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Jumbo Package: Is Jalen Hurts NFL-ready

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In a word, no. Longer answer? Maybe one day.

CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Is Hurts NFL Ready?

I can’t believe this question was even asked.

SI has a speculative piece up about Freshmen that were NFL-ready. In that article, they list Alabama’s Jalen Hurts. I love Hurts as much as the next person, but he is not ready for the NFL, aside from his physicality and leadership. It took most of a season for him to recognize college defenses. And, while his decision-making was excellent with respect to preventing turnovers, we still don’t know if he has the accuracy and confidence to make downfield throws consistently. That is to say nothing of making the plain jane throws to the right man that move the sticks. As we saw in our three-part breakdown of Hurts’ freshman film, he still has a long way to go in that respect.

We saw a different Hurts in the spring game, but that’s a one-off for the moment. He needs development and seasoning at the college level, and a lot more prove-it with his arm for a few years before the pros are a reality. I think he might get there, but he won’t do it this year and he sure as hell wasn’t ready last year.

What coaches (not programs) produce the best talent for the NFL?

BOL dropped its list of what coaches have produced the most NFL talent. There are no present Alabama coaches on this list, which isn’t surprising given the turnover at these spots. Although, in fairness, I would have listed Kirby Smart/Nick Saban on the secondary. Those guys have churned out a ton of DBs drawing big paydays in the league. However, there has been so much platooning for LBs and DL that it’s hard to pinpoint any one coach.

And, for offense?

No surprise here

Running backs: Alabama's Burton Burns (previously RB coach at Clemson)

Resume: C.J. Spiller (1st round) James Davis, Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram (1st round) Trent Richardson (1st round), Jalston Fowler, Eddie Lacy, T.J. Yeldon, Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry.

Burns has presided over three first-round draft picks and a pair of Heisman Trophy winners during his career and things don’t look to be slowing down with this year's backfield, which is maybe his most talented yet.

Burns remains the most underrated coach on this staff, and a very effective recruiter of not just backs but also Louisiana. Whatever he’s paid, it’s not nearly enough.

Saban go fast...

"He wanted to go fast," Kiffin told CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. "It wasn't Lane Kiffin coming in and making Nick Saban go fast. He was very clear when he hired me, 'I want to change. I don't like it (but) it is what college football is.

"By opening up the offense that way, it opened up recruiting. To where now (Alabama) can go anywhere in the country and get a quarterback."

Kiffin pointed to the current talent at the skilled positions on the Tide's roster as a result of the last three years in Tuscaloosa.

"Twenty years ago, those things don't happen," Kiffin said of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and running back Najee Harris. "My point is, the marriage (with Saban) was awesome both ways and it worked."

Lane brings up an excellent point: It’s not that assistants come in and want to change the system at Alabama; it’s that Saban is proactive and brings in coaches to make it happen. Kiffin was brought in for tactics, but the head man still directs strategy, and not vice-versa. The ability to adapt remains one of Saban’s more underrecognized skills.

NCAA Sanctions after 2013:

The Committee on Infractions announced significant penalties against the University of Louisville on Thursday. Louisville will have to vacate its 2013 national title if it does not win an appeal, which would be the first men’s basketball title vacated in NCAA history. The penalties also included a five-game ACC suspension for coach Rick Pitino, the latest Hall of Fame coach to endure a significant punishment.

“There’s a whole lot more precision,” Marsh said. “The idea now is that if players play while ineligible, it’s going straight to (vacation) as a default. If it happens to be a championship, that’s what membership voted for. The standard for overturning penalties is abuse of discretion, that’s a difficult standard.”

This is an interesting read on how the NCAA’s committee on infractions handles sanctions in the post-responsibility era. Both SMU’s Larry Brown and Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim received 9+ game suspensions under the head coach responsibility provisions. Louisville had its title and three years worth of wins stripped away for the sex parties in addition to Rick Pitino’s suspension. UNC’s far more serious case has yet to be ruled on...still. So, no one knows if the basketball cases are a barometer for Ole Miss’ serious case. The Rebels will be the test case in football. Gene Marsh does some to indicate, though, that at a minimum, Ole Miss will have wins stripped away and Hugh Freeze is facing at least a suspension of some sort, and perhaps more.

Top 10 games to watch

No surprise here, as several Tide games are must-watch viewing, including the Iron Bowl, the annual LSU tilt, and the Game of The Century of the Millennium of The Year against Florida State on Labor Day.

And, of course, all those must-see games come at a premium

2. Alabama vs. Florida State in Atlanta (Sept. 2) - $422

Speaking of neutral sites, Alabama’s annual non-conference heavyweight fight is perhaps its biggest one ever. These teams could both be in the top 3, and the winner is likely your No. 1 after Week 1. The biggest key: How will Alabama’s rebuilt front seven do against Florida State’s questionable offensive line?

Yeah, those are sold out. You’re not getting a ticket.

Two other tickets are high on the most expensive list as well: The Iron Bowl (at No. 7) and LSU @ ‘Bama (at No. 9).

Remaining QB options for 2018 ‘crootin

Roster countdown, three guys at a time.

What it takes to win the SEC

Six of the last seven SEC champs finished in the top 3 in scoring in league play (2014 Alabama was No. 4). It’s a league known for defense, but you have to score, too.

- All seven teams finished in the top 3 in plays of 30-plus yards in SEC play. Alabama nearly doubled its plays of 30-plus yards, from 17 in nine SEC games in 2015 to 33 in 2016. It led the league both times.

How many more big plays did the SEC have last year? Alabama’s 17 plays of 30-plus yards in 2015 led the league. In 2016, that would have ranked 10th.

- Every SEC champ from 2010-14 was in the top two in red zone TD%, but Alabama was in the bottom half of the league the last two years.

- As for that defense, all but the two Auburn teams finished in the top 3 in scoring defense. (The Tigers were No. 7 in 2013 and No. 8 in 2010.)

Being effective in the redzone isn’t nearly as important as being explosive...if you’re Alabama, at least. For everyone else, you need an explosive offense and the ability to cash in. Defense also helps you get to the mountaintop, provided your name is not Auburn, which has strung together two SEC titles the past decade with bubble gum, hope, and an offense that simply outscored you.

That’s it for today. Have a great one.