Between the commitment of Ryan Williams and the win over Auburn in hoops, yesterday was a day of jubilation for Alabama fans. In case you somehow missed either, check out our celebration articles here on RBR yesterday:
Here’s a cool nugget from the game last night:
“My confidence wasn’t all there,” Nelson said postgame. “Rylan [Griffen] talked to me on the bench. He challenged me, and I took that and ran with it. I appreciate these guys getting on me. I feel like we need that.”
Alabama head coach Nate Oats said his best teams have been player-led, and he appreciated Griffen getting on to Nelson.
“It was great that Rylan stepped up,” Oats said. “I mean, he basically told Grant, ‘We need you. We need you to play tough. You’re good enough. We need you. Step it up.’
“He stepped it up.”
At the start of this season, Grant Nelson looked like the next coming of Brandon Miller in an Alabama uniform, but after the first two games of the season he’s struggled more than he’s been effective. He still had an awful first half against Auburn, but really put some things together in the second half, including two massive follow-up dunks off of offensive rebounds.
The stakes heading into Wednesday night were clear. Alabama had yet to beat a great team and Auburn had yet to play one. And after a hard-fought 40 minutes, it’s tough to evaluate the sides any differently.
The Tide will go as far as its defense goes, as shown by Auburn’s 41.8% field-goal rate. Questions remain, though, like if Alabama can do enough on the interior and if Auburn can deliver in road environments. But the fact that UA built a double-digit lead and staved off a rally proves that it’s capable of making a run in March.
This was definitely a big win for the Tide, as they’ve mostly feasted on weaker teams but lost to the best teams they played, so taking down #8 is a big step forward for building confidence. Alabama has one of the best offenses in the country - but defense has been the limiting factor for the Tide. If they can keep up close to that level of intensity against other foes, they could get really dangerous come March.
Back to football, we got to hear from Jalen Milroe during the basketball game:
“It’s two things: trust the process, and believe,” Milroe said. “That’s something that we’re going to do right now. Right now, we’re just in January. It’s everything about being where your feet are. We’re not looking at the end goal, we’re not looking at the top of the mountain— we’re looking at where we’re at right now. And right now it’s about the relationship aspect of this where it’s knowing our teammates and then knowing our coach. That’s something we have to have in our locker room is constantly trying to grow our relationship and constantly trying to believe in everything that the coaching staff is giving us.”
“Being able to be the quarterback at the University of Alabama is a true blessing, and I feel proud of it,” Milroe said on the broadcast. “That doesn’t go unnoticed, and that’s something I try to harp on with the guys in the locker room is, realize where you’re at and don’t take it for granted because we’re blessed to be in the situation we’re in right now. So for me to be a quarterback here, I enjoy it every single day.”
You really can’t ask for a better group of guys (Milroe, along with Malachi Moore, Tyler Booker, and Deontae Lawson) to be representing Alabama right now and building a team mentality behind them and their new coach.
Speaking of the new coach, Kalen DeBoer broke ground for Alabama last night. For the first time in Alabama history, the head football coach has posted on Twitter:
Then, DeBoer did something even Saban didn’t do. He interacted with Williams on social media after his decision.
DeBoer reposted Williams’ announcement on X (formerly Twitter), making him the first Alabama head football coach to ever do so. He was active on social media while he was at Washington, and he updated his profile after agreeing to succeed Saban.
I guess technically, no Alabama coach ever actually posted on Twitter, since it’s called X now.
Regardless, it was a long run.
Here’s an interesting look from an outsider about the hit rate of Alabama portal transfers the last four seasons:
Florida State and the Florida Gators have collectively nabbed a half-dozen Alabama transfers in the ongoing exodus since Nick Saban’s retirement.
Both programs should hope this cycle pans out better than previous ones; the hit rate on transfers from Alabama is lower than you might expect.
We examined the four previous transfer cycles (weeding out as many walk-ons as we could) to see how players did after leaving the Crimson Tide. Of the 58 players who transferred from ’Bama to another Football Bowl Subdivision school:
• 12 became major players at their next stop
• 15 others became at least part-time starters
• 22 flamed out with little, if any significant impact.
In other words: Most guys that have left Bama were probably doing so for a reason. Some have gone on to do well, like Drew Sanders, Taulia Tagovailoa, Jerome Ford, and Javon Baker... But most made minimal impact at their next stop. Remember that as fans of other teams keep trying to act like Alabama has lost their entire roster this offseason.