Happy Tuesday, everyone. The big news yesterday was that Alabama is planning a fully open campus in the fall with no restrictions, and that includes a full capacity Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Byrne tweeted a short statement after news earlier in the day that the school would be returning to in-person instruction without restrictions on classroom capacity in the fall. Byrne said they will continue to monitor medical guidelines “as we have all along.”
Alabama reduced its capacity to 20% last season as COVID-19 spread, infecting millions of Americans. Infections have dropped significantly of late.
I suspect that this will be the norm across the south and the vast majority of the country, but we will see.
247 sports ranks the best passers on the schedule this season.
1.] Matt Corral (Jr.), Ole Miss, Oct. 2, Tuscaloosa.
2020 season: Corral ranks as the SEC’s returning leader in passing yards (3,337) and touchdown passes (29) from a year ago. He also rushed for 506 yards and four scores in 2020. In his first full season as the starter, Corral had seven games with 300-plus yards passing, including 365 in a 63-48 loss to Alabama. He also had two contests with five or more interceptions.
That Ole Miss offense will be a challenge, but I think the defense will be better prepared for it this season. The rest of the list is frankly somewhat laughable.
There was quite a bit of analyst attrition after the season, and one of those spots has been filled.
Ex-Louisville head coach Ron Cooper is expected to join the Crimson Tide in a support staff capacity, a source told AL.com.
Cooper was Louisville’s head coach from 1995-97. The 59-year old Huntsville native has also been a head coach at Eastern Michigan (1993-94) and Alabama A&M (1998-2001), a defensive coordinator at schools like Mississippi State (2003) and FIU (2016) and a defensive backs coach for teams such as South Carolina, LSU, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Texas A&M and Arkansas.
With that experience, one would assume that Cooper will be doing a lot of breaking down opponent passing games.
Alabama continues its NFL takeover.
Sixty-four Alabama alumni played in an NFL regular-season game in the 2020 campaign, the most in school history.
The former Crimson Tide players flooding into the NFL pushed Alabama to a participation record for the fourth straight season.
In 2017, 44 Tide alumni played in an NFL game, eclipsing the school record of 40 set in the 1987 season. In 2018, the record moved to 52, and in 2019, it jumped to 62. In 2020, the record went up again, and it might have been more. Five former Alabama players sat out the 2020 season as COVID-19 opt-outs.
I would have to imagine that the 64 is also an all-time record for any school in a single season, but that would take some digging.
Last, Seth Greenberg is only moderately bullish on Alabama’s tournament hopes.
“I like Alabama. I don’t love Alabama. I don’t love them for a couple of reasons. I like their style of play. I think they compete hard defensively. I don’t trust John Petty. He’s been up and down. Right now, he’s in a downward spiral a little bit. He’s not seeing a big basket. The key to their team, to me, is Herbert Jones. I want to see him healthy and playing to where he’s playing that dynamic style. I think he’s the SEC player of the year. I think he’s the toughest matchup in the league. I like their ability to make shots. I like their depth. I think getting Bruner back is important. I don’t see them as an Elite Eight team. I see them as a Sweet 16 team. Alabama people, don’t at me. I’m not saying I’m right. That’s just my opinion.”
Look, I would love to see this team win a national title, but if “all” they accomplish is a SEC title and a Sweet Sixteen run, this season will have been a rousing success.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.