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Jumbo Package: Alabama plans new arena, Harsin may be out at Auburn

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-Houston at Auburn Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The Gym Tide will host a tri-meet on SEC network tonight with Western Michigan and North Carolina. Competition begins at 7:30pm.

As you undoubtedly heard, Alabama is now planning on building a new basketball and gymnastics arena at some undetermined future date.

Some possible sites considered for the new building include the Coleman parking lot, the band field located off of University Boulevard and a location off Jack Warner Parkway. The site Byrne seemed most excited about that had the most positives is off McFarland Boulevard where the RVs park on football game days just north of Rhoads Stadium.

The renderings look very nice, but there is no timeline for completion at this stage. With initial bids starting in April 2023, best guess is maybe 2025 or so. Of course, much can happen between now and then.

Bryan Harsin may be on his way out at Auburn.

Since the season’s end, 18 players have entered the transfer portal.

Harsin hired and fired receivers coach Cornelius Williams after four games. Mike Bobo was dismissed after one season as offensive coordinator. Nick Eason left to return to his alma mater Clemson. Derek Mason left to become the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, and Austin Davis left his position as the new offensive coordinator 43 days after he was hired.

Harsin and Co. finished their first full recruiting class with a No. 18 ranking according to the On3 Consensus team rankings. That’s the eighth best class in the SEC.

While it’s not mentioned in the linked post, message boards have been buzzing about an affair with one of his staffers. it certainly sounds as if Auburn boosters are looking for a way to cut their losses and fire him for cause, but it’s much more likely that the two sides settle on a reduced buyout. In any case, it seems that Auburn is going to be doing some February head coach shopping, which is never a good thing.

Someone hosted a Twitter spaces last night to discuss the situation, and Auburn’s new presumed starting QB was seen.


Nick Saban spoke to Kirk Herbstreit about his relationship with Bill Belichick.

“When the game is over, and both teams competed the best they could, you did the best you could as a coach to get your players to be able to play the best they could, then you can shake hands and be friends again.”

The difference mentioned by Saban between the two stems from how their personalities fit the different requirements of coaching college vs. coaching an NFL team.

“Bill is probably a little more reserved,” Saban said. And that works for professional football. College coaching, Saban said, is more about having the ability to develop strong relationships so that players want to play for you.

Saban definitely has the charisma that Belichick lacks. Bill is more ruthless, as evidenced by his willingness to cut ties with successful players through the years. New England under Belichick has always assumed that they could replace anyone and constantly used a forward looking strategy, and it paid off for a long time.

Saban added a new tight ends coach.

Alabama is expected to hire former Georgia quarterback Joe Cox as its tight ends coach, ESPN reported late Thursday evening.

Cox, who spent last season as the tight ends coach at Charlotte, previously served as wide receivers coach at South Carolina. He is the fourth member of former Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp’s staff that Alabama has hired this offseason.

Hopefully Coach Boom’s former staffers get better results in Tuscaloosa than they did in Columbia.

Last, Phidarian Mathis and Brian Robinson are both looking good as far as NFL Draft stock.

Both Robinson and Mathis boosted their stock over the course of the season. Especially Mathis.

Miller has a second-round grade on Mathis. Edholm considers him a Day 2 pick (rounds two and three). Edholm considered him a mid- to late-round prospect coming into the year.

As for Robinson, Edholm and Miller each called him a round three or four pick.

“If he runs a 4.7 at the combine, that’s obviously going to hurt his stock,” Miller said. “You need to be at least as fast as we think you are. If he takes care of business in Indy, I don’t think round 3 is crazy. Round 4, I’d be a little more comfortable with that projection. Definitely has a chance to be a top 120 pick I would think.”

Mathis stepped up as an interior pass rusher in a big way this past season. People often talk about the risks associated with returning to school, but for every kid who gets hurt in his senior season there are a few like Mathis and Robinson who both significantly improved themselves.