Happy Monday, everyone. It was an ugly weekend for the Tide. Gymnastics lost in Lexington, the men’s basketball team played their worst game of the season by far to get blown out in Norman, and the women’s team provided the only relative bright spot by keeping it within 13 against a South Carolina team that generally destroys everyone.
Nate Oats quite obviously wasn’t happy with the defense in the game, and pointed out that the Tide didn’t respond well to being the hunted.
On if he was surprised by the defensive effort that yielded 93 points…
“Yeah. I mean, we’ve been fifth in the country in defensive efficiency coming into this game. This wasn’t a typical showing by us. But our effort’s gotta be better. We knew Sherfield was good. We didn’t follow the game plan on Sherfield well. I think the starting group was obviously not good to start the game two games in a row now. And they made shots. You’ve gotta give them a lot of credit. Sherfield goes 4-of-5 from three. You look at our team. We went 13-of-21 at the free-throw line. Sherfield’s 80 percent from three, and we’re 62 percent at the line. He was obviously locked in, ready, and you could see.
“Teams are gonna be ready to play against us. Now, our ranking’s gonna drop, obviously, after taking a loss like this. But at the time, we were ranked second in the country. They stormed the floor after the game. The team’s gonna be ready, the fans are gonna be ready, everybody’s gonna be ready. Our guys haven’t been accustomed to being ranked second in the country like this this late in the year before. I don’t think they realize we’re gonna get everybody’s A game. Yeah, our defense was nowhere close to where it needed to be to compete in this game.”
The fact that an opposing fan base stormed the court after beating Alabama tells you all you need to know about where this program stands currently. Nate is correct that all of the hype that the team, and specifically Brandon Miller, has received is going to provide a little extra motivation for opponents. The team didn’t respond well on Saturday. We’ll see how they can adjust going forward.
Nick Saban spoke at the Alabama Football Coaches Association meeting late last week, and his comments on NIL have spread like wildfire.
“Someone with one of the best corners in the nation (in high school) came to me and asked if we’d pay them $800,000 for the player to sign here. I told him he can find another place to play,” Saban said, according to Baker High School coach Steve Normand. “I’m not paying a kid a bunch of NIL money before he earns it.”
Normand added that Saban feels the NCAA “needs more ways and means to control it because it’s getting out of hand.”
Saban later added that he lost 10 players, including a starter, to the portal already.
“One of them wanted $500,000 and for us to get his girlfriend into law school at Alabama and pay for it. I showed him the door,” Saban reportedly said.
While he didn’t name any names, the latter is almost assuredly Javion Cohen. His girlfriend’s social media bio specifies “future lawyer.” She is an Alabama alum who one can only assume has been unable to get into law school at the Capstone thus far. Saban certainly has pull around campus, but surely Javion didn’t believe that Nick would be able to just get someone into law school.
A former Alabama defensive analyst has returned to Tuscaloosa.
Long, a Vestavia Hills native, was part of the Alabama program as a walk-on defensive player from 2013-16. In 2017 he was a student assistant coach before becoming a graduate assistant from 2018-20. In 2021, he worked as an analyst before joining the Ducks.
Long played or worked under former Alabama defensive coordinators Kirby Smart, Jeremy Pruitt, Tosh Lupoi and Pete Golding.
The NCAA delayed a vote on expanding or even outright removing the limit on the number of on field coaches. If passed as expected, analysts will be able to engage significantly more than they do currently. Or, more accurately, be able to engage more than they claim to do currently.
Chris Low was asked about Jeff Lebby’s candidacy for the open offensive coordinator position, and his answer is what anyone who has paid attention to this program would be.
“Lebby, that’s pretty much the offense he runs,” said Lowe, referring to the high-tempo approach. “He hasn’t run some of the stuff we’ve seen them run under (Steve) Sarkisian and Bill O’Brien. It’s sort of been go, go, go all the time. Make no mistake, if you’re Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator, you’re not coming in and running your offense. You’re running his offense and you’re sort of the guy with your version of running his offense, and that’s never going to change.
“So yeah, I’d think Lebby would certainly be on that list.”
We will see who the guy turns out to be who has the willingness and ability to come in and adapt to Alabama’s scheme and culture.
Sounds like the Mobile area has another elite QB prospect in the 2025 class.
“The guy is not only extremely talented and can make all the throws, but the big intangible with him is how he not only competes but handles the clutch moments in the game,” Kelly told AL.com following Auburn and Ole Miss offers last month. “That is off the chart. I really think he is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.”
Lacey, with two years still remaining in high school, said he has no timetable in making a college decision. “I’ll figure it out as it goes,” he said.
The kid is just a sophomore and already holds offers from several SEC schools and Florida State. He is one to watch.
Last, Jalen Hurts will become the first Alabama QB to start in a Super Bowl since Ken Stabler. The elite San Francisco 49ers defense made life tough on him yesterday, but they made enough plays to get it done.
“You want to make the big plays,” Hurts said. “But a lot of this – all of this – comes down to the details. The attention to details, the football IQ and the fundamentals to do the right things – whether you want to keep the clock running or not or get the ball snapped quickly or knowing situational awareness.”
DeVonta Smith was asked after the game where he and Jalen get their mentality, and it doesn’t seem that the Philadelphia reporter expected this answer.
Hurts so good. @DeVontaSmith_6 @JalenHurts #BuiltByBamapic.twitter.com/vWS6kqN8qY— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 30, 2023
That one will go down in history with Jonathan Allen’s “Bama does.”
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.