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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Back to the drawing board for Alabama as they continue to search for a new offensive coordinator

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Georgia vs Alabama Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, Ryan Grubb’s name surfaced for the Tide’s open OC position, but after an interview, Grubb is returning to Washington and Alabama’s search continues.

After interviewing with Alabama for its offensive coordinator vacancy, Washington assistant coach Ryan Grubb has elected to remain with the Huskies, according to multiple reports.

BamaOnLine added Grubb to its second offensive coordinator hot board on Sunday afternoon and reported he was visiting Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Monday to meet with head coach Nick Saban. But after his decision, the Crimson Tide’s search for a new coordinator continues.

Sources informed BOL publisher Tim Watts that Saban interviewed more than one candidate Monday and is expected to interview additional offensive coordinator options Tuesday.

Twitter immediately got to arguing about if Grubb turned down an offer or if Alabama chose to not offer him. He was already making $2M at UW, nearly double what Alabama was paying Bill O’Brien. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter much who dumped who. For whatever the reason, it wasn’t a fit.

With multiple interviews going on over the last few days, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this get settled very soon.

Whoever the Tide’s new OC is, he just might have to actually pull out some secret pages in the playbook to use Alabama’s shiny new tight end

At 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, Dippre spent his first two college seasons in College Park, Md, and he appeared in all 25 games the last two years. This season as a sophomore, Dippre caught 30 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns in 12 regular-season outings. He established a new career-high in catches in the opener against Buffalo (3) and had five more games with as many receptions in the ensuing 12 weeks. Dippre caught a pass in every game this fall and tallied a new career-best four receptions in a Week 12 matchup with the Ohio State Buckeyes.

He was a mismatch for all members of the secondary in his time at Maryland, Bennett said.

“He’s very tough,” Bennett said of Dippree as a receiver. “He has some stuff. His speed’s deceiving. It’s definitely a mismatch because he’s gonna be bigger, probably, than the normal DB and he’s really faster than most safeties. So it’s gonna be a tough job for guys.”

But Dippre was just as effective as a run blocker, according to the Terrapins’ left tackle.

“I love working next to CJ,” Duncan said. “He’s one of the best tight end run blockers that we had on the team, and he works hard. He’s aggressive. He knows what he’s supposed to do and he knows how to do it.”

His transfer came in a little under the radar and I don’t think Dippre was talked about enough a couple of weeks ago when he picked Alabama. He’s big, experienced, and a tremendous athlete, and I think just might be the best TE the Tide has put on the field since Irv Smith.

DJ Dale, Alabama, DL

Height: 6-1.0

Weight: 302

Hand width: 9-7

Arm length: 32-4

Wingspan: 79-5

Emil Ekiyor, Alabama OL

Height: 6-2.2

Weight: 317

Hand: 9-3

Arm: 33-3

Wing: 82-1

DeMarco Hellams, Alabama SAF

Height: 6-0.5

Weight: 213

Hand width: 8-3

Arm length: 31-4

Wingspan: 74-4

Cameron Latu, Alabama TE

Height: 6-4.2

Weight: 248

Hand width: 9-4

Arm length: 32

Wingspan: 79-2

If you’re interested, we now have all of the player measurements from the Senior Bowl. Of note, DeMarco Hellams has some really tiny hands.

Alabama offensive guard Emil Ekiyor went through his first Senior Bowl practice on Tuesday. But he spent a lot of the practice session working at a different position.

During team drills throughout the on-field workout, Ekiyor received reps at center, snapping the ball to the various quarterbacks on the American team roster at Hancock Whitney Stadium.

“I think it went pretty well,” Ekiyor told BamaOnLine after the practice. “Just trying to show my versatility and show what I can do. I think it was a pretty good showing for my first day, and I’m looking forward to just building off it and getting better each day I’m out here.”

In addition to showing off his athleticism and competitive character, proving he can play multiple positions on the offensive line is a priority for Ekiyor in his time in Mobile this week.

“It’s something that the scouts were telling me was a knock on me was position versatility,” Ekiyor said. “So being able to play more than one spot on the line is something I wanted to show. I knew that I was capable of doing it. I just wanted to show other people that I could do it, too.”

Emil Ekiyor was a very highly rated center coming out of high school, so I always found it kind of weird how Alabama stuck him at guard while there was such a revolving door at center the last couple of seasons after Landon Dickerson graduated.

He also has some comments in this article about Elijah Pritchett and Terrence Ferguson being guys likely to have a big role at Alabama next year. He also made a comment about how he felt like the OL is in a better place at the end of this season... And I agree. After feeling like the whole unit was utterly lost after 2021, I saw a lot of improvement this season. Credit to Coach Wolford, there, I think. They still lacked interior push in the run game, but the pass blocking was night and day better and the communications issues mostly dried up, even with a rotation at the guard spots. That gives me a lot of hope for next year.

“But I told our guys, can we be good enough? Can we be tough enough on defense? Can we be a good enough rebounding team to win? If we go 3-of-30, I think we can. That’s the goal. And I think we, for the most part, played pretty hard and locked into the defensive end tonight. So good to see the improvement. It’s definitely not gonna go like that the rest of the year. We know that. There’s gonna be teams that get on fire, and we’re gonna have to make adjustments. But it was great to see some guys start to play a little better for us. Happy for Nimari. It felt like he’s coming back around. We’ve seen him shoot it like that in practice plenty. It’s great to see him shoot him like that in a game. Brandon got back on track a little bit. Clowney, it’s good to see a good three go in for Clowney. He went 2-of-4 tonight.

Considering the Tide held Vanderbilt to all of 44 points, I think they took Oats’ challenge to be tough on defense to heart.

Finally, in NFL news, DeMeco Ryans has accepted his first head coaching job with task of trying to fix the perennially unfixable Houston Texans.

Ryans becomes the seventh former Alabama player to serve as the head coach of an NFL team. The Crimson Tide alumni who preceded Kitchens in leading NFL teams were Harry Gilmer, Ray Perkins, Mike Riley, Bart Starr, Richard Williamson and Freddie Kitchens.

None has a winning career record as an NFL coach.

He’s really going to have his work cut out for him as a first time head coach coming into a losing culture. Hopefully the Texans give him a few years to work with, rather than firing him after 1 season like their previous two coaches.

And if not, a smarter franchise will likely pick him up.

Roll Tide!