The normally garrulous Tua Tagovailoa was very cagey when asked about Coach Sark. It seems that there will be a lot more wrinkles to Alabama’s offense in 2019 than what many expect — and certainly than what the offense showed in the Spring game:
Q: What are some things he’s added to the offense this spring?
Tua: “I mean, I don’t want to speak too much about that. We want to kind of keep that within our playbook and keep it between all of us at Alabama. But I’m excited for what he has to offer to us, and I’m excited for the season.”
Holy mother of non-quotes, Batman.
The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is at the elite Steve Clarkson Quarterback Retreat this week.
With the SEC league meetings scheduled to begin after the Holiday weekend, the commish and coaches have a few things of pressing import. First, of course, is the issue of transfers — there are now more players in the portal than there are available scholarships. The second, and it is a phenomenon that has impacted Southern states far more than others, is the effect of gambling legislation, and especially how to proceed with injury lists.
The Supreme Court cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting a couple of weeks before last year’s meetings. Now, several states in SEC country have legalized, or appear on their way to legalizing sports betting, including Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.
Some SEC football coaches treat their players’ injury status as top-secret information, wary of giving opposing coaches any insight about their availability. Others, including Alabama’s Nick Saban, are sometimes more forthcoming while still stopping well short of an official list describing players’ status.
“Sometime out there, it may be part of what we do, but I think we should proceed very carefully,” Sankey said. “I’m not in any rush to see that happen. I think it’s a mistake to hurry and not do something correctly.”
For the NCAA proposal on injury information, please refer to its coverage in a prior Jumbo Package. We also analyzed in-depth the history of injury reports and why they’re such an important anti-corruption tool. If you missed that, definitely check it out.
As expected, Tevin Mack has withdrawn his name from consideration for the 2019 NBA Draft. Mack is widely projected to go undrafted should he stick around for June’s entry event.
Tevin Mack’s flirtation with the NBA is over.
The Alabama guard/forward has withdrawn his name from the draft, according to a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. The deadline for early entrants to pull out from consideration is 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The larger question remains now: will Tevin stay at Alabama? He has graduated and would be a senior in the Fall. We think he’ll stick around. The new offense will greatly highlight his skills — he’s almost tailor-made for, actually. However, as a grad transfer, Mack would be immediately eligible to play should he depart.
Pete Thamel, always at his best when criticizing rather than analyzing, had one of the most thorough, demolishing pieces on Art Briles’ hiring that you’ll read. And, for once, you can’t fault so much as a single comma in Thamel’s piece:
High school officials in Mount Vernon hit a trifecta of incompetence, ignorance and arrogance on Friday night. They started by hiring Art Briles, the completely toxic former coach at Baylor to be the football coach at Mount Vernon High School. The same Art Briles who couldn’t find gainful employment in America since 2016, when he was fired in disgrace at Baylor.
Mount Vernon officials stooped even lower by announcing this hiring late Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend, an age-old publicity avoidance ploy that reinforced what common sense clearly told them — this is an embarrassing decision that needs to be hidden.
The final salvo in their tour-de-force of overt lack of self awareness came from the public-relations official who allowed this quote from Briles to run in the news release: “You’ll make no bigger impact in this world than when you shape the lives of young people.”
Some people do things for really scuzzy reasons and give equally scuzzy reasons. And, for Mt. Vernon, this was solely about the winning. Mt. Vernon has been 5A runners-up on several occasions but has not made it over the hump. And, when the school was pressed about Briles’ notorious programs, they pointed out that he had never been sanctioned for recruiting violations.
Thanks, guys! Pretty sure it was the 19 rapes he helped cover up over seven years we were more concerned about. But, yeah, the bump rule is totally relevant here!
It can’t get any worse
Arkansas did not have a good season last year. The Razorbacks won two games, with zero of them coming against SEC competition, in head coach Chad Morris’ first season at the helms. But the good news is it (probably) can’t get any worse. Arkansas’ non-conference foes for the 2019 campaign include Portland State, Colorado State, San Jose State and Western Kentucky, and even though the Hogs lost to the Rams and North Texas a year ago, it should improve in Year 2 under Morris and win all of its non-conference games. Facing Kentucky and Missouri out of the SEC East, it remains to be seen if it defeats a league foe this upcoming season or not.
I rarely disagree with BOL’s analysis — it’s solid. But I’m pretty high on the Hogs considering what they are and who they are. I think a 3-and-5 SEC record and bowl eligibility is very much in the cards this year. Ole Miss is a hot mess; State is a shell of its former self; Kentucky lost its two best players; and Mizzou isn’t anything special: At least two, perhaps more, of those are very winnable games.
It was a bad weekend for good guys in football. Aside from Bart Starr’s passing, Bill Yoast passed away at age 94:
The legendary Virginia high school coach Bill Yoast has died. The Washington Post confirmed through Yoast’s daughter, Dee Dee Fox, passed away at an assisted living facility on Thursday; he was 94.
Yoast was memorialized in the film “Remember the Titans,” which told the story of the formation of the football program at Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High School. Yoast had served as the head coach at Alexandria’s Hammond High School, but after the district consolidated its three high schools into one in 1971, Yoast was chosen as the defensive coordinator to Herman Boone. The Titans won the Virginia state championship in its first season post-integration, going undefeated in the process and winning the state title game 27-0.
Yesterday, Al.com cranked out some outstanding blitz coverage of former Packer great Bart Starr.
- Scott Hunter on Starr’s character: “the epitome of class” — and Starr was as nice a guy as you could ever want to meet.
- Starr’s Five Best Games not named “the Ice Bowl”
Oct. 28, 1968: Packers 28, Cowboys 17
Vince Lombardi was gone, the Packers were old and the Cowboys were on the rise when Green Bay and Dallas met in a Monday night, regular-season rematch of the previous two NFL championship games. The Cowboys had won all six of their games, and the Packers had a 2-3-1 record. But Starr managed to turn back the clock with one of the three games in his career in which he threw four touchdown passes -- and the second time that he did it against Dallas.
Starr completed 17-of-25 passes for 260 yards with four touchdowns and one interception a week after being sidelined because of pulled bicep muscle. Starr played in 32 more games, but he never again exceeded his passing yardage in this contest.
Starr threw a 26-yard pass to Carroll Dale with the Packers trailing 10-0 in the second quarter, tossed two TD passes to tight end Marv Fleming in the third quarter and completed the scoring with a 5-yard scoring pass to Boyd Dowler in the fourth quarter.
- A reaction piece from some of the sport’s notables, including Nick Saban (I think Josh put this in yesterday’s JP.)
- And, assessing Starr’s legacy — Goodman uncharacteristically decides to abstain from doffing his usual troll cap and concentrates on celebrating a good player and a really good dude.
With the addition of WVU grad transfer James Bolden, Alabama will have two point guards in 2019. But, depending on the development of Kira Lewis, that number could be whittled away to zero in just nine months. That lurking depth chart landmine is what makes this such a potentially huge story for the program.
Former five-star point guard Jahvon Quinerly is currently on a visit to Alabama, according to college basketball insider Andrew Slater.
The Jersey City (N.J.) Hudson Catholic product originally signed with Villanova as a part of the class of 2018, but has opted to transfer. Quinerly averaged 3.2 points per game last season appearing in 25 contests. The New York native scored a career high 10 points against UConn last December.
The former McDonald’s All-American will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Come on down, Quinerly. Immediate playing time is available in 2020.
Cool story from CBS Sports on why teams are scheduling tougher — anticipation of bracket creep: a tougher schedule gives you more clout with the College Football Playoff Committee (and a little wiggle room with no expectations of perfection for teams who schedule big boys).
That’s the reason given, in any case:
”Otherwise,” Georgia AD Greg McGarity said, “you wouldn’t be doing this.”
McGarity is among a growing group of ADs who believe scheduling “up” is a natural reaction to an obvious future -- expansion of the playoff bracket. At the conclusion of this season, we’ll be halfway through the 12-year contract for the current four-team CFP.
While there is no tangible evidence the four-team bracket will grow before the end of that contract in 2025, the scheduling market has reacted to that possibility.
But, I’d suggest the largest reason here is the money. In addition to schools getting creamed by the tax reform bill that gutted charitable giving, eyeballs are down, butts in seats are down, stadia are contracting, and the next round of network money is expected to be considerably less lucrative. The days of throwing out slop like New Mexico State for half a home schedule and then expecting sellouts to rain from the sky are over. There’s only so much you can raise ticket prices, gouge fans on concessions and extort season-ticket holders with de facto seat license fees — People simply have too many entertainment options, too stagnant a wage growth, and too little buying power for administrators to justify doing things the same ole’ way. And to Dodd’s credit he does address the attendance problem.
Thus, throwing top-shelf home-and-homes on the slate serves a three-fold purpose: 1. It gets butts in seats for home games, the life blood of every athletic department; 2. It demonstrates to networks that these are games that are worth paying for, so please don’t cut our contract too much, thank you in advance, and; 3. Sure, for about 10-12 teams, playoffs come into it.
Cui bono? And in this case we all benefit.
Finally, the first of the College Football preview magazines came out this weekend. And, man, there are a lot of trees dying out there for some of the clown car analysis I read last night. I’ve just started on one of the three mags that I purchased this week. I began Athlon, so let’s pick on them first.
For $11.99, you can:
- Be told confidently that Texas is on the decline. Please note, this is the most talented, physical team in the Big 12, and a team many (including yours truly) believe will compete for the Big 12 and has an outside shot to be a playoff contender.
- Be told that Alabama will not have a first team player in the all-SEC secondary — despite this being the SEC’s best, deepest field of cornerbacks.
- Be told that of 14 major coordinator hires this offseason, Alabama’s moves did not so much as bat a butterfly’s butt hair. Please note, Alabama hired Steve Sarkisian as its offensive coordinator and promoted next-big-thing Pete Golding — the former left a lateral position in the NFL; the latter was the subject of a bidding war with Oklahoma.
Before we get too salty, let’s concede that there could have been 14 other great, even better hires. So, let’s see who rated above either or both of them: Promoting the Indianapolis Colts TE Coach to OC at Iowa State; Oklahoma State hiring Princeton’s offensive coordinator; Kansas State hiring Wyoming’s defensive coordinator — the Cowboys finished 41st last year in defensive S&P+, 36th the year before BTW; and, my personal favorite, UNC hiring OC Phil Longo from Ole Miss, a man that was utterly hated by fans, produced nothing against competent teams, and which Athlon itself admits “feasts on inferior opponents.”
Out. Freaking. Standing. Whatever the opposite of rat poison is, keep throwing at Alabama. Nick Saban could not ask for a better offseason of disregard thus far.
- And, one that frankly is really s****y: Read the placement of CSU Rams coach Mike Bobo on their Coaches Hot Seat piece for the crime of winning just three games last season after making bowls his first three season. This is where we remind you that Mike Bobo missed all of fall camp and several games at the beginning of 2018, and was in and out of the hospital for a painful and frequently debilitating neurological disorder.
Did we mention how the Colorado State AD full-throatedly endorsed Mike Bobo even after the bad year and stood beside him during his medical issues? Could Bobo be fired in 2019? Sure, if the team slides to the back of a crowded pack. But it won’t be the 3-9 record from last season.
You’re next, Lindy.
We’ll be back later with another countdown for you. There’s a lotta’ stuff in here though, so get to it.