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Jumbo Package: Tua Tagovailoa says he was ready to transfer, Softball opens NCAA play

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes

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

Happy Friday, everyone. The baseball team dropped the opener of its series against Ole Miss that will mercifully signal the end of the first season of the Brad Bohannon era. There is a long way to go, but some promising signs are there. Of course, softball opens NCAA tournament play tonight against MTSU. It’s going to be a late one with the first pitch coming at 8:30 CT, available online only at SEC Network +.

Oh, and Tua Tagovailoa said things.

“I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa told the crowd of seventh and eighth graders. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”

The former Crusader went on to tell the students that this particular conversation with his father took place early in his time in Tuscaloosa – and that it actually landed him in hot water with his family.

”Even throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa continued. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the national championship game, I would transfer out. If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.”

Personally, I am still somewhat skeptical that he would have actually pulled the trigger as it doesn’t seem to be part of his nature. Young men tend to get frustrated and often go back on the things that they have “told themselves.” The story of accepting the challenge of coming to a place like Alabama to compete, and sticking it out, is a great message for his middle school audience, though.

That was some serious, if unintentional, shade thrown at the Trojans, too. Speaking of:

This will be the fourth appearance for Alabama in the AdvoCare Classic, which was previously dubbed the Cowboys Classic. In the 2016 contest, Alabama crushed USC 52-6 and also received a $6 million guarantee for the game.

In their first two Arlington appearances, the Crimson Tide defeated Michigan 41-14 to open the 2012 season and Wisconsin 35-17 to open the 2015 season.

There are the six million reasons that Alabama keeps playing in these kickoff games, and give USC some credit for their scheduling. They consistently play 11 Power Five teams on an annual basis. Alabama and Notre Dame added to a nine-game conference slate is pretty brutal.

Hey, Texas’ QB wants Bama despite the fact that he will be gone before they are scheduled to play.

“Looks like we’re gonna have to make it happen in the post season,” Ehlinger tweeted at Tagovailoa, in response to the official Texas Football announcement of the home-and-home series.

Get in line, son, and try to beat Maryland this time.

As you may have heard, Saban and Kirby are both playing at the Regions Tradition Pro-Am in Birmingham. Both took some time to speak with reporters.

Think about it: Which program in the country is better equipped to bring in “free agents” than Alabama? Imagine Saban having an opportunity to re-recruit a top player from Kentucky, Missouri, Ole Miss or any other school that won’t sniff a College Football Playoff appearance or national championship.

The pitch would be easy if you’re Saban: “Hey, come to Alabama. We’ve made the playoff every year and won the championship in two of those years, aight.”

The concern here, that none of the national writers seems to address, is tampering. Imagine Alabama players or assistant coaches spending a little extra time with a particularly tough player from Mississippi State during the postgame handshake, planting a seed that he’d fit in well at Alabama without technically recruiting him. It’s not the kind of culture that you want to create in the league.

Smart is diplomatic, masking his ruthless competitiveness underneath a veneer of Southern gentility. At any point this offseason, he could have emerged as Alabama’s new villain and embraced his role in a storyline straight out of the pages of a comic book. The ambitious pupil trying to unseat the wise master?

It had the potential to fire up the Crimson Tide fan base and make Smart the heel.

But people in this state don’t see him that way.

Depends on which people you’re talking to, cuz.

Being a singer isn’t the only fun fact about Ika. Siaki, who goes by Apu, was nicknamed that by his parents because they thought he looked like the monkey from Aladdin when he was a baby. Except that’s not the monkey’s name.

“My dad doesn’t speak good English, so it came out as Apu instead of Abu,” Ika laughed. “That’s stuck with me since.”

The parents of the nation’s No. 11 defensive tackle recently moved back to Tonga, where they grew up. His father is starting a business in his native country, so now Ika lives with his older siblings in Utah.

His parents visited Tuscaloosa with him during a trip to Alabama last month. Ika said his parents loved everything about the school.

Not sure what speaking good English has to do with the pronunciation of “Abu,” but it’s a funny story nonetheless. Hopefully we see this big fella plugging the middle in the coming years. Things look promising.

Of the purported lies against Foster, she said, “It was all a money scheme. I didn’t want to get this far in the news. It was about money … I wanted to sue him on my own.”

On cross examination, defense attorney Bentley — who has represented several 49ers players in the past — methodically questioned Ennis over her accusations and elicited the same responses from Ennis: “Yes sir, that was a lie.”

During the hearing, 911 calls were played, including one with Ennis frantic and another with her calm and deliberate, stating, “My boyfriend broke my phone … my boyfriend, he beat me up.”

Bentley asked her directly, “Did Mr. Foster ever hit you?”

Ennis replied “No sir,” then broke down in tears. “I’m sorry. I really am. I apologize to everybody.”

This whole thing is a mess, but the woman not only claims that she attempted to extort Foster for breaking it off with her, but that she has done it before and plans to check into a rehab facility after the proceedings. Hard to imagine that any of Reuben’s charges stick under those circumstances.

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

Roll Tide.