Yesterday morning, the University of Michigan basketball program threatened to send ripples across the college landscape, with the sudden and somewhat abrupt resignation of legendary coach Jim Beilein. While Beilien has never cut down the nets in Ann Arbor, he is the winningest coach in Michigan history, and over the last five years his program has been among the best in the nation — particularly in tournament play.
Beilein’s departure to the Cleveland Cavaliers immediately sent a cold chill down the spine of the Alabama faithful, as its recently-hired basketball coach Nate Oats is a lifelong Michigander. There is little doubt that Oats would have been given a look by the Wolverines too — as BOL noted, Oats ties to the area run deep.
Oats has ties to the state of Michigan as he completed 11 seasons as head coach at Romulus High School, winning the school’s first state title in 27 years in 2012-13 and finished the season 27-1 prior to coaching at the University of Buffalo. He was named the 2013 Detroit News State Coach of the Year, the Detroit Free Press State Coach of the Year, and BCAM State Coach of the Year.
Fortunately, it looks like the excitement between Oats and Alabama cuts both ways:
Text from Nate Oats: “I love it in Alabama. Completely focused on my job there and getting my family moved down there. I hope my former assistant at Romulus, Saddi Washington, who’s been with Beilein the longest at Michigan gets a shot at the job. Roll Tide.” #Michigan— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) May 13, 2019
So, who wants to make Big 10 speed jokes now? I’m really glad this happened the first week of May rather than the last week of March.
Between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, the Dawgs and Tide are going to drag the rest of the SEC kicking and screaming into respectable home-and-home scheduling. The Bulldogs have been more aggressive in securing deals lately, but they always had the most ground to make up too.
I do wonder, however, what all of these deals a decade-plus in the future hold for the possibility of a nine-game SEC schedule: I’m guessing the possibility is even more remote than they are now. Nick Saban is one of the few who have publicly pushed for an expanded conference slate. But, to date, the proposal has died on the vine in Perdido every year during Summer meetings. And now, with all of these big-dollar games on the menu, schools have even more reason to pushback against a ninth SEC game. And that’s a shame for fans, for players, and for the sport: I know I would much rather see a ninth conference team than add more pap like New Mexico State to the schedule.
This is an outstanding piece from Travis Reier revisiting Spring questions from the Tide’s various position groups. In the most recent installment, he answers questions about the defensive line, such as the impact that Coach Brian Baker will have on the Tide’s deep-but-young group along the defensive front:
Post-spring thoughts: As expected, Davis and Ray went wire-to-wire at the end positions in the spring. When the defense went with pass rush heavy personnel groupings in the A-Day game, both Davis and Ray worked inside at times. With touch rules in effect for the quarterbacks, each had sacks in the spring game. No one questions the talent of either player. Where Baker will have an opportunity to make an immediate impact is in the area of maximizing production of the duo. If there was a surprise in April it wasn’t that an early enrollee made an impact on the rotation, it was that by the final week of drills, D.J. Dale worked his way up to first-team status at nose tackle. Dale’s lone tackle in the A-Day game went for a sack. His rapid ascent came at the expense of Mathis, who repped with the second-team defense late in the spring. Meanwhile, fellow newcomers Eboigbe and Alfano saw time with the 2s in the final scrimmage of the spring, with the duo combining to post six total tackles and three sacks on A-Day.
Alabama men’s golf, mired in an up-and-down season, finds itself in a familiar position in the NCAAs: staring up at the cut line with a lot of work to do.
”We started with the energy that’s needed and a game plan to be successful, but unfortunately we just weren’t,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “Golf is a very hard game. We have our own issues that we just have not been able to overcome and just couldn’t get that fourth score today. We certainly put ourselves behind the eight-ball. These are the moments that we will see how we respond. It feels pretty low at this moment to be honest with you, but sometime between now and tomorrow we need to regroup and play to a high standard. There’s 36 more holes to play and we are good enough to overcome this. I think if we have a couple of really good days, which we are capable of, we can get back in this thing and that’s exactly what I am going to tell our guys tonight.”
The Tide are 18-over, presently sit in 12th place (of 13 teams), and need to make up a full 10 strokes to reach the 5th place cut line. As Coach Seawell noted, the talent is there to make up some ground over the next 36 holes, but that is one steep uphill climb for the Tide. And, to be brutally honest, they’ve not consistently been able to do that this season.
To no one’s surprise, Georgia leads the field by two strokes, carding an even round through one on the ‘Dawgs palatial home course. But, it is also a notoriously hard course. No team shot below par, and just one — UGA — even made par. You can follow the action on Golfstat here.
Speaking of golf, Alabama’s own Justin Thomas scratched himself from the PGA Championships yesterday :(
Justin Thomas announced on Monday he is withdrawing from the PGA Championship due to a wrist injury.
”Unfortunately, I will be withdrawing from the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this week as my wrist is not yet fully healed,” Thomas wrote on Twitter. “Obviously, as a past Champion, this tournament is extra special to me. It consistently has the strongest field in golf and I’m disappointed to not be among those competing this year but I’m optimistic about a return in the near future.”
With the Orange Bowl not hosting a College Football Playoff game this season, the bowl governors arrived at the obvious conclusion to moved the game back to its traditional January 1st prime time window.
The Orange Bowl was the first college bowl game to be played at night, and it has traditionally done so since 1965.
The Transfer Portal has completely upended recruiting and scouting. ABC Sports did a great story on how coaches have had to adjust to the Portal and what its impact has meant on day-to-day talent evaluation:
Justin Crouse, director of player personnel for Memphis, makes his first check of the transfer portal around 8 a.m. each day, searching for new names in the NCAA’s database of football players looking for a new school.
He checks again at lunch and one more time — at least — before he calls it day. For years, Crouse’s primary duties for Memphis have been identifying and evaluating recruits in high school and junior college. That was pre-portal.
”I would say 40 percent of the time now is concentrating on guys that are leaving other places,” Crouse said.
New Jets DL Quinnen Williams recorded a pressure on a ridiculous 16.7% of his pass-rushes last year at Alabama – a figure that ranked 1st in the class and in the nation.
One in six snaps, Q is pressuring the QB...from the nose. Man, I know that Williams went third overall in the NFL Draft, and is about to be stupid-rich, but the Jets got an absolute steal.
Giving the people of Alabama what absolutely no one clamored for, Tommy Tuberville has decided to join a crowded GOP field into trying to take a run at Sen. Doug Jones Senate seat.
This will be a proxy Iron Bowl by other means — seriously, does he think that Auburn coat tails run deep enough to break away from the pack? Don’t think for one second that Mo Brooks (Alabama ‘78), Gary Palmer (Alabama ‘79), Bradley Byrne (Alabama ‘80), or even Jones himself (Alabama ‘76), ‘is going to let Tubby forget where to shove those fingers.
And, on the other side of the equation, would the real Barners like Ainsworth (AU ‘02) or Del Marsh (AU ‘81) line up behind him?
This is going to be a hilarious hot mess, y’all. RIP your local political ads...I dare you to read the Al.com comments.
We’ll have a special announcement for you folks in about an hour. One that will make everyone very happy — it involves football coverage and a lot more of it.
Stay tuned, have a great day, and Roll Tide.