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Jumbo Package: Busy weekend includes the first spring scrimmage

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The latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Happy Friday, everyone. It’s going to be a busy weekend in Tuscaloosa, as described by AD Greg Byrne in his latest “Crimson Column.”

We’re heading into a very busy weekend here on campus, one that includes our lone home track & field meet of the season, the NCAA Tuscaloosa Gymnastics Regional Championships, men’s tennis taking on Georgia and Tennessee as well as softball’s weekend series with the Florida Gators.

The Crimson Tide Invitational, featuring some of the nation’s top teams, gets underway Friday at 3:30 p.m. and continues Saturday starting at 9 a.m. at the Sam Bailey Track and Field Stadium.

The NCAA Gymnastics Regional starts at 4 p.m. Saturday in Coleman Coliseum and is the gateway to the national championships, with the top-two teams out of the six moving on to St. Louis.

Men’s tennis faces Georgia Friday at 6 p.m. and Tennessee Sunday at 1 p.m., both at the Alabama Tennis Stadium.

Softball plays the Gators on Saturday (12 p.m.), Sunday (2 p.m.) and Monday (6 p.m.).

Tickets are available for the regional and softball series. Track & field and tennis events are free.

Meanwhile, baseball travels to Mizzou and football will have the first scrimmage of the spring, which will unfortunately be closed to the public. We will open with the most recent “outwork” video:

Your practice reports:

-- Several former players were hanging around practice and the football facility. Reggie Ragland had a film crew from the Kansas City Chiefs following him around. O.J. Howard, Bo Scarbrough and Shaun Dion Hamilton were on out there watching. They had a little reunion with super fan Walt, famous for his Thursday evening score picks he gives players and Saban.

-- With the defensive backs, it looked like Kyriq McDonald, Daniel Wright, Saivion Smith and Deionte Thompson were working first. DeVonta Smith was also up there getting some extra coaching from Saban at one point.

After previously being at right tackle, sophomore Jedrick Wills Jr. was at right guard during individual drills, with sophomore Alex Leatherwood at right tackle. The rest of the line was the same from all the other spring practices thus far, with junior Jonah Williams at left tackle, senior Lester Cotton Sr. at right guard and senior Ross Pierschbacher at center.

Senior Josh Casher, who had been at left guard and praised by Coach Nick Saban for his effort this spring, was with the second unit.

The unit worked in pairs with Raekwon Davis and Isaiah Buggs first up followed by Quinnen Williams and LaBryan Ray, Johnny Dwight and Phidarian Mathis. Stephon Wynn worked with a walk on.

“We took a real step back and looked at that because he told us that yesterday,” said rising redshirt sophomore Quinnen Williams, one of the candidates to play nose guard. “The defensive line runs things around here, like in the past you had Jonathan Allen, Da’Ron Payne, Dalvin Tomlinson, A’Shawn Robinson.

”A lot of great leaders on this defensive line who really ran the defense and made sure everybody was in order. We just really want to be that defensive line. So we don’t want to have no fall off from last year to this year, and we really just want to take that role of being the alpha dogs of the defense, making sure everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do and taking accountability of everybody.”

There is ample talent along the defensive front, but Saban is clearly looking for leaders to emerge. It sounds like Quinnen Williams is embracing that role to a degree. I met Quinnen’s father and spoke to him briefly in 2016, and it was clear that crimson runs through the entire family’s veins. He is a great candidate to step up.

Yes, that is three five-stars and two four-stars in the first offensive line grouping, folks. That poor secondary, though...

Unrelated, but lap this one up good. It’s delicious.

Poor fella.

Remember how that 2017 class, that has a great chance to leave school as the most decorated in history, came together when the commits started recruiting one another? Saban seems to be capturing that again.

“I’m definitely going to be looking at those offensive linemen and receivers,” Tyson said. “Everywhere around I’m going to look for the best fits for Alabama that they want. I’m definitely going to be looking at Clay Webb and Amari Kight. I’m just going to say Bama’s the move. You can’t find anything out there that compares like Alabama.”

Even with Tyson’s commitment, Alabama continues to recruit four-star signal caller Taulia Tagovailoa, Tua’s younger brother at Alabaster (Ala.) Thompson. Tyson welcomes the competition, so Alabama fans shouldn’t worry about a Tagovailoa commitment affecting anything.

The transition from Hawaii to Alabama wouldn’t be as drastic as it was for Tua, who didn’t have any family already at the school like Tuitele would have.

“We told the parents that we always have a home for them if they want to come up for the weekend and watch their son play,” Galu Tagovailoa said. “There’s nothing better than going to a school that you already have family at.”

So, how would he classify the Tide’s chances with one of the team’s top defensive line targets?

“Alabama has a really, really good chance with him,” Galu Tagovailoa said.

So, Paul is focused on keeping a stellar 2019 in-state class in Alabama, and the Tagovailoas are not only fine with the Tide signing another QB, but are working on bringing in the nation’s #2 defensive tackle, who happens to be a cousin of Tua and Taulia. This is going to be fun.

Hey, Minkah and Rashaan will be at the draft.

Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and linebacker Rashaan Evans are among the 22 prospects that accepted invites to attend the draft, it was announced on Thursday.

Both are widely expected to be first-round picks.

These are good choices. Both are very mature and eloquent young men who will represent the university well in front of the microphone.

Last, the consensus among the lawyas seems to be that LeBron is out his damn mind.

The barbershop banter bit has been played out in a number of movies and TV shows. It gave rise to several memorable scenes in the 1988 movie Coming to America, which starred Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall. It was also used in the 1993 movie Who’s the Man? (starring Dr. Dre and Ed Lover). And then there was the 2002 movie Barbershop, which starred Ice Cube and Cedric the Entertainer and revolved around banter in a barbershop. The success of Barbershop prompted two sequels—Barbershop 2: Back in Business and Barbershop: The Next Cut—as well as a TV series and spinoff film, Beauty Shop, which starred Queen Latifah.

One might go so far as to opine that the “talking off-the-cuff in a barbershop” format is almost a tired trope by this point. Neither Uninterrupted nor Alabama’s show is a pioneer in this space.

Talking in a barbershop is so common that Hollywood basically made a movie about it, entitled Barbershop. And then made two more sequels. Plus a spinoff called Beauty Shop. While there may be more to James’ claim, if his position really is that his idea is copyrightable, well, he’s unlikely to find a sympathetic judge.

Saban responded by pointing out that James really has no claim over the idea of athletes talking in a barbershop. “There’s been at least 20 barbershop-type things I’ve seen,” Saban said, concluding, “We’re going to continue to do it.” Take that, Lebron.

This is just common sense. Nobody is trying to mess up your little multimedia deal, Bron. Hell, Bo Scarbrough and Cam Robinson participated in it. Not sure Cam needs to be scheduling any tee times just yet, though.

Ain’t a pizzeria in New York that serves a slice like that.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.