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Jumbo Package: Depth chart begins shaking out, as Alabama starts season-long opponent preparation

Meanwhile, the Tide begins prepping for its season-opener on Friday.

<p zoompage-fontsize="15" style="">Allstate Sugar Bowl - Alabama v Kansas State

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Yesterday was the Tide’s 17th practice of the fall camp, and a decidedly focused Nick Saban greeted reporters at his weekly presser.

There were a lot of good things in his compact 10-minute address. We’ll go over those below for you, but if you’d prefer to watch it, here ya’ go:

Highlights from yesterday included:

  • Something resembling a depth chart may be beginning to shake out at the quarterback position?

The quarterback battle is rounding into shape, but Nick is still sticking to his guns: On-the-field performances are going to decide this one, and that starting next week is just the beginning. What that means is anyone’s guess. Ty was alternately praised and panned on Saturday’s scrimmage, but Milroe (informally) put up the better numbers. In toto, it sounds like Jalen has had the better camp of the three veterans, though not good enough to stave off challenges from three other players, nor to “give the coaches no choice” as to whether he’s QB1.

Still, as the “veteran” incumbent, my guess is that he will get the call next least at kickoff. Whether he stays in beyond a few series, or whether it is truly his job, and whether he can keep it is, as Saban reiterates, wholly up to his play.

  • Star is not as settled as we may have believed.

Just about everything coming out of camp has indicated that Malachi Moore had locked down the job at Star. That seems to be a bit premature. In his remarks yesterday, Saban said three players are seeing snaps at Star this Fall, and that cultivating depth is important: Jalen Key, Malachi Moore, and Earl Little. The staff is also starting to cross-train the versatile Terrion Arnold at the position.

  • Tim Smith has lost significant weight, is moving better, and Saban described him as “a pleasant surprise,” and “playing like a starter.”

On one hand, that is encouraging news. On the other, talk about damning someone with faint praise...Smith is now in his third season of starting reps. Ouch.

Never mind.
It wasn’t Tim Smith that Nick was praising.
It was Tim Keenan.

  • Alabama’s focus is there, and that has also been another pleasant surprise.
  • Alabama has begin in-game scenario planning for teams that appear later in the schedule (Chiefs splits, anyone? QB power?) And Friday, Alabama will start prepping for its opening opponent, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders.

And a bunch more.

Oooooh, let’s play a game:

Of the 18 outgoing transfers to leave Alabama football since the start of last season, only one left Nick Saban “disappointed.”

“I’m not mentioning any names, but there’s only like one player that I was really like disappointed that the guy didn’t stay here, and I couldn’t understand why he was leaving,” Saban said, “And all the rest of them, they would have contributed if they stayed and had the right attitude, but it’s their choice.”

There are several options here.

Alabama lost three wideouts that could have seen the field, an intermittent starter on interior offensive line, a starter on the defensive line, and many more in that dozen-and-a-half.

So, who do we think Nick was talking about?

Javion Cohen? Demouy Kennedy? Jamil Burroughs? Traeshon Holden? JoJo Earle? Aaron Anderson? Jahquez Robinson at Corner? Others?

Chime in below.

The Tide may add to its No. 8 recruiting class of 2024 with a pickup of the nation’s No. 3 point guard, Labaron Philon. Philon announced that he is down to four schools: KU, Ole Miss, Cincy, and the Tide.

Philon had committed to Auburn initially, but ditched the Boogs, and then opened it back up.

This would be a nice retention, since he was the 7A Player of the Year for Alabama, and is an in-state prospect.

Philon is a bit on the thin side, at just 177 pounds on a 6’4” frame. But as we’ve seen from Nate Oats teams of the past, he has the length and wingspan that ‘Bama’s defense requires.

He’s a remarkably well-rounded prospect too. He can score with his back to the basket. He has a nice handle and crossover to go with some unreal acceleration that gets him the rim, where he is a creative finisher. He’s an active even hellacious defender, is unafraid to get into the post to chase misses. And he even has a nice little fadeaway and pop-and-shoot perimeter game.

Alabama just has one PG commit for the class of 2024, and with the 2023 backcourt held together by a lot of seniors and transfers, Philon would be a great pickup.

About twice a week, we read angry comments about bringing back Scott Cochran. And all I’m going to say is do you know how many season-ending non-contact, often freakish injuries that Alabama has saved itself from over the last few seasons?

In case you forgot what that was like, I give you up and coming UGA stud RB, Branson Robinson: Out for the year with a non-contact patella rupture.

Do you know how hard it is to blow out your kneecap without contact or untreated, continuous overstraining?

He’s not the only one: RB Kendall Milton (non-contact hamstring); TE Lawton Luckie (non-contact ankle, surgery); LB Joenel Aguero (non-contact, hamstring); and about a dozen others, including a surfeit of weird foot injuries.

Coach Yeah was fun as hell. But, really, Alabama is in the best shape health-wise it’s ever been. Enjoy the ride.

Get paper:

I think it’s safe to say that Jon Allen is grossly underpaid here.

Want a fun little idyll? Check out this beef between Tua and Ryan Clark.

Clark took a dig at Tua’s conditioning, for whatever reason.

And our Hawaiian Prince was having none of it. You could tell Tua was actually visibly pissed off — remarkable, given his notorious affability.

I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this one.

Especially with his teammates egging him on...

And, finally, I leave you with this hilarious little bit of sniping.

At an event in Lubbock, new commish Brett Yormark, said what we are all thinking: that everyone kicks Texas’s ass on the way out the door.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark went to Lubbock and managed to Say the Quiet Part Loud.

Speaking to the Red Raider Club, the commissioner implored one of his member teams to beat another member team in a conference game this upcoming season.

Of course, one of those members will be a pillar in the conference for years to come, while another is on its way out the door. Still, both schools referenced are upstanding members of the Big 12 for the entirety of the 2023 season.

“And Coach, I’m not going to put any pressure on you, but I’m going to be in Austin for Thanksgiving. And you better take care of business like you did right here in Lubbock last year.”

The meltdown from Longhorn fans was as predictable as it was petulant. Read some of the comments to this bad boy.

  1. The Big 12 officiating that is about to descend upon Austin will be god-tier bad.
  2. I can’t believe we have to share a conference with these spoiled crybullies. Yuck.

We’ll see you folks later with some dank #content. For now, Roll Tide.