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Jumbo Package: Will Nick Saban hire Todd Grantham as the next DC?

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Florida Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, everyone. Turns out that Alabama basketball had some travel difficulties coming home from Nashville Tuesday night. Look where Nate Oats and Greg Byrne stumbled into.

Bet they snacked on some beaver nuggets the rest of the trip.

The Tide are a consensus #1 NCAA seed at this stage of the season.

Bracket projections

ESPN: No. 1 seed (Birmingham opening rounds)

CBS Sports: No. 1 seed (Birmingham opening rounds)

Bracket Matrix: No. 1 seed in 74 of 75 brackets surveyed

Alabama will head to Missouri at 5 p.m. CT Saturday where Nate Oats is seeking his first win in Columbia in his fourth season with the Tide. As the No. 53 team in the NET, this will be the eighth Quad 1 game in Alabama’s first 19 games.

Whoda thunk it?

Even former Auburn player Charles Barkley has to begrudgingly acknowledge how good this team is.

By the way, in case anyone doesn’t understand what we are watching in Brandon Miller, read this.

The only player in Division 1 basketball history, folks. Now, will he keep it up for a full season? That remains to be seen, but he is doing nearly unprecedented things on the basketball court. It’s been fun to watch Brandon really discover how good he is and can be, but according to Oats he has had the kind of parenting that will keep him from getting ahead of himself.

“I think my teammates really keep me focused on the mission here,” Miller said after the LSU win on Saturday. “Our mission is to win a national championship. I try not to get too focused on all that other stuff. I can just control what I can control right now (rather) than what I can control in the future.”

Brandon Miller is focused on achieving the ultimate goal at the college level right now, rather than letting his mind drift too far towards his NBA dreams. Alabama head coach Nate Oats loves that mindset.

“He’s a really grounded kid,” Nate Oats added on Miller. “If you knew his parents, you’d understand why he’s such a good kid. They’ve kept him grounded. He’s fun-loving. He doesn’t take anything, including himself, too seriously. He’s very business-like and works, but he has a lot of fun while he’s doing it. He’s just fun to be around, he’s fun to coach.”

Will we look back on Miller as the “Julio Jones” recruit of the Nate Oats era? Let’s hope so.

In football news, WR Jalen Hale, one of 24 members of Alabama’s historic 2023 recruiting class to have already enrolled, was given a fifth star in the final 247 composite ratings. This gives Alabama what is believed to be a record eight Composite 5-star prospects in the class.

If only the program wasn’t in decline, eh?

Blake Toppmeyer says that Saban should hire Jeremy Pruitt if he damn well pleases.

Pruitt reaped what he sowed, but the flogging he received should be sufficient within an industry in which a coach calling escort services with his university-provided cell phone is not a career-ending mistake.

Pruitt, an Alabama native and UA alumnus, recently touted his Bama bona fides.

“Make no mistake,” Pruitt told DawgNation earlier this month, “I’m an Alabama guy.”

Tennessee’s mistake hire could become Alabama’s solution.

Not sure Alabama’s compliance office will be on board there, but we shall see. Saban rarely if ever hires the person that most fans want to see, and this possibility from Pete Thamel is probably more likely than many want to acknowledge.

Part of the reason there isn’t a shoe-in candidate for the gig, Thamel said, is the pipeline of defensive assistants under Nick Saban has dried up, with talent getting plucked elsewhere. This leaves few names on staff in viable position to get promoted.

“The tree has a little bit run out of branches,” Thamel said. “It would be interesting to see — does he go outside of his own tree? Never discount the people inside the building. Todd Grantham has been in the so-called ‘rehab program’ there.”

Like it or not, it makes sense. If Pruitt nor Glenn Schumann are possible, and there aren’t any other options left who are familiar with Saban’s defense, then the guy who has been studying it for a year may well be the choice unless Nick decides he wants to bring in someone to shake things up schematically.

And guess what? The Tide will still win if Grantham is the guy.

As far as the offensive coordinator goes, as of now Bill O’Brien is still out on the road recruiting.

But what about Bill O’Brien? Multiple outlets have indicated he’s the front-runner for this job, but as of Wednesday afternoon, none had reported that he’d interviewed with the Patriots or received a request to do so.

A new report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport might explain why.

Rapoport said Wednesday on NFL Network that “most people believe (O’Brien) is the favorite” to become New England’s next offensive coordinator, but that he’s still fulfilling his obligations to his current employer, Nick Saban and the University of Alabama.

“(He) is right now out recruiting,” Rapoport said.

Whether he leaves or he doesn’t, have to give him credit for the professionalism.

CBS says that Alabama was hit hardest in the nation by underclassmen leaving early.

1. Alabama

As college football’s top NFL factory, Alabama will always rank near the top of these lists. Still, the 2023 class is a massive blow, even by Crimson Tide standards. Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young and national defensive player of the year Will Anderson represent one of the best pairings that Nick Saban has ever had on a single team as both project to be top-three picks. Safety Brian Branch and running back Jahmyr Gibbs were also major contributors. Mixing the losses with graduations of starters like Emil Ekiyor, Henry To’oTo’o and Jordan Battle makes this one of the biggest exoduses of talent in the Saban era.

Guess you have to put them at the top with Bryce, Will, Jahmyr, and Brian leaving, but it doesn’t seem like nearly the most of the Saban era.

This mock has Bryce Young going to the Texans at 2.

If the Bears stay at first overall, like we’re assuming here, then the Houston Texans would probably sprint their card up and place it directly in Roger Goodell’s hands. They are a team starved for a franchise quarterback in the wake of Deshaun Watson’s departure.

Bryce Young has all the tools to be that guy. The mobility, the arm, the sixth sense on where to put the ball that everyone has been searching for in quarterbacks since they first laid eyes on Patrick Mahomes. Bryce Young has it all.

The ugly side of NIL showed up in Gainesville. Five star QB Jaden Rashada was released from his NLI after the university collective welched on a reported $13M he had been promised. Check out this paragraph.

The Gators badly need help at the all-important QB position. They lost Anthony Richardson to the NFL draft and dismissed backup Jalen Kitna following his arrest on child pornography charges. They also had Emory Jones and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson transfer last spring.

Florida has signed Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz to compete for the starting job alongside Jack Miller III. The Gators are currently trying to land former LSU quarterback Walker Howard.

This is what happens when you put your recruiting eggs in the basket of third parties to purchase your recruits for you. Those boosters took a refund on Rashada’s services like some pants that didn’t fit from Amazon, after they had outbid Miami to get him to flip. The Gators are a mess and Billy Napier is already fired, it’s just a matter of exactly when he finds out.

Last, when Oats isn’t coaching basketball, he’s having a little fun making TikToks with his daughter.

He’s a goofball, but he’s our goofball.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.