clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jumbo Package: Greg Byrne’s one-man search committee is underway

The search for Bama basketball’s next coach begins in earnest.

Northern Arizona v Arizona
Please never wear those pants again, Greg.
Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The “Alabama Factor” is developing into lexical use amongst Alabama fans. So, what exactly does it mean anyway?

While Alabama’s head coach did not go into an explanation as to the origins of the “Alabama Factor” last week, Wills did offer his thoughts concerning the pieces involved in the “Alabama Factor” on and off the field.

”Commitment, discipline, effort, toughness, pride and developing yourself to be relentless for 60 minutes in a ball game.” Wills said. “Another big thing this year is discipline outside of football like in the classroom, just walking around the community, things like that.”

Today, we bid farewell to Dazon Ingram, who will be a grad transfer.

Ingram had reckless enthusiasm and energy, more than a little mean streak, and was a versatile all-around contributor. That...exuberance often cost him with turnovers, to be sure, but he made his free throws down the stretch in 2018, didn’t loaf, and was Avery Johnson’s first major commitment to the program after being named Alabama’s Mr. Basketball in 2015.

Ingram started 93 of his 108 games played, and posted 9 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds per game for a career. For detractors, particularly those wishing to grow social media fame by trashing kids? Ingram improved his turnovers every year on campus, whittling them from 3.4 his freshman year to just 2.0 per game in 22.2 minutes of action as a RS Junior. The timing of the turnovers were often bad, no doubt, but he was by no means a walking possession change either.

Best of luck to Alabama alum Dazon Ingram going forward. Roll Tide.


Two pieces of news from the recruiting trail. The first is Seth McLaughlin — a rare get from Gwinnett County, an area that is usually owned by the in-state ‘Dawgs.

McLaughlin is an intriguing prospect: literally every major program of note offered him, despite just being a three-star recruit. I’m sure the crootin’ folks will have more on McLaughlin later, but he’s certainly built more in the Jonah Williams, lengthy-not-beefy mold.

He’s not as explosive off the line as you’d want to see, and he will need to work on getting his pads lower, but he is an aware player, keeps his head up, squares-up, and has good hands. He appears more of a natural center despite being listed by the wire services as tackle. I don’t think he has the super-nasty streak to fit in at guard. But, players grow and change, and I’m just some dude on the internet offering a #take.

The second commitment is that of preferred walk-on tight end Richard Hunt. He’s a very raw player, but has good hands and length. He’s also pretty physical and a good option in the redzone. Despite not having much organized football under his belt, Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee all extended preferred walk-on spots to Hunt.

Richard Hunt, tight end from Briarcrest Christian in Eads, Tennessee, announced his decision to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity at the University of Alabama. The decision came after Hunt spent the weekend in Tuscaloosa. It was his first time visiting Alabama as a football recruit. However, he has been on campus several times since his sister is a sophomore at the Capstone.

Hunt will report with the other Freshmen in August.

They have a point.

Missouri is appealing the NCAA sanctions levied on their football program. The accusations were, frankly, pretty mild. And they were especially small fry in proportion to the hammer that the NCAA dropped on their heads:

In a 64-page appeal filed with the NCAA’s Appeals Committee on Monday, the school argued that the penalties it received were “contrary to NCAA case precedent,” “not supported or appropriate given the nature of violations” and could “have a chilling effect on future NCAA enforcement processes.”

In a news release detailing the appeal, the school said the sanctions it received were “overly-harsh.”

”We believe that the penalties our programs received were a clear abuse of the Committee (On Infraction)’s discretion based upon existing NCAA bylaws. Our staff and legal team have worked tirelessly to research and develop a well-written appeal that accurately reflects our position,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in the release.

Look at this film breakdown of Quinnen Williams. “Scary monster,” “franchise tackle,” and “first pick” about sums it up. The wrong person won the Heisman last season — and what should have been the proper selection wore a crimson No. 92 jersey.

I hate to keep sounding the alarm here, but football programs are hemorrhaging fans — posting the largest margin of decline in 34 years, and the worst overall attendance in 22 years. This and upcoming far smaller television contracts will be game-changers for the college football landscape. Some would say that a market correction, even an outright contraction, is probably long overdue in any event:

Of the top 30 schools in 2017 attendance, 20 stayed the same or declined in 2018. Among that top 30, Virginia Tech had the fifth-largest decline, 3,700 fans per game in the 66,233-seat Lane Stadium, behind the likes of USC, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida. Even in a national championship season, Clemson was down (slightly -- an average of 373 per game, according to the NCAA’s figures).

That made Virginia Tech somewhat of an outlier. The ACC was the only Power Five conference whose average attendance increased in 2018.

The Pac-12, for example, posted its lowest average attendance since 1982. The average per-team decline of 3,013 was the largest among FBS conferences since 2014 when the AAC lost 4,519 per game. The Big Ten sunk to its lowest average (65,365) since 1993. Conference USA and the Mountain West posted the lowest averages in their history.

Football Good Times are ending, so spend your money well, ADs...and do it soon. In Alabama’s case, that means getting the locker room and Coleman Coliseum done ASAP.

Keep this man healthy:

Terrell Lewis probably won’t practice again this spring for Alabama.

Alabama will likely sit the redshirt junior outside linebacker for the remainder of spring ball for precautionary reasons as he continues to work back from the torn ACL he suffered last summer, according to sources.

Lewis is as dynamic and athletic a force off the edge as Alabama has ever signed. Expected to be a key contributor last season, Lewis tore his ACL at the beginning of the Fall camp, and did not play again — though he rehabbed very hard to at least try and participate in the playoffs. For precautionary reasons, Lewis will be up on blocks for the balance of the Spring...and I am perfectly fine with that. A healthy Lewis could finally be poised for the long-awaited breakout season.

Go ahead and mark Kelvin Sampson and BDR off your ‘Bama scratch card. Yesterday, Greg Byrne and his self-proclaimed “one-man search committee” outlined what he is looking for in a new coach:

“Player development, college background, strong academics and NCAA compliance. Those will be four of the primary factors we’ll be looking at,” Byrne said at the Mal M. Moore Athletic Facility. “We want a relentless recruiter as a head coach and someone that has the ability to put together a great staff that recruits well and makes our student-athletes better across the board.

...We want to make sure we keep the University of Alabama’s reputation at the forefront of what we do.”

Byrne’s full remarks are at the link above. But, it is telling that explicitly noted the ongoing NCAA and FBI investigations as factors affecting his decision. Also of note, Byrne did not rule out top flight assistants, but did stress coach-as-relentless recruiter. FTR: The one knock on Thad Matta as a candidate was his perceived unwillingness at Ohio State to “play the game” in landing some of the nation’s biggest recruits. That may not be such a problem in and of itself, if he can land some aggressive recruiters with local knowledge (and there is such a person on staff already). And, with five bench coaches available, Bucky could get a nice promotion too! Wait, that’s probably playing the game though.

Casagrande breaks down Greg Byrne’s hiring history and takes a stab at reading between the lines of his presser:

We’ll take a look at what Byrne said Monday with context and perhaps some between-the-lines observations.

Let’s start with the fact this is Byrne’s first men’s basketball head coaching job search as an athletics director. He inherited Rick Stansbury at Mississippi State when he was AD there from 2008-10 and Sean Miller at Arizona when he worked there 2010-17. A few high-profile football coaches were hired on his watch including Dan Mullen at Mississippi State and Rich Rodriguez at Arizona. And he’s obviously well-connected after a lifetime in the college athletics administration world going back to childhood as the son of a prominent AD.

The Gymnastics squad will travel to Ann Arbor for its regional matchup and face an old foe in the Michigan Wolverines. The Tide and Wolverines split a home-and-away series the last two years.

There are significant changes to the regional format for 2019. And, honestly, I’m not sure if it favors Alabama’s chances to advance to the Super Six or not.

The No. 10 ranked Alabama gymnastics team is headed to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the regional round of the NCAA Championships it was announced via the NCAA selection show on Monday. The Crimson Tide will be one of the nine teams at the regional which will run April 4-6.

This year’s postseason format is significantly different this season. The number of teams that advance to regionals, 36, remains the same, but goes from six regional sites featuring a single six-team session, with the top-two teams advancing to the NCAA Championships, to a four-regional, three-round affair that includes four sessions.

Tonight the Baseball team travels to the godawful Biscuits park for their annual bad loss in Montgomery to Auburn. Some things are just fate: We just accept them and move along. Don’t read too much into tonight’s game.

Tomorrow, Softball looks to rebound after suffering its first defeat of the season, a walk-off loss in College Station. Then the Tide has a three-game series against Mississippi State. As far as SEC series goes, this is as about as easy they will come in the two-month grind. The Bulldogs are “just” 28th in the country.

And, finally, today we have another coaching candidate profile — Steve Prohm this time, and a Meet the New Guys piece from BT, breaking down the Tide’s NSD19 class of linebackers.

If Alabama signs Phil Jackson or anything, we’ll let you know. I expect we’re going to get a hire pretty quickly though, maybe even as early as today. Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Alabama are all actively looking. LSU has not fired Wiretap Will Wade yet, but that is a matter of time. For whatever reason, Nebraska has not pulled the trigger on Tim Miles yet either. And, Arizona still has not made a move on Sean Miller. So, if Alabama is going to strike fast, now’s the time to do it. Roll Damn Get That Contract Signed — Thad can borrow my vertebrae if need be.