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Jumbo Package: Saban talks NIL, playoff expansion, Henry To’o To’o and more

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Your latest Crimson TIde news and notes.

NCAA Football: SEC Media Days Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Nick Saban spoke with Mark Schlabach about all kinds of things.

I don’t like the fact that the [Group of 5] conferences want their conference champions to be in the playoff. I coached at Toledo and we were conference champions. We sure as hell didn’t have any business playing Florida. That’s not the best teams. If you are going to do it, get the best teams. The other argument is are we getting the four best teams now? Is there somebody not getting in that could win? I think you could make an argument for Texas A&M [last season], but we beat them by [28] points. They had a good team.

I don’t really know the answer to that one. I’m asking all the questions that I ask myself and how does it fit? This is not the NFL. If we want to be an NFL model, then we ought to say, “Alright, Alabama, if you want to sponsor a team, go get the best players and they don’t have to go to school and we’ll pay them.” We’ll have a playoff and do everything like the NFL, but it ain’t the NFL.

This is a fantastic interview that covers a wide range of topics. He discusses how he deals with NIL including the inequality of it as well as educating players on taking deals that they are proud to associate their names with. He also talks about staying focused on the big prize, which is the NFL contract and endorsements that come along with that. Also covered are his thoughts on scheduling after the league expands, roster management issues with the transfer portal, and more.

Sounds like Henry To’o To’o will be your starting Mike.

“I think what Henry’s done is let Christian play his more natural position, which is Will and Money,” said Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban via Zoom. “He can play Mike, and he’s a very good Mike. But Henry’s a signal-caller, he’s been a signal-caller. Having experience at doing that is very helpful. It’s less of a burden on other players on the team. I think it helps everybody on the team when you have communication, especially at the linebacker position. It’s a little bit like the quarterback on offense, and Henry has done a really, really good job of that.

If Christian Harris is allowed to just run around and wreck things while Henry runs the defense, this is going to be a fun defense to watch. In other practice news, Demarcco Hellams has a sprained ankle.

This pretty much had to happen.

That, Is. Awesome.

Seems that camp isn’t going quite as swimmingly in Athens as many had hoped. I’m sure you’re shocked.

No matter the results in 2021, the future is bright for Smart and the Bulldogs. While the ultimate goal for the program is to snap its 41-year championship drought, it’s not a red-light indicator that it will never happen if they don’t. Georgia has a cake conference schedule this year, but it might be the only team in the country saddled with needing to beat Clemson and/or Alabama twice to win the title.

This level of cope is no fun. I like my Dawgs optimistic and delusional.

Top-flight power forward Julian Philips likes Alabama.

The power forward is the top four-star prospect on the 247Sports composite as the No. 23 overall recruit in the 2022 class. Phillips spoke with AL.com on Tuesday about his recruitment and what he sees in Alabama.

“I think they have a great program,” Phillips said. “I think last season, they played great. Coach Oats, I think he’s a good coach. I talk to him a lot. So I think they have a great staff and great team there. I think they’re doing some real good things.”

He’s from Columbia, so maybe Juwan Gary will get in his ear.

Last, what in the fresh hell is this?

Just sad.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.