Nick Saban told the media after practice on Tuesday that he was giving freshly-departed Kenny Bell a ‘personal day’ and that he expected the wide receiver to return to practice with the team on Wednesday.
“Kenny’s a fifth-year senior, he’s done a great job in this program, he’s played a lot of good football for us, he’s made a lot of big plays, he’s been a good teammate to a lot of guys on the team. He’s certainly somebody I have a tremendous amount of respect for as a competitor,” Saban said. “Sometimes we have personal things that we need to get ironed out.
“He had a day today to do that so there’s really nothing else to talk about when it comes to that.”
Bell had sent a series of tweets on Tuesday afternoon that he was leaving the team and quitting football.
“I know I’m going to lose so many friends and followers and get more negative talk from people but truth is I [don’t] care,” Bell stated, “[I].t’s been a nice run but I’m hanging up my cleats. … time too [sic] focus on my responsibilities MY KIDS.
“I’ve made so many memories here @ Alabama but some things you gotta let go. Salute to the team y’all keep grinding and win that championship.”
It appears Saban can be quite persuasive, though, as Bell didn’t stick with his decision very long. The turnaround by Bell allows the Tide receiving corps to retain a veteran presence, something it’s sure to need as the program guns for its third-straight BCS title.
Update: Not long after this story was posted, Bell tweeted the following:
“I’m back with the team!! Just needed time to myself for a day but I couldn’t leave my boy @10AJMcCarron we ended this run together.”
So there you go.
What has long been rumored became fact Friday, as Wisconsin announced a 10-year agreement with Under Armour.
“I am absolutely thrilled about our new partnership with Under Armour,” AD Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “Kevin Plank and his team have established a brand that fits perfectly with the Wisconsin athletics story and culture. Our primary focus at Wisconsin is, of course, our student-athletes, and Under Armour’s passion and commitment to high quality and innovation will benefit our student-athletes for years to come. Our entire department is looking forward to a long and mutually productive relationship with the Under Armour team.”
The new deal will pay the Badgers a total of $7 million in cash and product in 2015-16 and is valued at $96 million over the life of the contract, good for second in the Big Ten, trailing only Nike’s new contract with Michigan.
Hidden within the contract are two nuggets that UA offered to sway the Badgers away from Adidas, from the Portland Business Journal:
Wisconsin will get as much as $500,000 from Under Armour to “rebrand” athletic facilities. It’ll get $150,000 to build out an Under Armour retail space in a campus gift shop called Bucky’s Locker Room. It also gets two summer internships for students at Under Armour’s Baltimore headquarters.
“The University of Wisconsin is an institution built on the highest values of academic excellence, and we are extremely proud to be teaming up with one of the most vibrant, distinctive and successful athletic programs in the country to help elevate the performance of all Badgers with innovative footwear and apparel,” added Plank.
Wisconsin’s departure continues to weaken the stronghold Adidas had built in the Midwest after losing Michigan to Nike and Notre Dame to Under Armour in recent years (the company still owns apparel rights for Indiana and Nebraska). The Badgers are now the 41st Division I athletics department and 17th FBS program to join UA.
In the minds of some in the media and even more in the fan base, Ohio State in general and Cardale Jones specifically have been underwhelming through the first five games of the 2015 season.
Jones, in particular, has been a rather large target of much of the angst. Coming off a Cinderella-like three-game postseason run that helped OSU to a national championship, the perception is that Jones has been underwhelming and underperforming; even head coach Urban Meyer appeared to be leaning in that direction as he considered making the switch to J.T. Barrett prior to the Western Michigan win before reaffirming his commitment to the redshirt junior.
Is that perception valid? Statistically, he’s not that far off from where he was in the 2014 postseason, at least in a couple of categories.
He’s completing 61.3 percent of his passes this season compared to 59.4 percent in the games against Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. It was 9.9 yards per attempt in that three-game stretch last season, 8.2 in five games this season. When it comes to scoring and turning the ball over, however, that’s another matter entirely.
He threw a touchdown pass every 15 pass attempts in the 2014 postseason; this season, it’s one every 21 attempts. Even more glaring, he’s currently throwing an interception every 21 attempts as well. During the run that made him a household name, it was one pick every 37.5 throws.
So, fewer touchdowns plus more turnovers equals validation of the angst, right? Not so fast, at least as far as the college arm of Pro Football Focus goes.