Buckle up, folks. We have a lot to get through today. And as you know by now, it takes me about 1200 words just to clear my throat.
FLIGHTAWARE SZN CAME EARLY!
With USC making kissie-faces at James Franklin and Urban Meyer, there is another name to watch, one gaining increasing traction as a leading candidate — in fact, Vegas has him listed as the third-to-fifth leading candidate. None other than Alabama offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien.
Let’s take a look at why: here’s speculation that James Franklin, the Pennsylvania native, is leveraging USC’s search to once again get an influx of cash into the program — not necessarily to boost his own paycheck; he’s the 9th highest paid CFB coach in America. Then there’s Urban Meyer, who has had to say that there’s “no chance” he’s leaving the NFL for the Trojans job. Luke Fickell is a Midwestern guy, with kids in high school. There’s no doubt he’ll bolt Cincy for a major job soon, but is Southern Cal going to take a middling recruiter and defensive guy with a bad one-year track record in the big leagues? Matt Campbell at Iowa State is an intriguing prospect, which the ISU administrators undoubtedly counted on when they renewed him this offseason — with its ironclad $9.4 million buyout.
Then there’s O’Brien — with his administrator-friendly $1.1 million buyout and just a short two-year deal. Someone with a strong recruiting background in major program football and a track record of steadying one of CFB’s biggest disasters in history, while winning a few games along the way. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger locker room disaster than the one a new coach will inherit at Heritage Hall
The more I think about it, the more it makes some sense.
Is there a more maddening injury report than day-to-day? That’s exactly where we’re at with star edge rusher, Will Anderson. He is limited in his return to practice, but he is practicing. And, per the head man, can likely play this week in the Swamp.
Not many details on this at the moment, but per Dellenger at SI, the NCAA is preparing to try and correct the yearly scholarship number owing to roster attrition from one-time waivers and the quitter hole.
The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is set to expand the 25-man signing limit to a maximum of 32, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger on Tuesday.
Raising the limit is viewed as a necessary counterbalance to the 1-time transfer waiver, where players can leave and play immediately and possibly leave their old programs in a lurch.
Giving Alabama another half-dozen roster spots to play with? I’m sold.
Why were JAD and Josh Jobe absent during the Tide’s win over Mercer? A few reasons — some explicit, some implicit: They’re both nicked up, there were mismatch issues that Saban did not want the Bears to exploit, and the last sentence is telling — perhaps there were some issues with both of them getting their heads screwed on straight and giving attention to detail in practice last week:
Jobe and Armour-Davis were absent from Alabama’s 48-14 win over the Bears for undisclosed reasons. However, they both were featured in the practice photos and footage released by UA Athletics. Jobe sported a brace on his left knee, while Armour-Davis went through drills with no signs of limitations. This comes one week after both players missed practice time.
“I think the other guys should be back,” Saban told reporters after the game. “We didn’t think their injuries were that serious to start with, but they were a little more serious than what we originally anticipated or thought they would be. They weren’t able to practice all week, and I didn’t wanna play the guys in the game if they didn’t practice against this offense, aight.
“Because it’s a lot of rotations and a lot of different things going on that if you don’t get reps doing it, some of the play-action passes they had — which we didn’t match very well at the end of the game especially with the second team in there — are really difficult. You’ve gotta be really disciplined and have disciplined eye control to play it. But I think those guys will be back.”
The Alabama SEC Baseball schedule came out, and while I’m sure Roger will have more to say on it later, let’s just say that once again the grand poobahs in Birmingham did the Tide no favors.
How about opening up with Florida? Being on the road for almost a month? Roadies to Swayze and defending national champion Mississippi State in a two-and-half-week span?
Not an easy road, my friends.
One of the biggest impediments to an expanded SEC schedule has always been the Florida-LSU duo. LSU in particular has whined about it for over a decade, pointing out their cross-dvisional series with their Swamp Brethren in Gainesville. Florida, meanwhile, has intermittently whined about their annual meeting with FSU and the series with Miami as reasons to not schedule more conference games.
But, with expansion and a probable move to a pod system, more SEC games are likely. Increasing the odds that teams like Alabama and Florida get to meet more often is that now Florida is on board, with Dan Mullen publicly pushing for more conference games. If Alabama and Florida both want it, then it is almost certain that the conference will try and cobble something together, despite the objections of some other schools.
Yes, yes, I know that technically there is no one school in the SEC that is supposed to drop the biggest schlong on the measuring tape. But I think we all know that if Alabama and Florida are both are on board, the SEC will move that direction — and those ADs will line up the supporters to make it happen.
DYK: Dan Mullen is 0-10 against Nick Saban? It drives him nuts, apparently. And this isn’t necessarily the year to move to 1-10 given the many struggles that Florida’s quarterbacks are having this season. It’s not a good passing team, and whether that’s talent or development, it’s far too late to correct those issues before Saturday.
It seems that almost two weeks of corrective coaching finally has Alabama more focused in practice. For the first time since the Miami prep week, Nick Saban seems pleased with the team’s effort and focus in practice.
Per usual, Potter and the folks at 247 have Nick Saban’s complete remarks here.
Ever wondered what happens on a recruit’s official visit? This nifty little vid takes you through the entire OV life cycle, and it’s worth spending 10-15 during your lunch break checking out.
CFB resumes tonight, with a rare chance for the Fun Belt to be on national television: Billy Napier’s Ragin’ Cajuns host the Ohio Bobcats. Check it out if you’ve not seen ULL play — Napier will almost certainly be coming to a Power 5 school next season, and this Process Protege will get a look when SabanBot 2000 steps down sometime in 2378.
We’ll have more for you later. Roll Tide.