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Jumbo Package: Alabama’s reborn defense continues to be the Spring’s main takeaway

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The secondary picked off four passes, and the running lanes were closed for business. What else could you want?

Alabama Spring Game Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Good morning. Hope your Tuesday is off to a fast start...but is it Waddle-Fast?

As CB recapped this morning, Alabama star freshman pitcher Montana Fouts hit the mound last night looking to help the Tide earn a sweep of the No. 18 Georgia Bulldogs, and she was dealing — despite being hampered by a nagging injury which may affect her the rest of the season. Bottom of the 7th, with a base open in a tie game, surely Georgia wouldn’t pitch to Kaylee Tow?

Right?

We were discussing the A-Day game offline yesterday, and I’m not sure if we just have too much ‘Bama in us, Pawwwwl, but we actually walked away feeling pretty good overall. The defense has been reborn hard in many areas (pass rush, D-Line depth, run-D, secondary). The offensive line was a shuffle with 9 players competing for five spots and basically reinforcing what we’ve all known (among them, that Womack is better on the interior and the Alabama greatly needs Jedrick Wills back). Despite that, there were a lot of negative recaps out there.

That’s why it was good to hear Rodney Orr’s [TiderInsider] recap last night. We apparently weren’t alone in recognizing the glorified practice for what it was: Rather than going for the smoking hot takes, Orr was also sanguine about the sloppy field, the vanilla schemes, and the intent of the exercise being to give a lot of new faces a chance to earn a spot on the two-deep. In short, it was a developmental exercise — not a game meant to entertain ESPN.

”It was basically what I thought going in. I thought we would see a lot of youth out there obviously on the defense side, a lot of athletic players on that side of the ball. Potential, I think we saw a lot of that.” Orr said.

On offense, the TiderInsider founder focused his attention on the offensive line including the absence of Jedrick Wills and Matt Womack along with the experimentation up front.

”You had a lot of shuffling also going on in the offensive line. You saw Chris Owens at center, but then you saw Emil Ekiyor come in and play the center spot, flip from guard to center and Owens flipped over to guard. So there was a lot of movement going on up front.” Orr said.

Negativity sells. But I think we’d rather talk football with Orr. #shrug

Nick Saban notoriously doesn’t have a depth chart before the season begins. And, aside from a few guys (Tua, Jeudy, etc.) you tend to believe him this season when he says that everyone will compete for every spot in the Fall.

Nick Saban said Alabama doesn’t have a depth chart.

“Nobody’s going to be entitled to anything when it comes to next fall,” he said. “I know that guys, all you care about is the depth chart. We don’t have a depth chart. Everybody’s going to compete.”

But what if there was a depth chart?

Read Charlie’s shot at a two-deep following Spring.

Stadium Sports has quickly made a name for itself this March/April, with its coverage of hoops — and often breaking scoops. Jeff Goodman may occasionally fire off a rumor before it is ripe, but he knows his hoops.

That’s why his Top 25 for 2019-2020 is...uhhh...exciting, to say the least:

11. ALABAMA: New coach Nate Oats retained Kira Lewis and John Petty, and added West Virginia grad transfer Beetle Bolden. He also brings back Herb Jones and Tevin Mack, and it’ll likely be a big man by committee approach.

And this doesn’t even factor in ‘Bama’s recruiting class stocked with shooters or Alex Reese.

Speaking of Hoops recruiting, one player that looks like he will escape Alabama’s recruiting efforts is Trendon Watford. After trending to the Tide for the last few weeks, several developments occurred the past three days that seems to have affected the ESPN100 swing man’s ultimate destination: LSU “reinstating” Will Wade — just in time for signing day, Alabama closing in on former UB Bulls / Hutchinson CC JUCO All-American James Rojas, an in-home visit to Indiana by Watford among them, and an impromptu visit to Memphis that set the Rivals’ crystal balls afire.

Then, yesterday, Watford used the pretext of the Jordan Brand game not being televised to indicate he would delay his commitment announcement even further.

With Rojas rumored to be joining Nate Oats, that all-but assures that either Alabama is losing one from this case or that Watford is heading elsewhere. And my money is still on him joining Jeffries and Wiseman in Memphis.

Can we have a real-talk moment? I’m about tired of Watford’s grand self-promotion production anyway. I’d rather have six system guys and 25 wins at this point.

But if your heart is still set on Watford, and you’ll be bereft when he goes to the NIT with Penny and Wiseman, cheer up: Rojas is a proven swing player that Oats had signed to Buffalo, and he put up some great production — 14.8 ppg and 5.8 rpg (shooting 50% from the floor.) Put your eggs in that basket.

#GolfSchool

The No. 24 Crimson Tide Men’s Golf team is tied atop the leaderboard at Shoal Creek. Play was suspended for darkness, but the course familiarity certainly has been a great help to ‘Bama this week.

You can follow today’s final round action via GolfStat.

I was always high on Layne Hatcher — I thought he had as high a ceiling as Mac Jones, even if he wasn’t accustomed to elite competition and would require more development. The Jonesboro native held an offer to Arkansas State before joining the Tide as a late addition to last season’s class.

But, with Alabama signing Paul Tyson and Tulia Tagovailoa; Sark trying to flip Bryce Young; and the Tide’s full-court press for the generational arm-talent of DJ Uiagalelei, Hatcher’s playing time prospects were growing thin. Rather than being buried on the bench, Hatcher has instead entered the portal and will likely transfer to Arkansas State to complete his collegiate eligibility. He is a redshirt Freshman, so he has plenty of snaps in his future. Best of luck, Layne. I think this really is the best move for everyone.

We weren’t alone in praise for the revamped ‘Bama defense. TSN also has a great piece on Alabama’s defense in the Spring game.

If Alabama fans hoped to glean anything of value from the Crimson Tide’s spring game on Saturday (as much as can be extracted from a glorified scrimmage, anyway), then they need only look at two plays.

...

The second play was Tagovailoa’s final throw of the game, which was hawked out of the air by cornerback Trevon Diggs. It was one of four interceptions the secondary pulled down on the day, the proverbial nail in the coffin as the White Team prevailed over the Crimson 31-17, and a sign the secondary has made those strides in the spring.

This weekend Alabama hosted the OV for the nation’s No. 1 WR Julian Fleming. And it worked out great:

As far as first official visits go, Alabama didn’t disappoint.

“I went again to just feel it out and I loved it,” Fleming said. “I didn’t even wanna leave today when it came down to it.”

Currently Fleming has a top six of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, and Penn State in no particular order. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Fleming is rated the No. 1 wide receiver and the No. 5 overall player in the country, per the industry-generated 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Interesting tidbit in here about what Saban tells elite recruits that gets their attention — and guaranteed playing time ain’t it.

Who’d have ever thought that Alabama would become a destination spot for wide receivers in the modern game? Yet another debt we owe to Julio Jones that can never be fully repaid.

That’s about it for the day, barring some breaking news. i’m off to the ‘Barn to watch my kiddo’s first solo aria with the opera, so I’ll be out of pocket. But, I will assume the rest of you wonderful folks will be having a great Spring day. After a soggy weekend, it’s shaping up to be a glorious one.

Roll Tide