Happy Thursday, everyone. Looks like Nick Saban has finished filling out his coaching staff.
Nick Saban is set to fill the remaining opening on Alabama’s staff.
Tennessee running backs coach Jay Graham is expected to be hired as the Crimson Tide’s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, sources confirmed to AL.com.
Funny enough, Graham was hired as Texas A&M’s special teams coach after Jeff Banks left for Alabama. The coaching world is a small one.
Alex Scarbrough shares some concern about Alabama’s playoff chances in 2021.
Nick Saban has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to offseason attrition, whether that’s replacing star players or coaches. But that doesn’t mean we’re not watching closely. Set aside the need for Bryce Young to become a star at quarterback or whether John Metchie III, Javon Baker & Co. can replace the production of DeVonta Smith at receiver. The bigger picture — and perhaps the key to competing to make the playoff — is who will be calling the plays. The hiring of Bill O’Brien to coach quarterbacks and lead the offense is interesting because while he has the college credentials, he obviously struggled some in the NFL with the Houston Texans. He could be great and still fall short of the expectation set by Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin before him. And if O’Brien struggles, you have to wonder whether that’s enough to knock the Tide out of the playoff picture this season. — Alex Scarborough
Looks like Erik is not completely alone in his concerns about Bill O’Brien. In case you missed it, he penned his thoughts on the matter in a surprisingly concise fanpost yesterday.
Moving on, the SEC schedule makers left Alabama with a bye week disadvantage twice: Ole Miss gets a rest while Alabama faces Southern Miss, and Mississippi State is idle while Alabama plays Texas A&M. Of course, both Alabama and LSU have byes before their game. This particular non-conference matchup will be fun.
Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will return to his old stomping grounds when Liberty travels to Ole Miss on Nov. 6. Freeze spent five seasons as head coach at Ole Miss before resigning in 2017 after school officials found a pattern that included phone calls to a number associated with a female escort service. Freeze took over the Liberty program in 2019 and has gone 18-6 in two seasons.
Insert all the burner phone jokes here.
Would you like a helmet schedule? Of course you would.
Mac Jones is making quite a name for himself at the Senior Bowl.
Mac Jones could not have had a better day than he did today at @seniorbowl practice. Total command of every play he participated in, and threw the ball with exceptional accuracy. @AlabamaFTBL @MacJones_10— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) January 28, 2021
Players are limited or unable to participate in the week-long lead-up to the all-star game for seniors for various reasons. But few still wear the wounds from a national championship game.
“The guy was just playing two weeks ago,” Rhule told reporters on Wednesday. “The fact that he’s here, I think, speaks a lot about who he is. You get a chance to see his intelligence. He makes really quick decisions. He processes information quickly, highly intelligent. He’s an alpha. He’s the first guy on the practice field. He’s the first guy in the runnings.
“He’s got a lot of really, really, really strong traits.”
Looks like he will cement that first round pick. Al dot com has some pictures for you.
Najee Harris, DeVonta Smith, Mac Jones & Alex Leatherwood at Reese's @seniorbowl practice yesterday.— Alabama Crimson Tide | AL.com (@aldotcomTide) January 27, 2021
Senior Bowl / Jeff Hanson pic.twitter.com/pjWmvnxHNa
Check out this great story from Terrell Owens.
Owens said he had “a little friendly $200 bet” on Alabama to win the championship game.
“Everybody can see when Alabama gets the ball, Tua goes into the game,” Owens said. “The crowd starts, like, erupting. My phone rings. My boy says, ‘Oh, y’all definitely going to lose now.’ I’m like, ‘Why do you say that?’ I said, ‘Dude, trust me. This game is about to change.’ He said, ‘What? Bet another hundred.’ I said, ‘OK, cool.’ Might I remind you, they’re down 13-0 at halftime, and I make this bet because I had seen him do what he did that summer, so I already knew what was about to happen and what the world is about to see.
Needless to say, Owens is still quite bullish on the Dolphins with Tua at the helm.
Last, things are going swimmingly in Knoxville.
Haynesworth criticized Tennessee for failing to interview Tee Martin, the Vols’ wide receivers coach and former quarterback, for the opening. Haynesworth signed with the Vols in 1999, just a few months after Martin led Tennessee to its only modern national championship.
“Obviously Tennessee Vols take Tee Martin for granted!” Haynesworth wrote in a post on Facebook. “Why do (expletive) on him, hell he even reduce his salary to help the university out when he didn’t have to￼? Is it bc he’s black? UT won’t even interview him.”
The search was a disaster, and now one of the greatest players in school history is calling out the department for racism. You do have to wonder why Tee Martin wasn’t considered for the position. He could have been their Mike Shula, but that’s none of my business.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.