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WATCH: Nick Saban launches quintessential Nick Saban rant

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The calendar may say March, but Nick Saban‘s testiness with the media screams mid-October.

Tuesday, Alabama kicked off spring practice as the Crimson Tide begins preparing for the 2017 season.  Afterward, and as is standard practice, the head coach met with the media to review the day’s proceedings and gave an overview of the current state of his squad.

One particular question, however, raised Saban’s dander, with the offending party having the gall to ask about the Tide returning to a “ball-control” mentality based on how the national championship game loss played out.  That was enough to set Saban off, with the coach initially teeing off on the questioner — “[D]o you do what everybody else in the media does,  just create some shit, put it on the wall and see what sticks?” — before veering off on a tangent about an NCAA rule regarding high school coaches; dipping his toes into the loud noise surrounding politics; and finally getting back to the original topic.

Below is the transcript of Saban’s rant, followed by video of his latest measured tongue-lashing of the media.

There, there, there, there was nothing, you know we didn’t block them, we didn’t execute very well. We didn’t throw the ball accurately when we had open people and a couple of times we dropped it, so I think it was more a lack of execution than something schematically that we were doing, and that’s on us as coaches. That’s not to blame anybody but us for not having players more well-prepared. You know, the defense also needs to get themselves off the field on third down so that they don’t have to play as many plays, so it’s a combination of things.

“I do think that we could have executed a lot better in that particular game and I think most players would probably tell you that on both sides of the ball — not to take anything away from Clemson — but it is what it is. But, as we always do, we’re going to self-assess what we did through quality control, what we did well, what we need to improve on, visit people [to] try to get better at the things we need to do better. I don’t, philosophically, we’re not, I don’t know where you came up with where we need to go to ball control. That’s not what we do. I mean, the New England Patriots threw the ball over 60-some-percent of the time, which is more than we threw it. So where does that assumption come from? Or do you do what everybody else in the media does, just create some shit, put it on the wall and see what sticks, which is what I see happening everywhere. And people who scream the loudest, they kind of get the attention and we pass some rule that everybody has to live with, or some law, and the consequences mess up a lot of other things. Do it all the time. We’re doing it right now. The NC-double-A is doing it. We’re gonna change the way we have summer camps, we can’t have high school coaches working summer camps. I mean, it’s the most ridiculous things that I’ve ever seen. But it is what it is and whatever they do they do.

“So we say we don’t want third-parties dealing with players so we’re not going to let the high school coach bring a guy to camp but some third-party guy can bring him to camp now. Makes no sense at all. I mean, but all the people who have common sense, they won’t say anything about it. But the people who scream the loudest will get the thing changed and it’ll mess everything up. It’s the way it goes. The way it goes in the world, politics, just the way it goes. Same thing way with you: we’re going to be more conservative now and ball-control offense. Where did that come from? I never said that. Nobody in this building ever said that, so where’d you come up with that? Just, you know, had a dream about it or what? If we had caught some passes in the national championship game, we had guys open, we wouldn’t have had to control the ball. We would have scored more touchdowns.

SEC releases 2018 schedule

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The SEC released its 2018 slate on Tuesday, beginning the weekend of Sept. 1 and running through the SEC Championship on Saturday, Dec. 1. It would be entirely pointless to break down winners and losers of the ’18 slate considering we don’t really even know who’s good yet in 2017 — other than Alabama — and we especially don’t know who will be good in ’18 — other than ‘Bama, of course.

But we can point out some dates that look interesting as we sit here on Tuesday, Sept. 19, the year of our Lord 2017. And, no, intra-divisional games don’t count, since they are played every year.

  • Auburn vs. Washington — Sept. 1 (at Atlanta)
  • Alabama vs. Louisville — Sept. 1 (at Orlando)
  • LSU vs. Miami — Sept. 1 (at Dallas)
  • Tennessee vs. West Virginia (at Charlotte)
  • Clemson at Texas A&M — Sept. 8
  • Vanderbilt at Notre Dame — Sept. 15
  • Florida at Mississippi State — Sept. 29
  • Tennessee at Auburn — Oct. 13

Consult the full schedule here. 

Louisville-Ole Miss 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff opener made official

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After reports had signaled it, it’s a done deal.

The “it” in this case is Louisville opening the 2021 season against Ole Miss, with the two programs confirming Tuesday that they will square off in one of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff games that year.  The game will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, although a date and kickoff time are still to be determined.

The 2021 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the football teams.  Each has made one previous appearance in the Kickoff Game, Louisville in 2015 (31-24 loss to Auburn) and Ole Miss in 2014 (35-13 win over Boise State).

“To have the opportunity to play in this game again for the second time is a huge win for our program,” Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed back by the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, which is a tremendous testament to our loyal fan base, who helped pack the stadium in 2015. Our fans have a great history of traveling, and to have the opportunity to play a great program like Ole Miss in this brand-new facility will certainly be a hot ticket for the fans. Gary Stokan and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl group do a tremendous job with this game and we appreciate them selecting Louisville for what has become the premier game to kick off the season.”

“We are thrilled to once again be part of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. We always set the goal to end the regular season in Atlanta, so it’s only fitting that’s where we begin it,” Jurich’s Ole Miss counterpart, Ross Bjork, said in his. “With our strong alumni base in Georgia, Rebel Nation will arrive in full force to experience this premier matchup in the nation’s finest new stadium. In addition, the Atlanta market is a key recruiting area for our staff, and this trip offers a tremendous opportunity to compete in front of those prospects.”

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that Alabama and Miami would square off in the other Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game the opening weekend of the 2021 season.

Oregon hopeful leading receiver will be back soon

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There could be some good news on the injury front for Oregon.  Maybe.

Charles Nelson suffered a lower-leg injury in UO’s win over Wyoming in Week 3.  At the time, it was thought that the injury wasn’t as serious as it initially looked.  Monday, Willie Taggart indicated that it wasn’t, although the head coach fell short of declaring the senior wide receiver ready to go for the Pc-12 opener against Arizona State in Week 4.

“Hopefully he’ll be back here soon and be ready to go,” the head coach said according to The Oregonian.

Nelson’s 15 catches for 243 yards are tops on the Ducks through the first three weeks of the 2017 season.  He also has a rushing touchdown on one of his six carries.

Antonio Callaway among Gators reportedly set to face felony charges

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If one report is accurate, things are about to get very real for a couple of members of the Florida football team.

Citing unnamed sources, thereadoptional.com reported overnight that “Antonio Callaway, Jordan Smith, and one other player are likely to be arrested on charges of felony grand theft, with the possibility of further misdemeanor charges being tagged on, according to a lawyer representing one of the players.” That trio is part of the group of nine Gator football players who have been indefinitely suspended in connection to the misuse of scholarship money in general and, specifically, for making improper charges on their student debit cards at the school bookstore and then selling those items for cash.  The Read Optional has further added that the players then claimed that the debit cards had been stolen.

In addition to Callaway, a junior wide receiver, and Smith, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, the other suspended players include junior defensive end Keivonnis Davis, sophomore defensive lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, freshman linebacker James Houston, freshman linebacker Ventrell Miller, junior running back Jordan Scarlett, freshman offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort and redshirt freshman wide receiver Rick Wells.

Charges against the three players, one of whom is unnamed, are expected to be filed later on this week, next week at the latest.  It’s also expected that the other six players will be arrested as well.

Restitution for the debit card scheme has already been made, the website noted.

The off-field trouble for the football program doesn’t end there, however, as The Read Optional is also reporting that a separate investigation into players using stolen credit cards is underway.  From the website:

This morning, we reported that several players were also being investigated in a separate credit card fraud case being run in conjunction by the Gainesville Police Department and the University of Florida Police Department.

Both police departments uncovered the stolen credit card details from the same victim while operating its own individual investigations — the GPD into Jordan Smith paying his rent with stolen credit card details; and the UFPD into the student debit card scheme, an investigation that broadened over time.

The investigation into the stolen credit card information is ongoing, with other student-athletes to be interviewed on Wednesday.

All nine players remain indefinitely suspended from the football program and, based on this report, they will remain that way for the foreseeable future.