Happy Tuesday, everyone. Many thanks to those who filled in here the past few days as I was in Austin watching my son get married. The weather was as beautiful as the ceremony and the happy couple is off on their honeymoon.
I did get to see most of Alabama’s loss to Notre Dame. The only chance this team really had at making a run was for Quinerly to find his stroke and lead them as he did last season. Once he went out, there was little hope. Had they somehow found a way to beat Notre Dame, Texas Tech would have been very ugly. Alabama fans are disappointed, which shows just how much the bar has been raised by Nate Oats. He will now enter next season with another overhauled roster and something to prove. Check out this perspective from a Villanova fan responding to Kentucky fans’ criticism of John Calipari.
Jay Wright has been at Villanova almost twice as long as Cal’s been here and only has 2 titles. Only been to 3 final fours total since 2001. Didn’t even make it to the final four until his 8th season at Nova. You wouldn’t be happy with him either. https://t.co/PJSkDay9ce— Owen (@75toRupp) March 21, 2022
On March 27, 2001, Wright was named head coach at Villanova, becoming the eighth coach in the 81-year history of the program. Wright inherited a mediocre team from previous coach Steve Lappas, and in Wright’s first season, they made the NIT. In 2002, Wright was able to secure one of the top-rated recruiting classes in the country, led by McDonald’s All-American center Jason Fraser. However, the Wildcats had a mediocre 2002–03 season, which was marred by a phone card abuse scandal that eventually resulted in suspensions to over half the roster. The Wildcats again made the NIT but did not advance far. The 2003–04 season saw more playing time for the talented young players from the previous recruiting class, but it also resulted in a mediocre season and another NIT appearance. Villanova advanced as far as the quarterfinals in the NIT, doing so in 2002 and 2004.
This isn’t to say that Oats is going to be as successful as Wright. As I wrote above, he has something to prove. Still, I don’t think some are appreciating how quickly he has improved things around here, at a school that didn’t have quite the historical basketball pedigree of Villanova. We will see where it goes from here.
Keon Ambrose-Hylton, Alex Tchikou and Jaden Quinerly have all entered the transfer portal after playing very sparingly, and I wouldn’t expect Nate to try and get them back.
In football news, Bryce Young is entering the season humble after winning a Heisman.
“[I’m] trying to do a better job of communicating with all my guys and making sure that we’re on the same page whenever I’m changing something or there’s something that may not be as clear,” he said. “And then, of course, now it’s a lot about trying to build chemistry, timing with guys around me and making sure that we’re all on the same page. And there’s a lot of stuff I want to improve on just, you know, the regular stuff of accuracy and all that.
“There’s a really long list for me. I feel like there’s a lot of stuff once I’ve gone back and I’ve looked at the games. I feel like there’s a lot of stuff that I can do better and I want to improve on.”
This is the kind of thing you want to see from the leader. It seemed pretty clear that Alabama used 2019’s failure as fuel for a transcendent 2020 campaign. Hopefully this group can follow suit.
It will if Will Anderson has anything to say about it.
Unlike the off-field gawking from fans, Anderson embraces those extra sets of eyeballs as he looks to take on even more leadership responsibilities this season.
“I think that’s something that we really lacked last year, just really good, strong leadership,” Anderson said. “I think the leadership group this year, so far, we’ve done a really good job of getting everybody to be bought in to the standard and everything that’s going on here.”
Charlie Potter put together a list of players with something to prove. Of the ten, I think Traeshon Holden is the key.
Alabama has to replace all three starting receivers from last season’s team, and one of the top candidates to fill one of the vacancies, Ja’Corey Brooks, will miss all of spring because of injury. That means the returning players that didn’t see as many reps in 2021, as well as the players that enrolled in January, will get plenty of work over the next four weeks. A number of wideouts could be mentioned here, but Holden has a prime opportunity as he enters his junior campaign to prove he can be consistent in both making plays and blocking for his teammates.
Holden only caught 21 balls last season, but he seemed to develop a bit of chemistry with Young once the injuries piled up. He will have plenty of opportunity this spring.
Last, you only thought you knew the kind of human being Urban Meyer is.
I’ll just leave this right here, from an English instructor at UA.
In my experience, people who insult football players’ intelligence,— Tasha Coryell (@tashaaaaaaa) March 21, 2022
especially from the South, are actually just revealing their racism in ways that they think is more palatable. It’s not palatable and it’s not acceptable.
That about sums it up. Remember that Trevor grew up in Georgia and played his college ball in South Carolina.
Surely nobody else will hire this guy to coach football.
That’s about it for now. Have a great day.