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Jumbo Package: Nick Saban talks QBs ahead of spring scrimmage

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

NCAA Football: Alabama Spring Game Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Friday, everyone. The softball team hosts Auburn this weekend for the first time since 2017, as a scheduling anomaly along with a pandemic prevented the two teams from facing one another at all in three of the past four seasons. Meanwhile, baseball travels to Mizzou for what should be a winnable three game set. A Tide sweep would pull them even in SEC play at 9-9.

Of course, tomorrow is the football spring scrimmage. While several young players are intriguing, all eyes will be on the quarterbacks. Nick Saban wants you to know that nothing has been decided, and you should not read into the rosters.

“Look, we split up the squads at A-Day so we get maximum reps for most of the players. Which does not really mean that the entire first team is on one team and the entire first team is on the other team,” Saban said. “It means that if we have certain guys at certain positions and we can manipulate them around to get reps for those guys by playing more of the game, because we split the squads up that way, then that’s the way we do it.

“We try to play first teams against the first teams and second teams against the second teams so its a competitive game. We had a draft yesterday for all the staff, coaching staff, support staff, recruiting staff, training staff, everybody got picked. You got your team for steak on Monday and your team for beans and paper plates and plastic forks and spoon. You want a tablecloth? You want a steak? You want a baked potato? You want a dessert? You gotta win.”

It will be a surprise if Jalen Milroe isn’t leading the first team on the opening series, as he is the most experienced player in competition. Ty Simpson will undoubtedly get some run with the ones, however, and freshman Eli Holstein and Dylan Lonergan may well get some reps there as well. Nothing will be decided, but we should get a decent look at all of the contenders.

Saban was asked about his confidence in the QBs as there were rumors swirling about Miami starter Tyler Van Dyke transferring to Alabama. This is what Nick had to say.

“We have confidence in the guys we have in the program,” Saban said. “They’ve worked hard all spring. They’ve had very, very good moments where they’ve shown some consistency and an ability to make plays. There’s been obvious situations where we’ve had work to do and things to work on. I am confident in the guys that we have. I’m confident they’re going to work hard and be dedicated and committed to continuing to improve so that they can go out there and play winning football at their position.”

Turns out that the Van Dyke stuff was nothing more than Drew Rosenhaus doing his best Jimmy Sexton impersonation.

Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has decided to stay at Miami, according to a source, in the wake of a report that he was weighing whether to enter the transfer portal.

Canesport reported Thursday morning that Van Dyke and his camp are “frustrated” with the total value of his NIL deals at UM and have substantial offers from other schools.

Drew Rosenhaus, who handles Van Dyke’s NIL deals, declined to comment.

But a source said Thursday evening that Van Dyke will remain at UM and downplayed any suggestion that he planned to leave. “When was he ever leaving?” the associate said.

Several Miami writers had cited a “source” saying that Van Dyke was strongly considering a transfer to Tuscaloosa, citing a previous relationship with Tommy Rees. That source was very likely someone in the Rosenhaus camp.

Nick was also asked about the portal in general as several players have already left, and more likely to follow.

“No, I mean, we don’t want anybody to get into the portal,” Saban said when asked if he had any message to a player on the roster considering leaving. “We’d love to keep everybody on our team on our team. I think sometimes ... my experience with this is a little bit like free agency in the NFL. NFL players kind of know they’re expendable. I think some college players sometimes think the portal is a one-way street, but it’s really not, because we have an opportunity to bring guys in and replace them, too, if we choose to do that.

“We’d rather make it work with the guys that understand the culture in our program. But that’s just another, you know, resource that you look at players and see if there’s any way you can help the team and strengthen your roster.”

Thus far, the portal has been what we thought it would be: Alabama and the other top programs bring in starters from other teams to fill holes while losing some of their own backups. That will likely continue to be the reality.

As usual, check out all of Nick’s comments below should you so desire.

More discussion around Alabama having the top two picks in the NFL Draft.

From whispers to a roar.

That’s how NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah described the possibility that Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. could potentially be the first two picks of the 2023 NFL Draft, which would mark just the fourth time in NFL draft history that the same school has produced the draft’s first two selections.

The Carolina Panthers are expected to pick Young No. 1 overall. The Houston Texans, who hosted Anderson on an official visit last month, hold the No. 2 pick and could spoil a Crimson Tide 1-2 duo if they select Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud. According to Jeremiah’s sources, however, there is a growing sense among NFL clubs that the Texans will instead use the No. 2 pick on a defensive player. That might not necessarily be Anderson, but it’s a strong possibility.

Last, Nate Oats continues to shop the portal. This time he’s looking at a big man who backed out of his NLI to Michigan.

Kante’s reported seven-foot-plus wingspan made him an enticing target for schools in the fall. The Wolverines initially won out then over Maryland, Memphis, Pittsburgh and Rutgers. Michigan is also currently trying to retain All-American Hunter Dickinson, who entered the portal after the season ended.

Alabama’s 2023 class is ranked 16th among all teams and third in the Southeastern Conference. Its other three commits are all wings or forwards in four-stars Sam Walters (no. 63 overall), Kris Parker (no. 92) and Mouhamed Dioubate (no. 108). Should it add Kante, Oats’ group will move up to 12th and second, respectively. It’s been a busy offseason for Oats replacing a bulk of his roster and filling two of the three assistant coach vacancies on his bench.

That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.

Roll Tide.