Happy Monday, everyone. The Gym Tide eked out a win over Auburn on Friday, and the softball team swept both its Easton Crimson Classic games on Saturday before getting washed out on Sunday. If only a few softball games were the worst of the damage.
Our prayers go out to everyone impacted by the storms that went through our state and region today.— Greg Byrne (@Greg_Byrne) March 4, 2019
We will find a proper way to recognize/support at our basketball game on Tuesday.
At last count, more than 20 people had lost their lives in or near Beauregard, AL. Some of the pictures are just devastating, as Tuscaloosa residents know all too well. There will undoubtedly be information forthcoming on how you can help the victims.
In football news, the NCAA remains focused on player safety while trying to find the right balance with keeping the game watchable.
According to the proposed rule change, games that extend into a fifth overtime will instead go to alternating two-point conversions rather than traditional offensive possessions. In addition, teams would take two-minute breaks after the end of the second and fourth overtimes.
I may be in the minority, but I find the college overtime to be gimmicky. Keeping a team out of the red zone is half the battle. I’d rather see the possessions start on the offense’s own 25, and if need be decide the game on penetration after the third overtime. Yeah, it’s a little weird seeing everybody celebrate in a dog pile after crossing some random yard marker rather than the goal line, but at least they are playing football the whole time instead of the soccer shootout we have now.
In any event, after the fourth overtime the games are going to become a goal line contest if the rule passes. Plan on seeing lots of DL in the backfield.
Another tweak to the targeting rule would come in replay, and would remove an officiating crew’s ability to overturn a player’s ejection while still maintaining the accompanying 15-yard penalty.
Instead, officials would be instructed to evaluate the call on the field and come to just one of two conclusions: that the call is confirmed or overturned.
Basically, the replay officials will not have an “inconclusive” out on targeting. They will be required to make a firm call: it was targeting or it wasn’t. You’d have to think that the Devin White play against Mississippi State would have been overturned under those conditions. Increased punishment for repeat offenders is also on the table: a second confirmed targeting foul in the same season would result in suspension for the entirety of the current game plus the next, which would be a penalty of more than three halves for a foul that occurs early in the game.
In addition, the committee proposed banning two-man wedge blocking schemes from kickoffs — the NCAA has already eliminated three-man wedge schemes — and create a 15-yard penalty for players who “deliver a blindside block by attaching an opponent with contact,” per Steve Shaw.
“Peel-back” blocks should have been outlawed years ago. Yes, the generate a bunch of oohs and aahs because an unsuspecting player gets knocked into next week, but it’s by far the most dangerous play in the game. Josh Jacobs showed impeccable technique on this return by Jaylen Waddle:
Jaylen Waddle! His longest punt return since Week 5 pic.twitter.com/E0kVOuJ5iv— Grace Remington (@Grace_Remi) December 1, 2018
Much better to block three than decleat one.
Saban is keeping that St. Frances pipeline flowing.
St. Frances Academy has been good to the Crimson Tide. The powerhouse Baltimore, Md. program has sent players like Eyabi Anoma, Shane Lee and Darrian Dalcourt to Tuscaloosa. It’s also produced five-star Tide commit Chris Braswell in the 2020 class.
On Saturday, four-star receiver Traeshon Holden joined Braswell and committed to Alabama during a visit to Tuscaloosa.
WR is a critical need in the 2020 cycle with all three of the 2017 triplets draft eligible after this season.
Cecil Hurt is on point with the hoops program, as usual.
If things were better, showing progress, you wouldn’t have to think about the big picture. If they were significantly worse, that would be easy, too. But when things are same — the unchanging same — there is a more difficult puzzle to solve. Do you advocate blowing things up and starting from scratch? Would that makes things better or is it just a frustration reaction, a desire to overturn the apple basket just to see which way the apples will roll? Furthermore, you have to rely on guesswork about the future? Will it be better, or worse? Looking at Alabama’s returning roster — no Donta Hall, no Norris — and recruiting class to date, one might guess that it will be yet another 17-12 at this time next March.
I think there is one important factor that people miss when it comes to the Avery Johnson era. College basketball, particularly in the postseason, is a guard’s game. Outside of the very few programs who routinely put multiple “one-and-dones” on the floor, premium play and continuity in the backcourt is critical to team success. Current #1 Gonzaga has a senior point guard who is enjoying his best season. PG Tremont Waters returned to LSU and has been huge for the SEC leaders. #3 Virginia is a different team when junior PG Ty Jerome is healthy, and junior Jordan Bone runs things for #5 Tennessee.
Alabama has had a different leader in the backcourt for all four seasons in the Johnson era. Retin Obasohan had his best season by far in the first, Dazon Ingram and Corban Collins led things in what in hindsight may have been a masterful coaching job in year two, the Young Bull did his thing in year three and now the pre-freshman phenom Kira Lewis. Next season, the Tide will have a returning point guard along with plenty of other talent, including Diante Wood who may well have been that second ballhandler that this team lacks.
Two more blue chip guards, Jaden Shackleford and Jaylen Forbes, are on the way plus a good looking pure scorer on the wing in Juwan Gary. Hall will be tough to replace but there is some raw post talent on the roster including 268-lb. Javian Davis-Fleming, who took a redshirt after suffering an early knee injury.
Yes, every year has been next year, but assuming John Petty and Tevin Mack return, this will be the most continuity in the backcourt we’ve had in five years. Maybe they can get over that 20-win hump with some new reinforcements.
Auburn football, what is you doing?
Auburn football team performs halftime show with the Tiger Paws. pic.twitter.com/BB4u1JlMrj— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) March 2, 2019
Too bad Gus didn’t participate.
Last, former Alabama commit Carson Beck is now lying with Dogs.
Beck describes himself as long-time Georgia fan. He was a one-time Alabama commit,but he backed off the Crimson Tide a month ago. He’s rated as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and No. 4 quarterback overall in the 2020 recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
All of those statements above also apply to another Georgia quarterback. It’s Georgia’s quarterback of the present, Jake Fromm. He was an Alabama commitment before flipping to Georgia. Fromm was the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2017 recruiting cycle and the No. 4 quarterback overall.
Hopefully his record against Alabama will be similar to Fromm’s, too.
After the well-publicized racial incident involving since-departed QB Justin Fields, Kirby responded the only way he knew how: by assembling a QB room that’s whiter than a Lexus commercial.
Not sure that this past one was a December to Remember for the Dawgs, though.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.