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Jumbo Package: No, Nick Saban is not going to the Packers

Why do we do this every year— after a dozen seasons?

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<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Arizona Cardinals v Green Bay Packers

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Q definitely has a future in the booth when his playing days are over. He has his cliches and coachspeak nailed down.

He breaks down OU here.

“You can’t be the best without beating the best,” Williams said, “and I feel like everybody we play from now on is going to be the best team we ever played, and the most physical team. We got to make sure we’re on our ones and twos, and be the most physical team, and cut down mental errors.”

It’s going to be Alabama vs. Oklahoma all month, and the head-to-head competition begins on Thursday with the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Awards. The Maxwell Award is given annually to the nation’s player of the year, and the Davey O’Brien Award goes to the best quarterback.

Tua for Heisman:

Tua’s road to Heisman finalist hasn’t been the smoothest sailing, despite how it may appear from the outside:

Throughout the last 11 months, Tagovailoa has resembled a duck on the water. To the naked eye of an outside observer, he’s sailed past his obstacles with little resistance when in reality there has been serious turbulence below the surface that has marked an ongoing struggle. Although sources expect him to overcome this latest setback and play in the College Football Playoff semifinal against an Oklahoma team led by its own Heisman finalist Kyler Murray, there have been numerous injuries that have threatened to derail him and a period of uncertainty that delayed his rapid ascent toward stardom.

I liked this feature from Ranier Sabin.

Speaking of Heisman, Q is right: He should have been a Heisman finalist. You are permitted to rank order three players. I debated long and hard between Darrell Henderson, Memphis’ outstanding running back, and Quinnen Williams at third. Ultimately, given all that he does and must be game-planned for, and how he makes an entire unit around him better (as well as his ungodly stats), Q gets the nod — with Tua at 1 and Kyler at 2.

One would think Quinnen Williams believes teammate Tua Tagovailoa will win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday, right? Unlike Jonah Williams and Jerry Jeudy, however, Williams said he didn’t know who he thought would take home college football’s most coveted award.

+ + +

“I feel like I should have been up there, but it’s cool,” Williams said with a smile. “It’s fun, man. I look up to Ndamukong Suh, and I remember Ndamukong Suh went to the Heisman, so I was like ‘Man, that’s cold. It would be cool to go to the Heisman like Ndamukong Suh.’”

There has not been a more dominant performance on the interior defensive line since Suh’s campaign in 2009 and Williams should be in New York.

Nice video here from Coach Saban about a coaching lesson he learned when he was 15.

I regularly down the NFL on these pages, and well I should: the fundamentals are trash, the play is risk-averse, the product staid, the coaches and GMs are truly the blind leading the blind, the sterile corporate-controlled image makes the SEC look wild in comparison, the hypocrisy brazen, and the faux populism passed off by 32 billionaires deeply offends me. Still, I let far more of it slide.

But, some things, man, I can’t let this slide. Nick Saban is not going to the Green Bay Packers.

On Jan. 7, Nick Saban will hoist the College Football Playoff National Championship trophy as confetti falls at Levi’s Stadium. It will be his seventh national title in college football, breaking his tie with Bear Bryant for most all time by a coach in the modern era and securing him, finally and unquestionably, as the greatest college football coach of all time.

Two days later, a handshake agreement that took place weeks earlier will become official. Saban is announced as the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers, promising at least one more Super Bowl with QB Aaron Rodgers to a starving fan base while also looking to clean up the one blemish on his pristine coaching resume...

Two follow-up points.

  1. I’m tired of hearing about how Saban gaffed by not signing Drew Brees — Brees didn’t pass the physical; it was out of his control. There are entire buildings full of corporate and legal and insurance quality control personnel and white collar-black hats that are involved in signing a player: it’s not as simple as a coach with control over personnel vetoing an entire franchise’s infrastructure. He wanted Brees, not Culpepper — remember?
  2. I’m always reminded of what my mother told me when, as a 17-year old coming off a seemingly-confusing break-up with my first love, I asked her what women wanted. She told me, “Well, have you asked? And if you have, have you listened.” Turns out I had not, and I did not.
    I know Saban to the NFL stories are popular every January and December. But, no one even asks him the question — and they damned sure haven’t been listening for the last decade as to what he wants. This is where he wants to be, doing what he prefers and loves. He will retire in Crimson, with a straw boater, and enough bling to make Elton John blush.

For those curious about Tua’s high ankle surgery, Alabama cyborgs them up with a quick ‘scope.

Jonah Williams’ explains the minor procedure:

One person that can provide some insight is left tackle Jonah Williams, who had the same procedure.

“He’s doing well,” Williams said. “I mean, it’s a surgery that almost, I feel like, everyone on the team has had, you know when you think about it. So, he’ll be good. I had that and then I had a much bigger one, so it’s fine. We call it a stitch job. You just throw some wires in there. I know Cam (Robinson) had it and was back in like seven or eight days getting ready for LSU in 2014.”

Hashtag Blessed

Man, Auburn really wants Gus gone. If this isn’t a form of constructive termination, I’m not sure what is.

Top donors and university officials at Auburn are reportedly preventing head coach Gus Malzahn from hiring Hugh Freeze as an assistant, according to Josh Moon of the Alabama Political Reporter.

Per Moon, Auburn donors and officials are “seeking to undercut” Malzahn by restricting assistant contracts to one-year deals. Freeze is reportedly seeking a multi-year deal from a future employer.

I have heard from a very reputable insider that Freeze is still persona non grata with Sankey — Tennessee was rebuffed by the league when it approached Freeze to fill its vacancy. This one-year deal story from Moon is likely true; I have no reason to doubt the restriction. But it is probably part of a larger Gus/Board powerplay. And, if this #source is correct, then Hugh is Liberty-bound, or at the least, will not be an OC in the SEC anytime soon — he’ll pick his spot in another league.

Again, not speculating here. This is from my source. He’s batting about 80%, so I trust him.

Nice #content here on the evolution of the RPO:

The best that I could determine from the stamp of its lowly origin is that Rich Rodriguez, part of that Mumme/Valdosta tree, is the most likely Dr. Frankenstein here, at least as we know the RPO in its present form.

Interesting story here, about why the Brent Venables of the world are standing pat rather than jumping out for a head coaching offer — money:

Whereas only five assistants in the country were making $1 million or more five years ago, that number has now exploded to 21 in the latest USA TODAY Sports college coaching salary survey, with eight of those making at least $1.5 million.

Led by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, whose total basic compensation for this year is $2.5 million, the motivation for top programs to retain elite assistants has turned many of those jobs into more lucrative and potentially more secure opportunities than a significant portion of head coaching gigs in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The entire career progression has been disrupted: making a few million now, assistants don’t have to make a leap in the dark. They, like Kirby Smart, can bide their time until the perfect fit comes along.

Let’s talk about Tua’s place in Alabama history and few are as qualified to opine on it as Sleeper Gump Rece Davis:

That question was posed to ESPN’s Rece Davis on Wednesday at the College Football Hall of Fame, and the Alabama alum and host of College GameDay was emphatic in his answer in Atlanta.

“Yes, without hesitation,” Davis said. “The first Alabama season I remember, I was, what, five going on six in 1971, and he is the best quarterback in my lifetime. I didn’t see Namath and Stabler and Starr and Sloan, but in my lifetime of Alabama football, he’s the best. And it doesn’t hurt that they’ve got a guy like Jalen Hurts that can step in and do what he did in the SEC Championship Game. But I won’t hesitate about that at all. I think he’s the best I’ve ever seen.”

More from Rece and Herbie right here.

Man, you almost feel bad for DeAndre Baker — the coaches lost that game for the ‘Dawgs (and I’ll explain that tomorrow in a piece: TEASER!)

Storm clouds were forming and DeAndre Baker could sense the urgency on the Georgia sideline.

Alabama had come back on his team in January’s national championship and were making a move in the second half of Saturday’s SEC title game.

“Everybody was saying let’s finish this fourth quarter strong,” the Georgia safety said Wednesday in Atlanta. “Let’s not have the same thing happen as last year but you know …”

Yeah …

“It felt exactly like last year,” he said.


Locksley, I’m happy for you, but keep your filthy hands off St. Frances recruits, a trio of which are committed to Alabama:

“Mike leaving should not have an impact on our seniors committed to Alabama,” St. Frances coach Henry Russell said.

It’s unclear at this point whether Locksley leaving could have an impact on the younger St. Frances commit, 2020 five-star defensive end/outside linebacker Chris Braswell.

Braswell committed to Alabama Nov. 25.

“It’s too early to tell with him,” Russell said.


That’s it for now. We’ll be back later today with a piece on Alabama’s offense in the SECCG.

Roll Tide.