Happy Friday, everyone. Alabama baseball hosts Auburn this weekend, which always raises the temperature. Meanwhile, the softball team will take a bus ride over to Starkville where Mississippi State awaits.
Football spring practice rolls on, and Nick Kelly sat down to review every Jalen Milroe snap from 2022.
Jermaine Burton had an Arkansas defensive back beat and likely would have run for a touchdown. Instead, the defender broke up the pass because Milroe threw the ball short.
In a similar moment against Texas A&M, Milroe also passed short of Burton. This time, the Aggies defensive back intercepted it.
All three of Milroe’s 2022 interceptions resulted from deep passes. Milroe didn’t complete a pass 20 or more yards down the field to a teammate.
What it means for 2023: Milroe probably doesn’t need to complete 10 deep passes a game, but Alabama will need him to be more accurate and consistent on long passes. Those can be game changers.
Even with Milroe’s elite running skill, there will be plenty of tough sledding if he can’t take the top off of the defense. This will be something to monitor as the competition goes along.
Alabama landed a commitment from its second 2025 OL prospect out of the Peach State.
Dontrell Glover, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound offensive lineman, announced on social media he has committed to Tuscaloosa. Glover is a rising junior at Langston Hughes (Ga.) and saw a wave of offers head his way this spring from Ohio State to Georgia to the Crimson Tide on March 12. While not rated on 247Sports, Glover is deemed a four-star by Rivals and a three-star by On3.
Glover visited Alabama last week and is the second offensive lineman in the 2025 class to choose position coach Eric Wolford. Mason Short, also from Georgia, committed on April 2. The Tide currently has no offensive linemen in 2024 after pulling in five in 2023, Wolford’s first class since he was hired.
He ain’t gonna be a three star for long with that offer list.
Brian Branch will join Will Anderson and Bryce Young in attendance at the 2023 NFL Draft, and there seems to be at least some chance that Anderson and Young will be the first two names called.
Three Alabama players are among the 17 announced by the NFL on Thursday as being invited to and attending the 2023 draft.
Quarterback Bryce Young, outside linebacker Will Anderson and defensive back Brian Branch will represent the Tide in Kansas City on April 27. The three attendees matches Ohio State — which will send quarterback CJ Stroud, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and offensive tackle Paris Johnson — as the most of any school this year.
Miller stated: “Alabama defensive back Brian Branch didn’t help his stock with a 4.58-second run in the 40-yard dash at the combine, but scouts I spoke to this week believe he’s still the best safety in the class and a firm Round 1 talent. Branch was a leader for the Alabama defense and had 12 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 7 pass breakups in 2022. Teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Bills, and Eagles all make sense from a value and need standpoint.”
Branch posted a 4.58 40-yard dash, 1.56 10-yard split, 34.5” vertical jump, and 10’5” broad jump at the NFL combine.
DJ and I are going to disagree here, because there is a belief around the league that Houston has eyes for Bryce Young (Alabama) but isn’t sold on the other potential Round 1 quarterbacks. Ownership could get involved and change this, if Cal McNair wants a young quarterback to lead this offense. If that’s the case, C.J. Stroud (Ohio State) would certainly be a fit from a value and need standpoint. But I know the Texans love edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama), the team’s top-ranked prospect overall, and he could land with the Texans. Stay tuned.
Something seems to have happened over the course of the pre-draft evaluation process, as Young to Carolina at 1 is mostly considered a foregone conclusion, with a decent amount of separation between him and the field. Needless to say, Saban having the top two off the board would be great for the brand.
Eli Gold may be using a walker when he gets back, but he plans to be back just the same.
“Lord willing, and the creek don’t rise, I am planning to be back in time for the start of the regular season,” Gold said. “I may show up with a walker, and if that’s the case, big darn deal. There are tons of people that use walkers in this world. If I can get by with a cane, I’ll do that.”
Through it all, Gold has remained grateful to UA for its support of him, including phone calls from football coach Nick Saban and athletics director Greg Byrne.
Gold expressed the most gratitude for his wife, Claudette.
Alex Scarborough notes that Ole Miss NIL collective stepped up to keep Lane Kiffin around.
On Oct. 31, Auburn fires Harsin and Kiffin is immediately linked to the opening. Kiffin has already made it known that he believes Ole Miss’ collective is lagging behind those of the rest of the conference, and any coach considering a job should take into account a collective’s funding. Not doing so would be like a general manager in the NFL ignoring a prospective team’s cap space, he says.
The very next day, while Kiffin’s name is appearing on every Auburn candidate board online and in print, Ole Miss’ Grove Collective reports “unprecedented membership traffic.” Their website crashes. Thousands of people join and donate.
A few weeks later, on Nov. 23, the collective announces it has topped $10 million in funding.
That night, before the Mississippi State game, Kiffin tells his team he’s staying.
Nate Oats is working on rebuilding his bench staff.
Alabama basketball is in discussions with NBA assistant Ryan Pannone for an assistant coach opening, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Tuscaloosa News.
Pannone has been an assistant for the New Orleans Pelicans since July 2022. Before then, he was the head coach of the Erie Bayhawks/Birmingham Squadron, the NBA G League affiliate of the Pelicans, from 2019-2022.
Last, Chase Goodbread has an outstanding profile on Auburn legacy Coby McNeal, who is now an Alabama walk-on and by the end of the read may well turn out to be your favorite player.
“His dad played there, and we used to trash talk each other during Iron Bowl week when we were growing up. So that threw me, that he was going to Alabama, but I’m happy he chose the right school,” McNeal’s friend Walker Gill said with a laugh. “But that was kind of surprising that he wanted to go there.”
Or maybe, start with the inspiration of an older brother, Trey, who joined the Marines a few years before Coby. After graduating in the spring of 2015 from Ashford Academy, which shuttered immediately after, McNeal had drawn small-college interest for an athletic scholarship, but instead followed his brother into the Marine Corps, where he spent six years and became an aviation electrician. The experience made him world-traveled, from Hawaii to Australia, making it no surprise that upon his return he and his fiance went on a road trip across the U.S.
Start, perhaps, with a fun-loving kid who’s never been shy to take a dare or afraid to follow his own path.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.