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Jumbo Package: Non-NSD news edition

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With National Signing Day taking the bulk of our coverage today, here’s a few links for those averse to recruiting

NCAA Football: Arkansas State at Alabama John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Allen one of Alabama’s key longtime staff members

Allen is one of the unsung heroes within Alabama’s football program. But ask any player that has ever had to visit the sideline medical tent during a game or spend time in the training room during the week leading up to Saturdays, and they credit the trainer with their turnarounds.

Allen, however, gives all the credit to his willing patients.

“If you have an athlete that buys into what you’re doing with them medically, they’re going to get better,” Allen said. “And my other theory is great athletes heal. They heal differently than I do, than the normal person, and I think a lot of times as an athletic trainer, as a physician, if you’ll just get out of the way, they’re going to get better. Just keep them where they’re supposed to be, don’t do anything crazy, they’re going to heal, they’re going to heal quickly and they’re going to heal really well.”

Here’s a nice piece recognizing the work of Alabama’s head athletic trainer, Jeff Allen. He’s done an exceptional job over and over again over the years getting players back into action after injuries and seeing very few of them having repeats of the same injury. He’s definitely an integral cog in the machine that is Alabama football.

Report: Alabama LB, former five-star prospect Eyabi Anoma enters NCAA transfer portal

Eyabi Anoma was the highest-rated player in Alabama’s 2018 recruiting class, which finished ranked No. 5 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. His stay in Tuscaloosa might not last long, though. According to Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Anoma has entered his name into the NCAA’s new transfer portal after just one season with the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder played in 13 games for the 2018 SEC champions, notching nine tackles and two tackles for loss. A reserve linebacker who was recruited as a defensive end, Anoma saw most of his work on special teams for the Crimson Tide.

Some of you already began discussing this one in the comments yesterday, so here’s your official link. Mixed in with the news of Kyriq McDonald looking to transfer the day before, and this just sucks. I hate offseasons.

That said, just because it’s reported that his name is in the portal, it definitely doesn’t mean he’s for sure gone. I’d hold on and see if it actually happens, but if he does officially leave, you have my full permission to start swinging your cacti.

Alabama Can’t Claim Toughest SEC Football Schedule

Meanwhile, Alabama’s three non-conference games on the Bryant-Denny Stadium schedule each year have been horrible. Now we have not only a pathetic season-opener in Duke in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium – the home of the Tide’s 2017 national championship, the home of Sunday’s Super Bowl, the home of the SEC Championship game – but Tuscaloosa games against New Mexico State, Southern Miss, and Western Carolina.

There is one overriding reason that Alabama’s schedule ranking takes a bit of a hit each year. That’s because the Crimson Tide can’t play itself. All those SEC teams that have Bama on the schedule get an upvote.

It should also be noticed that Alabama continues to play a number of games against teams with either open dates or FCS opponents (about the same as an open date) the week before playing the Tide. This year there are seven of those.

Man I really hate this schedule. It looks horrible and weak to outside eyes, but is really laden with less visible traps and pitfalls. Alabama will have absolutely no room for error unless the SEC West winds up being even better than expected and it is finally, actually Tennessee’s year.

Derrick Henry loves Tennessee Titans’ choice for offensive coordinator

For the second straight season, Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry will work with a new offensive coordinator, who said the former Alabama All-American “will be a big part of our offense” in 2019.

Matt LaFleur, the NFL team’s offensive coordinator in 2018, left Tennessee to become the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. The Titans promoted tight-ends coach Arthur Smith to the vacant position. Smith has worked on Tennessee’s staff since 2011.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Henry said about the 2019 season while attending the NFL Honors program on Saturday night in Atlanta. “We just got Arthur as our offensive coordinator, a guy that I love. I think he’s going to do a great job with us.”

Just like at Alabama, it took Henry a couple of seasons to really warm up to the next level of the game. In year three in the pros, he caught fire about halfway through the season and was one of, if not the, best running back in the final half of the year. Here’s to hoping 2019 sees him winning MVP.