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Jumbo Package: Slade Bolden, Brian Branch reportedly making some noise

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff Semifinal-Orange Bowl-Alabama vs Oklahoma Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. We will open with this camp video that should get you very excited.

That play toward the end is some serious iron sharpening iron, as Patrick Surtain II has great coverage on Devonta Smith but Mac Jones drops a dime at the pylon and Smitty hauls it in. Outstanding effort all around.

Michael Casagrande has some practice notes for you.

—Even though it will be tough for him to beat out Mac Jones for Alabama’s starting QB job, the feedback continues to very good regarding five-star freshman Bryce Young. It’s still early, but it sounds like these workouts and practices throughout the course of the summer have served as confirmation that the California native is really, really talented.

Slade Bolden appears to be off to a good start as he competes with players like John Metchie for Alabama’s third receiver job. Meanwhile, four-star freshman Javon Baker continues to stand out and impress. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Georgia product has a good shot at being a two-deep guy when the season starts in late September.

Bolden ahead of Metchie is pretty surprising, but there is a long way to go. In Bolden, Metchie, and Baker, Sark has three different kinds of weapons. It has to be fun running this offense. Mike also concurs with earlier reports that Brian Branch is impressing at Star and may well win the job.

Alex Leatherwood, who wrote the script for the June video on racial justice put out by the football team, was asked about the unrest following the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, WI.

“Of course it’s been discussed around the team, and stuff like that,” Leatherwood said. “We’re not really angered, but we just don’t feel good about that kind of stuff. We don’t like to see it. It shouldn’t be, like, normal to be seeing that stuff every few weeks, every month or so. It’s just not good. We don’t like it.”

Leatherwood also spoke on football matters. He said he never considered opting out of the season and that he “feels extremely safe”on campus despite a predicted spike in coronavirus positives announced by UA this week. He also discussed his decision not to enter the 2020 NFL Draft during the earlyexit window in January.

“I felt like I left a lot on the table as a player. I felt like I had a lot more to offer. I wanted to come back and capitalize on that.”

I couldn’t be more impressed with Alex’s response. As usual, the discourse around the incident has been awful, with people rushing to judgment that either Blake deserved it or that the cop should be in jail. Alex’s statement that these incidents shouldn’t be normal is spot on and could even serve to unify. It would be great if we could find a way as a society to reduce these kinds of interactions, but needless to say it is a complex problem.

LSU seems to be in some trouble, perhaps in two sports.

Per The Advocate’s documents, LSU is trying to put the football allegations to rest quickly via summary review, which would result in agreed-upon penalties without a formal hearing. They center on three separate incidents:

The father of offensive lineman Vadal Alexander received $180,000 in stolen money from LSU booster John Paul Funes, who admitted in 2019 that he embezzled more than half a million dollars from Our Lady of the Lake Hospital in Baton Rouge. The money was payment from 2012–17 for what the NCAA characterized as a “no-show job,” according to The Advocate.

Vadal Alexander, the new Albert Means?

The Big Ten situation is the gift that keeps on giving.

Suddenly, the Big Ten found itself mocked by the SEC, ACC and Big 12, while the internal anger has boiled up to levels unprepared for.

“There were so many missteps along this process, but I’d say, by far, the biggest miscalculation was believing there wouldn’t be upheaval within their own programs and fan bases,” a Michigan source shared. “There was an arrogance that our presidents and institutions would come out on the high ground, believing they’d look like heroes for putting student-athletes above football.

“There is a feeling that the ‘football-is-life’ culture of the SEC is to be scorned, not celebrated, but what’s become evident is that our leaders severely misjudged the Big Ten culture as it relates to football.”

That whole quote is just beautiful. Is it available in topical or injectable form?

Speaking of the Big Ten, that paper on myocarditis that drove their decision to shut down has now been republished. You can view this very long thread and all of the methodology by clicking on the tweet, but I screencapped the upshot for you below.

NARRATOR: They will not be reopening fall sports. They have a faux reputation to reconstruct. Because, you know, playing football games in January instead of September will totes prove that they care so much about players.

Last, I’m just going to leave this hilarity from Buckeye land for you.

Alabama and Clemson and Oklahoma and Georgia and Texas and LSU can fight it out this fall and go through a four-team College Football Playoff. Then Ohio State and Penn State and Oregon and Michigan and USC and Wisconsin can fight it out this winter, and finish perhaps with a Rose Bowl that serves as a one-game playoff to crown the kings of winter.

And then the AP could do a final poll. The fall champ certainly, and rightly, will claim a national title. The winter champ could do the same and justify it. But then the 62 voters in the AP poll could swoop in and offer a final subjective analysis. Some fans and observers could reject it. But history would have the option of accepting it.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.