Happy Friday, everyone.
Kristy Curry has clearly found some late season magic. Her women’s basketball team knocked off a second straight ranked opponent on the road, this time making relatively easy work of #12 Texas A&M. It is the first time in program history that Alabama has won consecutive games against top 15 foes. Coming into February, the ladies were basically left for dead with a 2-6 conference record and a very difficult remaining slate. They now sit a win over a mediocre Missouri squad from finishing at 18-11 (8-8), with a very realistic shot at the NCAA tournament. The frontcourt led the way in College Station, as juniors Jasmine Walker and Ariyah Copeland combined for 42 of the team’s 76 points and 21 rebounds. Hopefully they can keep the momentum going.
Alabama’s players are looking good at the NFL Combine. Henry Ruggs III ran a blazing 4.27 in the 40 yard dash, which was almost a disappointment after all of the hype around breaking the record of 4.22 set by John Ross in 2017. For some context, Kansas City Chiefs burner Tyreek Hill ran a 4.28 at his pro day event, which likely involved a hometown clock. Jerry Jeudy logged a 4.46, and Jalen Hurts outran all QBs with a 4.59 time.
Unfortunately for Ruggs, Hill is something of an outlier as a guy who has had a great career with that kind of speed.
But Ruggs also has very good hands. He’s a feisty, capable blocker. He has been durable through three seasons as a receiver and returner in the grueling SEC. His route running needs refinement, but he’s not some guy who just traded his running shoes for cleats on Sundays.
”I feel like I bring everything,” Ruggs said on Tuesday, while answering umpteen questions about how fast he is. “I’m a playmaker. I don’t just pride myself on just speed. I want to be a guy can do everything on the field. I get downfield to block for my teammates, just as they do the same for me. I play without the ball, and with the ball in my hands I can make a play.”
Ruggs has the confidence, the toughness, the mentality and the tape. And, oh yeah, the speed.
So many times the track star types are limited in other areas, and in many cases smaller than Ruggs’ 188 lb. frame. Henry looks to have the whole package and is a shoo-in to go in the top half of the first round. In hindsight, it’s incredible that he considered returning for another year. Going pro was absolutely the right decision.
However, the biggest winner might just be Tua Tagovailoa.
Following two days of medical testing, #Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa received overwhelmingly positive reports on his dislocated hip from teams who examined him, sources say. The MRIs were as clean as hoped, fracture is healed, there is no loss of blood flow. One source: “Looked great."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 26, 2020
Tua is being mocked higher and higher, it seems. Check out what one Chicago based draft analyst had to say about him.
Tua is QB1. If he was 100% healthy, I think he'd be 1.01 in this class, too. Call me crazy, but I don't think this is a done deal yet.— Bryan Perez (@BryanPerezNFL) February 27, 2020
ESPN’s Todd McShay agrees.
If promised 10 years of health for both; I’m taking Tua over Burrow. pic.twitter.com/Vf80FLJmbn— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 27, 2020
Tua’s numbers in year two were significantly better than Burrow’s in year four. When you consider their careers in context with age and years of college practice, Tua clearly has more upside. Burrow chose not to work out or throw, which is a smart move since Justin Herbert likely beats him across the board physically. When you’re the projected number one pick, there’s only one direction that you can go.
Oh, and Raekwon baby, what is you doing?
Raekwon Davis recaps his 2019 season: "I could say there was just a lot of things I weren’t doing just to improve my game. I would say I wasn’t really focused enough, sometimes.”— Mike Rodak (@mikerodak) February 27, 2020
Imagine being on your dream job interview and saying.... that.
Last, Saban interviewed his first candidate for the S&C opening, and some Gumps were mad because his name isn’t Aaron Feld.
Alabama has started the in-person interview phase of finding its replacement for Scott Cochran.
Kansas State’s Chris Dawson is in Tuscaloosa today interviewing for the Crimson Tide strength and conditioning job, according to sources.
Dawson appears to be the first in-person interview for the job since Cochran left to become the special teams coordinator at Georgia on Monday.
We all loved Cochran for his personality and, frankly, mostly because the university marketed him. The players loved him and he did a fantastic job in Tuscaloosa. That said, he is far from the only person on this planet who can get our guys in peak shape. None of us has any clue whether Chris Dawson is the best guy for this job. These folks work behind the scenes and it is very likely that you have never heard of some of the best in the business. I feel certain that Nick Saban will find a good one at the price Alabama can pay.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.