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Nick Saban talks Alabama draftees, Tua Tagovailoa on NFL Network

Alabama head coach Nick Saban appeared on NFL Network on Thursday to recap the 2019 NFL Draft and discuss his current Crimson Tide team. Below is everything Saban said during an interview with Andrew Siciliano, including an update on his return from hip replacement surgery.

Does it ever get old seeing the young men that are in your building, that go to class, that work so hard every day -- both on and off the field -- hearing their name called and having that journey take them to the NFL?

“No, not at all. A lot of the guys that we recruit here and a lot of guys when they’re in high school and they play, a lot of them have dreams, regardless of what they play -- football, basketball, baseball. They all want to be professional athletes some day. And these guys put a lot into it. They work hard. They really mature and contribute a lot to our program. I know it’s their dream, and I’m always happy to see them have success at the next level. I mean, that’s one of the goals of our program here.”

Let’s talk about Quinnen Williams, if we could, who went third overall to the Jets. Coach, what makes him so special?

“His initial quickness and his ability to play with his hands, play with leverage, get off blocks quickly. He’s athletic, so he’s a really good pass rusher. He’s not a huge, gigantic, overpowering guy, but the rest of it is perfect for this day and age in football. And I go back to the initial quickness, the use of his hands. And this guy is a really smart, instinctive player, and I think sometimes people overlook how that impacts someone’s production -- and his production here was fabulous.” 

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Marlon Humphrey, Josh Rutledge headline UA's spring commencement

ByCharlie Potter 7 hours ago

A total of 80 University of Alabama student-athletes are slated to receive degrees during this weekend's commencement activities, including 14 All-Americans, three NCAA champions and four CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. The Crimson Tide's tally also includes 15 master’s degrees.

Crimson Tide All-American and Baltimore Raven Marlon Humphrey is among the 10 football players set to graduate. Others include SEC Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year Hale Hentges, who is getting his master’s degree this weekend after signing with the Indianapolis Colts last month, as well as CoSIDA Academic All-American Keaton Anderson.

Other Alabama football players include Kyle Edwards, D.J. Lewis, Milo Lewis, Xavian Marks, Scott Meyer, Chris Owens and Matt Womack.

MLB draftees Josh Rutledge and Geoffrey Bramblett both earned their degrees this month, putting them among the nine UA baseball players receiving degrees in the spring, along with football and baseball standout Keith Holcombe, who finished his master’s degree this semester. Rutledge, a 2008 Freshman All-American, was drafted in 2010 and played for the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox during his pro career.

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Saban offers JUCO DB who grew up fan of Alabama

Alabama offered a rising junior college defensive back in the state of Texas on Thursday. Good news for the Crimson Tide ... he grew up a fan of the program.

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Former Alabama DL Joshua Frazier 'done with football'

ByCharlie Potter 8 hours ago

Former Alabama defensive lineman Joshua Frazier is hanging up his cleats.

On Thursday, Frazier announced via Twitter that he was “done with football.”

“I’m done with football. I’ve decided...I’ve got a lot going on right now in my life personally and can’t put my 100 into the game I love. Made some great memories with my teammates at Harber And @AlabamaFTBL and was blessed with the opportunity to be drafted to the @steelers

“Thank you everyone who helped me on my journey.”

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NCAA Takes Look At Injury Reports

It was a big deal — make that a REALLY big deal — when sports gambling, including gambling on college sports, was expanded from Las Vegas. Now, only the most naive would suggest that there isn’t gambling on Alabama football in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham and everywhere else in the nation regardless of the presence of a gleaming casino with a sports book. There is not in Alabama, but projections are that sports books will be available in some 30 states within five years. (Alabama will probably become No. 50 a few years after Utah makes it 49.)

With the expansion, there is more than ever a concern about corruption, to the extent that according to a report by CBSSports.com’s Dennis Dodd something called the NCAA Gambling Working Group will propose that schools reveal the status of injured football players each week — “available,” “possible,” or “unavailable” — but without revealing the type of injury.

Obviously, a coach could announce “possible” on all of them without revealing much of anything.

The point, though, is that sports injuries never seem to be that much of a secret. The NFL routinely has a reveal each week (“probable,” “doubtful,” or “out”). As for the college game, no one ever seems to be caught off guard by the absence of a key player on Saturdays.

Nick Saban (Photo: Stuart McNair, Scout.com)

 At Alabama, Coach Nick Saban has an almost weekly announcement regarding injuries and some expectation of a player’s availability. (Of course, his most notable injury announcement concerned his own recent hip replacement procedure.) Many coaches nationwide have spoken out against the suggestion that injuries be revealed as giving away the game plan to the opposition.

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Five offseason questions revisited: Special teams

Revisiting five questions for Alabama's special teams as the Crimson Tide moves through the offseason.

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What Saban, Alabama players said about new coaches this spring

Alabama welcomed seven new assistant coaches to Tuscaloosa this offseason, and plenty was said about more of them during the Crimson Tide’s 15 spring practices from March 8 to April 13.

We didn’t hear from any running backs or outside linebackers, so there are no quotes on either Charles Huff or Sal Sunseri, but below is what Nick Saban and Alabama’s players said about offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive line coach Brian Baker, safeties coach Charles Kelly, offensive line coach Kyle Flood and wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins in the spring.

STEVE SARKISIAN

Nick Saban: “My experience is the guy did a really good job when he was here. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him for what he did before he came here as an offensive coach. I don't think it's fair to criticize when a guy takes over a job one week before a game and has to go try to implement something because the circumstance we were in. I think if you look at the body of work with the Falcons, they were like sixth in the NFL in offense or whatever so there's got to be some level of expertise to allow them to do that. The players that I talked to there thought he did a really good job and was a good coach. He's, I think, a tremendous asset on our staff and we're very pleased and happy to have him. We had a whole list of people we went through to hire and I feel like we were really, really fortunate to get a guy that was offered the Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator job to come to Alabama and had a successful stint in the NFL.

“We're going to run our offense do the things that we do. I'm sure that there are some things that they did in Atlanta just like there were some things when Brian Daboll came here that they did in New England that we implemented in the offense and those things were very helpful. We'll do the same thing. If Sark's got things that he thinks are going to be beneficial and fit in with the things that we're doing then we'll implement some of those things. He's got great knowledge and experience and the biggest thing is he's well organized and he's got good relationships with the players and he's a good teacher.”

Tua Tagovailoa: “Well, I think you can’t really compare all the coaches. you look at it more so as these guys have their own way of coaching, these guys have their own style and you just got to learn to go with it because at the next level it is not always going to be the same person. So, you’ve got to be able to adjust and you’ve got to be able to go with it as well. So, they all have different styles. Coach Locksley was one way. Coach Daboll was another way and with the offense we’re running now it’s different, too. It’s just getting used to what they’re doing and what they like and going with it. 

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Where Alabama commits rank in latest 247Sports Composite update

ByHank South 16 hours ago

It's a three-team battle between Alabama, Clemson and LSU for the top spot in the 247Sports Composite Team Recruiting Rankings, with each program spending time at No. 1 in the standings in recent weeks.

The Bayou Bengals currently claim the No. 1 spot with the Crimson Tide coming in at No. 2, but with how narrow the margin is between the three teams in the standings, one commitment or decommitment could change the entire order.

Affecting that order is the 247Sports Composite Rankings, an industry-generated average. Those rankings were updated this week with several Alabama commits moving up in the standings.

Here's a look at where they currently sit, along with the latest in their recruitments.

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Son of former NFL QB walking on at Alabama

Alabama landed a preferred walk-on commitment from 2019 quarterback Jayden George of Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central on Wednesday evening.

"It’s been a long process and I’m excited to announce I will be continuing my dream to play football at the University of Alabama next year!" George Tweeted. "I can’t wait to be a part of something special! All glory to God! #RollTide."

The 6-foot-3.5, 205-pounder signal caller has taken several visits in recent weeks to programs like Georgia and Miami, but it was Alabama where he saw the best fit.

George passed for 3,100 yards and 42 touchdowns last season, helping lead Warren Central to the Class 6A state championship win. 

Jayden is the son of former Illinois quarterback and No. 1 pick in the 1990 NFL Draft Jeff George, who had stints with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks and the Chicago Bears. The elder George led the league in passing yardage in 1997, and for his career threw for over 27,000 yards. Jayden's older brother, Jeff Jr., played for Illinois before transferring to Michigan and then Pitt. 

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Alabama's 2019 offseason to-do list

The offseason has arrived, and the countdown to Alabama’s 2019 season is getting shorter and shorter. But what are some of the things the Crimson Tide coaching staff and players need to do before the upcoming season arrives in order to get back to the College Football Playoff?

Below, BamaOnLine takes a look at bullet points on Alabama’s offseason to-do list.

Hip hip hooray?

Head coach Nick Saban underwent hip replacement surgery last week, and less than 48 hours after the robotic procedure, the 67-year old was back at work. An avid golfer, Saban was forced to withdraw from the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge and will likely miss the Regions Pro-Am next week, though he still might make an appearance. It’s not surprising that the 13th-year head coach was adamant about getting back on his feet as quickly as possible, but it’s also important that he heals properly in order to be ready for the season.

“It’s more than he just wanted to get back to work. He’s back to work with a purpose,” head trainer Jeff Allen told ESPN’s Chris Low. “He feels like he owes this place and his players his total effort. He demands way more of himself than he does of anybody else.”

Stay healthy

Speaking of surgeries, Alabama will also look to avoid any injuries this offseason. Last year, the Crimson Tide lost linebackers Terrell Lewis and Christopher Allen to ACL injuries before the 2018 campaign even started. Saban mentioned some players could have shoulders scoped after spring practice, and freshmen Darrian Dalcourt and Jeffery Carter were possibilities there, BamaOnLine has learned, along with redshirt senior Matt Womack. But between now and the start of preseason camp later this summer, staying healthy will be a top priority for the Tide. 

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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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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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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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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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