Seriously, Alabama has substantive rebuilds about every other year. True, rarely has the offense lost this much. You probably go back to 2014 to find an analogy, but ya’ know, if that means Alabama goes 12-2, wins the SEC, and makes the playoffs, I’ll take it. But Alabama has substantial quality depth at every position on the field, and that side of the ball is much easier to replace and requires far less reliance on experience than on the other side.
This is a cool story: the profile of a blind, 89-year-old Kenyan responsible for Alabama’s new edifice to all things Pachyderm.
It was perhaps inevitable once the NCAA granted extended eligibility and penalty-free WuFlu transfers that the body would eventually move to give everyone a free mulligan to transfer anywhere without penalty.
And yesterday, the NCAA did just that.
Greg Kampe summed up the effects the best, at least for basketball:
“If you are building for the future,” the longtime Oakland men’s coach says, “you’re going to lose your job.”
He’s right: only 47% of NCAA D1 basketball players earn a degree as it is. And there are roughly 1.8 transfers per class from those programs. One unintended consequence not being considered here is the academic decimation this will create for players. But that’s not the only one:
The new transfer rule, as Kampe suggests, has far-reaching ramifications and unintended consequences that worry those at the top of the sport. Many coaches plan to alter their recruiting strategy, relying so heavily on transfers that it adversely impacts high school recruits, creates an uptick in poaching other college players and sets off a trickle-down effect that could widen the gap between bluebloods and the lower rungs of sports, specifically football.
Call it the Tom Osborne / Bill Snyder plan — building your program with partial qualifiers, JUCOs, transfers. It’s a win-now mentality that leaves programs in fundamentally weaker positions on a year-over-year basis.
I do have serious equity concerns as well. Many players, advocates, and some in Congress want these scholarship transactions to be held to standards of professionalism, including compensation. And from COA to four-year-guarantees to this, we’ve seen the burdens lie solely with one party to date; there’s not even an analogy to a liquidation provision (such as sitting out at least for intraconference transfers). That’s simply not how the Big Bad Real World works. That’s not how bargains operate.
Some coaches are right: we are failing many of these kids in the lesson-teaching required to send them out into society. Commitments and honoring obligations do matter. But, as happens far too often in our haste to correct an arguable injustice, we are rushing blindly down the other path now — overcorrection.
Alabama has been able to reach into most states and compete for just about any player it wants...with one exception: Mississippi. The Magnolia State has been a tough nut to crack for the Tide coaching staff (hell, anyone), as the talent tends to stay local. That’s why yesterday’s commitment of four-star, ESPN1000 DT Jaheim Oatis is such a big deal.
And we mean big in every sense of the word. Not only is the pickup out of Columbia hopefully a sign of more inroads, but Oatis is a mammoth. He’s 6’7” and allegedly 350 pounds. But he moves that frame with terrifying athleticism:
Oatis gained popularity back in the summer of 2017 entering the eighth grade when he caught Alabama head coach Nick Saban’s eye at summer camp. He’s continued to blossom into a top prospect in the class of 2022. As a junior he racked up 65 tackles, including 18 tackles for a loss, and three sacks. He also blocked four field goals.
He’s a 2022 commit, so expect the poaching wars to continue. And Freddie Roach’s experience on the Ole Miss staff continues to pay dividends.
Speaking of ‘Crootin’, a trio of Alabama targets at Hewitt-Trussville are starting to stand out and shine.
Alabama has essentially locked down most of Birmingham’s Northern and Eastern outlying communities. Trussville, Odenville, Chalkville, etc. are feeder programs at this point.
Here’s a great story from Dennis Dodds on one alternative scheme to stopping the spread: Run the 3-0.
Arkansas’ defensive coordinator might as well have worn the padding his players used. Everyone felt beat up after a 52-3 loss to wrap the regular season.
But somewhere deep down, there was flicker of hope in a larger battle. Odom’s plan against the Crimson Tide that December day included a heavy reliance on the 30 Stack defense.
The 30 is not necessarily revolutionary, just one of the latest tools being used against the modern spread offense. In general, it involves dropping eight speedy defenders into coverage. It emphasizes stopping the run and deep pass.
Of course that did not stop the run: ‘Bama gashed the piggies for six rushing scores in a game where Alabama was simply trying to kill clock and get to the SECCG healthy.
Bama hoops is facing a roster crunch that could turn very thorny if the 2021 seniors avail themselves of an extra year (thanks, Rona!). But, per Nate Oats, they’re all heading off to greener pastures.
“None of them are planning on using that option right now, to be honest with you,” Oats said. “I think they’ve all had really good college careers. Alex Reese is on pace to graduate. Herb Jones has already graduated. John Petty’s on pace to graduate. Jordan Bruner graduated from Yale before he got here. He’s on pace to finish his master’s. The education part of it’s done. They’re now to the point where they can go make some money playing at different levels.
The roster crunch isn’t the only issue facing Coach Oats. He somehow has to find a way to get Alabama’s ridiculous wealth of talent off the bench and on the floor.
But, damn, that is a good problem to have, y’all.
Tide 102.9 predicts the depth chart for A-Day.
Everyone is talking about Mac Jones as an ascendant No. 3 pick to the ‘Niners, PSII as the best corner in the draft, the elite WR talent, etc. But few are addressing the real hero of the 2020 Alabama Crimson Tide season and his draft fortunes.
Will big ole’ Landon Dickerson make it into the first round? Or will his lengthy injury history hurt his stock?
My preference for ‘Bama HCIW, Steve Sarkisian, can have some success at Texas. I truly believe that. But his first year may be a bumpy one — the Longhorns are projected to have the 4th toughest slate in the nation. They are joined by three SEC schools, including No. 1 Arkansas, No. 9 Ole Miss. And No. 2 — the new-look Auburn Tigers, led by Mountain Time Malzahn.
The guy many see locking down the corner spot opposite Josh Jobe, Jayln Armour-Davis, is developing a rep for his outstanding technique.
I cannot emphasize enough that the proposed rule changes for basketball are among the stupidest that you will ever read. We spent a solid hour yesterday clowning them and the absurd scenarios that these easily set up.
Not sure what else we have today in the hopper. Later this weekend, after A-Day, I’ll have the winners of the Pick ‘Em knocked out, and we’ll announce your eternal glory accordingly. For now, have a great day.