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Jumbo Package: We’re talkin’ about practice!

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NCAA Football: Fresno State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. We will open up with some sweet music for your ears.

Friday is the first day of football practice for Alabama as the Crimson Tide officially begins its 2018 season. The team will go through 20 practices and scrimmages in the coming weeks before shifting into a standard game week schedule for its season opener against Louisville on Sept. 1.

Wait, that’s today!

Players have reported and received their swag.

I need some of those shoes.

Also, the Nick’s Kids Foundation held its annual kickoff luncheon yesterday.

Joining the Sabans at The Zone in Bryant-Denny Stadium were a dozen Alabama players, including Mack Wilson, Joshua Casher, Raekwon Davis, Jalen Hurts, Christian Miller, Hale Hentges, Ross Pierschbacher, Jonah Williams, Deionte Thompson, Keaton Anderson, Jamey Mosley and Lester Cotton. They signed autographs for and took pictures with children in attendance.

“We have more guys that are willing to do it than probably can get involved,” Saban proudly said. “And I think this is a great lesson for players to learn how to give back to the community, to set a good example, and I think they all really feel good when they do something like this.

Has to be thrilling for those kids. Kudos to all involved.

A couple of previews for you:

1. Will Jerry Jeudy be the next Amari Cooper/Calvin Ridley?

Jeudy came to Alabama with some of the same hype that followed Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper. The latest import from South Florida overlapped with Ridley, something that didn’t happen with the handoff with Cooper. That could explain why Jeudy’s 264 receiving yards didn’t hit the level of Ridley’s 1,045 in 2015 as a rookie or Cooper’s 1,000 in 2012.

In terms of pure production, I am going to say no. I have a feeling that the ball is going to be spread around the field more than we have seen in the Saban era. Jeudy should be the leader of the band, though, and have plenty of opportunities to show out.

If he wins it’ll be because...

Tua Tagovailoa: Saban realizes Tagovailoa is the quarterback who has the most potential to make use of Alabama’s vast arsenal of weapons. The Tide is loaded at wide receiver, tight end and running back. Of the two quarterbacks, Tagovailoa has the greatest ability to make the offense more democratic than it has been under Hurts’ control.

Emphasis mine. Sounds like Rainer is suggesting that Jalen is a ball-hogging dictator and Tua is a spread-the-wealth liberal. Am I reading that right? Kudos to him for finding an angle to the QB competition that we have yet to explore.

The Crimson Tide, fresh off their fifth national championship of coach Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, were voted No. 1 by 61 of the 65 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches on this season’s panel. Though Alabama didn’t quite go wire-to-wire at No. 1 a year ago, the Tide started at the top and got back to the top spot when it mattered.

The Clemson Tigers got three first place votes and the Ohio State Buckeyes one. This team is heavily favored, folks.

Texas A&M and Mississippi State fans apparently don’t have enough faith in their squads to go to Tuscaloosa, but it means more opportunity for you!

Due to the return of tickets from visiting team allotments, Alabama will offer a limited number of new football ticket packages, which will go on sale Friday at 8 a.m. CT.

The two-game pack, starting at $155, includes a ticket to matchups with both Texas A&M and Louisiana. The three-game pack, priced at $200, includes a ticket to games against Missouri, Mississippi State and your choice of Arkansas State or The Citadel.

That’s just sad.

Deionte Thompson isn’t out of the woods just yet legally.

Thompson’s trial is scheduled to take place in his home state of Texas on Monday, October 8, two days after he and the rest of the Crimson Tide football team take on Arkansas in Fayetteville. Other important dates leading up to the trial include a motion to suppress (request by the defendant to have certain evidence excluded from trial, which sometimes leads to dismissal of charges) -- set for Sept. 21 -- and a pre-trial conference (establishment of ground rules for trial and another stage where resolution can occur) on Sept. 28.

There seems to be some optimism that this will never go to trial. We will obviously keep an eye on it.

There are too many Urban Meyer posts out there to link, but here is the latest development.

The group, announced Wednesday, includes current trustees Alex Fischer, Janet Porter and Alex Shumate. Also on the panel are former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, former acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

The board will oversee the work of the university’s investigators and be available to consult with the trustees as the probe proceeds.

Administrative leave is usually an opportunity to negotiate a settlement that ends in separation, but Meyer either refused to resign or the university is willing to drag this thing out in hopes of keeping him. Either way, this is going to be a rough ride.

This mess has already impacted Urban’s wallet. He was recently announced as a spokesperson for Bob Evans, but they scrambled to pull it when he got in the soup. Guess you can’t put all your eggs in the basket of a man with links to this kind of behavior, you just have to have the grits to pull the plug on it to avoid being peppered with questions and hot cakes takes. At this point it’s all on the independent panel’s plate, and it’s just gravy if they end up saving his bacon. No need to hash it out any further, really.

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

Roll Tide.