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College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including experts holding out hope that the famed oaks on Toomer’s Corner could survive being Updyked

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 4, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Five-star 2020 LSU commit probably would’ve committed to Ohio State if Urban Meyer hadn’t left
THE SYNOPSIS: Elias Ricks is the recruit in question.  The cornerback ended up signing with LSU earlier this year.  Ricks, expected to contribute to the defending national champs immediately, underwent offseason surgery for a torn labrum.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Fox, BTN reportedly among those making run at Paul Finebaum
THE SYNOPSIS: Yeah, that didn’t work out as the SEC mouthpiece remains at ESPN.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Penn State suing Tennessee DC Bob Shoop for breach of contract
THE SYNOPSIS: Nittany Lions were seeking $900,000 the university said Shoop owed after he left as the defensive coordinator at Penn State for the same job at Tennessee in January of 2016.  In February of 2018, the two sides settled their dispute.  Terms of the settlement weren’t divulged.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Alabama self-reports multiple secondary violations
THE SYNOPSIS: “Alabama” and “NCAA violations” always bring out the commenters.  This was no exception.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Tragic: new Ole Miss OL killed in car accident
THE SYNOPSISPark Stevens’ truck collided with the back of a semi-truck attempting to cross a four-lane highway.  The lineman was a 20-year-old junior college transfer.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Experts not ready to say Toomer’s oaks are ‘definitely not going to make it’
THE SYNOPSIS: Thanks to Alabama “fan” Harvey Updyke, the iconic trees at Auburn definitely didn’t make it.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Purdue player missing; last seen swimming in Indiana lake
THE SYNOPSIS: Sadly, 22-year-old running back Sean Matti‘s body was found a day later.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 3, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Former Kentucky QB Jared Lorenzen dies at 38
THE SYNOPSIS: The loss of the Hefty Lefty at such a young age sent a jolt through Big Blue Nation.

2015

THE HEADLINE: PETA investigated two (Michigan) Wolverines and a wallaby
THE SYNOPSIS: PETA, the bane of college football fans across the country.  And schools.  Like Colorado.  And Mississippi State. And Georgia.  And Texas.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Kirby Smart: Alabama didn’t value OSU QB Cardale Jones enough
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one of the more head-scratching admissions of any offseason.  ‘Bama had a month to prepare for Jones, who had a breakout game in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Clemson tweaks South Carolina in tweet
THE SYNOPSIS: In November of 2014, Clemson snapped a five-game losing streak to South Carolina.  Since then, the Tigers have won six straight in the rivalry.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Barry Alvarez: Tide turned down shot at series with Badgers
THE SYNOPSIS: Three years later, Alabama and Wisconsin squared off in a one-off neutral-site affair.

Report: At least 35 construction workers have tested positive for COVID-19 at Bryant-Denny Stadium renovation project

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The home of Alabama football is dealing with a direct impact from the coronavirus pandemic.  Again.

As the leaders in the sports world look to reopen in some form or fashion, various construction projects continue on stadiums across the country.  One of those is Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama football team.  Starting last November, the university is in the midst of a $106 million renovation of the 91-year-old facility.  Construction is scheduled to be completed before the Sept. 12 home opener against Georgia State.  Alabama opens the 2020 football season against USC (maybe) in a neutral-site affair.

In late May, it was reported that there had been a significant outbreak of COVID-19 among construction workers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Thursday, al.com is now reporting that at least 35 workers have tested positive for coronavirus.  Workers also told the website that “[s]ome of them… brought the virus home spreading it to family members.”

According to at least two workers, some of those on the project are working seven days a week, more than 70 hours a week and 12-13 hours a day in order to meet the deadline.

“We are committed to the health and safety of our workforce. We continue to meet or exceed the evolving OSHA and CDC guidelines, along with ongoing training and constant safety and health reminders,” the contractor, Caddell Construction Company, told al.com in a statement. “Temperature checks every morning and hand-washing stations throughout the site are standard procedure, as well as strong encouragement to wear masks and practice social distancing. Anyone who exhibits symptoms is sent home immediately.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a difficult challenge added to a complex project. We are proud of our team and their dedication to caring for our workforce at Bryant-Denny. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have tested positive and with everyone who is working hard on the project every day.”

It should be noted that workers told al.com the daily temperature checks mentioned by the contractor aren’t happening.  Most of the workers don’t wear masks as well.

The university stated that it “holds all of the general contractors responsible for contract requirements, including personnel safety issues and the completion schedule.”

Alabama continues climb up 2021 recruiting rankings with another four-star commit; Crimson Tide now knocking on the door of the Top 10

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After a slow start, Alabama continues to make inroads on the football recruiting trail.  Significant inroads.

Monday, four-star defensive back Devonta Smith, a one-time Ohio State commit, committed to Alabama football.  Two days later, four-star defensive end Dallas Turner did the same.  The Florida high schooler, who had Florida, Georgia, Michigan and Oklahoma as part of his Final Five, gave his verbal in a video.

Turner had taken a visit to Tuscaloosa back in February.  That trip seemed to clinch the deal for the Crimson ide.

I knew after the visit,” Turner said. “I just liked the amount of history at the school and how productive the school is and the high standards that they have for their players. …

“I trust [the Alabama football] program the most. I feel like they want me to be the best version of me.”

Turner is rated as the No. 2 weakside defensive end on the 247Sports.com composite.  The Fort Lauderdale high schooler is the No. 10 recruit regardless of position in the Sunshine State.  He’s also the No. 44 prospect overall on that same composite.

The two commitments continue a significant uptick in recruiting success for the Crimson Tide.

Roughly six weeks ago, Alabama held the No. 54 class in the country for the 2021 cycle.  Right behind Rice.  And just ahead of UTSA.  Now? The Tide sits at No. 12 nationally — after they were No. 19 following the Smith commitment.  In the SEC, they now have the No. 4 class in the conference behind Tennessee (No. 4), Florida (No. 8) and LSU (No. 9).

Here’s to guessing, though, that the Tide is not finished on the recruiting trail.  Far from it, in fact.

There is history behind such confidence, of course.  Just once since Nick Saban took over has Alabama finished outside the Top Five in recruiting.  That was the 2007 class, signed in February of that year.  One month after Saban was hired.

Mayor of Alabama city resigns after Facebook response to Crimson Tide football’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ video

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Late last week, the official Alabama football Twitter account posted a powerful video featuring several Crimson Tide players along with head coach Nick Saban.  The words were written by offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, who also participated in voicing his own essay.  Others who read Leatherwood’s words were some of his teammates, including Mac JonesDylan MosesDeVonta SmithPatrick Surtain II and Jaylen Waddle, along with Saban.

“We are a team, black, white, brown,” Leatherwood states as the video opens. “And in this moment in history, we can’t be silent. We must speak up for our brothers and sisters, for our sons and daughters,” Saban said at one point, while Moses added, “And when we experience racism, it hurts.” The video closes with Smith stating, “Because all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.” Those words then flash across the screen before fading out.

That didn’t sit well with one Alabama football fan as Mark Chambers, the mayor of Carbon Hill, Ala., took to Facebook to launch a grammatically-challenged diatribe stemming from the video.  From al.com:

Chambers’ initial post read, “I got several Alabama pictures for sale Nick Sabin (sic) and the Tide is done in my opinion I’ll post them tomorrow”. When one person commented, “I think you may be right they haven’t looked as good the last couple of years,” Chambers replied, “I’m not getting rid of them because of how they have performed. Their sorry ass political views is why their (sic) getting out of my house.” In response to another comment, Chambers wrote, “When you put Black lives before all lives they can kiss my ass.

According to WHNT.com, Chambers turned in his letter of resignation Saturday, stepping down from his mayoral post.  Carbon Hill is a city of around 2,000 people just outside of Birmingham.