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Jumbo Package: Combine slanders, wagers, rumors, and subterfuge

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It’s misdirection szn

NCAA Football: Alabama at Auburn

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Wanna’ place some wagers on the Combine? Sure you do — and here’s a safe bet. Henry Ruggs III will run the fastest combine time.

Multiple Alabama teammates have predicted that Ruggs will run the 40 faster than 4.3 seconds, and Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs even picked Ruggs to run it in 4.19 seconds, which would be the fastest ever.

4.19 would Olympic speed, for sure. Many speculate that John Ross’ 2017 record 4.22 is at least in danger.

Speaking of Combine, there are a lot of changes on the horizon for this year. Most relevant for Draftniks is that the event will be televised in prime time rather than occur over three days.

So, for instance, if you want to watch the quarterbacks, they’ll be in the first evening of workouts (with wideouts and tight ends), on the 27th. This is an altogether rough estimate, but the quarterbacks are always divided into two groups, alphabetically. The first group of QBs will run at about 6:30 p.m. ET, and begin throwing to the first group of wideouts shortly after 7. The second QB group will begin running at 8:30 or 8:45 p.m., with the throwing beginning shortly after 9 p.m.

That leads us to a question: since the NFL is going to squeeze every penny out of these guys while it can, isn’t at least fair that Combine invitees get paid for their appearance? Bridging the gap between collegiate NLI rights and their soon-to-be pro salaries, it seems imminently reasonable to me.

If Trevon Diggs gets crap for skipping post-season play, that would be unfortunate. He is not publicly disclosing his reasons,

“I talked to my parents, doctors and stuff like that. It’s a reason that I would rather share with the teams. Basically it’s gonna get asked, but I’m gonna announce it when it’s time to announce it.

“When they do ask, I have an answer for them. Of course they’re going to ask. It’s always a question.”

Diggs played in every regular-season game last season for Alabama and did not suffer any publicly-disclosed injuries. He was limited to the first six games of the 2018 season before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

It seems self-evident that his injury history is more than enough to forgive his absence from the Citrus Bowl and Senior Bowl. There was nothing to be gained by meaningless exhibitions for a player at a position who relies on footwork, planting, turning, pushing off explosively, and other pirouettes.

Oh, ‘Barn, what are you thinking?

Disgraced, uptempo, high school clown Chad Morris — a man known for driving off quarterbacks and failing to develop them — is joining Auburn’s staff, where he will be led by Gus Malzahn — an uptempo, high school clown known for driving off quarterbacks and failing to develop them.

You almost feel sorry for Bo Nix.

Almost.

Rodney Orr discusses whether an offensive change is on the horizon for 2020, and what the Tide needs to do better this season.

Hint: Tackling. Last year’s team was atrocious down the stretch tackling in space. It entered the LSU game 9th in tackling effectiveness and ended the season 23th. That’s...not good. It’s unfortunately a problem we also saw a ton of in 2018-2019.

“There will be freshman that will have the chance to compete for playing time,” Orr told Harris about Alabama’s defensive prep for 2020. “But overall, the Tackling has to be much better, fundamentally they have to be better. Especially in the secondary, I thought at corners they were weak tacklers last year.”

You can listen to Gary’s full conversation with Rodney Orr as they dynamic duo debate if Alabama will change their offensive play-style, and discuss where the defense needs to improve, as well as who needs to step up on both sides.

Women’s golf is off to a little bit better of a start after last season’s disappointing effort (despite a rugged second round). The No. 9 Crimson Tide found themselves T-5th at the Moon Golf Invite, with play suspended yesterday due to weather.

Alabama is in a tie for fifth overall (even par) with Coastal Carolina after going 4-over in the second round. Unofficially with one hole remaining in the second round, there is a four-way tie for first between Seminole State, Louisville, North Carolina and Ole Miss at 1-under.

The Tide entered yesterday’s play in first place at -2 through the first round at the Duran Golf Club in Viera, FL.

Lap up some more of that Rat Poison, fellas! Preseason FPIs are out, and Clemmie tops the preseason charts for 2020.

Some key losses aside, and Lawrence showing that he is not anything special, the wideout talent and the unexpected return of Travis Etienne make this offense more than capable. (I still have no idea why TE7 came back.)

The Tide is projected to be 4th (behind the Buckeyes, Sooners and Tigers), with the 3rd overall offense and 13th overall defense.

LOL. Keep f’ing that chicken, ESPN.

This dudebro is the most unctuous Ohio dudebro that has ever dudebro’d — Joe Burrow is under some impression that he wields more power than he does.

When the native Ohioan was asked about whether he wanted to (or would) go to the Bengals, here was his response:

“Look, this is a long process, right?” Burrow said. “They have their process that they have to go through, and so I am blessed to be in the position I’m in. If they select me, they select me. I’m going to do everything in my power to be the best football player I can be.”

So is that a “I’m good with going to Cincinnati?” Or “I don’t want to go to Cincinnati?”

“It’s a long process in the next couple of months,” Burrow said. “We have the Combine. We have pro days. There is a long time until the draft. There is a lot of information in a lot of different places. A lot of people saying a lot of things. I’m just focused on training right now.”

I’m not sure what he thinks is going to happen at the Combine that would prevent him from being selected first overall if Cincy is serious. Or, what leverage he has.

Well, it turns out that he’s not even the guaranteed No. 1 at his position. More and more scouts are negging Burrow, believing that the upside isn’t there like it is with Tua and Herbert. Has he peaked? Maybe — recall, he’s three years older than Tua and two years older than Justin Herbert. And those guys were making plays as underclassmen that it took JB almost 5 years to master. One scout even flat out said Herbert was more talented.

Surely not, right? Dont’a won’t become a cap casualty, will he?

Cap savings: $8.8 million

We know Bill Belichick doesn’t do the whole sympathy thing. Dont’a Hightower was a great player for him for a long time, but he’s on the downside of his career and the $8.8 million the Patriots could save by releasing him would help the team bring back Tom Brady and find him some weapons to work with. Hightower could very well return to New England at a lower price after testing the open market.

Well, when you put it that way, yeah, he may be. The Pats are mercenary with their cap-cutting and personnel management — which may explain why they’ve spent two decades at the top of the heap.

Beilein was a hot mess with the Cleveland Cavaliers. One reason is that he ran practices like it was a shortened collegiate season. That didn’t sit well with the players at all. In fact, Collin Sexton called him out for it in practice several times — “we’ve got 82 coach.”

It’s a players’ league, and Beilein never understood that. Nor, do I think, that he understood how fundamentally long an 82 game season is...even for 20-year-old point guards.

Plenty more Young Bull stuff at the link above.

And, finally, BOL gives you the No. 1 play of the Nick Saban era.

Gee, wonder what it could be?!

We’ll have a Senior Salute later, and probably more stuff as it arises. For now, sink your teeth into some Gump. Roll Tide.