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Jumbo Package: Is the “offensive revolution” over? Defenses are adjusting

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Rejoice, for the era of the HUNH Spread may be drawing to a close.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for A-Day! Well, it will be in about 10 weeks anyway:

The University of Alabama announced on Monday that the 2018 Golden Flake A-Day Spring Football Game will be played on Saturday, April 21, at 1 p.m. There hasn’t been any television announcement made but the game will likely be shown on one of the ESPN family of networks.

I received a proposed practice schedule, but it’s not been firmed out. So, for now, take this as the 15th day of practice for ‘Bama Football 2018. And, when I get a confirmed practice schedule, I’ll pass that along.

Phil Fulmer’s meddling in the program has begun almost immediately. UT’s best receiver, Juwan Jennings was kicked off the team in November, and he was to disenroll from the school. Well, guess what hasn’t happened? He’s not only enrolled for Spring, but new A.D. Fulmer has said that while Jennings isn’t on the squad as of this moment, he can return. Shocker, I tell you.

SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner dishes some dirt on ‘Bama QB and WR targets for 2018NSD.

Have some eye-rolling stuff right here: This year’s Pro Bowl is in Orlando. For whatever reason, the NFL is going to pay fealty to local UCF as the “national champion.” Besides brown-nosing one of many host cities, I honestly don’t see what else the Shield gets out of undercutting the legitimate, big-money championship of its free D-league. But, I guess a fake football game deserves a fake champion, eh?

The “offensive revolution” may be over. For the first time in six years, scores, plays, touchdowns, and total points all fell. Moreover, they fell to their lowest level since 2010.

Several coaching sources said defenses are beginning to catch up. More teams are recruiting more versatile secondary players. Today’s defensive backs have to be big enough to stop the run, physical enough to tackle in space and fast enough to track receivers.

Not surprisingly, three of the top 10 and four of the top 14 prospects in the a recent CBS Sports mock draft are defensive backs.

”Defenses have caught up with up-tempo [offenses] and have retooled the secondaries to have corner-type skill sets at safety positions,” CBS Sports college football analyst Rick Neuheisel said.

The numbers bear that out. In 2013, 20 teams averaged at least 80 plays. That number shrunk to six in 2017. That’s the fewest since 2010 (three).

This isn’t a surprise, as we’ve seen Alabama’s secondary be retooled with versatile players who can play inside-out-centerfield and are still physical enough to bring pressure and stop the run. The lack of differentiation has been particularly noticeable at the Star and Safety spots. Also noticeably on the rise are the use of 4-3 over schemes to frustrate a lot of what the modern spread wants to do. (Yes, that’s a teaser for an offseason piece. Happy?)

It wasn’t a fluke that Alabama and Georgia were the national title finalists.

Speaking of UGA, not everyone is buying the development of a nascent Georgia dynasty: Sports Illustrated sees the ‘Dawgs as a team that risks sliding back to the pack. While I agree with that generally, I don’t think it happens next year: owing to the weakness in the league (and it will grow feebler over the summer,) both the Tide and Bulldogs practically have a gift-wrapped invitation to the SECCG.

Why do people genuinely hate Alabama? Consistent achievement, or, as Herbie said it best: straight up envy. I really don’t care about being the bad guy here, to be honest. Embrace the villain within you.

I can’t believe HBO green-lit this Al Pacino film, “Paterno”, but the new project based upon the Sandusky/PSU scandal has its first trailer.

Phil Savage breaks down the five Alabama players in this year’s Senior Bowl, no surprise he’s the one to talk about the event, since the former Browns front office manager has been the executive director of the Sr. Bowl since 2012.

And, finally, Roll ‘Panda Roll, your favorite Red Panda Appreciation Blog, found this on AL.com today: Michael Casagrande interviewing the GOAT halftime act, the Red Panda herself.

It’s a grim few weeks for news folks: Baseball and softball haven’t started, gym sucks, NSD is a husk of its former self, basketball only plays twice a week, and Spring football hasn’t started yet. Bear with us.