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Jumbo Package: Saban talks injuries, Bobby Bowden as practice gets rolling

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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

Happy Monday, everyone. Saban and both coordinators spoke to the media over the weekend.

— Saban remembered Bobby Bowden’s death, saying it “saddens all of college football.” Saban said he was “one of the great ambassadors of all time” for the game. “He set an outstanding example for everyone in our profession,” he added.

— Saban talked about Alex Rodriguez’s speech to the team Friday night, saying the former baseball star “did a great job” discussing the New York Yankees’ 2009 championship and their less successful 2010 season. “They weren’t able to repeat even though, in his mind, they had a better team,” Saban relayed.

— Saban said LaBryan Ray has a “pretty significant groin injury” that he suffered toward the end of the summer. It is expected to keep him out a couple weeks.

— Asked about five-star freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry, Golding said the thing that stands out most is his willingness to play aggressively with physicality. Most cornerbacks with his recruiting profile don’t like to hit as much as the Pinson Valley grad does, Golding said. “He understands the game so again that’s a big piece,” Golding said. “So he’s got the ability, he has the ability to process and put his face on you. So if we can get that consistent, he’s going to be a really good player.”

— O’Brien reiterated that he is running “Alabama’s offense” and not his own, which is what Saban has done with new coordinators. O’Brien later noted how the system has evolved over time and “each coordinator has put his own touch on it.” Continued O’Brien: “Every year’s different. I think in the end, it comes down to who your players are, what can they do best, who your quarterback is, what can he do best and what’s best for the team. So no year is like any other year, so this year will be very different than any other year, and that’s just the way it is in football.”

College football lost a legend in Coach Bowden. May he rest in peace.

The injuries don’t sound great. Poor LaBryan Ray is one of the more snakebit players we’ve had, and I’m definitely not loving the sound of Malachi’s back. It is good to hear that Trey Sanders is doing well after that horrific accident, and that Kool-Aid is impressing. Needless to say, Malachi’s injury would require someone to step up at corner should he lose time. Saban’s entire presser is embedded below for you.

Hard to believe that Alabama made this list only once.

Alabama has won so many games and national championships under Nick Saban that the rest of America has learned to live with it, but that 2011 Crimson Tide team that lost an epic, 9-6, clash during the regular season against LSU and wound up winning it all against those same Tigers was especially hated. Why? The phrase “SEC bias” was essentially birthed that season and eventually led to the Bowl Championship Series being altered to the College Football Playoff. Two SEC teams making the national title game after they had just played a month prior did not sit well with those outside of the South. At any rate, Alabama dominated the rematch during a three-touchdown shutout of the top-ranked Tigers to take the trophy.

Ah, the year that college football reacted to Alabama getting a second chance by creating a playoff that would make it more likely for Alabama to receive a second chance, which they took full advantage of in 2017. Good times.

Dont’a Hightower is stoked to get back to football.

The concern for Hightower’s return is fairly reasonable having he missed all of the 2020 season. Will he return in shape and to the production level he was once capable of achieving? Was there a benefit of taking a season off?

“Maybe a little bit (of a benefit),” Hightower said. “But once you start hitting and getting the s— knocked out of you, I think all that stuff and those great thoughts and vibes and stuff kind of go out the window. “It’s football. You realize that when you sign up for it. [Other than the physical on the first day of training camp], after that, 100% kind of goes out the window. I enjoyed the year off that I had. The nicks and bangs that you get, I’m not saying I am looking forward to them, but I appreciate them a little bit more.”

New England fans are excited about the defense’s potential this year.

Last, Scott Cochran is not currently with the UGA program.

“Coach Cochran is currently dealing with health issues and is taking time to prioritize his mental health and well-being,” Smart said in a prepared statement. “We fully support him as he takes this time to focus on his well-being.”

It’s unclear how long Cochran, 42, will be away from the team, or what his long-term future with the program will be, a source told ESPN.

There have been some rampant rumors around what Scott is dealing with, though I am not going to post them here. All the best to him and his family as he tries to get healthy.

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

Roll Tide.