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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Just how close was Nick Saban to being a longhorn?

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

How close was Nick Saban to leaving Alabama for Texas?

“I went to see Mack two days later,” Hicks said. “We had lunch and I thought at the time he was ready to leave; he’d been telling people he was ready to leave. So I said, ‘Mack, I want to tell you about a conversation I had with Jimmy Sexton. If you want to retire, I think you can graciously have Nick Saban come in and take your place and have it be your idea. That might be a nice way for you to end it.’

Mack Brown turned bright red. Steam started coming out of his ears, and he said, ‘That guy is not coming here to win a national championship with my players.’ I said, ‘Mack, I’m glad to see you have that passion. I didn’t think you had that passion left.”

It’s about time for this story to get drug back up again. There’s a lot of ambiguous language, as always. Sure, Jimmy Sexton was most definitely shopping Saban to Texas. Was Saban the one asking about the position, or was Sexton just doing some proactive shopping to raise Saban’s price for Alabama?

Or maybe Nick really was just that close to leaving for Burnt Orange. At the time, everyone thought Saban was still forever in the shadow of the Bear, and had he swapped schools and won another Natty, he’d have been on real hallowed ground.

But, according to this, Mack Brown saved us all the heartache, and now Nick is one championship away from catching the Bear. I think we’re set.

One-on-one emotional interview with Alabama’s Nate Oats

The 44-year old coach also got emotional talking about his wife Crystal’s battle with cancer. He recalled the moment she called him during a staff meeting to tell him of the diagnosis and how the family rallied. Crystal Oats has been cancer free for three years now.

Making the move from Buffalo took the Oats family into somewhat uncharted territory. They’ve spent their whole lives in the north with Nate Oats coaching in Michigan before upstate New York.

There was one unintended consequence to the relocation: He’s gained 20 pounds since being hired.

“The southern food is great,” Oats said, “but it’s really unhealthy.”

Here’s a nice video if you want to get to know more about our basketball coach. I really can’t blame him for the weight gain though. The food really is better here.

Bold Predictions for Top College Football Freshmen in 2019

Prediction: Collects 700 total yards

Will he actually win the Heisman Trophy? Probably not. However, Trey Sanders is a much-needed addition to the Alabama backfield.

The Crimson Tide have a likely starter in Najee Harris and a powerful short-yardage option in Brian Robinson Jr., but Sanders is suited to contribute as a pass-catching back. Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs combined for 451 yards on 42 receptions, while the returning Harris mustered seven yards on four grabs.

Sanders needs to earn the spot, but it’s clearly available.

Throw in a projected large role in garbage time—Alabama should regularly provide mop-up chances for reserves—and Sanders should have a superb freshman year.

I think this is a pretty good estimate, though maybe a little high. It really depends on if Brian Robinson Jr. is up for the challenge of being a true #2 back, or if he winds up timesharing or even passed up by the freshman.

Personally, I think Sanders is more in 550 total yards range. You can hold on to my prediction when I’m wrong and he wins the Heisman.

Every College Football Playoff contender’s biggest flaw

Bleacher Report: “In the SEC championship tilt against Georgia and the CFP games against Oklahoma and Clemson, Alabama allowed eight combined passing touchdowns with no interceptions and gave up at least 300 passing yards in each contest. That defense was especially atrocious in the national championship loss to Clemson, in which the Tigers had five receptions of more than 25 yards. Granted, Trevor Lawrence, Kyler Murray and Jake Fromm were three of the best quarterbacks in the country last season, but that’s the caliber of opponent this secondary will need to stifle in January.”

247Sports: Questions surrounding Alabama’s new-look secondary this fall are everywhere this summer. Despite losing Deionte Thompson and Saivion Smith to early NFL Draft departures, Alabama remains loaded at the back end. Xavier McKinney, Patrick Surtain II and Trevon Diggs, among others, will be leaned on to produce in starting roles and will enjoy ample opportunity to be impactful. Nick Saban has recruited well in the secondary and it’ll show this fall despite draft losses.

“Despite” losing Saivion Smith.

There’s your answer right there.

Honestly, I’m much more worried about offensive regression than the defensive play. The secondary could very well be one of the best we’ve seen in Tuscaloosa. As long as the pass rushers can manage to stay healthy for the first time since 2016, this defense should be lethal.

That’s it for today. Roll Tide!