Happy Monday, everyone. We have already given you the good news about Alabama softball sweeping the #6 Gators in Gainesville, and the bad news about baseball getting swept by Vandy. The ladies have played outstanding softball all season, and look like legitimate national title contenders with the return of Montana Fouts.
In football news, one of the two most valuable hips in the state is being replaced today.
Alabama coach Nick Saban will undergo surgery to have his right hip replaced on Monday, an Alabama football spokesman confirmed. Dr. Lyle Cain of Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center will perform the surgery.
Only the best can be trusted with the head man’s hips. He has to be able to cut a rug in five star living rooms, after all. In case you were wondering, the hip pain was a quick onset deal that started recently. As he told USA Today’s George Schroeder:
“I never noticed my hip at all until the first day of spring practice,” Saban told USA TODAY Sports. “I ran out on the field and it felt like I got a hip flexor. It didn’t feel like it was some injury or something like that, but it never went away and it actually kept almost getting worse.”
He’s getting it fixed now because he ain’t got time for that shit later.
The NFL Draft starts Thursday, and Alabama is expected to be well represented.
Like Thanos, Nick Saban will be bringing five rings (if you just count the ones he has won at Alabama) to the party. He is scheduled to be present in Nashville, depending on when his hip replacement surgery takes place and how quickly he has recovered.
Saban’s usual routine, though, has included being present for his ever-growing number of draft choices. His current total at Alabama is 77 players chosen — and that’s without a single player picked picked in the 2008 draft. Consider that again: Alabama didn’t have a single player chosen in an entire draft. Last year, a school record 12 were taken. This year will probably end up at around seven or eight, and by the 2021 draft, it is entirely possible the number of Saban/Alabama players chosen will edge up over 100.
Showing up to the draft 72 hours post-op would be peak Saban, and I’m betting he does it.
It is looking more likely that Alabama ends up with four first-rounders.
Irv Smith Jr. was one of Tua Tagovailoa’s favorite targets last season, recording 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 242-pound tight end is projected to go in the late first round or early second round.
Athlon Sports: No. 18 overall, Minnesota Vikings
Kiper/McShay: No. 24 overall, Oakland Raiders
Mel Kiper: No. 27 overall, Oakland Raiders
Todd McShay: No. 30 overall, Green Bay Packers
Sports Illustrated: No. 24 overall Tennessee Titans (mock draft trade from Chicago Bears)
Walter Sports: No. 40 overall (Round 2), Buffalo Bills
Irv has seemingly established himself as a first round lock to go along with Jonah Williams, Josh Jacobs, and perhaps the best player in the whole draft in Quinnen Williams.
I polled 14 personnel people this month on their choice as the best player in the NFL draft. Here were the totals: Q. Williams 6, Bosa 3, Murray 2, J. Allen 1, Haskins 1, Simmons 1.— Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn) April 20, 2019
Good for Quinnen, even if it seems that the top choice will come down to Kyler Murray and Nick Bosa. Still, if he were to manage the feat, he would be the first Tide player to go #1 overall since the NFL-AFL merger. Only two Alabama players have come off the board first: Harry Gilmer (1948, NFL) and Joe Namath (1965, AFL).
Filling Quinnen’s shoes won’t be easy, but the line looked strong in the spring.
“I think some of the other guys have certainly shown us that they have ability,” Saban said. “I think when they get in a competitive situation, they completely just dumb down. They can’t focus. They’re supposed to slant, they don’t slant. You can see the talent, you can see the ability, but they’ve got to develop confidence when they hear a call that this is what I do and trust in that and believe in that. And right now in practice, it’s starting to happen.
“But the next step is we’ve got to get it in a competition situation.”
Pretty clear that Antonio Alfano is in this “other guys” group. His explosiveness was undeniable, but he didn’t pick up all of the concepts immediately, as many don’t. He will be ready to make a difference by the end of fall camp.
Minkah Fitzpatrick is feeling great going into his sophomore campaign.
“But I think it definitely prepared me -- it’s not going to get much harder than that. You’re never going to be asked to play a whole different position on a Saturday or a Friday. That’s not going to get much harder than that. A lot of things were thrown at me. It prepared me. I just feel like this year, I’m going to use everything that I learned last year and just apply it.”
During the Dolphins’ voluntary minicamp last week under new coach Brian Flores, Fitzpatrick was asked which he’d like to be this year -- cornerback, nickel back or safety -- but he added a fourth option: “A football player.”
Yep, that’s Minkah. He just shows up to play great football wherever the coaches need him.
Nate Oats has jumped all over the hoops recruiting.
With a good chunk of the rest of April and early May falling under the Recruiting Period, the Tide staff has been all over the country visiting top prospects. On top of making one of their first visits to see five-star forward Trendon Watford on his spring break at the end of March, the Tide staff has checked in on guys like Villanova transfer point guard Jahvon Quinerly. The former McDonald’s All-American is moving on from the Wildcats after his freshman season. Bama also checked in on Howard combo guard transfer RJ Cole and his family this week, according to college basketball insider Andrew Slater. Two other visits per Slater include five-star point guard Daishen Nix, the No. 1 point guard in the 2020 class, on Sunday, and a stop to see four-star shooting guard Andre Jackson of Albany (N.Y.). BamaOnLine reported earlier this week, the Tide staff is expected to be in Athens, Ala. on Tuesday morning to visit with three-star shooting guard Austin Harvell.
If Oats doesn’t bring in top classes, it won’t be for lack of trying.
Last, check out this clip of an E60 on Tony Mandarich where Saban discusses introducing Tony Mandarich to his current wife.
When Nick Saban introduced Tony Mandarich to the woman who would become his girlfriend at Michigan State and, many years later, his second wife... https://t.co/s6qfCjAJUN— Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) April 21, 2019
As you may expect, Nick gives Miss Terry all the matchmaking credit.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.