Happy Friday, everyone. Tide hoops will face off against Gonzaga tomorrow, and we will of course have game coverage later. Alabama maintained the 4th spot in the AP rankings after the Memphis win. Brandon Miller continues to get plenty of attention.
The 6-9 freshman continued his stellar first (and likely only) year of college basketball Tuesday night in the Crimson Tide’s 91-88 win over Memphis. Miller took 13 shots, made seven of them and finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 33 minutes. He sank four of the eight 3-pointers he attempted, and is now averaging team-highs in points (18.5) and rebounds (8.4) while shooting 43.7% from 3-point range on 7.1 attempts per game.
“He wants to win,” said Alabama coach Nate Oats. “He’s a kid who is really invested in Alabama basketball [and] wants to make us as good a team as we can be. When we need him to rebound, defend, get some deflections, he’s been able to do that for us.”
Greg Byrne spoke about the delays in Nate’s new arena, and boy are some Alabama fans and boosters hopping mad.
“The planning for that is still ongoing. What we’re trying to navigate and still really trying to get our arms around is inflation has been significant, and it’s actually been more significant in the facility-construction arena,” Byrne said during a Crimson Tide Sports Network interview. “We’re trying to understand what that looks like. The age of Coleman — it’s not getting any younger. We need to find a way to address this. It’s important for our program. It’s important for Coach [Nate] Oats and [women’s basketball coach] Kristy Curry and Ashley [Johnston] now with gymnastics, and making sure that we are in the right position for what that looks like down the road. Making sure for the long term health of the program that we have a strong venue for that.
“What that final dollar figure is and everything — I know sometimes people will say, ‘Hey, you’ve got the money.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, I haven’t quite found that money.’
In case you haven’t heard, the Texas job is probably going to be opening up and the current coach over there makes double Nate’s salary at Alabama. Oh, and they also have a new state of the art facility. Not to alarm anyone or anything.
In football news, bowl practice is set to start today, and we should be hearing from Nick Saban afterward. Back in 2019, the last time that Alabama missed the playoff, the first bowl practice was also on December 16 and that was the day that we learned from Saban that Terrell Lewis and Trevon Diggs would forget the bowl game. Needless to say, we would expect some news one way or another today regarding Bryce Young and Will Anderson. Stay tuned.
Other than that, pickings are slim out there today. Alex Scarbrough offered a bowl preview.
Will the Wildcats mix it up with a two-quarterback system against Alabama? Will Howard will be the starter, that much seems certain. Ever since he came in for an injured Adrian Martinez against Baylor, he’s been terrific. Kansas State is 4-0 and won a Big 12 championship as Howard threw a combined nine touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for two scores during that time. But Martinez is healthy enough that he almost appeared in the Big 12 title game. With an extended layoff, he could be called upon as a change-of-pace back against a tough Alabama defense. — Scarborough
Bobby Petrino has managed to volley back into D-1.
Bobby Petrino is returning to the FBS ranks as the offensive coordinator at UNLV under new coach Barry Odom, sources tell ESPN. Petrino was head coach at Missouri State the last three seasons. He’s widely regarded as one of the top offensive minds/play-callers in the game.
— Chris Low (@ClowESPN) December 15, 2022
Will he succeed, or crash and burn?
Robert Foster is getting another crack at it.
Foster had been out of football since Nov. 29, when the New York Giants released him from their practice squad. Foster worked out for the Colts on Monday.
Foster has 32 receptions for 642 yards with three touchdowns and 29 yards on two rushing attempts in 30 NFL regular-season games.
Foster has not played in an NFL game since Jan. 9, 2021, when he appeared in a postseason contest with the Washington Football Team.
Last, Cowboys LB Micah Parsons suggested that Jalen Hurts is being propped up by all the talent on the Philadelphia roster, but Joseph Acosta over at the mothership has some data for him.
Hurts leads the NFL in red zone runs, and among players with 20 or more attempts in the red zone, his EPA/rush is five points higher than the next highest ball carrier, which is Chargers RB Austin Ekeler. Hurts is making the Eagles offense so much more dynamic with his ability as a runner, and in an NFL where defenses try to defend the run out of 2-high structures, his running forces defenses to move a guy into the box.
Hurts is also seventh in total EPA on passes in the red zone, and this is where the case for Hurts is also made. His development as a passer has taken this offense from a good one to an elite one, an offense that has a curveball for everything a defense will throw at it. Across the board, all of his numbers are up. Completion percentage, On-Target throw percentage, Yards per Attempt. More importantly, his passing over the middle of the field has taken a huge leap, both in attempts and completions.
There have been weeks where Jalen has been the entire offense, and his run threat has opened up everything else or converted first downs they wouldn’t have had. He has become the ultimate dual threat QB.
That’s about it for today. Have a great weekend.