Happy Friday, everyone. The baseball team hosts Auburn this weekend, and won the opener last night in walk-off fashion. Softball is ranked #3 and also at home this weekend, for a heavyweight matchup with #4 Florida that we will preview for you later today, and the Gym Tide compete in the NCAA finals starting tonight.
Of course, the A-Day scrimmage is tomorrow as well. Nick Saban named Bryce Young the starting QB “for right now.” Needless to say, that qualifier raised some eyebrows. It also prompted some questions that Saban had no patience for.
Ornery Saban is the best Saban. Alabama fans will certainly be paying attention to the QBs tomorrow, among other positions. Kickoff is at 12pm CT on ESPN. If you plan to attend in person, The Tuscaloosa News has you covered with things to know.
Nick was also asked about the new one-time transfer rule, and as usual he is spot on.
Saban on the 1-time transfer rule: "We're gonna adapt to it and make it an advantage for us. I think what's gonna happen, as you seen happen in a lot of leagues, the good players go to a good team and the bad players leave good teams. ... Is that gonna make the rich get richer?"— Charlie Potter (@Charlie_Potter) April 15, 2021
All you have to do is look at the high school football landscape in the most football crazed states. Rampant transfers always result in greater consolidation of the proven talent as it migrates to the elite programs. A three-star kid proves his mettle and earns All-SEC honors at someplace like Mississippi State as a sophomore, then transfers to Alabama for his last two seasons. In turn, the Bulldogs probably get a kid from Bama who was more hyped out of high school but hasn’t been able to crack the rotation. There will be more chaos, but in the end the premier programs will come out on top, as always.
Paul Myerberg at USA Today has a solid preview for you.
A new quarterback, new wide receivers, remade backfield and reconstructed offensive line will learn from two new high-profile coaching additions, both from the NFL. Alabama will move forward without last year’s Heisman Trophy winner. And the teammate who finished in third. And the other teammate who came in fifth.
Ten returning starters may dot the depth chart, including the outline of a dominant front seven on defense, but the defining storyline of the Tide’s offseason is the distinct loss of star power — and while that’s familiar ground for a program that routinely sends players into the top rounds of the NFL draft, this reload is unmatched during the Saban era.
Imagine losing three of the top five Heisman finalists, and still being ranked #1 in the preseason. What a machine.
If you read nothing else today, check out this piece from Alex Scarborough on how the 2011 tornado changed the GOAT.
The power was out and Saban’s cellphone wasn’t working. He wanted to help. “But there was no plan,” Turnipseed later recalled. “That’s what was driving him crazy.”
They headed for a relief effort at the Ferguson Student Center only to find more than 100 people looking at one another, lost. There was a leadership vacuum. Saban felt a familiar tug. “People need direction,” he recalled a decade later.
Saban climbed on top of a bench and began speaking. When something bad happens, he told the crowd, it’s an opportunity “for all of us to pitch in and help and do everything we can.”
He issued a challenge: “Be ready when you’re called.”
Purinton remembers Saban’s presence as he spoke, as if he was trying to get across, “We’re going to get through this and I’m here with you.”
Turnipseed gets chill bumps when he thinks about it years later. He calls it simply, “The Speech.”
Barrett Jones is interviewed as well and says that Saban’s demeanor changed from that point forward. Absent a strong bond forged through tragedy, might he have left for another opportunity at some point? We will never know, but it has been one hell of a decade for the town, university and football team since that darkest hour.
Kirk Herbstreit likes Mac Jones’ ability to read defenses.
“Mac Jones is a surgeon,” Herbstreit said, per Bay Area NBC Sports. “Of all these guys, because of the offense he is coming out of, he probably processes as quickly as anyone coming out in this draft. By processing, recognizing pre-snap coverage.
“If they change coverage at the snap of the ball, being able to instantly know where to go with the ball without any hesitation. That to me is the secret sauce of these guys that go to another level. How quickly they can read such complexity on the run.”
There have been many failed QBs who look great in a T-shirt and can sling the ball 60 yards. The guys who make it in the NFL have this ability to process what they see quickly and get the ball out.
Will Anderson was honored by an Alabama legend.
Former Alabama All-American running back Shaun Alexander returned to Tuscaloosa on Thursday to present current Tide outside linebacker Will Anderson with the national freshman of the year trophy.
Anderson was announced in January as the winner of the award, which is given by the Football Writers Association of American and named after Alexander.
Last, if you would like to get your hands on a very limited edition Collin Sexton bobblehead, here is your chance. It won’t be launched until later this morning, but you will be able to find it here when it is and in the meantime you can check out their other offerings. They are lousy with bobbleheads.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.