Happy Tuesday, everyone. We start today with real, actual, bona fide photographic proof that football practice happened yesterday!
It’s good to be back. #RollTide pic.twitter.com/AIyiyMkDI3— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) August 17, 2020
A few photos Alabama shared from Monday’s first football practice. pic.twitter.com/DTw7tS3KIu— Michael Casagrande (@ByCasagrande) August 18, 2020
All practices are completely closed to reporters, with photographs provided by the school (see below).
Of the 15 that were provided there wasn’t much that could be considered telling. If you look closely at the one of Alex Leatherwood at left tackle it looked like senior Deonte Brown at left guard, with senior Chris Owens at center and senior Landon Dickerson at right guard. The best guess is that sophomore Evan Neal was at right tackle.
So, Owens currently leads Darren Dalcourt in the race for the lone starting position on the offensive line. That will be something to monitor, as much as we can with no media viewing periods.
As usual, Saban held a press conference after the first day of camp, but this one was virtual. This is an interesting nugget.
The surgeon general will be speaking to Alabama's football team tonight.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) August 17, 2020
Nick Saban: "We're trying to inform our players and give them the best possible education in every possible health and medical issue that COVID-19 can possibly present to them."
Sounds like a great idea to me.
Saban spoke about what the players need to do to keep themselves safe.
“I don’t fear this because we’re trying to do the right thing and we have great medical care here,” Saban said. “And we have great medical protocols to try to keep us safe and I feel very confident in trying to respect and do these things as well as possible.”
With the players, Saban said the measures in place have been successful to date. They’ve seen a two percent positivity rate among the players since returning from July 4.
A new challenge is at hand with the rest of the students back on campus and classes starting Wednesday.
“The personal bubble that guys have to form outside of here, I think, will be a real key to us being able to keep the players safe and keep them healthy,” Saban said. “That’s relative to what they do as a student.”
Nick also noted that the players deserve a playoff at the end of the season even if only three conferences play. The entire press conference is embedded at the bottom of this post, for your viewing pleasure.
Saban went on ESPN this morning, and used some of the time to speak to the students.
“Bigger than being able to play football is you should be doing the right things and following the protocols that the CDC and a lot of expert folks have asked you to stay safe for your own benefit and your own wellbeing and your own future,” Saban said. “This is very contagious. It can have some long-term impacts like any virus can have on people. I don’t think this is something that we shouldn’t respect. It’s not just about playing football. It’s about your own personal bubble, your own personal health. Not to be serious about what you need to do to protect that is not very mature and not very smart, to be honest with you.”
Hopefully they listen, Coach.
John Talty has an interesting nugget about a cardiologist who may be responsible for keeping the Big 12 on board with playing the season.
Ackerman’s expertise proved very influential within the Big 12 ranks. Here was a qualified expert with no stakes in whether college football would be played this fall, giving the green light to not throw in the towel yet. Baylor AD Mack Rhoades told ESPN Ackerman, “provided us with a comfort level” that a player who tests positive for the coronavirus could safely return to competition after going through a cardiac screening. Big 12 leaders were intently listening with “their ears wide open” when Ackerman talked, according to a Big 12 administrator.
Not long after Ackerman briefed the group Tuesday night, the Big 12′s leaders decided to move forward with fall football plans. Bowlsby said Ackerman provided “very helpful information.”
Incidentally, Dr. Matt Rhea had retweeted Dr. Ackerman last week. The first reply to this tweet from a MSNBC reporter is amusing.
Dr. Ackerman is long out of school, Adam. He’s a 20-year practicing cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, and one of his primary fields of study is sudden cardiac death in young athletes. I’m sure he appreciates being accused of violating his oath by a random media bro, though.
So, as you know, the SEC released its full season schedule yesterday. Here are some reactions.
“The thing that stood out to me was (Alabama coach) Nick Saban would have a lot of former assistant coaches,” he said. “He has four of them back-to-back-to-back. (Oct. 3 Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, Oct. 10 at Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, Oct. 17 Georgia’s Kirby Smart, Oct. 24 at Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt).
“Alabama doesn’t necessarily have an easy road to get to the championship. “
Nobody does. LSU likely has the easiest path of the West division teams since they get Vandy, and Arkansas the toughest (LOL poor Hogs) but nobody has it easy.
Boy, how the narrative has shifted against the gun jumpers up north.
The SEC unveiled its 10-game conference-only schedule on Monday.— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 18, 2020
But both the Big Ten and Pac-12 now face the same question: Did they pull the plug too soon?https://t.co/nLU9hpcjC8
Yes, they pulled the plug too soon, they didn’t consult the players when they did it, and it has been a disaster. In case you didn’t see it, this took the cake.
"It's unclear where there was ever a vote or not," in Big Ten to postpone until spring. @penn_state AD Sandy Barbour.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) August 17, 2020
Second person I've heard say that.
Yes, that is an athletic director within the league who doubts that there was an actual vote to cancel the season, and Dodd says she isn’t alone. Kevin Warren, whose son hilariously started practice yesterday at Mississippi State, may not get a second year as conference commissioner. Whether he is to blame or not, he will likely be scapegoated.
Prominent players’s rights attorney Tom Mars is engaged with the Big Ten parents who are pushing to play and, in what can only be described as peak 2020, he is arguing for the players’ right to sign away their right to sue.
“The issue here is all about freedom of choice,” Mars explains in an interview with Sportico. “If a student-athlete can enlist in the military without getting approval from the NCAA, with the risk of death or serious injury being so obvious, why shouldn’t a student-athlete be free to sign a liability waiver and accept the risks of virus-related health problems?”
It is impossible to argue with any of that. Why it took so long for some to acknowledge that players can contract the virus anywhere, and the controlled environment provided by big time football programs likely decreases their odds of contracting it, is beyond me.
Last, Saban added this little jab during his ESPN appearance, when asked about the possibility of a spring season as proposed by the Big Ten.
Saban questions whether pro prospects would consider playing in the spring. “Is that going to become a JV season?”— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) August 18, 2020
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.