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#pounditThursday, March 4, 2021

College Football

Dabo Swinney offers bold Trevor Lawrence comparison

Dabo Swinney

Trevor Lawrence did nothing to hurt his status as the presumptive No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft at his Pro Day on Friday, and he earned a rave review from his college coach in the process.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney was full of praise for his quarterback after Lawrence’s showing on Friday. In fact, he even compared watching Lawrence to watching one of the best pro athletes today.

“It’s a beautiful thing to watch,” Swinney said on ACC Network. “It’s like watching Steph Curry shoot a basketball, right? It’s just fun to watch.”

That’s quite the comparison given the incredible performances Curry has been turning in lately. Swinney isn’t saying Lawrence is going to be the football version of Curry, but putting their names together is certainly high praise.

Lawrence seemed to warrant the praise based on his performance on Friday. Anticipation is going to be very high for his debut next season, likely with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Urban Meyer defends controversial hire of strength coach Chris Doyle

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer is no stranger to controversy surrounding members of his coaching staff, and that theme will continue at the NFL level after the Jacksonville Jaguars hired Chris Doyle as their new director of sport performance.

Many people are familiar with Doyle from the time he spent as the strength and conditioning coach at Iowa. Doyle left the program after he was accused of being racist toward black players. Meyer was asked about that on Thursday, and he spoke about how he has known Doyle for nearly 20 years. Meyer also said he and Jacksonville’s front office “vetted him thoroughly.”

“I vet everyone on our staff,” Meyer said. “The relationship goes back close to 20 years. There are a lot of hard questions asked and a lot of vetting involved with all of our staff. We did a very good job vetting that one.”

Meyer said he feels “great” about hiring Doyle and continued to praise the work Doyle has done as a strength coach. He didn’t directly address the allegations of racism, though he indicated Doyle was asked about them during the interview process. You can hear Meyer’s full comments below:

Meyer left Ohio State not long after he was accused of ignoring domestic violence allegations against a former member of his staff. Some believed he would have remained with the Buckeyes if not for that.

Doyle will be watched carefully by the media, but Meyer is apparently not concerned.

H/T The Spun

Urban Meyer says Alabama is on a different level from everyone else

Urban Meyer

Urban Meyer believes that Alabama is on a completely different level from everyone else in college football currently, and he knows there is a lot of work to be done for teams to catch up.

Meyer, who recently accepted the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach job, joined Big Ten Network and talked about the conference. He said only Ohio State and Ryan Day were recruiting at a level close to Bama and that everyone else needs to pick it up.

“I think it’s a challenge for everyone else in this conference to get going. I mean, the whole country saw this. And that’s not just the Big Ten — that’s the Pac-12 and the Big 12 as well. The reality is Alabama’s on a different stratosphere right now. Go catch ’em. The one school that’s recruiting at that level is coach Day and Ohio State. So I think that this is a standup call for everybody. I can tell you there’s coaches across the country — are seeing that team that just played tonight, saying, ‘We have to go get them.’”

Meyer says the Big Ten was far behind and only “very average” when he took over the Ohio State job in 2012. Through hard work, he was able to get them on a national champion level. Other schools in the Big Ten picked it up and began to challenge Ohio State too.

Meyer believes Ohio State can recruit at a level to challenge Alabama. But credit to Nick Saban, as his Crimson Tide are “on a different stratosphere,” according to Meyer.

And if you’re wondering what it takes to top Alabama in recruiting, you have to beat this pitch from Saban.

Penn State roasted on Twitter over Super Bowl graphic

James Franklin

Penn State was roasted on Twitter Thursday after posting a Super Bowl-related graphic.

The Nittany Lions tried to boast about the success their players have had in the NFL. The graphic stated that a Penn State player has appeared in every Super Bowl. There’s only one issue. If you read the fine print at the bottom, a clarification shows that there were actually five Super Bowls in which a Penn State player did not appear.

Penn State’s liberal use of the word “every” led to some funny feedback.

Take a look at some of the great tweets in response.

Hopefully Penn State learned a lesson not to do that again. That was pathetic, but also fitting given how bad the team was this season.

Butch Jones shares what he learned from Nick Saban

Butch Jones

Butch Jones was already a very accomplished head football coach before he went to Alabama. But he still dropped down professionally a few years ago and became an offensive analyst at “Nick Saban’s Rehab School for Failed Coaches.”

Jones spent three seasons at Alabama and now is branching back out on his own as a head coach at Arkansas State.

Jones conducted an interview with ESPNU Radio on Wednesday and talked about what he learned from Saban.

“It’s really hard to narrow that down to one or two things,” Jones said via 247 Sports. “I think it’s a cumulative effect. The big thing is, people use the term loosely, the process and following the process but understanding the true definition of how you coach and how you teach the process and what it means. His balance overall as a head coach and all the things that are associated with that job and how he goes about his business…and how he manages. He does an incredible job of balancing everything that’s associated with being a head coach from the alumni, the donors, the media, to player development, to the former players, the coaching staff, support staff, you name it….

“Those three years were remarkable. Last year was one of the best years I’ve ever had in this profession of being a part of a national championship team. But really getting to know him as a coach and an even better person.”

Jones also gave great praise to Saban upon taking the Arkansas State job. Saban spoke in a similarly positive tone about Jones and lauded him for all the help he did at Alabama.

Jones is now taking on his fourth head coaching job. He is 84–54 in his career and has had a winning record at every stop, including Tennessee.

Vince Young returning to Texas in athletic department role

Vince Young

Iconic Texas quarterback Vince Young is getting another chance to serve at his alma mater.

Young confirmed Monday that athletic director Chris Del Conte has brought him in to help the Texas athletic department, though a specific role was not specified. Young said he would be sharing his knowledge and experiences with the rest of the department, as well as assisting in the community.

Young’s return to the Texas program comes roughly two years after he was fired from a part-time position with the school. His return comes alongside a reset of the football program under new head coach Steve Sarkisian.

There’s no doubt that Texas wants to have Young involved. He’s a school icon, and his fourth down touchdown run in the 2006 Rose Bowl rates as one of the most memorable plays in college football history. Hopefully he’s in a better place and will be able to make some contribution to the program.

Tua Tagovailoa shares the two sides of Nick Saban

Nick Saban

Nick Saban has a reputation for being hard on his players, but there is a reason he continues to land the top recruits in the nation every year. As Tua Tagovailoa explained this week, there are “two sides” to arguably the greatest college football coach of all time.

Tagovailoa shed some light on what it was like to play for Saban during an appearance on Mike Greenberg’s “Greeny” show on ESPN Radio this week. He said Saban is demanding on the field but “very loving” toward his players off of it.

“Then the other side where you get someone who is very caring. Very loving for his players. That’s who coach Saban was,” Tagovailoa said, as transcribed by Austin Nivison of 247 Sports. “On the field, he was very hard. He expected the best out of his players. He expected the best out of you.”

Tagovailoa said Saban being able to balance both coaching relationships and personal relationships helped prepare Tua for the NFL.

“I think having someone like that has helped me in the NFL because you deal with guys with different personalities,” Tagovailoa added. “You deal with guys that are ‘hoo-rah’ guys that like to get in your butt. You also deal with guys where you’ve got to help them get the best out of them. I think that’s how he helped me.”

Saban is a lot like Bill Belichick in that the coach we see during games and in interviews is not the same person a lot of players and associates describe. Heck, remember that unbelievable story Josh Jacobs told about Saban joking around during practice? The seven-time national champion knows how to have a good time, and that balance clearly helps his players.

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Najee Harris goes viral for massive leg muscles at Senior Bowl

Najee Harris

Najee Harris is widely considered to be the best running back prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft. If his leg muscles are any indication, the Alabama star is more than ready to live up to the hype.

Harris went viral at the Senior Bowl this week when photographers captured photos that showcased his absurd leg strength. Have a look:

Harris is expected to be the first running back taken in the draft. In addition to his eye-popping lower body strength, he’s also a great pass catcher. He rushed for 1,466 yards as a senior and caught 43 passes for 425 yards. Harris scored a whopping 30 total touchdowns.

Those photos of Harris reminded us of these two star receivers looking absolutely ripped before they were drafted. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come for Harris’ NFL career.

Ex-Alabama star responds to leaked Nick Saban recruiting video

Nick Saban

A former Alabama star responded on Twitter to a leaked video of Nick Saban giving a recruiting pitch.

A video leaked on the internet that showed a private recruiting pitch Saban gave to a recruit. The video showed Saban selling the Crimson Tide program and explaining to the prospective recruit why Alabama was the place to be.

In his pitch, Saban shares the benefits of playing for a top program. He says that facing the best competition everyday in practice makes players better. He cited Cam Robinson facing Jonathan Allen in practice everyday, as well as Marlon Humphrey going up against Amari Cooper.

Robinson wondered why the video was being recorded.

Former Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III agreed that someone was chasing social media points aka “clout” by posting the video.

The video did not appear to be intended for public consumption. But it gives a glimpse at something sports fans would love to see — Saban in action. Next we need to see a video of this man’s recruiting pitch.

H/T Saturday Down South

Ex-Florida star explains why Urban Meyer will succeed in NFL

Urban Meyer

One of Urban Meyer’s former players at Florida shared some tweets on Tuesday in support of his former coach.

Brandon Spikes, who was a linebacker at Florida from 2006-2009, backed Meyer ahead of the coach’s first season with the Jaguars. He lauded Meyer for his passion, enthusiasm and discipline.

Spikes also shared how much Meyer cares about his players and predicted Jacksonville will make the playoffs soon.

Meyer has never previously coached in the NFL, but he was wildly successful in college. He built up programs at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and then Ohio State, winning national championships at the latter two stops. Spikes thinks that will translate to the NFL.

Just don’t let this former NFL star see Spikes’ comments.