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Jumbo Package: Is Nick Saban trying to manage fan expectations for 2023?

Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Syndication: USA TODAY Denny Simmons / USA TODAY NETWORK

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Apologies for the lack of a Monday JP yesterday. Occasionally real life gets in the way, and that was one of those times. The week after media days is usually the slowest of the offseason anyhow, and this week is no exception.

In any case, the best news of the weekend was that Eli Gold will be calling games in the fall.

Gold missed the entire 2022 season with what doctors eventually discovered was stage 3 cancer. The 69-year-old finished his cancer treatment in April after dealing with chemotherapy and losing a total of 148 pounds while spending 186 days in hospitals over that time.

“The doctors told Claudette, my wife, they told her a couple times I might not make it through the night,” Gold said in April. “I was a very sick boy. Turns out, I have gotten better. There’s still work to be done.”

Great to hear that he is improving. Seems like Alabama needs to make sure he gets to call another national championship this season, if you ask me.

Matt Hayes wasn’t a fan of Nick Saban’s comments at SEC Media Days.

“I’m not here to create expectations for our team. Lots of people will do that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said during SEC Media Days. “But expectations in some way are a predetermined way to create disappointment.”

If that didn’t hit you like a punch to the gut out of the blue, the ridiculously successful and beautifully megalomaniacal coach followed up with yet another odd affirmation:

“If you have high expectations for what you want to accomplish, and it doesn’t work out,” Saban said, “it makes you focus on the outcome, and it doesn’t work out and you’re very disappointed.”

OK, who is this man? And what have you done with my Nick Saban?

Nick spoke quite a bit about the anxiety created by high expectations last season, and this seems like one of those instances where he is talking to his team through the media. His message isn’t really inconsistent with what he’s always said: focus on The Process and the results will take care of themselves. It’s just a bit of a different delivery. Is that because this team isn’t capable of living up to typical Alabama expectations? We’ll find out soon enough.

Vegas believes that Ty Simpson will win the starting QB job.

Ty Simpson has the best odds at +105, but Buchner isn’t far behind sitting at +140. The odds have Milroe a bit behind of the competition as his odds are set at +300.

SEC Media Days were last week and Saban was obviously asked about the competition. He didn’t give any word as to who was in the lead, but he did compare the situation to waiting for his grandmother’s carrot cake to finish baking, according to a tweet from Ken Capps.

“I think we got to let this sort of develop and make sure we let the cake bake until somebody separates themselves,” Saban said. “All the players are working hard. They all have a good attitude. They’re all competing well.”

We shall see.

Alabama commit Jaylen Mbakwe is quite the versatile athlete.

He’ll probably play cornerback and return kicks in college since he’s extraordinary with the ball in his hands.

There have been challenges since taking over at quarterback, but Mbakwe relishes opportunity.

“At quarterback you got to know what everybody’s doing, the O-line, running back, tight ends, receivers, defense, linebackers, all that,” Mbakwe said. “I try to get better every day, taking it day by day and working on my craft every day. I have good athletes around me so I feel very comfortable with throwing the ball. I’m a pass first guy anyways, so I’m probably not going to run until I have to.”

Can’t wait to see him in Crimson.

Matt Stahl has a rundown of the 2025 recruiting class. Assuming both stick, it’s tough to imagine that anyone will pull a better pair of receivers than Ryan Williams and Jamie Ffrench.

Williams was the first player in the class to commit, way back in October. The in-state product plays at Saraland, where he caught 88 passes for 1,641 yards and 24 touchdowns last season as a sophomore according to Maxpreps.

He also contributed to the run game, with 700 yards on 57 carries with 15 touchdowns. Williams is listed as the No. 1 receiver and No. 4 player nationally according to the 247Sports composite.

Williams stands six feet tall and weighs in at 165 pounds.

Last, Herb Jones will be helping prepare the Men’s national team for basketball World Cup play.

“We are confident that our USA Men’s Select Team will do a great job helping prepare the men’s national team for the 2023 Men’s FIBA World Cup,” Grant Hill, USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director said in a release. “We have a good mix of young NBA players and those who helped us qualify for the World Cup, all of who will play a huge role in our success in Manila, as we continue to develop the national team pipeline for years to come.”

Having just signed a new deal, this isn’t something that he needed to do. The man just loves to play ball that much.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.