Happy Monday, everyone. We open with Andy Staples, who went full Gump in his mailbag column.
There are a few schools that Mandel has ranked lower that I think could hang with Alabama B. LSU (No. 9) has the talent to beat this group. (It might have the talent to beat actual Alabama this year.) Oregon could win as well. Alabama B’s offensive line probably would struggle to block Ducks defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and linebacker Noah Sewell.
But even if I drop Alabama B behind those teams, it’s still a top-10 squad. Ohio State B wouldn’t be far behind. And that’s what frustrates those who would like to see a little more variety at the top of the sport.
It’s almost like Staples caught himself after sharing all of the reasons that Alabama’s second string would be a top ten team, and threw that blurb in about LSU being talented enough to beat the A team, so that Saban wouldn’t kick his ass for rat poison. Still, Staples is right. Alabama and Ohio State both field second units most years that would be fringe top ten squads if given first team reps in practices and games. To suggest otherwise is to deny the reality that we see both in the recruiting rankings and the way both teams produce new NFL first rounders year after year. It’s not like there is some fairly recent history where a second team and future first round QB, RB, LT and trio of WR all showed out to lead a thrilling comeback in the national title game or anything. That 2017 class, man.
So, let’s put this to a poll. In this hypothetical world, where do you think Alabama’s second string should be ranked?
How high would Alabama’s second string be ranked against the rest of college football?
This poll is closed
Ohio State really could use a little help at linebacker though, and the help they wanted is headed to Tuscaloosa.
After missing out on To’o To’o, Ohio State will enter the fall with little experience at linebacker – unless it purses another transfer addition – after the team lost its top four players at the position to the NFL following the season.
The Buckeyes’ linebacker depth chart is likely to consist of some combination of Teradja Mitchell, Dallas Gant, Cody Simon, Tommy Eichenberg, K’Vaughan Pope and Reid Carrico. And To’o To’o’s decision to go to Alabama increases the likelihood that Ohio State will stick with a 4-2-5 base defense, replacing the Sam linebacker with a bullet, as it practiced with this spring.
You just hate to see it. Also, Tennessee fans seem to be taking the Henry T news about as well as you’d expect. They are not OK, and neither are the rest of the SEC fanbases.
When the Henry To'oto'o News hit the Sec ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ pic.twitter.com/vDAmiGq60n— REV. B (@WilliamBrunso10) May 8, 2021
Should Henry win a starting job, the man next to him ranks among the ten best SEC players according to this list.
The new quarterback of the defense for the Crimson Tide, Christian Harris is anxious to lead after the departure of Dylan Moses. He recorded 79 tackles last season and seemed to improve as the season wore on with more reps.
“I think I did a pretty good job with trying to communicate the calls and stuff, but we’re on to a new year,” Harris said this spring. “I’m trying to be more of a leader and have that leadership role on the team and be more vocal to the guys and get the call out across the board.”
Evan Neal and Will Anderson made the cut as well. DeVonta Smith is probably proud of his son Derek for earning the top spot. Congrats to him.
247sports is out here being all conventional and ranking teams based primarily on their starters.
Nothing about spring camp changes Alabama’s status as the top team in the country. A unanimous No. 1 team during the pre-spring 247Sports top 25 rankings, Alabama remains on top with all six first-place votes. Alabama wrapped a strong spring campaign with new starter Bryce Young expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Alabama also added Ohio State transfer Jameson Williams to start the week.
“It’s a perfect situation for Bryce Young,” said Josh Pate. “The perfect situation is he came in last year as the top quarterback in the country, but because Alabama was already set at quarterback, he didn’t need to start last year. Ohio State has this right now, Georgia has this now, LSU has it right now, North Carolina….you bring in high level guys but because you have adequate, proper depth, they don’t have to start immediately and you are all the better for it when they do start. Now Bryce Young has an entire season under his belt, he’s going to have an entire spring under his belt.”
Like many outlets, they have the Sooners ranked second. Much is expected of Spencer Rattler and company this season. We shall see if they can deliver.
Give Jimbo Fisher credit. His little comment about beating Saban’s ass generated a lot of attention. No less than Pawwwl himself weighed in.
“Well, I think Jimbo Fisher is smarter than all of us,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s Get Up. “I’ve heard all the commentators up and down the dial say, ‘Oh, that was stupid. Don’t poke the bear.’ What difference does it make? Jimbo Fisher has met Nick Saban four times as a head coach — one at FSU, three at A&M. He’s lost by 23 points. What’s Saban going to say? ‘Well, I’m going to beat him by twice that.’ Well, I mean, that’s absurd.
“And don’t forget something else — Jimbo Fisher is paid, has got a $75 million contract and he’s speaking in Texas where he works. You don’t go up to the podium in Houston, Texas, with your head down and your tail tucked and say, ‘No, we can’t beat old coach Nick Saban.’ No, you say exactly what he said. He has already won in this round.”
Just when you think you have a grasp on the impact Saban has made on the sport of football, a story like this one about Art Monk comes along.
“I couldn’t catch a cold,” Monk once told Sports Illustrated. “I don’t know why. It was just a disaster. I remember practices where they’d throw the ball to me and it would hit my hands and I couldn’t catch it. I knew I was better than that. I got really depressed and down on myself. And I just made up my mind that this wasn’t going to happen again.”
Saban, now the head coach at Alabama, recalled driving Monk from Syracuse to his home in White Plains, New York at the end of the semester. During the drive, they had a long talk about Monk’s future.
“In those days you could ride guys home when the semester was over,” Saban said. “I was going out recruiting, and I spent a long time talking with him about how it might benefit him and his future if he stuck with football.
This is all Monk went on to do in the NFL:
NFL receptions leader (1984)
First receiver to reach 900 career receptions
He is a Hall of Famer at both the college and pro levels, and he pondered quitting football at 19. It’s easy to forget just how young and impressionable these guys are, even the superstars.
Kirk McNair remembers when Saban was just going to use Bama for a couple of years, as a stepping stone to his next opportunity.
Saban is now at 14 Tide seasons with a record of 170-23, a winning percentage of 88.1 and with six national championships – 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2020. He has averaged over 12 wins per season and has had double digit victories in 13 consecutive seasons.
Those who predicted “no more than five years” at Bama – mostly Alabama-haters – now have endured almost three times that, 14 years of ecstasy among Crimson Tide faithful, 14 of misery for the rest.
And more to come, almost certainly to take over second place in Alabama longevity in two years. And then, who knows? Nick Saban already has pleasantly surprised us, in more ways than one.
Those were good times. These are better.
Last, check out Nate Oats on the links.
Oats is starting to seem like one of those dudes who just always manages to win at everything he does, to the point that it ends up annoying everyone around him outside of his loyal supporters. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.