We Talkin' 'Bout Spring Practice: Saban speaks out, quarterback transfers galore
With spring football taking place across the country, Campus Union has decided to round up all of the important news and notes from each week in practice.
• SI.com's own Stewart Mandel took a trip down to T-town to get a read on Alabama football, which is coming off back-to-back losses. The city hasn't been burnt to the ground, but Nick Saban is starting over:
"When you win a lot, sometimes you don't continue to emphasize those very things that created the success to start with. Everybody just sort of loses a little respect for those things, whether it's attention to detail, discipline and execution, giving effort, finishing plays, preparing for the game like you need to. So starting all over is kinda just, go back to the beginning and make sure we're doing the things that maybe we lost some respect for that are the very things that helped us be successful to start with."
This year won't be about "what could have been," but about what should be. If Saban can get the Crimson Tide doing the little things right, the talent is certainly there for another title push.
• This is the dawning of the age of QB transfers. The shuffling hit a fever pitch this week, as multiple programs saw old faces looking for new places. Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow opted to go after being asked to move to wide receiver. Duke quarterback Brandon Connette could be headed to Fresno State. And Matt Joeckel is moving from Texas A&M to TCU, where he might just have a shot at starting in the Horned Frogs' new offense.
• Gary Patterson is trying to shake things up at TCU, which has Joeckel on the way. The Horned Frogs, who have two new co-coordinators on offense, need to start putting points on the board. Last year the offense didn't give the defense much of a chance, and the Horned Frogs have to be able to keep up with the prolific Big 12. Via Max Olson of ESPN.com:
“It’s not so much you don’t know what’s coming, but can you out-execute it?” Patterson said. “It’ll be very important for us to be able to run the football, because I think going in that’s where our strengths are -- our offensive line and our running backs and our quarterback can run, especially Trevone [Boykin].”
I'm all in 100% committed to the university of Clemson
— Kelly Bryant (@KellyB125) April 17, 2014
• Mark Hudspeth is a crazy dude. His on-field intensity is contagious, and he's brought consistent success to Louisiana-Lafayette while so far resisting the allure of bigger jobs. For those reasons, it's awesome -- if not unsurprising -- to see him put up monster amounts of weight on the bench press. (h/t Reddit)
• It's not a shock, but it has to be a relief for USC and new coach Steve Sarkisian that the quarterback situation has been figured out this early in the spring. Sarkisian admitted that Cody Kessler will be the starting signal caller in 2014. Sarkisian has big goals for the Trojans, and to reach them, Kessler will need to keep moving forward. Via ESPN.com's Kevin Gemmell:
"I think he's extremely decisive from where he was in Week 1 in a new system to where he performed today," Sarkisian said. "He knows where he's going with the football. Are there some fundamentals and techniques we're going to continue to work on? Sure. But I think he's got a great deal of confidence. I love his leadership in the locker room with the players. He can throw the deep ball extremely well and he has enough athleticism to buy himself some time to create some plays down the field."
pic.twitter.com/jlEg8jbyl8 — The Chicago Homer (@TheChicagoHomer) April 16, 2014
Here's all three. Shafer also mentioned orange pants, orange jersey too pic.twitter.com/wiSTZseNVQ — Nate Mink (@MinkNate) April 16, 2014
• Arkansas State held an eBay auction for the chance to coach the offense during its spring game, and tech CEO Nick Bhardwaj, 25, won the honor with a bid of $11,700. Naturally, to get prepared, he's playing a lot of NCAA 2014. "For me, I want to hit the ground running," Bhardwaj told Arkansas Online. "I'm not that guy who's going to call a flea-flicker every three plays. I want to immerse myself so it feels like a real coaching experience."
Briles doesn't have that advantage when they're battling for some of the state's top high school prospects.
"I don't seem to have that problem," Briles said on KTTX-FM 104.9. "Maybe their grandmothers."
So what would he do if a recruit's grandmother flirted with him?
"I'd tell her to go back to TSO (Texas State Optical) and check out those glasses," he joked. "I'm not that great of a catch, plus I've been a happily married man for 30-something years. I've never had anything happen along those lines."
• SB Nation's Steven Godfrey made waves with his Bag Men piece, so much so that it was given the Taiwanese animation treatment. And as Taiwanese interpretations of the SEC go, this one wasn't bad at all.