for Rivals.com have collaborated on a series comparing the two teams ahead of September’s season opener. The final installment breaks down the head men:

As important as the Bowden influence has been for Fisher, the Saban impact is likely even greater. When it comes to the day-to-day running of his program -- and his long-term vision for FSU Football -- Fisher leans heavily upon the best practices that he and Saban developed during their years together at LSU. It can be seen in everything from the sophisticated approach they use to evaluate recruits to their NFL-style approach to building systems and processes. Throughout his career, Saban has shown an impressive ability to meld old-school approaches with new-age technology, and Fisher is very much of the same mindset.

Much has been made about “The Process” in both Tuscaloosa and Tallahassee. Fisher is the member of the Saban tree who has come the closest to replicating what Saban has built. The link also contains score predictions with both sites predicting a Tide victory, though the FSU site predictably has it much closer.

It is widely believed, though no one has reported an exact number, that Alabama has the largest staff in the country. Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee, recently said one school “employed a football staff of 97.”

Bowlsby didn’t name a school, but to the reporters he relayed the information to, there was a strong indication he was looking toward Tuscaloosa.

An accurate count of Alabama’s staff size has never been revealed, though a recent NCAA survey published by cbssports.com put the number at 31.

Bowlsby thinks 31 looks like 97, which might explain his presiding over a ten-team league that calls itself the Big 12.

As you might expect, recruiting is dominating the headlines right now:

“Coach Daboll said they’re going to throw the ball a little more under him,” Bailey said. “Alabama always has good running backs, so they usually just pound the ball all of the time. But, Coach Saban brought him in to have them throw the ball around.”

Bailey is intrigued with Daboll because of the coach’s experience in the NFL where he was last a tight ends coach with the New England Patriots. Though he didn’t specifically coach Tom Brady, Daboll has seen the work the quarterback has put in to be considered one of the best quarterbacks to play the game.

Emphasis mine. Daboll has received rave reviews from the players thus far, and seems to be resonating with recruits as well. Those who are expecting RTDB to be in full effect may be somewhat surprised, though.

Alabama has never had this few commitments by mid-June in the Saban era, and only once (2014) has it been even close. That's an interesting year to note, because it's considered one of the strong classes in recruiting history -- 5-stars Cam Robinson, Da'Shawn Hand, Tony Brown, Marlon Humphrey and Rashaan Evans would all commit either during the season or on signing day.

While four is the lowest, this is the fourth time in the Saban era that Alabama has had eight or fewer commitments at this stage. In that 2014 class, there were only five, and that class turned out just fine as stated in the article.

“It was unbelievable,” Ford told BamaOnLine. “It was amazing. They rolled out the crimson carpet, so to speak. The coaching staff was great. I loved meeting with the new OC, who is obviously keen on using tight ends, so it looks like it’ll be a good place, for me at tight end, to come. I was just blown away.”

Sounds like Alabama is in good shape for an elite TE.

It's long been presumed that the race for the five-star receiver's signature will come down to either Alabama or Auburn, with Clemson making more noise as of late.

Ross is one of Alabama's top overall targets in the 2018 cycle.

At 6-foot-4, 197 pounds, Ross is rated the No. 5 receiver and the No. 25 overall player in the country, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite.

Ross is one of the key players in this cycle, if only because he is the top-rated player and only five-star in a weak in-state class.

Alabama may not have many commitments in its 2018 class yet, but the guys it does have onboard are working hard to make sure the Tide will at least be in contention for the top class come National Signing Day.

On Saturday, four-star wide receiver and UA commit Xavier Williams took to Twitter following five-star quarterback Matt Corral's decommitment from USC to remind the Long Beach Poly (Calif.) product about his upcoming visit.

Five-star Matt Corral decommitted from USC recently and reportedly has Alabama among his leaders. Hopefully Williams can help sway him to come to Tuscaloosa.

Evil Saban made another humanitarian gesture recently:

Jordan Edwards was the teen from Mesquite, TX who was inexplicably shot and killed through a car window by a police officer who will now stand trial for murder. Kudos to Saban for reaching out to this family.

On a lighter note, SB Nation’s Purdue site Hammer and Rails has got jokes:

At the time Saban and Michigan State were ranked 5th in the nation, undefeated, and thinking of a BCS national title. Purdue ruined their perfect season, and Saban quit. He ran off to the SEC, where, since LSU and Alabama have never played Purdue, he wouldn’t have to worry about the Boilers ruining his fun again.

Also, Purdue is the ONLY school to beat him three straight times.

He won’t play us because he doesn’t want to make it four straight losses.

Cute.

Last but not least, two former Alabama golfers were in the news this weekend as young Robby Shelton won his first professional tournament in Canada, while Justin Thomas followed up his 59 earlier in the year with a 63 that Cecil Hurt calls one of the best days ever for an Alabama golfer:

Thomas was (-9) on the day, the best single round score relative to par in U.S. Open history. Unfortunately Sunday was not so kind, as he gave back three strokes on the first five holes to remove himself from contention. Still, Justin has served notice that a major championship is well within his reach, and showed some class to boot:

Roll Justin.

That’s about it for today. Have a great week.

Roll Tide.