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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Amari Cooper gets to be a first round draft pick for the second time in his career

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

‘We’ll be watching Amari highlight tape’

On Tuesday, Stephen Jones arrived in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine and met with media.

Asked about his team not having a first-round pick this season — the Cowboys traded their first to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for receiver Amari Cooper in October — Jones gave a very Jones-family answer:

When the Raiders pick with our pick, we’ll be watching Amari highlight tape,” he said.

Cooper totaled 53 catches for a team-high 725 yards and six touchdowns in just nine regular-season games with Dallas.

This might have been the sound bite of the month. Any amount of editorializing on my part would just diminish the effect, so enjoy that zinger.

Kicking Woes a Thing of the Past for Alabama Football?

In addition to the top-ranked kicker, Alabama has hired two new special teams assistants: Joe Houston from Iowa State and Jonathan Galante from Virginia Tech. Houston brings the “kicking whisperer” title with him in his journey to Tuscaloosa, much to the excitement of Alabama Football fans everywhere. Houston and Galante are well-versed developing new kickers into big-time names. Both staff additions come touted with substantiated records from their respective pasts.

Both of these guys are hired as off-field quality control staff, whatever that means. I don’t know how Saban works in their expertise, but Houston was once a kicker for USC and has experience as a special teams coordinator. At this point, anything different would probably be a welcome addition for Alabama’s field goal kicking training.

What’s behind No. 5 Alabama softball’s best start in 6 years

Still, after a rare two-year absence from the Women’s College World Series, a few new faces have helped pumped new breath into the program.

Alabama is outscoring opponents 113-27 in the 15 wins entering a six-game week starting Wednesday. The Tide takes its 23-0 series record to Birmingham for a 6 p.m. CT visit to UAB (8-7) before playing host to the Crimson Classic from Friday-Sunday.

“The team defense has been the biggest surprise to me,” Alabama coach Patrick Murphy said. “We were last in the SEC in errors and first in walks, which was not a good combination. And they’ve done a lot better job of going after batters and team defense is 100 percent better.”

It’s nice to see the softball program whipping back into the elite shape we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the past decade. We’ve already talked about her ad naseum around here, but freshman pitcher Montana Fouts has been stupendous so far.

Now we just have to get gymnastics back to where they used to be and get football to avenge the national championship, and all will be right with the universe.

Capstone Report with DC: Identities for Alabama Football and Hoops

On the football field, Alabama has had a reputation for bruising running games. This past season, the offense utilized the passing game much more with the talents of Tua Tagovailoa and the crop of receivers and tight ends. According to DC, figuring how to properly utilize the numerous options on the roster proved to be an issue with the team’s identity.

”Not really, I think we were torn a little bit by how we were going to get the ball down the field, and I think we were looking at passing the ball, then trying to run the ball, and we really didn’t have a good identity.” DC said.

Oooohhhh, I do love a good run vs. pass playcalling identity argument. Like any good political debate, both parties are usually pretty entrenched in their encampment and are more than happy to use anecdotal evidence to validate their view.

So now’s your chance to weigh in. It’s offseason, and I’m getting bored. Do you think Alabama abandoned to run game too much in 2018 (and that it led to the season ultimately falling apart in the last game?) And, relatedly, do you think Steve Sarkisian will compound the issue— if it is an issue— in 2019.

Ready.... Fight!