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Jumbo Package: Notes from the first scrimmage of fall camp

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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Syndication: Tuscaloosa News Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Happy Monday, everyone. Alabama held its first scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday, and the pads were popping.

Saban spoke ever so briefly with reporters afterward.

Nick Saban said Saturday that the sophomore, who is presumed to become the Tide’s starter this season, did “a good job” in the team’s first of two August scrimmages.

“I think we have to play well around Bryce,” Saban added. “At times today, I didn’t think maybe we did as good a job as we need to. It’s all 11 guys. It’s the offensive line. It’s the receivers. It’s all 11 guys so that he’ll have more opportunities to make plays.

It sounds like the defense is ahead of the offense at this stage, and something would be amiss if it wasn’t considering the discrepancy in returning talent on each side. From varying reports we’ve read, Bryce Young threw three TDs, two to Cameron Latu and the other to Trey Sanders. Latu and Young seem to have some serious chemistry. Sanders reportedly looks fully healthy and is a potential breakout candidate.

Young threw one interception, reportedly to freshman Terrion Arnold. The secondary is the only minor question mark on the defense, with two of the six positions in dime needing filled. All indications are that Arnold and Kool Aid are both looking the part, to say nothing of veterans Jalyn Armour-Davis and Brian Branch who look to fend them off. Top juco transfer Khyree Jackson is drawing some buzz as well. There may be more depth at all three levels of this defense than we have seen in some time.

Saban brought Alex Smith in as the latest motivational speaker.

That makes three this season, which seems like more than usual.

USA Today unsurprisingly has Alabama atop the SEC headed in.

With so much talent and such a rock-solid system in place, the biggest source of intrigue comes in the form of new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and, to a lesser extent, new offensive line coach Doug Marrone. The former NFL head coaches are Nick Saban’s latest reclamation projects and a potential source of new tricks for an already unstoppable offense.

The other three Power FIve conferences not named the Big 12 are currently in negotiations toward some sort of alliance. Dennis Dodd has some insight.

From the moment it was known Texas and Oklahoma had wandering eyes, the response has been seen as a long-term play. About money? For sure. But also about CFP access and the structure of an expanded bracket.

Several college sports leaders — Kliavkoff the most vocal among them — have already protested the SEC’s power play in that respect.

“Who’s in?” Indeed.

We’re seeing in real time the best, most-watched teams gathering in a tighter circle. The four power conferences could then agree to a common set of playing and eligibility rules to keep that circle taut and powerful. If the SEC was to increase its annual scholarship limits from 25 to 35, the other three would have to do the same to keep up.

He also mentions that members of the alliance could flex their muscles or something by refusing to play the better SEC teams. In any case, the Big 12 as we know it is on life support.

Last, check out this shade from the Arkansas athletic director.

Just spectacular.

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

Roll Tide.