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Jumbo Package: Please don’t snuff out Tua’s high risk-high reward mentality

Make Tua Gamble Again

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Alabama Spring Game

Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

As Roger has pointed out several times, there is a participation crisis in youth athletics. Anecdotally, we’ve noted that money seems to be a culprit. A recent study from Aspen Institute bears that out very clearly, with youth sports participation turning into a mirror of our larger, two-tiered iceberg society of haves and have-nots:

....In 2018, only 38% of kids aged 6 to 12 played team sports on a regular basis -- down from 45% a decade earlier -- and it decided to find out why...

The Aspen Institute found the average amount of spending on sport was approximately $692. That’s per child, per sport and per year.

Further, the average household income of respondents to the Aspen Institute survey was $90,908 -- a number that is significantly higher than the U.S. average of $59,039. It is likely because of that discrepancy that the Aspen Institute found that children from low-income families are half as likely to play sports as children from homes with higher incomes.

With even youth hockey running into the thousands of dollars, pee wee football at $500 is a steal, huh?

I simply don’t know what the answer is here, but the problem is a real one.

What school has the most draft-eligible talent in 2020? You knew this already:

Top 2020 prospects: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Jerry Jeudy, WR Henry Ruggs III, DL Raekwon Davis, LB Dylan Moses, S Xavier McKinney, EDGE Anfernee Jennings, EDGE Terrell Lewis, OL Alex Leatherwood, CB Trevon Diggs

This is a monster group, with perhaps as many as four top-10 possibilities. Nick Saban’s banner 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes have started to reach eligibility, and it’s a stunning collection of talent.

Terrell Lewis, finally healthy, got to offboard some frustration following last year’s lost campaign. And poor RS Fr. tackle Tommy Brown got the brunt of it during Saturday’s closed scrimmage.

Remember when I said it was a fool’s game to try and stay in a bidding war with the Texas schools in the facilities race? The 2018 revenue numbers are in and despite Alabama being 5th, with over $177m in revenue, that number absolutely pales next to the oil-besotted boosters at the two Lone Star state behemoths. They’ll be able to win every bidding war, if writing checks is purely the metric:

With revenue of $177.5 million, Alabama is No. 5 in the list published Monday. Texas remains No. 1 with $219.4 million coming into the department followed by Texas A&M at $212.4 million.

Fortunately, writing checks has never been the singular determinant in what has made Alabama’s program successful — but it is increasingly more relevant. College athletics is truly one thing in this world where throwing money at the problem usually works. No surprise that Ohio State, Michigan, and Georgia are nos. 3, 4 and 6 either, huh?

One facet of the ongoing concussion litigation against the NCAA is in the books:

A federal judge has approved an amended settlement in a class-action concussion lawsuit against the NCAA that will establish a 50-year medical-monitoring program for college athletes.

The settlement was announced Monday by Hagens Berman, the law firm representing the plaintiffs. The case originated with a claim against the NCAA in 2011 by former Eastern Illinois football player Adrian Arrington. The case was later consolidated with other claims. Initially, a settlement was reached in 2016. It created a $70 million fund for monitoring of current and former college athletes for brain trauma.

Several plaintiffs, including the named class plaintiff, objected to the settlement because it does not include monetary awards.

Refreshing stuff here from Tua on the regular tiffs that occur between quarterbacks and their centers; and, in Alabama’s case, it appears more and more likely that will be Chris Owens in 2019:

“There’s been good occurrences where I’ve kinda gotten in his face, he’s kinda gotten in my face,” Tagovailoa said. “But after all of that was said and done, when we come back to the sideline it’s “Hey, how was this? Was this good? Was this good?” It’s just a normal talk. But throughout the heat of the moment I think that’s where respect comes, and you can only do that when you build relationships off the field. So, it transcends to on the field and I think in life.”

What was originally termed a season-ender for starting ILB Josh McMillon, may not be — but he’s out indefinitely, and it does seem serious:

“Josh McMillon suffered an injury to his right knee Saturday that will require surgery and keep him out for an indefinite period,” said Saban in a statement released by Alabama on Monday. “We have a great medical staff here and he will have the full support of everyone in the organization as he goes through the rehab process. We are confident Josh will make a full recovery.”

New LEDS at Bryant Denny Stadium can do an amazing thing. And, man, if we don’t play the break to Slayer’s Raining Blood during this, that is one lost opportunity for greatness.

I really hope Saban’s proclivity for snuffing out gambling mentality doesn’t wash over Tua. Saban said he wants Tua to take what the defense gives him, but don’t take away that gambler mentality, please. Some of those throws were simply magical. And, while they didn’t work down the stretch of the CFP, the line’s inability to keep defenders off of him and a bum knee may have played just as much a part of it as any mental errors did.

I promise you, the 9-route in Cover Two wasn’t the first read on 2nd and 26. And that worked out just fine.

When speaking to reporters Monday, Tagovailoa was asked how much quicker he is making his way through his progressions, and what he said, with less than three weeks until the season opener against Duke, will have Saban and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian jumping for joy.

“I’m just taking what the defense gives me now,” Tagovailoa said. “If they are going to give me the first read, I’m not going to pass it up. Never go broke taking a profit.”

He’s a playmaker: Risk-taking is part of that. And the (rare) turnover comes with that. As the old Texas saying goes, “you dance with them what brung ya’.” His gambling is what brung us.

But, alas, with the less vertical offense of Sarkisian, we may see a more conservative game plan this fall anyway :(