Happy Monday, everyone. Pickings are mighty slim this morning, but we will bring you what we have. Let’s open with Charlie Potter discussing potential replacements for the early departed.
“(Phidarian) Mathis is a great guy who’s going to step up next year. He got a lot of experience, a lot of playing time this year, so he’s ready. He’s going to step in and fill that spot. LaBryan Ray, you’ve Stephon Wynn, Christian Barmore, just a lot of guys in general. But the main thing is about staying level-headed and keep working. Don’t think about where you’re at right then, just think about how the hard work is going to pay off in the future.”
Both lines of scrimmage will have openings, but there is plenty of talent on hand and coming in. Watching the high school all-star games, Evan Neal and Antonio Alfano look like guys who are ready to compete for time right away and both are already enrolled, as is elite ILB prospect Shane Lee, who may well carve out a role of some kind with the departure of Mack Wilson. Jaylen Moody, Brandon Kaho, and Markail Benton are all in the mix at that spot, too.
At safety, Jared Mayden and Xavier McKinney should slot in as the starters, and Josh Jobe looks like a great candidate to be the sixth defensive back. Saivion Smith’s decision to go pro puzzled some, but it actually makes sense. His chances of seeing meaningful action once Diggs gets back were pretty slim, particularly with the stellar DB class that just signed. Needless to say, spending a senior year on the bench doesn’t help draft stock. His choices were probably to transfer again, sit out a year, and enter in the 2021 draft or go ahead and take his shot.
Nothing new to report on the coaching front as Saban keeps things close to the vest. It’s been widely reported that Steve Sarkisian will be rejoining the staff but no official word out of Tuscaloosa. There are also unconfirmed rumors that Alabama alum Lance Taylor, most recently WR coach for the Carolina Panthers, is in the mix to replace Josh Gattis, and rumblings persist that changes are coming on the defensive side as well.
For those in despair over all this, Cecil Hurt provides a bit of levity this morning.
One note: this is an evaluation of 2018, not a prediction for 2019. All SEC fan bases are convinced that the upcoming year is finally “their year” and there is no sense in disillusioning anyone before Valentine’s Day.
Anyway, the rankings:
1. Alabama (14-1) — Won the SEC title and a College Football Playoff semifinal and set all sorts of offensive records on the way, so you couldn’t rank anyone else at the top. It’s a good way to go out since, after the loss to Clemson, the program will be dismantled and a nice shopping center is planned for the Bryant-Denny Stadium site. Maybe we will get a Trader Joe’s. Seriously, Alabama is not dropping football, regardless of what you might hear.
I don’t know, Cecil. I have it on good authority that the sky is falling.
Jalen Hurts was in Miami last night.
Yes Canes Nation. Jalen Hurts is in the 305. @dinneratPrime112 with Manny Diaz— CaneSport (@CaneSport) January 14, 2019
Sleep tight. Coverage at https://t.co/Pl5q2WnOUE No predictions yet. pic.twitter.com/0jqdwky4TN
We should know where he’s headed very soon.
You probably heard that LaBryan Ray was arrested for public intoxication, a minor misdemeanor charge with which many a college kid has been acquainted. He tweeted out an apology.
To try to gain your trust back. Can't get this one back but I'm going to learn from it and continue to grow from it. Again I'm so sorry for letting y'all down.— R.I.P. Bat (@LabryanRay) January 14, 2019
Apparently Ray went to Midtown Village shopping center at 15th and McFarland while a little sloppy and refused to leave an establishment when asked. I’m sure he will learn from it. Ray is one of those key pieces on next year’s defensive line who has a chance for a breakout.
Last, take a look at this jackass.
Imagine being an auburn fan and driving all the way to SC to celebrate a victory that isn’t yours pic.twitter.com/FYmHip2EjV— Nathan (@JNB_USA_) January 13, 2019
He probably feels right at home, and there’s a lake!
That’s about it for today. Have a great week. Roll Tide.