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Jumbo Package: Battle for starting center going down to the wire

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Ohio State vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. Saban spoke with media yesterday, and the offensive line battle was, ahem, front and center.

Shortly after Alabama wrapped up preseason practice Wednesday, Saban was asked what he’s seen from a progress standpoint from top centers like Chris Owens and Darrian Dalcourt.

“I think we’ve gotta get a lot more consistency at the position — consistency in snaps, consistency in blocking,” Saban said. “We do have competition at the position, no doubt about that, and both guys are making progress but both guys are competing. Both guys have been a little banged up at times, so there hasn’t been that consistency that we’d like to see in terms of them being able to go out there and do what they’ve gotta do.

— On TE Cameron Latu, Saban said he’s making progress (after a long pause). Consistency is huge “and that’s for every player on the team,” Saban said.

— Saban said Bryce Young’s knowledge of the offense, feel in the pocket are among the things that impress him. Now they need to fine tune the timing of the passing game with a number of new receivers in the program. “We just have to get the players around him to play a little better,” Saban said.

Saban was being a little ornery, complaining about consistency and execution. This usually means that the season is getting close, and he feels like he has a good team that is capable all of its goals. We will be keeping an eye on both center and right tackle. Both of those jobs seem to be hotly contested. Landon Dickerson and Alex Leatherwood left some big shoes to fill, but there are multiple good options for both. Entire press conference is embedded at the bottom.

Dennis Dodd notes that Bryce Young thrives on the pressure of playing QB at Alabama, and Pat Forde has him as the most intriguing player in the nation for 2021.

Before he throws a pass as a starter, Young’s name, image and likeness fame is already assured. Saban said last month his quarterback was earning close to $1 million in NIL endorsements. Surprised? Don’t be. Young is part of the same firm (Creative Artist Agency) that represents his coach. Saban has been with CAA’s Jimmy Sexton for years.

Membership in a dynasty has its privileges.

“There’s obviously expectations,” Young said. “For me, regardless of what happened in high school or any past experience I’ve had, coming to Bama is where you come for pressure and where you come for expectations.”

1. Bryce Young, Alabama quarterback. He hasn’t started a college game or even seen any crucial playing time, yet by late July, Young had NIL deals worth what coach Nick Saban said is “almost seven figures.” The heir to a position that has produced consecutive top-15 NFL draft picks, is Young ready to become Alabama’s next great quarterback? The sophomore is leading an offense that is nearly as inexperienced as he is, which will require him to be ready in a hurry. However, this Bama team figures to rely more on its defense (especially early in the season) than the past few editions.

He also has Evan Neal on the list.

When you woke up this morning, you didn’t know that you simply had to see Nick Saban covering the Aflac duck today. Now you know.

Nick is taking full advantage of that bionic hip.

Bill Connelly is talking chaos behind the ESPN+ paywall.

• Sept. 2: Ohio State 69% win probability, per SP+, at Minnesota

• Sept. 4: Clemson 57% win probability vs. Georgia in Charlotte, North Carolina.

• Sept. 4: Alabama 72% win probability vs. Miami in Atlanta

• Sept. 11: Alabama 69% win probability at Florida

• Sept. 11: Ohio State 72% win probability vs. Oregon

Oklahoma has an incumbent QB in Spencer Rattler and a pretty soft early slate (the Sooners’ lowest SP+ win probability in September is 86% against Nebraska), but the other three top contenders all face some hurdles. They’re favored in the five games above, but SP+ gives them only a 14% chance of winning all five, and top-ranked Alabama gets only a 50% chance of surviving both Miami and Florida — preseason No. 14 and No. 13, respectively — unscathed.

Last, somebody needs to remind Jalen Hurts and Mac Jones that defensive coordinators have families.

Remember when people said that Alabama couldn’t produce any quarterbacks?

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

Roll Tide.