Alabama Crimson Tide

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Maurice Smith #21 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a stop in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the All State Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Pair of transferring ‘Bama DBs could be headed for the Sunshine State


On the move from Alabama, a pair of former (maybe, in one case) Tide defensive backs could remain in the South to continue their collegiate playing careers.

Earlier this week, reported that senior Maurice Smith (pictured, No. 21) has decided to leave ‘Bama and move on as a graduate transfer. In a subsequent interview with, Smith said he is “highly considering” a transfer to Miami. From the State of the U website:

According to our conversation, Smith loved the outlook of Coach Richt, and already has a relationship with Diaz, from his days at Texas. He felt that Miami was on the “come up”.

However, in a statement attributed to the Smith family, a return to Tuscaloosa is not out of the question. “[Smith] has chosen to entertain options for his senior season of college football… [having] positioned him[self] with the option to either complete his college football career at Alabama, or exercise his graduate-transfer option to play his true Senior season at another institution.”

Oregon, Oregon State and Wisconsin have also reportedly been in play for the defensive back.

One of Smith’s former Tide teammates, Shawn Burgess-Becker, had announced earlier this month his decision to transfer from the school. According to a report from, there’s a “98-percent” chance Burgess-Becker transfers to UCF. The same source added that “[o]ne of the only things that could lead to Burgess-Becker going somewhere other than Central Florida is a scholarship offer from Miami.”

A final, public decision from the rising sophomore is expected to come no later than Friday.

A four-star member of the Tide’s 2015 recruiting class, Burgess-Becker was rated by as the No. 10 athlete in the country; the No. 24 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 166 prospect overall on that recruiting website’s composite board.

As a true freshman, Burgess-Becker played in 13 games, mainly on special teams. He was credited with three tackles.

Also a four-star recruit, albeit in the Class of 2013, Smith was rated as the No. 9 corner in the country and the No. 84 prospect overall. All told, Smith played in 41 games for the Tide. He started a pair of those contests.

Smith will be eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer. Burgess-Baker will be forced to sit out the 2016 season, then have three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017.

Alabama AD schedules procedure in cancer fight

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 05:  A general view of Bryant-Denny Stadium prior to the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia State Panthers on October 5, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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After more than two years of dealing with a private health issue, Alabama director of athletics Bill Battle announced Tuesday he is taking some time away from the job.

Battle has been taking on multiple myeloma since first being diagnosed in the spring of 2014, according to a release from the school.

“Subsequent to that diagnosis my wife, Mary, and I visited with doctors at The University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical Center; University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas; the Lewis and Faye Manderson Cancer Center at DCH Regional Medical Center in Tuscaloosa; and the Winship Cancer Institute to determine the best treatment options,” Battle said in a news release. “I am very comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan. I am looking forward to getting this behind me and continuing my active lifestyle, as well as continuing to lead our Athletics Department. My experience has made it clear to me that cancer can be a treatable disease that can be dealt with while maintaining a high quality of life.”

He is set to travel to Atlanta to undergo a stem cell transplant that his doctors described as the next step in treating the disease, which is already in “a good partial remission.”

The release also notes, “Battle is in excellent health and his condition is not considered life threatening.”

Battle has already undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

“Coach Battle has done very well with his treatment,” Dr. David Hinton said in Alabama’s news release. “He is in great physical shape, has responded very well to all of his treatment so far, and we expect an excellent response from this stage of treatment as well.

“The purpose of this procedure is to prolong his remission. He has been very active, exercising, staying in great shape, and he will to be able to continue that lifestyle after completing this phase of treatment.”

Alabama rewards Saban’s staff with pay raises

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Strength coach Scott Cochran of the Alabama Crimson Tide talks to players before playing against the Florida Atlantic Owls on September 22, 2012 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama defeated Florida Atlantic 40-7.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
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To the victor go the spoils, as Alabama reminded the college football world Tuesday.

The university’s Board of Trustees Compensation Committee approved increases in pay for returning members of  coach Nick Saban’s staff that helped bring the Crimson Tide another national championship last season. reports on the details.

After mentoring Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry, running backs/special teams coach Burton Burns got the biggest raise, from $345,000 to $475,000, while co-defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi and strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran got six-figure bumps in pay as well.

Lupoi, who was promoted to co-DC after serving as outside linebackers coach last season, will make $550,000 this fall, up from $425,000.

USA Today’s Paul Myerberg notes Cochran is in unique territory with his salary of $525,000, up from $420,000.

Receivers coach Billy Napier and offensive line coach Mario Cristobal received modest raises of $10,000 apiece.

Also of note: Alabama is actually set to pay less in total to its assistants this season than last year because of the exit of four assistants, including defensive coordinator Kirby Smart.

Smart made $1.5 million last season and his replacement, Jermey Pruitt, will make $1 million this fall.

Charges won’t be filed against Alabama players

Florida Atlantc v Alabama
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If most news during the college football offseason tends to be bad, Alabama bucked the trend Monday.

KNOE television in Monroe, La., reported charges will not be filed against Crimson Tide football players Cam Robinson and Hootie Jones, citing lack of evidence.

Robinson and Jones were arrested in May and charged with possession of marijuana and illegally carrying a firearm.

Robinson, an offensive lineman and one of the stars of Alabama’s run to the national championship last season, was also facing a felony charge of possession of a stolen firearm. confirmed the charges had been dropped — with a caveat:

The district attorney did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute, according to the county clerk’s office. The charges were not dropped completely, however. The clerk’s office said the case could proceed in the future if new evidence is presented. But for now, no future court dates are scheduled.

The KNOE report also contained a statement from District Attorney Jerry Jones that might raise some eyebrows.

Jones says, “I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning.”

Robinson was an All-SEC selection last season. His fellow Monroe native Jones, a defensive back, has played 16 games in two seasons and been credited with four tackles.

Former Saban staffer returns to Tuscaloosa as assistant AD for football

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 18:  Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide leads his team onto the field prior to facing the Texas A&M Aggies at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 18, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Nick Saban‘s army of off-the-field staffers just commissioned another general.

Alabama has re-hired Ed Marynowitz to serve as the program’s assistant athletics director for football, the program announced Wednesday.

Marynowitz served as Alabama’s director of player personnel from 2008-12, building rosters that would eventually claim three national championships.

“Ed did an outstanding job during his time with us at Alabama, and we are extremely excited to have him return to our staff,” Saban said in a statement, via “He brings a wealth of knowledge from both the NFL and collegiate level and will be a tremendous asset to our program.”

Chip Kelly swooped Marynowitz away to join him with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he rose from assistant director of pro scouting to assistant director of player personnel to, finally, vice president of player personnel. The 32-year-old was one of the first staff members swept out last winter following Kelly’s firing.

“This was a unique opportunity to return to the University of Alabama and one that I am very excited about,” Marynowitz said. “Alabama has always been a special place for me and working for coach Saban again was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”