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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin respond to Jimbo Fisher comments

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama - A-Day Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. Softball hosts Ole Miss this weekend including Saturday’s Senior Day game which will be televised on SECN at 11am CT. Baseball has to travel to Vanderbilt, which is always a tall task. Hope for the best.

Simone Eli cornered Saban about Jimbo’s comments, and his response is pretty amusing.

Meanwhile, Lane Kiffin thinks that Jimbo needs to quit poking the GOAT. I would have said bear, but...

Lane always finds a way to get his name mentioned, doesn’t he? I don’t buy that these comments will make one iota of difference in College Station, but it’s offseason entertainment.

Hey, guess who is favored to win the SEC per Vegas?

Even after having six of its players picked in the first round (and 10 players picked overall), Alabama is still the betting favorite to win the SEC. The Crimson Tide have won the SEC in five of the last seven seasons, including last year’s undefeated, national championship triumph. You’re getting nearly even money at -105 at this point in the offseason. There are far worse investments you can make than projecting Nick Saban’s program to win the SEC.

In addition to Alabama, Georgia is going to attract a lot of action. Once USC transfer JT Daniels became the starting QB, the Bulldogs showed legitimate offensive firepower. Couple a potentially high-powered offense with one of the best defenses in the country, and it’s easy to see why Georgia is already attracting so much preseason attention.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that the greatest difference between the favorite and runner up is in the ACC, where Clemson is -900.

Nick Saban wants you to get your vaccine so that Alabama football can have a full stadium.

In advertisements set to run next week on television, radio and social media, Saban gives fans a compelling reason to get vaccinated: to help support Alabama’s football team.

“College football fans and players both want full stadiums this fall,” Saban has been recorded saying. “Let’s make sure we can safely make this happen by getting vaccinated. Please get your Covid-19 vaccine. We want Bryant-Denny Stadium loud again this coming season—and Roll Tide!”

I expect this to happen anyway. The nearby Atlanta Braves are allowing full capacity starting today.

Aaron Suttles reviews the 2017 class in his latest mailbag piece.

Two first-round quarterbacks (Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones)

Three first-round wide receivers (Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, DeVonta Smith)

Two first-round offensive tackles (Jedrick Wills, Alex Leatherwood)

One first-round running back (Najee Harris)

It’s hard enough to get one quarterback drafted from a class, let alone two. A quarterback that has the skills to make it to first-round status isn’t likely to hang around a program long enough while riding the bench for multiple years. Jones did.

Three first-round wide receivers isn’t likely to happen again either. And running back has become a position where it’s not all that shocking if even the best in college football don’t go in the first round.

That class was a unicorn, folks. Hope you enjoyed them. Alabama will reload, but they may never top that one.

Brandon Turnage is understandably moving on.

Redshirt sophomore Brandon Turnage entered the NCAA transfer portal Thursday afternoon, AL.com has learned.

The former four-star recruit was a third-team cornerback during the Crimson Tide’s spring game in April after playing in just three games as a reserve last season.

Last, you may want to check out a little Presbyterian Blue Hose football this year. It is gonig to be fun under new coach Kevin Kelley.

Much of his fourth down decision-making stems from the research of David Romer, an economics professor at Cal, who found that NFL teams should always go for it on fourth-and-4 or less. This type of thinking involving risk aversion vs. risk taking stuck with Kelley, who has said in many interviews that the numbers support his strategy, so there’s no reason not to do it.

In terms of onside kicks, Kelley views it this way: if his team kicks it into the end zone, the other team gets the ball at the 20-yard-line. If they try the onside kick and don’t recover, the other team gets the ball around their own 45-yard-line. He’s willing to sacrifice those 25 yards because he knows his team will recover at least 25% of its onside kick attempts. These extra possessions—in addition to his aggressiveness on fourth down—have helped produced one of the most dominant offenses in high school football over the last two decades.

The math has always been there: Possession of the ball is the most precious commodity in football, just like outs in baseball. Don’t mistake this with time of possession as that isn’t the point. The goal is to score points, and you generally score fewer points when you forfeit possessions with kicks in the name of field position. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.