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Jumbo Package: Alabama Football returns to the practice field

But, there are some notable injuries and absences this Spring

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Dylan Moses sounds giddy; we cannot rule out squeeing on the part of the 5-star Baton Rouge product:

“I’m really excited to be able to have that position. I always wanted it,” he said. “That’s something me and Coach (Nick) Saban spoke about when I first came into the program and when I was recruited. So, to finally be the Mike linebacker to quarterback the defense, I’m happy and I’m excited.

“... I’ve always been natural at it because ever since little league and high school, I’ve always played Mike linebacker. ... Like I said, I’m really excited. I’m happy. I’m overjoyed to be playing the position again.”

NIT Ticket information:

All seats for the NIT are general admission, except courtside (front court and back court) and baseline seating areas.

Ticket prices are as follows: $14 for courtside seats (front court and back court) and baseline reserved seats (those tickets are available only to regular season courtside and baseline ticket holders); $12 for adult general admission seats; $4 for general admission tickets for youths age 18 and under; and $4 for UA Students who present a valid I.D.

To reserve their floor seats, courtside and baseline regular-season ticket holders must order tickets by Monday, March 18 at 5 p.m. CT.

I love general admission seating. People that actually want to be at the game, and into the game, get the best spots. Alabama’s first round opponent is not a very good one, even by NIT standards. But, it would be nice to see a raucous crowd, despite an attendance-killing 6:00 p.m. start.

Mad respect and funny anecdotes in here, especially about Death Valley’s huge cheer when fans thought Tua wasn’t coming back in the game.

Ryan Clark said he hates Tua Tagovailoa.

He does so for all the right reasons, which also appears to be a sign of respect.

The former LSU defensive back and college football analyst shared his thoughts - jokingly, it appeared - about the Alabama quarterback during Monday’s edition of “Get Up!” on ESPN.

Mother of all mismatches:

Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith led the two outside receiver lines during drills. Slade Bolden and Tyrell Shavers were the second group. The third group consisted of Xavier Williams and freshman John Metchie. Jerry Jeudy was first in the slot receiver line, followed by Jaylen Waddle and walk-on Chris Herring.

Jeudy in the slot? That’s simply unfair.

More practice notes in the above article, including the renewed absence of linebacker Ale Kaho.

FYI: Alabama’s Pro Day is today, so we’ll have coverage of that tomorrow for you.

Spencer was fascinated by the Watkins trial in Birmingham. And well he should have been; it was one of the most star-laden, nutty things to happen to a court of law in a long time. The word “circus” doesn’t do it justice.

If you missed parts of the trial, or never paid attention to begin with, you really should take some time over lunch to read the humorous synopsis of this madness.

It is -O! so, Birmingham:

Between 2009 and 2014, a prominent attorney and his son were accused of bilking investors out of more than $10 million in investments in a biofuels company. These investors included professional athletes like NFL great Takeo Spikes, former NFL players like Gibril Wilson, and NBA legend, TNT commentator, and future governor of Alabama Charles Barkley. All of them testified or were deposed in the case, appearing along with witnesses like former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and civil rights activist Martin Luther King III.

At one point it kinda involved trying to buy the St. Louis Rams? And a man cross-examining himself on the stand? There is a lot here, is what I’m saying, and most of the country missed it. If this trial had happened in New York or Los Angeles, there would have been no other sports stories happening that week. But it happened in Birmingham.

I mean, Johnson’s saying the right things...sort of?

We’re playing in the NIT because we just weren’t good enough during the regular season, and we weren’t consistent enough. But this is an opportunity for us to play postseason. Like I said earlier and alluded to, continue to develop better habits, better leadership, better chemistry, more discipline, more communication, work on our defense. We took a step back defensively this year. We’ve got to be a better free throw shooting team. And we’ll be in situations where we’ll some real game situations where we can work on just becoming a better basketball team.”

Hopefully that royal we includes himself: better habits, better situational play, more discipline has to begin with him, to say nothing of chemistry which has always been an issue with Johnson’s reliance on a bench that isn’t nearly as deep as he thinks it is.

In the 20+ years played under existing college football overtime rules, only five times have teams had to endure marathon even-plus games. But, three of those happened in the SEC, most recently last season between Texas A&M and LSU. The SEC wants to eliminate that:

Five seven-overtime games spread across the thousands and thousands of games over a 23-year span makes them essentially lightning strike events, but when that lightning bolt finds your backyard three out of five strikes, you’d start to wonder how to prevent them, too.

The SEC’s presidents gathered during their conference’s basketball tournament in Nashville last week, and the meeting ended with a consensus idea to tweak the existing overtime structure: After four overtimes (letting both teams take the ball last twice), the game would then move exclusively to 2-point conversions until a winner emerges.

This is actually a good idea. While we may be deprived of a few extra frames of free football, in today’s uptempo game, more snaps are not to the benefit of the players. We know that the number one cause of injury is fatigue, and a four-overtime game with a few extra well-executed two-point plays can be just as memorable.

This Collin Sexton kid may have a decent future at basketball:

During his past five games, Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Collin Sexton has broken records belonging to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.

The former Alabama standout eclipsed Irving’s record for the most 3-pointers made by a Cleveland rookie with 74, and he broke James’ record for consecutive 20-point games by a Cavaliers’ rookie with five.

This is about #politics, but is very #NoPolitics:

Andrew Yang believes so strongly that college athletes should get paid that he’s made it a policy position of his presidential campaign.

Lumped in with policies like “legalize marijuana,” “free marriage counseling for all” and “life-skills education in all high schools” on Yang’s campaign. On his website is a link to a page titled “NCAA should pay athletes.”

Yang is an interesting cat. At the very least, he is a thoughtful guy. I mean, he’s wholly unelectable, half of his platform is completely unconstitutional, and even more are infeasible, but other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? Still, it is cool at least to see big ideas — or at least ones that can actually affect people, percolate up from the primordial ooze of politics to something as banal as college sports, even if Yang does come off like a bit of a crank at times. Exhibit A: Last night he said he wanted to have a national dialogue about circumcision.

In retrospect, pay-for-play advocates may not want the anti-weenie-cutting guy championing their cause.

Yup. He’s right:

Although the junior quarterback dazzled Alabama fans with his arm and quick release on the field, he cited one area of improvement that he believes is important for his development in 2019.

”I’d say the biggest thing for me to work on would be my eyes because my eyes could be a blessing for me and it can also be a curse because I get through things so quick that I end up skipping progressions as well. I say I need to tie my eyes to my feet.” Tagovailoa said.

Tua did skip some reads last year, relying on intuition and uncanny accuracy — and he largely got away with miscues that would punish mere mortals. But, when that guesswork went wrong, it went very, very wrong. And that’s all we shall about that game. #TankForTua

And, pals, are the beat guys ever milking out pieces from one Tua interview. So, here ya go:

This is a fascinating read, and frankly surprising. The NCAA is looking at toughening up some of its student-athlete safety regs, including better training and accreditation for Strength coaches. But, real-world legal issues arise when you regulate more and more conduct, and set more and more benchmarks — the so-called standard of care — and the end product is that the duties owed to others expand as well. Thus, the NCAA could be exposing themselves to even more liability down the road...and would be doing so voluntary. It was long speculated that the reason the NCAA had not acted before now was the fear of litigation: the more duties owed, the more potential breaches of those duties arise. I honestly don’t know the endgame or motivation in possibly undertaking this now may be, but I will assume something very cynical until proven otherwise.