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Jumbo Package: Byrne talks scheduling, kickoff times announced for first three games

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Alabama Celebration Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Not much going on in the football world, but we did get some scheduling news.

The Crimson Tide’s home opener with Arkansas State will begin at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sept. 8. It will air live on ESPN2.

A week later, the trip to Ole Miss will kick off at 6 p.m. CT. That one will be broadcast live on ESPN. Alabama’s last two visits to Oxford resulted in wild finishes with the Rebels winning in 2014 and the Tide escaping in 2016.

We can deal with these times. Let’s let the others have the 8pm stuff.

He did not specify any particular schools that Alabama may have joined in scheduling discussions, although he did indicate one factor in the Texas and Notre Dame discussions was “football tradition.”

“One of the things that people often forget about when they have the scheduling discussion is (that) there’s an assumption that both teams want to play each other, and there’s also an assumption that dates can work. Those two things create challenges in that process.

“But I think it is important for all of us as ADs and our coaches — and Coach Saban and I have very much been in lockstep on it — is finding games that our fan bases are going to be excited to be a part of, that our teams are going to be excited to be a part of. And that’s worked for us.”

Byrne mentions that they are working on 2024-2027, and neutral site games will likely remain part of the equation.

The rest of the country would just love it if Saban found a three-star diamond in the rough, wouldn’t they?

Alabama coaches think the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Smith is capable of playing both cornerback and safety.

”They think he’s versatile,” said Smith’s father, Eddie. “They liked his height. They liked his hips. They liked his speed. They just liked him (overall).”

Soon, Smith will have to cover his cousin, who helped prepare him for Alabama.

The two talked almost every day the past few months leading up to Eddie arriving in Tuscaloosa on Sunday.

Smith certainly looks the part. He didn’t play organized football until his junior season, so there wasn’t much for scouts to go on. He may surprise.

Emil Ekiyor was convinced. Alabama was where he would play. He signed in December and settled in Tuscaloosa last weekend to begin his career. Ekiyor, an aggressive player with a hankering for run blocking, has designs on playing early and there is a chance he could realize that goal after both Dallas Warmack and Brandon Kennedy announced this off-season they were leaving the Tide. Both are interior linemen and so too is Ekiyor, a former four-star prospect who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 335 pounds.

Brent Key, Ekiyor’s position coach at Alabama, was in contact with him during the months preceding his arrival.

”He told me to be ready to come in and take a spot,” Ekiyor recalled.

Grabbing a starting spot on this line is going to be tough sledding, but the herd thinning has certainly opened up opportunities to contribute.

CB Josh Jobe may not be around for summer workouts.

It will depend on a couple of Jobe’s final grades, Dykeman said.

Those grades will determine whether Jobe has to do some work this summer such as taking a summer class before being able to enroll at Alabama.

”But the hope is that he won’t have to,” Dykeman said.

Hopefully he gets it done. Missing the summer would make it very difficult to crack the rotation in his first season.

Alabama players still work out three times a week during the season, and are constantly meeting with Cochran and his staff to make sure they’re going about things the right way physically and mentally. And Cochran -- whose official title with the Crimson Tide is Assistant Athletic Director for Strength and Conditioning -- tries to lead by example.

”In my job somebody’s got to bring the energy,” Cochran said. “You want the players to be a certain type of way. Well, you have to be that way first, so if I can set the tempo, I’m going to do it.”

And he does it better than anybody.

That’s about it for today. Enjoy your weekend.

Roll Tide.