For the first time since 2013 (amazingly), Alabama is returning their starting quarterback. That would be sophomore Jalen Hurts, who is fresh off leading the Crimson Tide to the national title game in his first season under center.
As much as having their signal-caller back is a major talking point about the team’s revamped offense this season, so t0o is Hurts’ likely backup in former five-star Tua Tagovailoa. The early enrollee freshman made waves during spring practice for the Tide and lit up the Alabama defense during their spring game to turn a lot of heads and cause talk of a QB competition this summer.
Head coach Nick Saban has continued to downplay the possibility of any controversy at the position and reaffirmed the confidence he has in Hurts by speaking glowingly of the quarterback several times at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. Still, he told the SEC Network that while the team does have a starter already, the young Tagovailoa will not be redshirting this season and will find his way onto the field in some capacity.
“We have total faith and confidence in the quarterback that we have, but we want to develop every player on our team and Tua has a lot of potential,” Saban said on TV, according to SEC Country. “We want to continue to develop him. If we feel like he can play winning football, I think it’s going to be important for us to allow him to do that; so, if he gets in a situation that he needs to play, he’s going to be able to play winning football for us. We want to continue his development and a part of that development is he needs to play in games. So, to answer your question, absolutely.”
Playing two quarterbacks is nothing new for Saban at Alabama and he did so last season before Hurts fully took over the job. Former Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin has already stated that Tagovailoa is going to play in 2017 for the team and, based on Wednesday’s comments, it seems the head coach finally agrees.
Michigan is set to add Arizona recruiting czar Matt Dudek as its new director of recruiting, according to a report from FootballScoop on Saturday.
CBS Sports’s Dennis Dodd confirmed the report, adding that Michigan is expected to formally announce the move at Big Ten media days on Monday.
The irony, of course, is that Dudek will leave the staff of former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.
Dudek had been with Rodriguez shortly after his late 2011 hiring, first as on-campus recruiting coordinator and player personnel director before being named college football’s first general manager after the 2015 season. He helped the Wildcats win the 2014 Pac-12 South championship and was named a finalist for FootballScoop‘s Player Personnel Director of the Year award multiple times. (Disclaimer: I also write for FootballScoop.)
Prior to Arizona, Dudek worked as director of football branding and events at Rutgers and as assistant director of football operations and recruiting coordinator at Pittsburgh.
At Michigan, Dudek will join a staff that already recruits quite capably under head coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines have finished eighth and fifth nationally in 247Sports‘s composite team rankings in Harbaugh’s two full cycles as Michigan’s head coach.
Dudek’s departure will be viewed by some as an anti-show of faith in Rodriguez’s tenure at Arizona. Since that 10-4, top-20 season in 2014, the Wildcats have slipped to 7-6 in 2015 and 3-9 last fall.
It’s been quite the summer for Mark Richt. His 2018 recruiting class is one of the best in the nation, he taught the nation the most efficient way to eat a sandwich, and on Friday he executed his annual high-dive backflip at a Hurricanes pool party.
(In case you haven’t seen the sandwich bit, watch it below. It’ll change your life.)
As SB Nation catalogues, Richt has made these backflips an annual thing since he was at Georgia in 2015. It was a skill he learned, he says, to impress the ladies after watching Greg Louganis (yes, that Greg Louganis) do it while they were students at Miami.
Richt and Louganis both enrolled at the University of Miami in 1978, and the future Hurricanes’ coach and his teammates would hang out at the university’s pool, where Louganis and the diving team would practice.
“We would watch him,” Richt said. “You’d go to the pool, because that’s where the girls were, right? So we’d watch the divers work out and say, that guy’s pretty good. Turns out he was the best in the world, like, ever. I had a lot of respect for him.”
Here’s this year’s effort.
Not bad for a guy pushing 60.
Grand Poobah of college football and Alabama head coach Nick Saban has had some interesting ideas about the sport over the years that conflict with the general consensus of his peers. The latest subject to fit that mold? How players like Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipping their bowl games could filter down to the high school level with recruits.
“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.'”
The Crimson Tide coach is referencing not only the two tailbacks skipping bowl games but also the possibility that upcoming December signing date could be moved up on the calendar. Big 12 commissioner (and chairman of the Football Oversight Committee) Bob Bowlsby said at his conference media days that the date for signing could be changed or even extended to a longer signing period as part of ongoing discussions about the recruiting process.
Talk of players signing with a college prior to their senior season in high school has not been broadly talked about by coaches or administrators but it does seem like everything is on the table when it comes to NCAA reforms in this area. It remains to be seen if any recruit will actually go as far as sitting out a full year in order to protect himself from injury in order to play in college… just as it remains questionable as to whether Fournette and McCaffrey’s decisions will develop into a broader trend at the college level.
Coaches are no fans of dramatically altering the status quo and it seems Saban is among the group who want to stem the postseason defection of players before things turn into a regular occurrence at any level of football.
Coastal Carolina is one of the newest members of the FBS ranks and the program’s first ever Sun Belt conference media day was supposed to be one of the highlights for the school transitioning the ranks in college football. Unfortunately for the Chanticleers, their head coach won’t be able to make it following a health scare.
The Sun Belt released a statement Friday afternoon saying that Coastal Carolina assistant Jamey Chadwell will represent the team at media day after head coach Joe Mogila “had a precancerous nodule on his trachea and doctors wanted it removed as a precaution.”
The 68-year-old Mogila is perhaps best known to those outside the sport for his time on Wall Street, including a productive stint as CEO of the company now known as TD Ameritrade. He got the itch to coach college football however and has been in charge of the Chanticleers since 2012, leading the program to a 51–15 record at the FCS level.
Chadwell was named CCU’s offensive coordinator this past January after previously serving as head coach at Charleston Southern. Neither the school or the conference indicated any timetable for Mogila’s recovery but based on the release it seems the operation was a success and the coach is now recovering.
Coastal Carolina opens the season on September 2nd against UMass in what will be the school’s first game as a FBS program.