Happy Monday, everyone. As many of us take a day off to spend with family, may we not forget to reflect and thank those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If you are around Tuscaloosa, there is a ceremony at Veterans’ Memorial Park at 9am, one of many events around Alabama today.
Chase Goodbread has a fantastic piece on John Staples, who did not die in combat but was a hero nonetheless. He had a bit of an enhanced take on Memorial Day.
“My dad felt Memorial Day should be more than memorializing those that lost their lives. He’d say there were scores of others that lost something else. An arm or a leg or their mind,” Staples’ son, John F. Staples of Northport, told me last week. “He felt Memorial Day was about those that lost other things as well. And he didn’t think it was about him, because he’d always say, ‘I didn’t lose anything. I came back how I went.’”
Next to the gravity of a life risked for country, that the late Staples played football at Alabama in wartime is incidental. Yet the circumstances of that intersection are profound. In a 40-minute conversation last week, Staples’ son shared with me that his father learned of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor just minutes after accepting a scholarship offer from UA coach Frank Thomas over a breakfast on Dec. 7, 1941, and resolved to serve that day.
In football notes, Evan Neal recalls his ass chewings from Saban.
“I have,” Neal responded, when asked if he’s ever been aired-out by Saban. “I mean, I have, I definitely have. .. The last time I could remember was my freshman year. I remember I was taking guys to the ground. So basically, we were doing team run period, and I think I pancaked the guy and he yelled at me for keeping the guys up. He said, you know, keep the guys up.
“Then another time, I remember him yelling at me, I think it was my sophomore year, we were doing flex. I stretched out stretch lines — basically, stretch is like a workout and basically it doesn’t even get you warmed up, it’s just a freaking workout. He yelled at me, he said, ‘Neal, do it right!’, even though I would.”
Eli Holstein sounds like a great fit in Tuscaloosa.
“They’re getting a kid who is addicted to work,” Brewerton said. “His attention to detail and his desire to be prepared is something that I’ve never really experienced as a high school coach before. Any free time he has, he spends it trying to become a better quarterback.”
Holstein committed to Alabama on Tuesday, giving the Crimson Tide its long-awaited passer in the 2023 class. The former Texas A&M commit is rated as the No. 54 overall player and No. 8 quarterback in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Losing Bryce after the season will hurt, but a room with Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Holstein has plenty of promise.
We may never know who started the inquiry into Bryan Harsin’s personal affairs.
“Trustees don’t hire and fire football coaches,” Rane said last Thursday, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “We hire and fire presidents. So, I’m not aware of any role the trustees played in that at all. I think there were questions that the administration had, and (Gogue) is the kind of a president that wants facts. He’s going to do thorough investigations, which was a providence of the administration. Certainly not the trustees.”
Is Rane telling the truth? Who knows? But, for now, it doesn’t matter. Harsin has around 100 days before the Tigers begin a pivotal season. Auburn starts the season with five home games, including a rematch with Penn State, set for 2:30 CT on September 17 on CBS. Harsin is doing his best to rally the base at Auburn. Will it result in wins? We’ll see, but Harsin is feeling the support from Tiger lovers.
Sure he is.
Last, Jordan Addison totally went to USC for football reasons.
USC‘s newest superstar transfer Jordan Addison is ready to get his tenure in Los Angeles underway, revealing that his move from Pitt to USC was a “gut move” in his first time speaking publicly since transferring into the program.
“I was looking for a great coach and a good football opportunity,” said Addison, who is already on USC’s campus. “I’m still figuring myself out and what I want to do and I feel like I have a great opportunity to do that where I’m at now.”
My gut would tell me to take the pile of money too, Jordan.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.