Happy Monday, everyone. Roger will be along shortly to talk about the baseball weekend in Knoxville as I don’t have the stomach to type the result here, but the ladies took two of three from Ole Miss without Alexis Osorio. JUCO transfer pitcher Courtney Geddins won both games and may well be the second pitcher Alabama lacked last season if Osorio can get back. If not, then she will be counted on to carry the load. So far she has done quite well, posting a 10-2 record.
On the gridiron, we are now a week into spring practice, but the big news of the weekend was about scheduling.
Alabama is negotiating to schedule a home-and-home football series with Notre Dame, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Alabama is also working on a home-and-home deal with Texas.
The Crimson Tide last participated in an out-of-conference home-and-home series in 2010-11 against Penn State, hosting the Nittany Lions in 2010 and traveling to State College, Pa., in 2011.
Notre Dame and Texas, eh? Let’s check in with their fan bases.
Sounds about right. Alabama is also reportedly in talks with USC about another neutral site opener in 2020. Maybe one of these days Saban will agree to play somebody.
Because of injuries and low numbers at certain positions, Alabama is getting creative to make it through spring practice.
Alabama basically lost its entire secondary from last season, so numbers are low. The Crimson Tide signed five defensive backs in their 2018 class, but only one is on campus as a midyear enrollee — junior college transfer Saivion Smith.
With the numbers being low, Alabama is using National Championship Game hero DeVonta Smith on both sides of the ball. Smith worked with the defensive backs during the media viewing periods of practice this week.
-- The first-team offensive line remained the same. Jedrick Wills was at right tackle, Lester Cotton at right guard, Ross Pierschbacher at center, Josh Casher at left guard and Jonah Williams at left tackle. The second-team unit went as follows: Scott Lashley at right tackle, Richie Petitbon at right guard, Brandon Kennedy at center, Dallas Warmack at left guard and Alex Leatherwood at left tackle.
Trevon Diggs is running #1 at corner and receivers Chardarius Townsend, Devonta Smith, and true freshman Slade Bolden have all worked with the DBs just to make the numbers work for a scrimmage. If the secondary, particularly the second unit, doesn’t get roasted at A-Day then something is very wrong. Sounds like the offensive line is set for now, but there will be more shuffling in the fall. Don’t be surprised if Saban finds a way to get Williams, Leatherwood, and Wills on the field. Jonah may well get a look at center before it’s all said and done, creating a possible grouping of Leatherwood/Pierschbacher/Williams/Cotton/Wills or Womack. Talk about potential.
Damien Harris has unsurprisingly assumed a leadership role as a senior.
“… We all know that our success will not be inherited from what we did last season. If anything, what we did last season just puts a bigger target on our back. I think myself, along with a lot older guys -- and I’m sure the coaches, as well -- we’re very impressed with the fact a lot of young guys are coming in with that right mentality of, ‘We won the national championship, but we still have more work to do.’
“I think that’s something that really speaks volumes to the direction this team is going in.”
Damien is an impressive young man. He is going to be highly successful, football or no football. Barring serious injury, his initial capital will assuredly come from football, of course.
“When I got a chance to leave and go train, I thought, well, maybe I want to go somewhere else and see if there’s anything better. And then I realized no, there’s not,” said Evans, who spent time at a training facility in Florida before returning to Tuscaloosa. “It’s just being comfortable in your environment. The people that are here, everyone knows me. They’ve seen my face for four years and they know my body and know how my body responds to certain things. ... And when I was in Florida, I really didn’t know anybody and everyone was like, well, I’m just here working out. Every man was kind of on his own in a way. But when I came back to Alabama, we were back into a groove and kind of like a little team.”
Poeth, an energetic 42-year old who spends most of the year working with Alabama’s track and field and women’s soccer teams, has been around Saban and Cochran since the early 2000s at LSU. Before arriving in Tuscaloosa in 2013, he owned a gym in Mobile where he trained everyone from Olympic weightlifters to former Tide stars like D.J. Fluker and Mark Barron.
Hear that, recruits? Come to Alabama and you get pre-draft workouts that are superior to those who charge you.
Speaking of recruits, this class sounds like it is going to be stellar.
It also needs to be said that the Tagovailoa family relocated to Alabaster, Ala., which is a short car ride away from Tuscaloosa. The convenience for the family if Taulia chose Alabama can’t be undersold. That’s an important factor to note here.
After talking to him on Sunday, it would be a shock to not see him in crimson next season. As for his performance on Sunday, Tagovailoa definitely wowed with some of his throws, but there were some that sailed over the receiver or weren’t in the vicinity of the player. It was windy and chilly in Buford, Ga., and Tagovailoa hasn’t played in many cold environments since relocating to Alabama from Hawaii last year.
It was ridiculously cold on Sunday, topped out at around 50 in the Atlanta area with blustery winds. Five-star in-state OL Clay Webb sounds pretty positive about Alabama and playing next to Pierce Quick. In general, this piece may cause excessive gumping.
We’ll close with an odd Twitter spat between Greg McElroy and Corey McCarron.
“I have to ask the question, ‘What’s the difference between AJ, Brock Osweiler, Mike Glennon?’” McElroy told 92.3 The Fan. “I have my questions there. And we’ve seen backups get big money, and it just hasn’t come to fruition. So it’s not to say he can’t be different. I don’t have the proof to think otherwise.
“I hope AJ gets paid a ton of money, and I hope he gets a chance to start. But if I’m a GM, I have my concerns and my doubts.”
Greg has taken some flak for seemingly going too far to avoid being labeled a homer, but this was fair analysis. A two-year contract at $5M per year is not starter money, so there were clearly doubts about AJ’s ability to be the man at this stage. He has his chance to prove it this season.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.