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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama Football looks to figure out the annual roster churn and come back stronger in 2022

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Georgia vs Alabama Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama offensive lineman and tight end Kendall Randolph is returning in 2022 for a sixth season with the program, he announced Tuesday.

“I’ve always wanted to go out on top, and this season did not end the way I hoped it would,” he wrote on Instagram. “We did not complete the mission and I can’t leave knowing I could have done more.”

With both Evan Neal and Chris Owens moving on from the program, Alabama will have two open tackle spots on the offensive line. Randolph entered fall camp as the starter at RT, but wound up getting passed by Owens and Dameion George. Freshman J.C. Latham also looked to be ahead of him in the overall OL pecking order, and 5-star Tommy Brockermeyer should be ready to make an appearance after a redshirt year, so Randolph will have a tall task to fend off all of the younger players.

“I feel like, really, just growing in my role and just understanding the importance of leadership and communication, I feel that’s something that I learned a lot about this year and I think that’s something I want to continue to work on and try to make a theme of throughout this offseason and going into next year,” Young said. “Making sure that I take responsibility for us being on the same page, us making sure that as an offense and as a team, that we hold each other to our standard and make sure that we do that consistently throughout the year.

“I really learned how important that is and how much that means, and how much that does for us as a team. I think just growing into that role, really improving as a leader and growing as the leader of the team — I think that’s something I learned a lot about this year and I really want to improve on and make sure that’s a point of emphasis for me and the team going into next season.”

Young said he previously would think about himself in big moments and what he was trying to accomplish.

“But really, the biggest thing I realized was, it’s about how as a group and as a unit you make sure that everyone involved is on the same page,” he continued. “Everyone involved makes sure that they keep their composure and know what they’re going to do.

“And also understanding individuals, understanding what people may look like in those faces of adversity or those high-octane moments and knowing how to manage that. Not everyone is going to handle everything the same way. It’s not all going to look identical. But that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it well.

“I learned a lot about making sure you know your teammates and knowing how they handle those situations, and making sure it’s not just how one person — just me looking at myself and how I’m playing or how I’m being composed — but making sure that we’re all in the ideal state to go out and perform and accomplish our goals in the face of adversity.”

I’m block-quoting a lot here, but I found these comments from Bryce Young to be very interesting. On one hand, I think it’s very, very positive that he’s talking about needing have the entire team on the same page and everyone managing composure in high-leverage moments. However, it also tells me that it’s something that wasn’t necessarily happening correctly in 2021.

And, to be honest, I’m not sure all of the responsibility of the mentality of an entire team should fall on the QB. That’s a LOT of weight on person, on top of having to perform his own job to perfection. Maybe I’m wrong... But it seems like that’s all something that should fall more on an offensive coordinator (at least in college. Maybe not necessarily in the pros).

Alabama redshirt senior defensive lineman LaBryan Ray is set to participate in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl, according to the game’s roster. Ray is slated to play for the East team.

A fifth-year senior, Ray could choose to use a free COVID year and return to play for the Crimson Tide in 2022 as a super senior. But it appears as if he is moving on to the next level.

Most of us expected LaBryan Ray to move on after this season, but no official announcement had been made, so finding that he accepted a spot on the Shrine Bowl roster cements it.

Ray was a former 5-star prospect that flashed some major talent very early in his career, but was derailed multiple seasons in a row with injuries at the very start of the year. He finally got healthy midway through 2021 and worked his way back in as a rotational pass rusher, but it was too little, too late for his enormous potential before all the injuries.

Here’s to hoping he can impress some NFL scouts and resurrect the player he could become.

He didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but Rojas’ return provided a spark for a UA basketball team that was desperate for one. The senior’s influence carried over to the practice gym this week.

“I told our guys there’s levels to how hard you play, and I think when he came in he exposed the fact that this is how hard we should have been playing,” Oats said. “Some of you guys that think you were playing hard – we talk about max effort, it’s supposed to be as much as you can give – no, you weren’t giving as much as you can give because he just came in and showed how hard we have to play to win games in this league, and it exposed some other guys.

“And I think he went really hard in practice these two days. Expect him to be in the rotation a lot sooner in this game than he was the last game.”

After such a phenomenal start to the season, the sudden backslide from the men’s hoops team has been tough to watch the last few weeks. One bright spot in the loss to Mississippi State was senior James Rojas finally getting on the court after an offseason injury.

Hopefully, his effort, energy, size, and seniority will give Alabama a boost up front, particularly in limiting the staggering amount of offensive rebounds they’ve been giving up lately.

49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ week isn’t going to be solely devoted to preparing for Saturday night’s game in Green Bay.

Albert Breer of SI.com reports that Ryans will interview with the Vikings for their head coaching job on Wednesday. The interview will take place remotely.

Ryans spent three years as the 49ers’ inside linebackers coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator after Robert Saleh left to become the Jets’ head coach last year. The 49ers ranked ninth in points allowed and third in yards allowed with Ryans at the helm this season.

DeMeco’s rise through the NFL coaching ranks has been an absolutely meteoric one. Only 6 years after his retirement from playing and only one season as a coordinator, he’s already getting interviewed as a head coach candidate at the top of the professional market.

Hopefully, the rapid promotions aren’t too much, too fast for him, and he can become a top-flight coach in the league as a representative of the Crimson Tide.

Roll Tide!