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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

Alabama returns veteran presence to go with a veteran defensive coordinator

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

Might the Crimson Tide have another 2-sport athlete on the roster?

“We saw Dylan pitch in high school the last couple of summers, and he’s somebody that we would have recruited if he wasn’t a football player,” Bohannon said. “Right now, he’s really focused on just kind of getting acclimated. He had a surgery at the end of the football season, so just rehabbing that. We’re anxious to get him healthy and get him out with us.

“I can’t imagine being a senior in high school and being at Alabama and playing football and playing baseball and rehabbing an injury and making new friends and all that. Dylan’s been great at this point of kind of just getting comfortable and getting healthy. We’ll move forward from there.”

Listed as a 6-foot-2, 215-pound right-handed pitcher on the Tide’s roster, Lonergan was the No. 9 RHP and No. 23 player from the state of Georgia, according to Prep Baseball Report. He was the 55th overall right-handed pitcher and among the top 175 prospects in 2022, per PBR

While Lonergan is a fairly highly regarded pitcher in baseball, he is a much more highly regard QB in football... And the latter is a rarer thing in this world. Football will be his primary sport.

Even Terrion Arnold, the Tide’s best chance at a 2-sport guy as a basketball player, practiced with the hoops team but has never actually played. So I don’t expect Lonergan will end up doing both, either.

Speaking of basketball, rumors went flying yesterday that Charles Bediako had a knee injury. Nate Oats wound up addressing it in his press conference:

Sophomore center Charles Bediako suffered a minor knee injury in the Crimson Tide’s road win at Auburn over the weekend, coach Nate Oats said, and is questionable for Wednesday.

“He did have a minor knee injury in the Auburn game,” Oats said Tuesday. “He played through it. He’s day-to-day. He’s gotten better every day since the Auburn game. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow on game day, but it is a knee injury. It’s a minor one. It’s day-to-day right now.”

The initial rumor going around was that it was a fairly serious injury, so it’s good to hear Oats call it “minor”.

On the football team, we got some of our first quotes from the Tide’s new coordinators:

Steele is no stranger to the program, having been the defensive coordinator at Alabama in Saban’s first season as the head coach in 2007. He also later served as the Crimson Tide’s director of player personnel in 2013, and in 2014, he coached linebackers and was a special assistant to Saban. After his first stint as UA defensive coordinator, Steele would go on to hold the same position at Clemson (2009-11), LSU (2015), Auburn (2016-20) and Miami (2022).

“My history with Coach Saban goes back a long time and what he has built here at Alabama is truly amazing,” Steele said. “I understand the high expectations of both Coach Saban and the program, and I am looking forward to helping continue that success.”

Rees will be making his first stop at Alabama after six years at his alma mater. He was named the quarterbacks coach at Notre Dame in 2017, returning to a position room he occupied as a player from 2010-13. Three years later, he was promoted to offensive coordinator after Chip Long’s departure from the Fighting Irish program. In his first season of calling plays, Notre Dame finished the 2020 campaign at 10-2, losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoff.

“I have the utmost respect for what Coach Saban has built at Alabama and the tradition of this program,” Rees said. “I’m excited to have this opportunity, and I’m looking forward to getting in the meeting room and on the practice field with this team.”

In particular, I find Steele’s statement about being familiar with and understanding the expectations in the program to be a bit of a relief. He’s been around the block a time or two, and I think that kind of hard-nosed experience could be very good for the Tide’s defense.

Speaking of experience, Alabama is returning a graduate senior on both the offensive and defensive lines.

Most expected Eboigbe to be back, but Dalcourt has been a guy that nobody has ever really been able to get a word on. These two will bring some veteran presence to both units, and Eboigbe will be especially helpful to have as DJ Dale and Byron Young both graduated and are moving to the NFL.

And speaking of the NFL, Alabama is set to have two alumni who are about to be paid very lucratively:

The sports-financial website pegs Payne’s market value as a five-year, $97.461 million contract.

After leading the NFL with 1,653 rushing yards in his fourth season with the Las Vegas Raiders, Jacobs has a market value estimated as a four-year, $51.41 million contract.

As an interior defensive tackle who can get generate some pass rush, Payne is probably a top-3 free agent this year. Josh Jacobs is also easily the best RB on the market, though the nature of the position means he won’t get paid anywhere near the number that most other positions do.

Roll Tide!