So maybe it’s Alex Rodriguez’s fault that Alabama lost to Auburn.
Turns out Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron had a phone conversation with the controversial New York Yankee prior to the Iron Bowl, the ‘Bama quarterback told media on Tuesday.
The two talked for 10-15 minutes about what it takes to be a successful athlete and Rodriguez revealed that Yankees manager Joe Girardi showed his team video of former Tide center Barrett Jones shoving McCarron in the BCS National Championship win over Notre Dame.
“(He told them) that’s the passion they need within their club again and stuff like that,” McCarron said. “It’s just pretty crazy that they’ve watched me before and are fans of me.”
McCarron, a lifelong Yankees fan, was clearly elated about the call. He later told the media he was grateful for the position he’s in as the Alabama quarterback.
“It’s almost like living in a dream in a way because I’ve met guys that I’ve watched and watched coach for so many years,” he said. “Now I’m talking to them on the phone and meeting them in person. It’s just pretty surreal.”
Rodriguez isn’t the first Yankee to kibbutz with the Alabama program. Girardi has done some hanging around and Derek Jeter attended the Tide’s game with LSU in November.
But maybe some of that patented Rodriguez reverse-magic rubbed off on McCarron a little too much. I bet the Tide could’ve used a bit more Jeter and a lot less A-Rod before the biggest game of the season.
Nebraska has generally been one of the traditional heavy hitters when it comes to the not-at-all-important stat of spring game attendance, but never before have so many Huskers fans crammed into Memorial Stadium to see their beloved team play the spring game.
Nebraska is reporting a spring game crowd of 86,818 in Lincoln this afternoon, easily making them the new leader in the nation for spring game attendance this season (other contenders Alabama and Penn State are also in action today, so we’ll see if Nebraska hangs on to this lead). The massive crowd on-hand to witness the spring debut of new head coach Scott Frost also catapulted Nebraska into the top 10 leaderboard for all-time spring game attendance figures. Nebraska’s 86,818 fans is good for the eighth-most fans for a spring game, and Nebraska’s only appearance on the top 10 list.
It’s worth a quick reminder that these are paying fans as well, and the weather isn’t fantastic, although it is far better than a number of spring games have seen this season.
Florida State previously had the highest-attended spring game going into this weekend, but the crowd of 60,934 stood very little chance of staying ahead of some of the schools in action on Saturday, including the combination of Nebraska, Alabama, Penn State, and Georgia.
Wisconsin’s quarterback position looks to be pretty solid heading into the 2018 season with Alex Hornibrook back to lead the offense, but the depth at the position will get a little more shallow with a pending departure. Karé Lyles is set on leaving Madison by way of a transfer, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Friday night.
“Thank you UW for the memories, but it’s time to focus on a new chapter and a new beginning,” Lyles said in his message on Twitter. “The best is yet to come! Just a kid with a dream, and I didn’t come this far just to come this far.”
Lyles would have been floating on the depth chart at Wisconsin this season behind locked-in starter Hornibrook, with Jack Coan rising to be the top backup option ahead of Lyles for the Badgers. Wisconsin has some other younger in-experienced quarterbacks on the roster as well to fill some of the space on the depth chart in the fall.
Lyles, a redshirt sophomore in the fall, will have to sit out the upcoming season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will be eligible to play again in 2019 with two years of eligibility to use at another FBS program. If he transfers to a lower division school, then Lyles would be eligible to play immediately this fall.
Helmet sticker to Bucky’s 5th Quarter.
With a new head coach in town, it’s far from surprising to see somewhat of a personnel exodus in the spring. In that vein, Jimbo Fisher‘s first-year Texas A&M roster is the latest FBS football program to see such attrition.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday night, offensive lineman Koda Martin announced that he would be transferring from A&M to Syracuse. On the same social media website a day later, teammate Kemah Siverand announced that he too will be leaving College Station as a transfer.
Unlike Martin, Siverand (pictured, left) did not reveal his next college football home in the tweet.
As Siverand will be leaving the Aggies as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2018 if that’s the tack he takes.
Siverand was a four-star member of A&M’s 2015 recruiting class. After beginning his collegiate career as a wide receiver, the Cypress, Tex., native moved to defensive back between the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He caught two passes for 16 yards in two games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, then was credited with six tackles in 12 games last season.
Talk about a hard-luck story.
After never starting a game at Iowa, Aaron Mends (pictured, blocking punt) had earned a starting job at outside linebacker during practice this spring. With football being the cruel mistress that it can be at times, the Hawkeyes announced Friday night that Mends “will miss an extended period of time due to injury.” The program offered no details as to the specific nature of the injury, although it’s believed to involve the knee.
According to the school’s release, the fifth-year senior suffered the injury during the final week of Iowa’s spring drills.
Mends was a three-star member of the Hawkeyes’ 2014 recruiting class. He was the highest-rated linebacker in Iowa’s class that year.
After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Mends has played in 38 games the past three seasons. A baker’s dozen of those appearances came during the 2017 season.