The Subtle Problem with Targeting: Turning officials into bad lawyers interpreting an even worse law

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA just can’t seem to get this targeting rule nailed down. Last week, the NCAA announced some tweaks to the most subjective and inconsistently-thrown flag in the game.

First, let’s see what has been changed with the terms of rule. Blindside blocks, for one. Not only will they be penalized, but the vicious crack-back is about to be a thing of the past, and can itself constitute the targeting of a defenseless player. Additionally, there is progressive punishment for infractions.

And, finally, there is a poison pill in here that is getting too little attention — the requirement that all aspects of the targeting call be confirmed: no longer can a targeting call simply be upheld. The replay and field officials must make a determination that every element of the rule is met. If it’s not, the penalty is waived.

Yet, this is going to be exceptionally difficult to prove. And, that difficulty goes to the heart of what’s wrong with a rule that has been modified four times in its seven-year existence.

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Crimson Tide Softball: Alabama Drops Final Home Series To Kentucky

It was the final home stand of the season for Alabama and the Crimson Tide ran into a hot and feisty Kentucky team. The #22 Wildcats came into Tuscaloosa on a high after sweeping three from top-15 Auburn and run-ruling Eastern Kentucky.

TUESDAY

Alabama 6 Belmont 4

Bama beat the Bruins in a game played in Cullman, AL. Read all about it here.

FRIDAY

Kentucky 4 Alabama 1

Bailey Hemphill’s round-tripper was the only offense for the Tide in a lethargic opener. Both teams had six hits (3 by Hemphill) but Alabama had an uncharacteristic 3 fielding errors by shortstop Claire Jenkins paired with two base-runner blunders by Elissa Brown for leaving the base too early. Montana Fouts was mowing down Wildcats but two fourth inning errors forced her into a long inning and seemed to take a lot out of her. Thanks to an out at home and a pick off at third, Fouts escaped the inning. She would not be so lucky in the fifth. A UK walk, single and error loaded the bases. A double and a sac fly made it 3-0 bad guys. Alabama going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame put Fouts right back out there and she gave up a fourth run and had to be relieved by Krystal Goodman. Outside of Hemphill, the Tide had no hits after the third inning.

SATURDAY

Alabama 3 Kentucky 1

Bama got back on the winning side but needed a little help from the coach Patrick Murphy since the men in blue were giving them no help. The home plate umpire was making some horrendous ball-strike calls that led to Murphy’s ejection.

His removal from the game sparked the Tide to turn a 1-0 deficit into a three run inning and an eventual win. Sarah Cornell (W, 19-1) was splendid in the circle tossing a four-hit complete game. Her only mistake was a sixth inning solo home run to All-American lock Abbey Cheek. Cornell struck out the first two batters in the seventh and, following a double, struck out the final hitter to secure the win.

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Miss Terry to Nick: “Get back in your chair!”

When your name is Nick Saban, privacy is a mere fantasy, particularly when something like a hip replacement is on the schedule. As such, Chris Low, Alex Scarborough and Mark Schlabach of ESPN collaborated on a fine piece detailing the play-by-play of Saban’s surgery and recovery. Like most modern hip replacements it was an outpatient procedure, and poor Miss Terry was charged with the post-op nursing duties.

Miss Terry, as Alabama’s five-time national championship coach Nick Saban fondly refers to his wife of more than 40 years, returned home only to find, to her horror, her husband standing in the driveway.

”What are you doing out here?” she asked.

Saban shrugged and deadpanned, “You left me all alone, and there’s nothing to do.”

”You’re not supposed to do anything,” Terry shot back. “Get back in your chair!”

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Alabama’s defense owned its 13th annual spring game

Alabama OLB Chris Allen (No. 4) tackles RB Brian Robinson in 2019 A-Day Game: Marvin Gentry - USA TODAY Sports

Say goodbye to the unit that took the field in 2018. 

For the University of Alabama, its defense under Nick Saban and coordinator Pete Golding owned the stage during Saturday’s spring game. After having issues in the secondary and linebackers out of place last season, the group looked much better in front of 60,000+ in attendance. 

While a mystery lingers at inside linebacker – opposite Dylan Moses – the combination of Joshua McMillon, Jaylen Moody and Shane Lee did something to draw the attention of coaches and fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium. McMillon, a senior, tied with Xavier McKinney for team White’s leader in tackles (seven) and had one for loss. The 6-foot-3, 237-pounder stuffed the attack of Najee Harris (23 yards, nine carries) and Jerome Ford (two yards, six carries). 

Moody and Lee, both freshmen, record one interception each. Moody returned his for a 30-yard touchdown off Paul Tyson, while Lee anchored team Crimson in tackles with eight.  

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Everything Nick Saban said after Alabama's A-Day Game

ByCharlie Potter 84 minutes ago

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke to reporters Saturday following the Crimson Tide's annual A-Day Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Below is everything Saban said after the White team's 31-17 win over the Crimson team in his final press conference of the spring.

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TWEETED: 2019 Alabama A-Day, Recruiting Visitors React

2020 5-star WR Julian Fleming from Catawissa, PA with Tino Sunseri (Bama analyst, former Pitt QB) and WR coach Holmon Wiggins.

McEACHERN-POWDER SPRINGS FOUR

Jamil Burroughs 2020 4-star DT, Javon Baker 2020 4-star WR (Bama commit), Carlos Del Rio 2021 4-star QB, Kyle Mann 2020 3-star DT

Caden Clark, 2020 4-star TE, Akron, OH - Bama commit

Jayson Jones, 2020 4-star DT, Calera, AL - Bama commit

Kyle Edwards, 2020 3-star RB, Destrehan, LA - Bama offered. I think he gets another star pretty soon.

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Five-star sees opportunity at Alabama

Five-star Tide target Reggie Grimes talks about his visit to Alabama for A-Day.

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Cane Berrong reflects on A-Day visit

Photo via Cane Berrong's Twitter account

4-Star tight end, Cane Berrong, was one of the many top recruits in Tuscaloosa for A-Day on Saturday.

Berrong is the No.1 tight end in the 2021 recruiting class. This was the first time Alabama got Berrong on campus since they offered him on Mar. 8. The atmosphere in Bryant Denny Stadium on a rainy Saturday spoke volumes to Berrong.

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2019 Alabama Crimson Tide Football A-Day: Quick Stats

Alabama’s spring practice is a wrap. Below are some combined quick stats for you to ruminate over for the next four months.

PASSING

Tua Tagovailoa 19-37-1, 265 yards, 1 TD
Mac Jones 19-23-1, 271 yards, 2 TDs
Taulia Tagovailoa 6-9-1, 93 yards, 1 TD
Paul Tyson 1-5-1, 8 yards
Slade Bolden 1-1-31 yards
(Layne Hatcher played but did not attempt a pass)

RUSHING

Brian Robinson 11-42
Najee Harris 9-25, TD
Chadarius Townsend 4-30
Jaylen Waddle 1-8
Jerome Ford 6-2
(There was only one rushing score)

RECEIVING

John Metchie 5-133 - named MVP
Jerry Jeudy 5-104, TD
DeVonta Smith 6-95
Jaylen Waddle 4-59, TD
Henry Ruggs III 1-8
Najee Harris 1-12
Brian Robinson 6-52
Xavier Williams 2-35, TD
Kedrick James 1-29, TD
Cameron Latu 2-37
Miller Forristall 3-32

PUNTING

Will Reichard 6-253, 42.2 ypp, 1 touchback
Skyler DeLong 4-190, 47.5 ypp, 1 touchback
Mike Bernier 1-34

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First-team defense gets the better of offense in A-Day Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban wants answers.

Following Alabama’s A-Day Game on Saturday, the Crimson Tide head coach wanted to know if the media coaches for the losing Crimson team (first-team offense, second-team defense) had found their way to his postgame press conference inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“I’ve got some questions for you, aight,” Saban said once he spotted them. “You’ve got the player of the year in college football on your team. You’ve got the guy that won the Biletnikoff playing receiver, aight. You’ve got more guys coming back on offense than probably any team in the country. What went wrong? I mean this is the kind of shit you ask me all the time.”

The White team (first-team defense, second-team offense) prevailed Saturday afternoon with a 31-17 win over the Crimson squad. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a late touchdown and interception on 19-of-37 passing while the trio of starting receivers had some uncharacteristic drops in the scrimmage. But the play of the first-team defense shouldn’t go without praise.

Alabama’s starting defense kept one of the most potent offenses in the entire country last year in check for nearly 60 minutes -- though freshman quarterback Paul Tyson also played with the Crimson offense -- by only allowing 17 points and 317 total yards in the annual spring game.

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Five A-Day predictions revisited

Revisiting five predictions following Saturday's A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

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Nation's top TE in 2021 enjoys first trip to Alabama

Alabama tight end target Cane Berrong made his first-ever trip to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. He breaks down the visit with BamaOnLine.

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Looking At Alabama QB Situation Behind Tua

Alabama’s football team went into spring practice – and into the A-Day Game – with no doubt as to who the number one quarterback is and will be in the 2019 season. Tua Tagovailoa was one of the nation’s best quarterbacks for the Crimson Tide last season and is  projected as a likely Heisman Trophy candidate this year.

But Alabama doesn’t have the proven quality backup quarterback it had last season in Jalen Hurts, now a graduate transfer earning rave reviews at his new spot as the likely starting quarterback (and possible Heisman Trophy competition for Tagovailoa) at Oklahoma.

One of the many goals (stated or not) for Alabama this spring was to begin the process of determining the primary backup to Tagovailoa. The candidates include Mac Jones, a third-year sophomore who was No. 3 last fall, and two 2019 signees who joined the Tide for spring practice and were on public display in Saturday’s A-Day Game.

Statistically that was Jones. He completed 19 of 23 passes for 271 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and was sacked four times for the winning White team (second offense and first defense). The White took a 31-17 win.

Tua Tagovailoa played more than expected, perhaps, and completed 19 of 37 yasses for 265 yards and one touchdown and one interception playing against the first defense.

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Freshman WR John Metchie named MVP of Alabama's A-Day Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama true freshman wide receiver John Metchie was named the Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player of the A-Day Game Award on Saturday afternoon.

Metchie capped a strong spring by leading all players in receiving yards with 133 on five catches and targets at Bryant-Denny Stadium. His performance helped lead the White team (first-team defense, second-team offense) to a 31-17 win over the Crimson team in the spring scrimmage.

But the promising freshman faced the second-team defense, which was made up of several of his fellow early enrollees. Therefore, Nick Saban tried to pump the brakes on the Metchie hype.

“He did a good job,” Saban said in a press conference. “But again, what’s the level of comp, you know? I mean, would he catch all of those passes if 2 or 7 or somebody’s covering him? I don’t know, aight. But when he does that, then that’s good. But relative to what he had to do today, he did an outstanding job. He made some good catches, didn’t drop the ball. He plays fast. He’s got some strength. I think this guy’s going to help us next year, and I think he’ll be a good player for us.”

But Saban wasn’t done there.

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Alabama Football Honors For A-Day Game, Spring Practice

There is not an extraordinary amount of drama regarding a spring football game. If there are no serious injuries, all is considered to be good. Such was the case in Alabama’s A-Day Game Saturday, won by the White team (second offense and first defense), 31-17 over the Crimson (first offense, second defense).

For the players it marked the 15th and final practice of the spring. There will be a few weeks to heal up some things, and then begins the next phase of football preparation, the summer workouts.

For a handful of players there is the satisfaction of being recognized for achievement. Two players are selected by sports reporters for their performances in the A-Day Game, which was played at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. One was a true freshman and one a fifth-year senior. They were:

Dixie Howell Memorial Most Valuable Player of the A-Day Game Award -- John Metchie, 6-0, 195, freshman wide receiver from Brampton, Canada. Metchie had five receptions for 133 yards for the winning White team.

Dwight Stephenson Lineman of the A-Day Game Award – Anfernee Jennings, 6-3, 259, senior outside linebacker from Dadeville. He was in on 4 tackles, 2 primary, and had a sack for the winning White team.

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Breaking: Nick Saban to Have Hip Examined

via: Touchdown Alabama

During Alabama’s spring game press conference head coach Nick Saban revealed that he has been having trouble with one of his hips throughout the spring.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit with one of my hips,” said Saban. “Even though they don’t make’em like they used to and most players would not be able to perform in spring practice like I did if they had a similar situation, but nobody could even tell. But I might not be able to play golf for a few weeks. We’re going to do an evaluation of this at the end of spring.”

Despite the tough news from the 67-year-old, he made it a point that he doesn’t believe that the injury will be the end of his coaching career.

“I want to get it fixed because I don’t want to coach for one more year, I want to coach for a lot more years,” said Saban. “So whenever things like this come up, I want to be aggressive and proactive and try to get it taken care of.”

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Nick Saban to have 'struggling' hip evaluated after spring

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Nick Saban is the newest addition to Alabama’s injury report.

The 67-year-old head coach said he will potentially be out for 6-8 weeks after a hip procedure.

“I have one announcement to make,” Saban said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit with one of my hips, and even though they don’t make them like they used to and most players would not to be able to perform in spring practice like I did if they had a similar situation, but nobody could even tell, but I might not be able to play golf for a few weeks. We’re going to do an evaluation of this at the end of spring, but they say even if it’s the worst case scenario, it may be six or eight weeks. But I can still cut a rug and cut them off, I can do whatever I need to do. I can still play golf. But this has a little bothersome, and I don’t want to go into the fall with this being a problem.

“I want to get it fixed because I don’t want to coach for one more year, I want to coach for a lot of more years. So, whenever things like this come up, I want to be aggressive and proactive to try and get it taken care of. We’ll certainly do that, and we’ve got really good people to do it. I don’t think it should be a big deal, but I’ve been keeping this a little bit of a secret because I have so much respect for this group (of reporters). I wanted you to be the first to know. Thank you.”

Saban is entering his 13th season as head coach of the Crimson Tide, and as he said in his closing remarks, he has no intentions of retiring -- though his initial comments might have scared some Alabama fans. Saban’s current contract runs through the 2025 season (Feb. 28, 2026).

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Recap: White team tops Crimson in Alabama's 2019 A-Day Game

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama’s first-team defense and second-team offense will soon be enjoying a steak dinner, as the White team defeated the Crimson team, 31-17, in the 2019 A-Day Game.

Led by quarterbacks Mac Jones and Taulia Tagovailoa, the White team amassed 396 total yards of offense in front of an announced crowd of 62,219 at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.

Jones, a redshirt sophomore, started the day poorly, throwing an interception to true freshman linebacker Shane Lee. That set up the first touchdown of the day -- a four-yard rushing score by junior running back Najee Harris that gave the Crimson team an early 7-0 advantage.

But Jones responded and threw a nice ball to true freshman wide receiver John Metchie for a 49-yard pickup. The White team got on the board thanks to a 43-yard field goal by Will Reichard.

The Crimson squad reached into its bag of tricks after that field goal as first-team quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw it back to receiver Slade Bolden, who threw it downfield to linebacker turned tight end Cameron Latu for a 31-yard gain. Joseph Bulovas booted a 34-yard field goal through the uprights after that to give the Crimson team a 10-3 advantage in the second quarter.

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Alabama Spring Football 2019: A-Day Open Thread

Alabama’s 2019 Golden Flake A-Day Game is taking place Saturday, April 13, at 1 pm CT at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is being aired on ESPN2 with Tom Hart and Todd Blackledge on the call and Laura Rutledge on the sidelines. (Kirk Herbstreit and Joey Galloway will be elsewhere.)

ROSTERS:

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APRIL UPDATE: Alabama NFL Free Agency Tracker

C.J. Mosley, Landon Collins, and Kareem Jackson have already cashed in. Others hope to find their new home very soon. We will keep this post updated as news rolls in.

WED. UPDATE: Mark Ingram - three-year, $15 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens.

WED. UPDATE: Carpenter - four year, $21M with the Falcons; $7M fully guaranteed at signing and $9.25M in total guarantees.

FRIDAY/THURSDAY UPDATE: D.J. Fluker re-signs with Seattle for 2 years, $9M. (see Tweet below for all the confusing details.)

THURSDAY UPDATE: HaHa Clinton-Dix signed a 1 year, $3.M contract with the Chicago Bears. It’s a little surprising that he got such a small contract and only one year. Word is he turned down bigger money from somewhere else. He had better ball out this year.

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