clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jumbo Package: Investigating Saban’s Ties to Russia

New, comments

Technology utilizing Russian satellites helps the coaching staff keep a handle on player workloads.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, everyone. We have a few recruiting tidbits for you, but will open with the latest hype video:

We’re getting closer, folks.

This next article details some cool technology that Saban has employed:

Alabama now has 44 shoulder-pad devices that are used by the starters and immediate backups on both offense and defense. Keith collects them after each practice and game, downloading their findings onto a computer 20 to 30 minutes after the last whistle. He then exports the data into a pre-formatted Excel document that lists the result of the players and is broken down by position group.

On the volume metrics, such as player load and odometer number, he looks to see if anyone was overworked. On the performance measurements, such as explosiveness, he tries to decipher whether fatigue caused a decline. If an individual's numbers are one standard deviation outside of the norm, his entry will be highlighted with yellow. When Saban gets the report the next day, he can decide how to proceed as he determines whether to scale back repetitions for one of his starters or key reserves.

The players are monitored by Russian satellites that report changes in player performance metrics during the course of a workout or game, allowing the staff to define the line between pushing players adequately and overworking them. Pretty wild stuff. There is a video at the link that mentions green and red flashing lights through player jerseys. I have never noticed it before, but will certainly be looking for it now.

Before Saban arrived, the school had already begun an enrollment push, topping 20,000 in 2003 (20,333), and reaching a then-record 23,878 for the 2006-07 academic school year. For that fall, it received 15,761 applications.

For the fall of 2016, it received 42,802 applications. Enrollment was 37,665.

Normally when a school significantly expands the quality of its student applications dips. That wasn’t the case at Alabama. The average ACT score went from 24.2 in 2006 to 27.07 a decade later. The average GPA for the incoming freshmen rose from 3.4 to 3.69.

Staggering numbers that provide more evidence that Saban may well be underpaid.

Nick Saban was among those who violated a rule. According to the school's report, the head coach "inadvertently used a wrong number for a coach and called a (recruit) prior to September of his senior year." It resulted in rules education for the football staff and the recruit in question wasn't contacted for a two-week period last September.

Hey, I get it. Last week at the drive-thru window I inadvertently used the wrong number for the grilled chicken sandwich and ended up with a double cheeseburger and a milkshake. Stuff happens, you know?

Wynn Sr., who played tight end for Clemson in the 90s, has long been a major influence in his son’s football career, providing him the support and education the now four-star defensive end needed to make it in the spotlight.

“I shared that with him at a time in his life he needed to hear something like that,” Wynn Sr. said of when he told his son how he knew he had a fighter. “He was telling me he really realized, ‘Hey daddy, I’m good. I’m competing against the best. I’m whipping everybody I go against.’” I didn’t go to one practice. I had parents come back and tell me how he was doing in practice, because I had drilled him and trained him up, had him ready for the big stage.”

Young Stephon sounds like he will fit right in here.

One of the under-the-radar developments of the spring involved Johnny Dwight working ahead of Josh Frazier at nose tackle. Interesting considering that Frazier saw important snaps behind Payne last season while Dwight, after sitting out the first four games of the campaign due to an NCAA suspension, didn't see the field at all. Given that Dwight shared Billy Neighbors Defensive Lineman Award honors with Payne at the end of spring ball, perhaps the light has finally switched on for the redshirt junior. Even if that's the case, the thought of Payne, who is set to take over as the next star up front, missing more than a game or two in 2017 is one Alabama fans would rather not consider.

Look for Raekwon Davis to move inside some as well, but they are correct in that we’d prefer not to discuss any potential injuries for Da’Ron.

Lastly, recruiting notes:

"(They like) just my length and size and how I use my hands at the line of scrimmage," Horn said. "When I camped down there, they talked to me about playing safety, the star position (hybrid corner/safety in passing downs) as well as corner."

But South Carolina is a real threat. In fact, nine of 10 247Sports crystal ball picks predict the Gamecocks at this point.

SEC Country has been told by multiple sources that if a flip were to happen, it won’t be until he moves North where he won’t feel any pressure from his hometown to stay committed to the Hurricanes.

He remains projected by SEC Country to sign with the Crimson Tide.

“I’m just ready to compete,” Jobe said. “Whichever school I go to, I’m going there to compete. I want to be a first-team freshman All-American. I want to play on the spot and play as a true freshman. I got a family to feed.”

Cameron Latu, a 4-star JACK target from Olympus High School (Salt Lake City), told SEC Country at The Opening finals at Nike headquarters that his mother wants him to choose Alabama when he makes his commitment.

“She wants me to go to Alabama,” Latu said. “She loves [outside linebackers coach] Tosh [Lupoi] and thinks he can take me to where I want to be. She wants me to go be myself and be a man.”

That doesn’t mean he’ll choose the Crimson Tide when he makes his decision prior to his senior season, but Latu said “of course it matters” that his mother wants him to make that decision.

With five of the top six DBs potentially gone after this season, secondary recruiting has become paramount. Saba would undoubtedly love to bring both Jobe and Horn into the fold.

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

Roll Tide.