Happy Thursday, everyone. Only four more days until we find out if Alabama’s senior class will be seen as the single dominant team of its era, or if they will settle for a “split” with Christian Wilkins, Mitch Hyatt and company. A bunch of bowls were played since Alabama and Clemson stamped their tickets to Santa Clara, and the Sugar left a particularly bitter taste in the mouths of Dawg fans. One former Bulldog star didn’t hold back on what he saw.
Coach Smart said Texas “wanted it more” and he said, “I hope they learn you better show up to play every game because the teams you’re playing at the end of the year are all capable of topping you.”
With all due respect, Coach, “hope” isn’t gonna get it done. You can’t “hope” they get it. You have to make them get it. That only happens with a no-exceptions culture that is either bought into, or players play somewhere else. You’ve seen it done. As Alabama’s defensive coordinator, you have championship rings proving it can be done….with this generation of athletes. I mean no disrespect, but later for all that “hope” stuff, bruh.
Wow. It will be interesting to see how Kirby weathers his first real storm in Athens. Let Eason take off in Washington and Fields transfer out while Fromm continues to lay a couple of eggs a season, and things might get a little dicey over there.
Hey, remember that whole deal about Kirby taking photos of the recruiting board on his way out of town and using it against Alabama? Yeah, about that...
“To me from an ethical standpoint, I’ve recruited some of these guys and if I didn’t have a chance to recruit them for Maryland...it’s kind of hard to go from telling a kid Alabama is the best thing to hey, now Maryland is the best thing,” Locksley said. “I thought it was the right thing to do.”
This is how the grown-ups behave. Best of luck, Coach.
A couple of game notes:
-- Starting outside linebacker Christian Miller was off to the side but fully dressed for practice. He was working to get loose, it appeared, as he works back from a hamstring injury suffered Saturday against Oklahoma. His status for Clemson remains unclear.
-- For a second straight day, Anfernee Jennings was also dressed out but watching outside LB drills during the media viewing period.
Jennings sitting out for two straight days is concerning. Hopefully it’s nothing that will hold him back on Monday. Jamey Mosley would appear to be the next man up in that spot.
ERIC SINGLE: CLEMSON 42, ALABAMA 38
The secondary that everyone said was the weakness of Clemson’s defense played like it had something to prove in the Cotton Bowl, but Notre Dame’s receivers don’t have the speed that Jerry Jeudy and DeVonta Smith bring to the table. With another shootout on deck, Trevor Lawrence will have to be incredible, a challenge that he has met every time he’s been asked to since the Tigers’ close call against Syracuse in September. He poses a different type of dual-threat challenge than Kyler Murray did, because he moves more efficiently than anyone should expect a true freshman to and is more of a threat on zone-read keepers and broken plays than any 6’6” quarterback should be. (It would help his cause if the Tigers got Travis Etienne going early.
Easy to see why Eric is Single, am I right?
Since the start of 2015, Alabama is 55-3 while Clemson is 54-4.
“They’ve done just as good a job as anybody in the country when it comes to what they’ve been able to accomplish over the last decade in terms of consistency and performance each and every year,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “It’s just a really, really good program.”
That one game difference is Alabama’s 2-1 edge head to head. Amazing.
Happy Anniversary, Coach!
Nick Saban hired 12 years ago today.— Jim Dunaway (@jimdunaway) January 3, 2019
"Know this about Saban, He was miserable in the NFL, and in time, he'll be miserable in Tuscaloosa. Perhaps CFB is where he belongs, but he picked the wrong place at the wrong time to ease his throbbing temples. #RollTide @JOXRoundtable
Whoever wrote that was a prophet.
In #ThingsAlabamaFansDon’tCareToDiscuss, Andy Staples examines how many programs Saban could take to the promised land.
This is a fascinating question. We’ve seen Saban build monsters at LSU and Alabama, but could The Process work anywhere? The two biggest commonalities at LSU and Alabama are proximity to elite players and a willingness to spend money, but with so much more money in the system than when Saban was hired at LSU before the 2000 season, a lot of schools meet that second criterion now.
Andy comes up with 23 altogether. What say you?
In recruiting news, the Under Armour All-American game is tonight at 5pm CT on ESPNU. Alabama will have several representatives, including center Darrian Dalcourt.
Dalcourt, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound lineman, spent three seasons playing right tackle, but moved to center for his senior season at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Honestly, it was one of the most difficult things I had to go through in my football career -- going from tackle where you’re in open space to center, where everything is condensed,” he said at the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Florida. “You’re the leader of the line. It was a hard position for me, but my teammates helped me get through it and I ended up really excelling at it.”
Dalcourt is the reason that Clay Webb wasn’t a top priority. Look for him to compete for time immediately.
The All American Bowl is played on Saturday, and a couple of Alabama’s defensive line reinforcements will look to show out. Check out Byron Young first.
#Alabama commit Byron Young in the joint @19AllAmerican Bowl practice pic.twitter.com/e8Jm9jJIel— Hank South (@HankSouth247) January 2, 2019
That is some serious power, but Antonio Alfano has been the talk of the camp.
Alabama signee Antonio Alfano has had a terrific start to practice today https://t.co/XHbkz9Gzuq @TimWatts_BOL @BamaOnLine247 @HankSouth247 pic.twitter.com/NW861aaorq— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) January 1, 2019
I think I’m going to be tweeting about Antonio Alfano a lot this week @19AllAmerican pic.twitter.com/63Uh0PeYqn— Hank South (@HankSouth247) January 1, 2019
Proud of Antonio today!! pic.twitter.com/Oqo1lXeEmG— Frank Alfano (@frankalfano76) January 1, 2019
These two guys have a great shot to make an immediate impact, and Alfano might actually be a favorite to start next season.
Last, talk about great work if you can get it...
Another main reason the Outback board has more than tripled McVay’s pay over the last 20 years, according to Schember, is because McVay routinely tells them NFL teams are trying to pry him out of the bowl world.
“At least every other year . . . he’ll come to a board meeting and say an NFL team has contacted me, and they’ve got a job in their front office, and they want to know if I’m interested . . . part of the reason he is so well-compensated is so he isn’t tempted to leave,” Schember said.
A million bucks a year to plan one bowl, about double what similar bowls pay their top executives. Maybe this is why they can only afford shoe leather for steaks.
That’s about it for today. Have a great workday.