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Jumbo Package: Jedrick Wills is going to be hard to unseat at Right Tackle

And other news and notes from Spring

NCAA Football: Mercer at Alabama


Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

Our pal Joseph Goodman, definitely angling for the Scarbinsky Memorial Hot Take Beat Reporter Award, nonetheless has a good story here about Saban, transfers, and unrealistic expectations. The Head Man pins the blame in large part on the cult of recruiting and media outlets that rank, praise, and polish the apples of kids since they day they hit puberty:

So, yeah, Saban took some shots at the recruiting websites -- those chemists of the ultimate rat poison -- and his disdain for them is, of course, fair. Making new recruits forget about their recruiting rankings is like psychological boot camp when these guys finally show up on campus.

”I think that, the thing that I try to get guys to do, is not have an unrealistic reality about their circumstance and their career as a football player -- what they want to try to accomplish as a student in developing a career off the field, and what kind of person they want to be,” Saban said. “And I think with all the information out there sometimes, that’s a little bit easy to get a little unrealistic about because, basically, every athlete, every guy, when you’re a senior in high school, you have goals and aspirations, and things that you want to accomplish, but when it comes to developing your career, you’re rolling the dice with how that works out, all right.

I think we’ve seen both the peaks and valleys of transfers. You have quality guys buried on the depth chart that can move on to smaller programs and become stars (looking at you, Phillip Ely and Toledo.) Then, you have players who are developing into sure starters but have their development derailed by those whispering in their ears. As a result, their careers take a significant blow -- the sorry tales of Kendall Sheffield and Maurice Smith should be cautionary ones here. So, it’s not just recruiting websites and media pressure: This legacy is also created and furthered by rapacious, supposedly trusted adults as well, be they parents or huckster coaches selling players on the notion that they are something they are not or are capable of that which is beyond their ken. But enough of Gardner Minshew, amirite?

Welcome, Alabama Football’s newest intern -- Butch Jones. (heh)

The rumored marriage of Butch Jones and Nick Saban became a reality on Tuesday when Saban confirmed that the former Tennessee coach is now an official member of the Alabama coaching staff.

”He’s a intern, an analyst. I guess we can have several names for it,” Saban said, according to 247Sports. “He can’t coach on the field; he can work with us off the field. And today was actually the first time that he was cleared by the NCAA.”

It takes a helluva lot of pride-swallowing and gumption to go from heading an SEC program and pulling down four large to fetching coffee, breaking down TE film, and making $21,000 as an analyst. While the schadenfreude is tempting, I’m not going to hate on people who are willing to take that blow to prestige in order to become better at their craft. Admitting you have room for improvement or need the help is uncommon in a lot of professions, especially high ego ones. Nick Saban’s Second Chance Home for Wayward Coaches marches on — and so too shall the Dunning-Kruger effect.

I mean, if you like skills that don’t translate from one field of play to another, I suppose this is a good idea (...and by that I mean CFB analysts breaking down needs of NFL teams.)

GameDay will then serve as a pre-show for the second and third rounds of the draft on April 27.

GameDay’s usual suspects will be in charge as well. Race Davis, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack will all be involved with the coverage.

“ESPN has presented the NFL Draft for nearly 40 years and we take great pride in finding new and exciting ways to continue to elevate and differentiate our coverage,” ESPN vice president Burke Magnus said in a statement. “The draft is the perfect intersection of college football and the NFL, so giving fans the opportunity to experience Round 1 through the lens of College GameDay makes perfect sense.”

The march to program personality over substance continues at the WWL, and we’re all the poorer for it -- no matter how awesome some of those personalities may be.

Sallee makes a compelling case to keep the abominable playoffs at four teams. The one point he makes that I enjoyed especially is the scarcity argument. CFP’s playoffs matter because the slots are so damned tough to come by:

Did a team like Wisconsin, which won the Big Ten in 2012 with an 8-5 record, deserve as much of a shot at the national championship as Notre Dame and Alabama that year? Nope. Did the 2017 Pac-12 champion USC Trojans deserve as much of a shot as any of the four College Football Playoff participants after losing to Washington State and getting stomped by Notre Dame? Of course not.

Those were huge, season-defining losses that made major waves across the college football world at the time because of the scarcity and uncertainty that the College Football Playoff creates. In basketball, 19.4 percent of the teams in Division I make the meaningful postseason. In football, 3.1 percent of the teams do.

As CB predicted on Tuesday (and basically anyone that’s seen their SPARQ scores could attest) Jedrick Wills has moved to first team RT and will be awfully hard to unseat, even when Matt Womack returns from a broken foot.

When spring drills began Tuesday, Jedrick Wills was running with the first team at right tackle.

The rising sophomore was slotted there, because the incumbent starter Matt Womack was sidelined with a Jones fracture in his foot.

But don’t be surprised if Wills remains a fixture within the top offensive line unit even when Womack is given a clean bill of health.

Saban finally speaks on sending OG Burton Burns upstairs. Even while calling his haul of new assistants “home runs”, the administrative move for an Alabama mainstay makes perfect sense — As does his age: Burns is 65. He could still REKT you or me, but I understand his desire to get off the road too. So, Burns sent himself upstairs, not vice versa.

“Burton’s still around here,” Saban said. “He’s watching the film every day. I think if we got too far off base in any way shape or form, he’d certainly speak up in a staff meeting and all that type of thing. But Burton’s going to make a tremendous contribution to our organization in a lot of other areas.

“I think we, administratively, need some oversight in some areas that we can improve on, whether it’s player development areas -- I know we’ve got a great record of academic support, but I think everything that affects a player and every person who affects a player is something I want Burton to have constant interaction with. Whether it’s medical staff, nutritionists, academic folks, recruiting, just in every way, shape and form to bridge the gap a little bit between administratively, organizationally, so that we’re all staying on the same page.

“He wanted to do this. This is not something I made him do, and it’s worked out very well so far. It’s been very, very helpful to me.”

Finally, Alabama Softball’s brightest spot, righty Alexis Osorio...ugh. It’s not good. She got cracked in the noggin this weekend from a line drive. She has a concussion and is not even listed as day-to-day: she’ll be out indefinitely.

Auburn ruins everything.

Best wishes to Alexis on her recovery. She was having a great season.

We’ll have more later. For now, go forth to, if not evil, at least some vaguely-defined mild-to-moderate malevolence.