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Jumbo Package: Must be offseason: Cheating, paranoia, politics, grade taunting, butthurt

Sun rises in East and SEC/Alabama-hate stories sell clicks.

Alabama v USC
Cheer up, Blake. Maybe you won’t throw seven interceptions in two scrimmages against a Pac 12 secondary?
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

It must seem on the outside to be “bash ‘Bama day.” Two appalling stories are out -- one, seemingly awful, is not; the other is weaponized butthurt from a player who lost his job and another player who never had the job.

But, first:


Alabama was impressive in its preseason opener last night, with the new players (esp. Petty, Sexton and Giddens) leading the way. Brent’s recap doesn’t recap the game so much as it focuses heavily on what the new guys brought to the floor. (Casagrande has got you covered on the former.) You owe it to yourself and our clickbait overlords to read it. We are an excited bunch today.

If you thought last season’s Wakeyleaks scandal was something special, paranoia runs deep in the profession. Scarborough has a great piece here, including a seriously demented look into what steps Pete Carroll took to avoid Waterboy-esque playbook cheatin’.

Speaking of paranoia, Ed Orgeron is running a North Korean style of conspiracy- and competition-fearing machine in Louisiana. Kingfish would be proud. And, he’s not even the most close-lipped, closed-message coach in the news today. Oklahoma and Bob Stoops treated his retirement like a state secret in Norman.


CBS Sports has released its 1 through 130. Wanna bet who’s at No. 1? I’ll give you three guesses.

Sooooo much hatin’ from coaches tired of being outrecruited and getting their asses kicked. Here’s a good anonymous poll to D1 Football coaches about cheating. The consensus seems to be, as usual, “CHEATIN’ SEC, PAWWWWL.”

This may be my favorite: “Out of the 130 FBS schools in FBS, I would say, in the SEC, 80 percent [knowingly cheat]. Everywhere else, about 20 percent.”

They’re all lying. The answer is, of course, 100%.

Fewer high school students are playing sports. One of the reasons may be that they’re not being protected adequately -- everything from head trauma to heat stroke

Wanna’ watch an interview with big Da’Ron Payne? Of course you do.


The Tide hit the practice field yesterday following fan day. Again, Saban and Daboll stressed the improvement of Jalen Hurts (though Aaron Suttles at the Tuscaloosa News was not notably impressed.)

Here’s your recap of practice.


Why is Trevon Diggs playing defense, considering how toasty he looked in Spring? It’s about depth in the receiving corps, plain and simple. The defensive backfield is TD’s path to the field. He has too much athleticism to sit on the bench, but finding a role for him is a little tougher than thought.


Good for Gehrig Dieter: He’s catching on with the Kansas City Chiefs, and is positioning himself to make the 53-man roster. Life is hard as an undrafted free agent, so best of luck to him. We loved this player -- super competitive, came to Alabama to round out his game. He’s always been so generous with his time. He’s just a likeable guy (with a fantastic bulldog!)

This is a non-issue...mostly.

This is pure clickbait trash without its proper context. Rosen’s entire statement, about four paragraphs long, is about the inherent conflict of taking a demanding major versus playing major football -- it’s very hard to do both. Where I think Josh Rosen goes off the tracks is to single out any school in particular. It’s a difficult balancing act for any student-athlete, at any school, particularly the big time programs. And, simply put, most guys at football factories cannot and do not attempt it.

Still, related to that was a fairly amusing clapback from our buddy Mark Torrence on the APR scores.


Now, this is some weaponized assgrief

Alabama’s departed Blake Barnett and Cooper Bateman transferred because of Saban’s “tactics” in deciding the starter.

"Long story short, I was just as surprised as everyone else," Bateman said. "It wasn't really how it was told to me it was going to be."

Heading into the game, Barnett said he was under the impression the job was his and Bateman believed he would split time with Barnett, which is what Saban said publicly would be the case the week of the game.

* * *

Before the game, Barnett, a former five-star recruit and the No. 1-ranked quarterback in the Class of 2015, said Saban told him there would be some zone read packages for Hurts, but he shouldn't worry about it.

"According to him, I was their guy," Barnett said. "Once Jalen went in, I was expecting it. But then he went out on the next series, the next series and the next series. I don't know if everything was communicated correctly."

Do I think this was some master plan by Saban and Kiffin to pull the wool over the eyes of two-thirds of the quarterbacks in the rotation? Absolutely not. What I think what happened is exactly what we saw with our own two eyes. Blake Barnett could not move the offense in his two series. Jalen Hurts came in and led the Tide to points...and then did it again...and again...and again.

Saban is one to ride the hot hand, we know that. Since everyone was (or practically was) a new starter, Alabama went with the player who was developing a rhythm, that happened to coincide with who gave it the best chance to win. What happened later in the game when Barnett got more reps, and after that game, was still very much up to Blake: He could have performed well enough on the field in practice to force his way on to the field. But, in the end, he did not.

As for Cooper Bateman, I don’t want to be mean, but he’s playing wide receiver now. He is a smart, athletic player but lacks the arm strength or release to be a quarterback at this level. Bateman was never in the picture: It was always Barnett or Hurts. Barnett got outcompeted on the field and then didn’t do enough in practice to keep the competition open.

So, was this intentional subterfuge by the staff? Of course not. It was a change in circumstance.

No one likes to lose their job, especially a hard-fought starting QB job for the No. 1 team in the nation. But, to put this on the staff rather than their own performance and subsequent disappointment? B***S**. Take your defeats as you take your victories, kids: never too high, never too low, never too personal.

Best of luck to them.