Happy Friday, everyone. We open with a hilarious comment from Derrick Henry, when asked by Barstool Sports about getting paid while at Alabama.
Derrick Henry when asked how much he got paid to go to Bama: “They paid me nothing, they paid me in rings.” pic.twitter.com/gKY1p3lY4A— Matthew Travis (@Mjtrav627) February 18, 2021
That’s a fantastic answer, and Saban happily took him up on the offer to put the team on his back for the national title run.
The ladies got an important win in Gainesville.
Jasmine Walker had a team-high 22 points, while Jordan Lewis was just behind at 20 in addition to a game-best five assists in her 40:00 of play. Ariyah Copeland rounded out the trio in double figures with 16 points. Megan Abrams had a big game all around collecting eight points, a career-high tying nine rebounds, a career-best five steals and three assists.
Alabama shot over 50 percent in the second and third quarters and finished at 44.8 percent for the game. The Tide also had a successful night from the free throw line, knocking down 16 of its 19 attempts, good for 84.2 percent. Alabama capitalized on Florida’s 15 turnovers, scoring 18 points off the Gator miscues.
This team will go as far as Walker and Lewis take them. They basically never come off the floor. Lewis dominates the ballhandling while Walker leads the scoring, and thus far it has worked out well. At 14-6 (7-6 SEC) the ladies are solidly in the NCAA tournament at this point, though finishing above .500 in the conference won’t be easy with a closing slate of #24 Mississippi State, #5 Texas A&M and #17 Arkansas. At least the first two are at home.
As you already know, Alabama announced an extension for Nate Oats yesterday, and Cecil has some insight as usual.
Byrne doesn’t want Alabama to be a one-trick pony even if that pony is worth more than Secretariat. Basketball success means something to him personally and professionally. He hears plenty of feedback about it from Alabama fans, who have been vocal about retaining Oats and about doing something, whatever “something” means, about Coleman Coliseum. A massive construction project would require a tremendous investment, not to say that the cost pushes all options off the table. But whenever Byrne gets the chance to show a commitment to a non-football program, especially one with basketball’s visibility, he does so.
Byrne will continue to get those questions until something is done about the arena, and rightfully so. The men play tomorrow, at home vs. Vanderbilt. We will have coverage later in the day, as usual.
Alabama football is atop yet another list.
Alabama, who leads this list by a wide margin, is the cream of the crop with six national titles since the start of the 2009 season. The Crimson Tide capped an unbeaten campaign for the second time in Nick Saban’s tenure en-route to winning the national title over Ohio State Alabama’s two losses during the 2019 season marked the first time the Crimson Tide suffered more than one blemish during the regular season in 10 years, an admirable accomplishment given the challenges of the SEC week to week.
Alabama has 57 ranked wins over that period, 17 more than LSU who has the second most. Remember that the next time somebody tells you how the Tide ain’t played nobody.
Longtime coach June Jones is a believer in Mac.
“Mac’s deep-ball accuracy is probably the best that I have graded in my years of coaching quarterbacks,” June Jones said. “He’s almost at 55 percent at over 20 yards, which is unbelievable.”
Jones also received high praise for his ability to read his options.
“(Mac Jones) is a receiver watcher,” June Jones said. “I could tell watching him on television when they had the right camera angle. And I really think that is huge for him. It’s how he naturally throws the deep ball.”
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a QB called a “receiver watcher” before. Staring down receivers is a bad trait, but context suggests that he’s talking about going through progressions. In any case, some team may get themselves a steal.
Mike Stoops discusses his time under Saban.
“There’s ways to make things better,” Stoops said. “He teaches you ways to do things better … lot of people don’t want to spend the time to do it. Just a lot that goes into a game plan. Puts a lot on the players and coaches into it.
“He likes to stimulate people’s minds and keep you working. You can become complacent and lazy if you don’t. He’s always pushing to get better. Puts a lot on players and coaches. Sometimes it’s a lot for players to deal with. But that’s what he believes in.”
Stoops spent 12 seasons in Norman, sandwiched around 7½ years as Arizona’s head coach. Stoops said the OU and Bama programs are not alike.
“Totally different,” Stoops said. “They’re not even … Lincoln and Bob had their ways of doing things. I don’t want to get into the details of what’s different. There’s a lot of ways to win. The best way to win is to have great players. You need it all.”
That’s OK, Mike. We know what’s different. Nick Saban is a perfectionist and admitted workaholic. Everyone is not and that’s OK, but that more than anything has driven his success.
Last, Aaron Suttles examines Alabama’s most influential recruits under Saban, and Julio Jones tops the list, for obvious reasons. As he notes, however, Trent Richardson was an important pull, too.
Meyer is considered, along with Saban, one of the greatest recruiters in college football history. Alabama had his verbal commitment for a long time, but on signing day, there was legitimate concern he might flip to Florida.
After signing with Alabama, Richardson told me: “It was hard telling Urban Meyer no with him sitting in my mom’s living room with those rings on.” Meyer had two national championship rings from Florida. Saban had none from Alabama. Securing his signature sent a message to Meyer that Saban and Alabama were for real and 2008 was no joke. To back that up, Saban, Alabama and Richardson won a national championship in 2009 and beat Florida and Meyer in the SEC championship game. Florida has been a very fertile recruiting territory for Alabama under Saban.
Landing Jones was a landmark moment, but he was also an in-state prospect. Saban pulling the #1 RB in the nation out of Florida, with the Gators enjoying a run of two national titles in three seasons, ended up signaling a change of the guard, and Saban has dominated in the Sunshine State ever since.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.