With A-Day behind us, we now have only the small comfort of the NFL to hold us over as we enter into the wasteland that is the offseason. So, news will be scarce and today’s JP will be a little abbreviated.
That wave crested somewhere in the mid-2010s after Ohio State set the record with an announced crowd of 100,189 in 2016. That bettered its own mark set a year earlier while Alabama’s high-water mark came in 2011 when 92,310 were counted a stadium expanded past the 101,000-seat mark a year earlier.
This is a good article from AL.com looking at the attendance of spring games. Obviously, in Alabama’s case, our fanbase has gotten less and less interested as well all have figured out exactly what to expect from Saban every year. Covid, of course, screwed things up for a couple of years and the effects are lingering, and a combo of Easter weekend and thunderstorms depressed this year even further. I expect an uptick in Tuscaloosa a year from now.
But that doesn’t explain the downward trend ever since 2014, one that is mirrored across the nation, not just in Tuscaloosa. I wonder what changed in college football in the mid-2010s that would have made most of the nation less interested in their own teams? Hmmmm...... probably does not rhyme with hay trough.
“Somebody gave me a stat that our players have made $1.7 billion playing in the NFL since 2007,” Saban said prior to his appearance at a fundraiser for Team Focus, a youth mentoring organization founded by former college football coach and broadcaster Mike Gottfried. “And all those guys didn’t play when they were freshmen. They didn’t all play when they were sophomores. They didn’t even all play when they were juniors, but they all developed.”
That’s a whale of a recruiting pitch from Saban, in multiple ways. While seeing the staggering NFL job placement that Alabama has produced is a big draw for high schoolers, Saban made a point to give a quick lesson to his own team: don’t jump ship just because you didn’t play as a freshman.
I think Marcus Banks is a guy that’s still on his mind. A primary backup cornerback last year, Banks left midseason, and Saban mentioned a few times that Banks would have had the opportunity to contribute in the final stretch of the season when both starting corners were injured.
Or, maybe he’s just getting in one last shot in at our favorite Twitter personality from 2021:
Former Alabama wide receiver Agiye Hall announced Tuesday that he has committed to transfer to Texas.
After one tumultuous season in Tuscaloosa, Hall entered the transfer portal April 7. He visited Texas last weekend, with his father telling 247 Sports afterward that his son “loved” the program. 247 Sports predicted Tuesday that Hall would join Texas.
Well, Agiye is going to get his shot to get revenge, or whatever, against his former team come September. If he even manages to get on the field in Austin, that is.
3. Who will be the odd man out at cornerback?
Much like the other two positions mentioned here, UA has to replace both starting corners from its 2021 team. The major difference, however, is the Tide welcomes back the two players that stepped in for Jalyn Armour-Davis and Josh Jobe in the College Football Playoff and added a former SEC starter via the transfer portal. Kool-Aid McKinstry and Khyree Jackson both earned first-team minutes late last season, with the former starting six games as a true freshman. That experience is invaluable not only to their development but when having to replace two players set to be drafted next week. Alabama also added former LSU cornerback Eli Ricks, who had to knock some rust off after missing the second half of the season with a shoulder injury but was able to take part in the spring game with no limitations. Having three quality options is always a plus, but which two players start Game 1 remains to be seen.
Of all the open position battles for Alabama this offseason, the cornerbacks might be the most fascinating. McKinstry and Jackson were backups for Alabama last year, but were forced into starting throughout the playoffs. Kool-Aid made a game-winning play in overtime vs Auburn, but gave up a few big plays against Georgia in both games.
Jackson was great against Cincinnati, but gave up the game winner in the National Championship.
They both have great size and talent, and now have experience starting at the highest level on the biggest stage.
And then there’s Eli Ricks, who has more talent and experience than either, but is coming from a dysfunctional program and recovering from a shoulder surgery.
All-in-all, though, I think Alabama’s cornerback room with these three in 2022 is improved over the duo from 2021 (and I was higher than most on JAD and Josh Jobe).
Finally, Saban makes it quite clear that steak and cake is ONLY for winners.
Dallas Turner tries to pass across some chocolate cake from the winning side (White) to Malachi Moore and Cam Latu from Crimson. Saban wasn’t having it. As always, just frank and beans with white bread for the A-Day losers— definitely no cake pic.twitter.com/jNyFfwYgiL— Katie Windham (@katiewindham_) April 18, 2022
Never change, Coach.
and as a bonus tweet for gump day: