A couple of weekend notes for you:
In what has already been a crazy offseason, last week the SEC revealed two additional cross-division opponents for each team.
It’s being widely reported now that some coaches were upset by their additional opponents.
“They told us they were trying to balance the totality of the schedule, but what was already on our schedules shouldn’t have mattered. That was a given. That’s got nothing to do with anything,” a coach told ESPN. “Again, they weren’t giving us a lot of answers, so this is what they get.”
I don’t know who said this, but unless it was Sam Pittman at Arkansas, you are embarrassing yourself. Since the conference found itself in the unfortunate position of having to add two opponents at the eleventh hour, of course it should look at the totality of the schedule rather than just randomly assign two games. There is no reason to intentionally make things unbalanced.
If it was Pittman though, well, he would be justified. When you look at the full schedule, everybody else is pretty balanced. The poor Hogs, however, are the only team in the West who has to play both Georgia and Florida, and their other two cross-division opponents are Tennessee and Mizzou. Arkansas will play four of five teams in the East who made bowl games last year plus the murderous West division slate. It’s almost like the league realized that they probably aren’t going to beat anybody anyway, so we may as well load them up. The conference losing streak is at 19 games for the Hogs, and it’s tough to see an end in sight.
Moving on, Michael Casagrande has this quote from Mac Jones, from a virtual press conference yesterday alongside Najee Harris.
The arrival of Scott Cochran replacements David Ballou and Matt Rhea was a big story before the world turned upside down. Jones had some insight into how it works with the scientifically minded duo. “Everything they do in the weight room translates to the field,” he said. “Every single lift we do, there’s a reason we’re doing it. And they make it very clear to why we’re doing that lift. And I feel like that just boosts morale, and we don’t feel like we’re just going through the motions. We’re getting better every day. There’s science to prove it. They’ve done a great job leading us. We love those guys already. So, I think everybody on the team would say, they feel much better about, um, how the strength and conditioning has evolved.”
Mac chose his words carefully, but it sounds like a clear perceived upgrade here. Both men spoke about the protocols in place and lamented the uncertainty surrounding the season. Christopher Walsh added this nugget from Najee:
“We started the hashtag to tell the people making the decision that we want to play and we want to create value for ourselves because age and time still move on. You can not take that back. We could probably run back a season but you can not take back age and time.
“We have worked hard too hard for this, and, to say, that we are not going to play, is heartbreaking.”
Emphasis mine, as that is a direct Saban-ism. Najee is another future pro who has bought into the process. Let’s hope he gets the opportunity to show out and earn that first round grade he covets.
Last, today could be a huge day from a recruiting standpoint as two key prospects will announce their decisions. According to Kyle Henderson at Rivals, four-star DE Monkell Goodwine will announce his college choice at 2:30pm CT, and #1 JUCO CB Khyree Jackson will announce at 6pm CT. Both players seem to be trending toward Alabama, so hope for the best.