Happy Monday, everyone. Camp is set to open on Thursday but, unfortunately, the news of the day is the DUI arrest of senior DE Da’Shawn Hand. Of course, everyone has an opinion on the matter:
“This is Nick Saban to me at his weakest link. I think he’s been soft on discipline,” Finebaum said. “I’m sure he would disagree and he has, live on national television. But this is a very serious allegation. Driving under the influence, Matt come on. We all know the dangers of that. I’m not going to stand here on some pedestal, but this close to training camp, to the beginning of the season, I think this outta be an automatic one-game suspension at the minimum.
“Instead we’ll listen to Nick Saban nuance his words and work on internal issues and let the player help set the template. I don’t buy any of that,” Finebaum added. “I think he should be gone for at least the Florida State game and that’s only the biggest game of the season for Alabama.”
“Appropriate discipline,” as Saban called it, will be hard to find in this case. This is another reason for more uniform discipline policies — at least on the conference level — because no matter what Saban and Hand will face, residual criticism for how the situation is handled will happen.
Finebaum’s job is to garner attention, and incendiary takes are a tried and true method. Still, he is jumping to conclusions here. Saban did suspend Alphonse Taylor for one game after a July DUI last season, but has maintained that he handles discipline for each case individually based on the circumstances. By all accounts, Hand has been a model citizen to this point.
One thing you can be sure of is that Saban cares not one whit about fans’ or sportswriters’ opinions on the matter.
Speaking of Saban, his Mercedes-Benz dealership officially opened on Envious Lane in Nashville, and it was dedicated to his father:
Nick Saban dedicated his new car dealership to his father, who last saw his son as a graduate assistant driving a Coca Cola truck. pic.twitter.com/9YfFurWqx1— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 30, 2017
Moving onto some camp previews:
Four-star DE Isaiah Buggs (Ruston, La.)
Buggs isn’t a freshman, but he was one of 16 early enrollees that took part in the Crimson Tide’s spring practices, joining the team as a junior college transfer prior to the national championship game. With starters like Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson moving on to the NFL, Buggs saw opportunities with the first-team defense this spring, and that trend should continue this fall.
With Hand’s status in jeopardy for the opener, Buggs becomes doubly important.
The 6-foot-7, 325-pound Womack, who received consistent positive feedback during the spring, appears to be the leader for that fifth offensive line job heading into fall camp.
However, Brown and other young players such as five-star freshman offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood will be in the mix as well.
The 6-foot-6 Leatherwood has dropped some weight heading into fall camp, down to 322 pounds after being listed at 327 pounds during the spring.
The battle for the fifth lineman will be the most intriguing to watch in camp. Leatherwood has all the tools but did appear a bit slow off the ball in the spring game. It will be interesting to see how he looks after his first summer with Cochran. Fellow five-star freshman Jedrick Wills, who didn’t arrive until summer, is another to keep an eye on.
Will Alabama still be able to get to the quarterback? The short answer is yes. While the pass-rushing abilities of Anderson and Williams will be missed, the combination of Miller and Lewis on third downs could develop to be just as lethal.
Some thought Miller would have his breakout season last year. However, that was always going to be tough given the Tide’s depth at the position. Still, the lanky defender ended up with 2.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. Lewis, the more athletic option at the JACK position, figures to replace Jennings on third down or in obvious passing situations. Like Miller, Lewis’ time on the field was limited last season. That figures to change soon.
Still getting used to calling Terrell Lewis by his new name. In terms of pure athleticism, Miller and Lewis are superior to predecessors Tim Williams and Ryan Anderson. Of course, the game isn’t won on athleticism alone. The development of these two as edge rushers will go a long way in determining whether Alabama can live up to the hype.
Last year former safety Mark Barron went so far as to say that learning the Crimson Tide’s defense was tougher than anything he’s had to do in the NFL, and he’s not only switched teams but positions — from safety to linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams.
“It’s very difficult,” Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans said in agreement. “It just takes time.”
Saban also has an open-door policy to the NFL and is known for being accommodating to scouts, who are often seen on the sidelines during practices.
37 players taken in the top two rounds over the last nine drafts, including an apparently unprecedented 22 first-rounders.
Saban’s defense is difficult to learn for a secondary defender not because of confusing terminology or a thick playbook, but because it requires each defender to correctly read the routes to determine his responsibility. The “star” or nickel position requires a particularly heady player since he will most often have to react to motion, and sometimes even rotate with the safety. Remember this moment from 2015 where Minkah Fitzpatrick proved that he was no typical freshman?
Pressure is key but interesting how secondary played this. Fitzpatrick rolls from star to safety. Versatile group. pic.twitter.com/JUACWnAwjN— Travis Reier (@travisreier) October 29, 2015
That was headed back to the house.
Elsewhere, some former Alabama players and coaches are in the news:
Translation: Aranda took away the edges and it took us three quarters to figure out how to exploit the middle of the field.
Hey, remember Duron Carter?
You don’t? That’s right, he never played here.
Great catch though.
The Ravens appear to be quite pleased with their Alabama selections:
Even this early in camp, Humphrey looks like he belongs at this level. It comes from his pedigree. He was a two-year starter at Alabama, where the Crimson Tide play a pro-style defense.
It comes from experience. Humphrey's 827 snaps last season were the most by a defensive player selected in this year's first round.
On Saturday at training camp, the Ravens practiced in pads for the first time, and Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Williams looked like just what general manager Ozzie Newsome ordered in the third round on April 28.
"Great quick twitch," Pees told reporters after practice. "This guy's just what we thought. They've all got a ways to go. I mean, we're three days in. We are so far from being where we need to be. But he's the guy that we drafted. He looks like the guy that we drafted."
The fact that Tim Williams, former friend of Brandon Chicken, now plays under a coach named Dean Pees is maybe the best thing ever.
According to court docs filed in L.A., the guys invited Richard Harrington to Hyde nightclub on the Sunset Strip back in March and ran up a $9,332 bill.
But when it came time to pay, Harrington claims the players' credit cards were BOTH declined.
Instead, they asked Harrington to foot the bill -- which he did -- and they promised to pay him back. Harrington claims they each sent him $2,000 but that didn't cover everything.
He's still out $5,332 ... and is now suing them to get the money because he says they refuse to pay it back.
A’Shawn, just pay the man. You don’t need this junk.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.