Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Today, as every day, try to find gratitude and small pleasure in the joys and blessings you have — whether they be small or large, earned or otherwise.
Be good to your people. Always have seconds. Pet all dogs and cats. Be patient with children. Give your time to the elderly. Be kind to service workers. Never cheap out on the things that protect you from the ground: Shoes, tires, and mattresses. And, never ever turn down a free meal, a quick nap or a chance to use the bathroom.
To that, I also add my own personal mantra, but you’re not bound to follow it. These are advanced life hacks.
The Tide’s schedule is a bit re-arranged with the holiday, so this is going to be a little lean on Alabama news. But, perhaps the most incendiary thing to fire up your holiday was an astonishingly riled-up Nick Saban, who last night blasted ungrateful fans who suppose the Tide should look better, should be winning by more, should be a more aesthetically pleasing team, and the like.
WATCH: Nick Saban goes OFF during a pre-Thanksgiving rant directed at “self-absorbed” #Alabama fans that can’t appreciate what they have after a ques. about not blowing teams out.— Alex Byington (@_AlexByington) November 25, 2021
(This came during his weekly “The Nick Saban Show,” courtesy of @UA_Athletics’ live stream.) pic.twitter.com/dnEv1PwQJH
Alabama by 50.
Look, I agree with you, Coach. But can we work on covering that spread a bit more? Bear Bryant knew the wisdom is making the number — boosters love gambling.
It was a rant directed at “ungrateful” and “self-absorbed fans” to be sure, but there were a lot of recipients in here — it was as much to the College Football Playoff Committee, as it was to his own team, as it was to the fans.
But, the subtext was clear to fans and the committee: This is the Crimson Tide you have, not the one you want. And it is still a damned good one that is perhaps being maligned or overlooked. Be grateful for it.
I shared this late last night on the Twatters from a ‘Barner, and it is hilarious in its accuracy. We know the more Saban says ‘a’ight’ the more keyed up he is. But did you know his hand gestures come in tiers?
My buddy named all of Sabans hand talking and tiered them by intensity levels. I can’t remember them all but the basic evolution was: Chop it up, Roll the dough, bang the gavel, scare the grandkids— Barn Master FML (@yourgardensucks) November 25, 2021
Whatever is beyond “scare the grandkids?” That’s where Nick is at this weekend.
There have been many surprises with the 2021 Crimson Tide. I’d be lying if I said that all of them were pleasant. But one that has exceeded expectations has been the play of first-year starter Jalyn Armour-Davis. All during Fall camp, Saban consistently singled out JAD and praised his effort and play.
JAD leads the team in interceptions, has 30 tackles, and is second on the team in PBUs.
I could keep linking articles here, but you can listen to Saban’s post-practice remarks for yourself below (via al.com)
For those who’d rather read his remarks, Potter did the Lord’s work and transcribed them over at 247:
And, mercifully, it seems like this week we may get the Motivated, Ready-to-Execute Alabama team we’ve come to expect, as opposed to the Entitled, Mistake-Prone, Derpy version that has prematurely aged everyone in this room by half a decade in 2021.
We say it often here, but I don’t think we truly understood it until the reality slapped us in the face repeatedly this season: getting consistent effort and execution from players at the college level is the single most difficult task in coaching college athletics — and it affects every program, in every sport: From golf to adaptive athletics to tent pole football franchises.
On the team’s effort in practice...
“I think the players have had good energy in practice and had pretty good focus, so you never know until you get to the game. I know we’ve got a lot of guys that are banged up like every team does at this time of the year. So it gets a little bit harder to stay focused on doing your job if you’re going to focus on what’s ailing you. But we have a lot of guys that have a lot of mental toughness that are able to play through those types of things. But it’s been good so far.”
It’s not quite 2011, but it may be close to 2014, as the CFP field remains remarkably fluid — some big-names are out there which can still upend the apple cart, provided things break their way.
You know who else I’m thankful for this year? The man I would take a bullet for, Nate Oats.
While preparing for a much-improved Iona team, the head dude of the No. 10 Alabama Crimson Tide has been spending a lot of time with his counterpart, the one and only Big Dick Rick.
And it seems like there is genuinely a lot of mutual respect and learning between the two, which makes sense. I always looked at Oats as a NextGen Rick Pitino anyway — relentless defense, workaholic, fantastic recruiter, run-the-floor, and yes even abrasive. You love them or you hate them, but you can’t deny that either are great at what they do.
Despite continued speculation surrounding Saban protege, Mel Tucker, the Sparty head man had still not signed his contract even after the defenestration in Columbus, leaving many LSU and Florida fans with some hope that Tucker was in play.
Scratch him off the list. Yesterday, Tucker signed a 10-year, $95-million deal, in what can only be described as a historic contract (and less charitably as one that is going to completely f*** the market.)
Nick Saban, after 30 years on the sidelines and 7 natties, makes “just” $10.7 million-per. And Tucker’s deal is in line with the guys just below that paygrade — the Dabos and Jimbos of the world — those who have already won a title. This is where we remind you that for all his assistant experience, and despite MSU’s turnaround in Year 2, Mel Tucker has only coached 19 games and his recruiting hasn’t been so hot.
It also makes me wonder what other hot names will command in this brave new world, who are objectively more accomplished (and did so under worse situations): Billy Napier, Jamey Chadwell, Matt Campbell, Hugh Freeze, and Luke Fickell?
If you’ve not had a chance, please read our eulogy to the loss of a legend, longtime Tuscaloosa News and TideSports beat reporter Cecil Hurt, whose career spanned from Bear’s last year at the Capstone to Saban’s 15th.
And, when you’re finished, head on over to sign our petition to have the Bryant Denny press box named in his honor.
The petition is beginning to take off. It’s sitting at 1500 or so signatures, but I’ve received correspondence from some press, and Tuscaloosa News picked up the story today.
Cecil has earned this, and few could deserve it more.
FINALLY, I leave you with something funny.
Over the weekend, a group of Army cadets drove four hours to a private farm in Annapolis looking to complete a “spirit mission,” which is part of a longstanding tradition before the Army-Navy game where each side tries to kidnap the other’s mascot.
Upon arrival, the noisy group reportedly spooked a trip of goats out at pasture before giving chase. The cadets managed to grab only one goat, but it wasn’t until arriving back in West Point that they realized Navy’s mascot isn’t an arthritic, one-horned goat.
Sounds about right for the Army.
One morning, an Army drill sergeant was upset at one of his young recruits, and shouted at him, “I didn’t see you at camo and concealment this morning, soldier!”
To which the private supressed a smile, straightened up proudly, and shouted back, “Thank you very much, sir!”
Go Navy, Beat Army.
Alrighty, we’ll back later with some Giving Away Money for Rivalry Week...as soon as I can finish cranking numbers. Parker has a hoops preview in a few, and later today, we’ll have a general Turkey Day open thread — one suspects the Egg Bowl is going to go off the rails tonight.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. Be safe. See you later.