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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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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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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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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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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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Analyzing Crimson, White rosters ahead of A-Day

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama released the Crimson and White team rosters ahead of A-Day, and they are as follows:

A few notes:

Mac Jones and Taulia Tagovailoa are both on the White team. At this stage, it’s close to a dead heat between those two for the primary backup job. Paul Tyson is on the Crimson team with Tua Tagovailoa.DJ Dale is on the White team alongside Raekwon Davis and LaBryan Ray. Phidarian Mathis is on the Crimson team, which suggests that Dale has indeed emerged as the frontrunner in the middle as a true freshman.Saban mentioned in his last press conference that he wanted to put one of what he considers four starters at WR on the White team, and that turned out to be Jaylen Waddle. Seeing Waddle alongside Xavier Williams offers a glimpse of the future.Will Reichard is on the White team and listed only as a PK. Mike Bernier is listed as the White team punter despite reportedly entering the transfer portal. Joseph Bulovas and Skyler DeLong man those respective positions for the Crimson team.

Everything else is about what you’d expect and what has been observed throughout camp. Should be a great time.

Roll Tide.

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UPDATES: 2019 Alabama A-Day: What to Watch - Recruiting Visitors

We have already given you a few tips on what to watch for on A-Day for the offense and defense. You should also be looking for a few other VIPs, and not just Laura Rutledge. Several recruits are scheduled to be at Bryant-Denny on Saturday. The most important of these are 5-star WR Julian Fleming and 5-star WkDE/OLB Reggie Grimes Jr.

5-STARS

Fleming is the top receiver for 2020 and No. 5 overall player. He hails from the tiny burgh of Catawissa, PA. He was also in T-town for A-Day a year ago but this visit will be an official one. Being from a small town with a population of around 1500, I get the feeling he sadly will go to Penn State. It’s interesting to note that his QB last season, Stone Hollenbach, is (preferred) walking on at Alabama this fall.

Grimes is a name many Crimson Tide fans should be familiar with. His father of the same name was a standout defensive lineman for Alabama in the late 1990s. His mother ran track for the Crimson Tide. He is from Mount Juliet outside of Nashville where dad grew up as well.

OTHER 2020

Other rising seniors scheduled to be in attendance:

Jacobian Guillory, 4-star DT, Alexandria, LA - The signature for the No. 145 player looks like another classic showdown between Alabama and LSU.

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Roll ‘Bama Roll Podcast: Ep. 10 — A-Day Preview and Things to Watch

All week we’ve previewed what to watch for tomorrow’s A-Day. Today, we wrap that up and give you even more bonus ‘Bama action with a preview of the A-Day Game as well as some additional areas to pay attention to as the Tide completes its Spring camp.

But first, we’re sending an invite to you all to join us for some food and frivolity at Druid City Brewing in Tuscaloosa on Saturday before the game. So, if you are in town, stop on by and say hello, and have some boudin.

In this week’s episode:

We preview the Crimson Tide vs Crimson Tide matchup on SaturdayThe depth and talent of the secondary unit overall and who to watch forThe main concern for this year’s team: Inside Linebacker and who to keep an eye onSpecial teams units, and why one of them has our hopes upThat phenomenal young defensive lineAlso: The week that was in basketball. The return of Kira. Trendon Watford watch. Recruiting. And updated expectations.As an added bonus, you may or may not hear some Duron Carter and Ben Davis folklore in this episode....Assuming those guys actually exist.

Be sure to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast listening platform. We are on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, lastFM, etc., and we have links to some of those below.

While you are at it, follow us on social media:

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2019 Alabama A-Day Game Information and Crowdsource Open Thread

The Game:

1:00 Central, ESPN2 and available for streaming on ESPN+
Stats livestream via Sidearm Sports, if you can’t watch
Saturday, April 13 2019
Bryant Denny Stadium
Admission: Free. But you can be all fancy and get a field suite or other upgrade here.

Transit and Parking:

Traffic is a disaster between the never-ending construction (where workers may turn a spade once every two weeks), Tuscaloosa’s outsized population for its infrastructure, and 90,000 new guests. Just be prepared for that. Here is a map of all the road closures. Roadblocks around campus begin at 10:00 a.m. local.

Gameday Disability Lots 2 and 3 are closed. However, Disability Lot 1 (Wallace Wade) and Lot 4 (Campus Dr. Deck) are first-come, first-serve and are free.

Other public parking is also first-come, first-serve and is free on campus. Parking map is here. But, you can pay for reserved parking at the South Ten Hoor lot — $20. That’s worth it, IYAM, since the game is free. Given the snarl of traffic around campus and downtown, you may be better served taking the Crimson Shuttle.

Per the University, re: RVs:

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If the AAF Folds, Did Trent Richardson Do Enough To Warrant Another NFL Look?

The shortlived season of the AAF helped some get a second look and it showed why some won’t be back in the NFL. Where did Trent Richardson come in?

Photo: Touchdown Alabama Magazine

By: Larry Burton

If the AAF does indeed succumb to financial difficulties and the league plays no more, several players did enough to warrant another NFL look. Some are still question marks and some were just abject failures. The question is, where did Trent Richardson land in his quest to earn another shot?

Except for a first week silly penalty for spiking a ball that then went off the field, he kept himself in check, didn’t draw other silly penalties, didn’t have off field drama as he had before, was a good team player and respectful to coaches, so his demeanor showed he has matured a bit since his last stint in the NFL.

He also proved that he was the most reliable back in the AAF on third or fourth and short and in a goal line get those last few yards kind of back. He led the league in touchdowns and doubled the second place runner’s numbers. For short yardage, he became Mr. Automatic. Surely some team is looking for a back like that.

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Alabama Baseball Wins South Carolina Series

The Crimson Tide baseball team won their first SEC series of the year, taking two out of three games from South Carolina this weekend. The series was scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but due to rain the teams played a day-night double header on Friday and a single game on Saturday. The Tide used outstanding pitching to win both games on Friday, and lost a heartbreaker on Saturday in 12 innings by a 5-4 score. Sam Finnerty pitched an absolute gem in the first game as the Tide won 9-0, and Brock Love stared on the mound in game two, a 4-1 win.

Game One: Won 9-0

The story of the game was senior right hander Sam Finnerty. “Fin” pitched the first complete game of the year for the Tide, a sparkling 79 pitch, four-hit shutout. Finnerty struck out five, and walked none, and was in control from beginning to end.

The Tide jumped out early with three runs in the first inning, highlighted by an RBI single by Morgan McCullough and a two run double from Brett Auerbach. Bama put the game away in the second on another RBI single by McCullough and a long grand slam home run off the bat of Tyler Gentry. The round tripper was Gentry’s team leading sixth of the year. Bama only scored once more, a single run in the third, on a blast off the top of the scoreboard by freshman T.J. Reeves, his fourth of the year.

Finnerty stayed on cruise control, never throwing more than 14 pitches in any one inning, the fifth. The caveat to that is he struck out all three batters that frame. Only once did the Gamecocks have three balls on a batter. Finnerty gave up a one out single in the ninth, but got a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. With the win Finnerty improved to 5-3 on the season. Fifty-nine of Finnerty’s 79 pitches were for strikes. Daniel Lloyd allowed all nine runs for SC in three innings and suffered the loss, dropping to 2-3 on the year.

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Breaking down Tide’s five-man race at free safety for 2019

Alabama football held its second scrimmage on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium and according to sources, the defensive secondary played much better. 

After not recording an interception in the first live action exhibition, the Crimson Tide’s back five recorded seven picks. Despite it having more depth in the secondary, Nick Saban wants consistency from this group as it looks to return to the “No Fly Zone” personality it developed from 2015-17 under assistant coaches Mel Tucker, Jeremy Pruitt and Derrick Ansley. 

Xavier McKinney returns as the man at strong safety; however, there is a five-man race for the position opposite him. Jared Mayden, a senior, has been doing well throughout spring practice yet Daniel Wright, Eddie Smith and two freshmen – DeMarcco Hellams and Jordan Battle – are trying to pass him up.

Mayden finished last season with 18 tackles, with one coming for loss. 

In Saturday’s airing of In My Own Words, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine dives into the race for free safety and breaks down each player. 

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Freshman DL playing with “maturity” in spring practice for Alabama

Photo comes from D.J. Dale's twitter

For Alabama head football coach Nick Saban, his words of consistency, effort, having a strong mentality and good preparation skills have taken an effect on some of the younger players. 

D.J. Dale – a freshman defensive lineman — is one of those guys that is not just buying in, but he’s also playing with a sense of confidence. The four-star from Clay-Chalkville High School (Pinson, Ala.) was one of six big men signed in the Crimson Tide’s 2019 recruiting class. 

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 314 pounds, Dale brings exceptional size, quick feet and strong hands to the nose guard position. Along with being listed at No. 179 on the ESPN 300 and earning Class 6A first team All-State honors as a junior in 2018, Dale strikes as a player in Saban’s mind who has the commitment, drive and passion to be either excellent or elite on the field for Alabama football. 

Prior to the second scrimmage on Saturday, sources confirmed with Touchdown Alabama Magazine on how Dale has been the “most consistent” lineman out of the young guys. 

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NCAA Tournament Final Four: TV Schedule and Open Thread

The 2019 college basketball season concludes in the biggest spectacle of the sport called the “Final Four”. 353 schools began the season hoping to raise the trophy in early April. 68 teams entered the tournament last month and only four remain. Two games will be played on Saturday with the winners facing off on Monday night. All three games will ridiculously take place at the cavernous U.S. Bank Stadium - home of the Minnesota Vikings - in Minneapolis, MN. There should be plenty of crappy seats to go around.

Virginia vs. Auburn
Sat Apr. 6, 5:09pm CT
CBS
UVA -5.5, O/U 130.5

Virginia Cavaliers (33-3)

For those of you uninitiated to the customs of Virginia, let me introduce you to the U-V-A Chant:

There is also the Wahoowa Chant:

WAHOOWA, WAHOOWA UNI-V, VIR-GIN-I-A
HOO-RAH-RAY, HOO-RAH-RAY RAY! RAY! U-V-A!

Auburn Tigers (30-9)

Unless you prefer to have yourself mocked into oblivion so badly that you have to deactivate your Twitter account, you will not be rooting for Auburn in any capacity. If you wish to say a little prayer that nobody gets physically injured, that is okay. Beyond that, no. And to your rebuttal in the comments section, let me stop you right here. No.

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Alabama Football Scrimmage #2 Update: Injury Scare, QB Reports & DJ Dale Making a Move

Alabama held their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. The biggest news of the day was the injury of offensive lineman Jedrick Wills. In his press conference following the scrimmage, Nick Saban reported “Jedrick Wills sprained his ankle today. We don’t know the extent of the injury. We’re doing an MRI. He didn’t come back - we didn’t expect him to come back. We wouldn’t let him come back. So, we’ll see what the deal is when we do our MRI and all that probably on Monday. But no other significant injuries to report.”

There was some early speculation that it was an Achille’s injury. However with Saban saying they “wouldn’t let him come back,” it sounds like Wills wanted to return to the scrimmage. Hopefully, this is a sign that the injury is not as severe as it could be.

After Wills went out, Matt Womack slid over to tackle and Emil Ekiyor took Womack’s place at guard.

(Second Team) Quarterback Controversy?

Saban liked what he saw from both first teams, offense and defense, but was not so pleased with the second teams.

There were reports that backup quarterback Mac Jones had a rough day, throwing four picks. Saban commented that some of the interceptions (not specifying whose) were “off of peoples hands, tipped balls” and “not all the quarterback’s fault.” While others were “not as good a decisions as we’d like.” Tua Tagovailoa, who threw a pair himself, had a ball picked off by Jared Mayden that walk-on tight end Giles Amos let go through his hands.

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