With the NFL Draft over, we’re officially into the sports drought of summer for the next three months. Unless you’re a fan of baseball and softball, now’s your chance to take a break from sports watching for a bit.
In any case, here’s a few links to hold you over for the day.
Speaking to LSU supporters on Tuesday at the Touchdown Club of Houston, the second-year Tigers coach didn’t hold back regarding the satisfaction accompanying his long-awaited victory over Saban and the Tide.
“I love the environment of a college stadium,” Kelly told the Touchdown Club, per The Houston Chronicle. “I love coming out on that field. I love beating Alabama.”
LSU’s win against Saban and Co. in 2022 was its first victory in the series between the SEC West foes since 2019 and its first on home turf against the Tide since 2010. The outcome was pivotal in both the SEC West and College Football Playoff races, as LSU won the division and Alabama eventually missed the playoff field, landing at No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff Rankings.
Congrats to Brian Kelly. I’m sure that was a lot of fun for him. Of course, Ed Orgeron also had a whole lot of fun with his one win over Alabama, and not very much before or after.
“They’re the standard. They’re No. 1 right now. There’s no denying that.”
That’s not say Alabama is out of the conversation. McElroy acknowledged the Tide had been the dominant team but has given way to the Bulldogs, at least for now.
“There’s no reason to try to pretend to the gap doesn’t exist, there is a little bit of a gap right now,” McElroy said. “But all that can change this upcoming year because you’re only as good as your last game.”
Speaking of SEC foes, Alabama currently has 3 unavenged losses to other teams in LSU, Georgia, and Tennessee. The Bulldogs are just starting to reach a point, nationally, where people are no longer cheering for them, but are wanting to see them fall from grace a bit.
In fact, their last two years feel very similar to Alabama’s 2011 and 2012:
The Bulldogs lost to the team that they’ve constantly taken 2nd place to during the season before winning the rematch in the national championship, then went on be utterly dominant in year 2 for a 2nd championship in a row.
It will be very interesting to see if they can maintain the mentality to make a 3rd. Alabama couldn’t in 2013. (plus, Auburn luck with a first year head coach might be coming for the Bulldogs instead of the Tide this time).
In any case, Alabama, on the other hand, is probably at their lowest point in terms of national respect since the 2014-to-early-2015 time frame. After that period, the Tide went on a tear of making four straight national championship appearances. Hopefully this team can use the national disrespect to get their mentality back to being the hunter, rather than the hunted.
A couple of days after the most recent Transfer Portal window closed, it appears the Crimson Tide had no last-minute Portal entries. Last week’s buzz that adding Tyler Buchner would mean one or more Alabama football quarterbacks transferring out has not occurred.
The current situation is the Crimson Tide is two over at 87 scholarships, assuming punter James Burnip is on scholarship. Not only is more attrition needed, it appears Nick Saban will add another transfer player or two.
UAB safety, Jaylen Key recently visited Tuscaloosa. As a sixth-year player, it is expected his next college choice will come down to a starter role. That likely means he will not join the Alabama Crimson Tide. More recently, Louisiana cornerback, Trey Amos entered the Transfer Portal. Amos tweeted he was quickly given an offer to join the Alabama Crimson Tide. Adding depth to the Alabama football secondary looks to be a primary goal for Nick Saban.
Alabama is clearly short on defensive back depth, even if the starting group looks to be the best unit on the team.
(seriously, Kool-Aid McKinstry, Terrion Arnold, Earl Little Jr, Caleb Downs and Malachi Moore is just plain awesome)
With that, though, the Tide is 2 scholarships over the 87-man limit, and also could use an offensive lineman or two for more depth. For my part, I will continue to question the sheer number of interior linemen on the roster.
I know that the position has lacked any difference-making ability since 2018, but I think it’s been overrecruited in a shotgun approach to try to make up for it, and it’s affecting the depth at other positions (DB, OL, and RB).
There are fifteen interior defensive linemen on scholarship, and Alabama typically only plays two at a time on any given play - sometimes 3. It’s excessive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of players leave this summer if they are graduate-transfer age.
Auburn’s quarterback competition has taken its first turn of the offseason.
T.J. Finley, who opened last season as the Tigers’ starting quarterback, plans to reenter the transfer portal this summer after graduating next month It’s Finley’s second time in the portal, as he started his career at LSU before transferring to Auburn two years ago.
Speaking of transfers, if Saban still feels the need to add to his QB room, he can add two-time cast-off TJ Finley to compete with 1-time cast-off Tyler Buchner.
I’m sure it will go great.
Wills’ rookie deal was worth $19.703 million, and the fifth-year option will pay him $14.175 million for the 2024 season. While keeping Wills from becoming a free agent after the 2023 campaign, the Browns’ decision also guaranteed his salary for the 2024 season.
The fifth-year option payday is the average of the third through the 20th highest salaries for offensive linemen in the NFL over the past five seasons.
Congrats to Wills for getting his 5th year option! In one season, he’ll nearly double the earnings he got in his first 4 years in the league combined. And then after that, he’ll sign a true second contract that’ll make him a whole lot of money for the next few years.