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#pounditTuesday, May 24, 2022

College Football

Spencer Rattler reveals which NFL offense he is studying closely

Spencer Rattler holds a ball

Oklahoma’s Spencer Rattler (7) warms up before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Credit Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman

Spencer Rattler is looking to re-establish himself as a top NFL prospect after transferring to South Carolina. To do that, he’s watching one NFL offense quite closely.

Rattler said in a recent interview that he has been watching a lot of video of the Los Angeles Rams. According to Rattler, South Carolina’s offense is built on many of the same principles the Rams use.

“It’s really like the same offense as the Rams,” Rattler told Brandon Marcello of 247 Sports. “That’s a lot of the tape we watch. What they’re doing, we’re doing. You definitely have your shots down the field but it’s just a good offense. It’s a balanced offense. We do a lot of good things, so I’m excited to fully learn all of it. I’ve learned dang near all of it already, but we got a lot more install to go throughout the summer, so I’m just gonna soak it all in and prepare the best as I can.”

Most quarterbacks would do well to study the Rams’ high-powered offense. Coach Sean McVay is highly regarded for a reason, though things can be quite complex at times. Rattler embracing that is a good sign for his future, though.

Rattler is coming off a difficult career at Oklahoma and his reputation has definitely taken a hit. He still has some big believers out there, and he seems confident about his new situation.

SEC commissioner blocked Lane Kiffin from going on radio show

Lane Kiffin holds his headset

Sep 18, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffen at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is not pleased with the war of words that was ignited this week between Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher, and he does not want Lane Kiffin calling more attention to the feud.

Kiffin is a regular guest on “The Dan Patrick Show,” and he was supposed to appear on the show on Friday. According to Patrick and company, Sankey did not allow it.

“Lane Kiffin was going to come on, but the commissioner of the SEC asked him not to comment on the Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher situation,” Patrick said, via Erik Hall of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.

Paul Pabst, the executive producer of the show, later noted that Sankey did not want any SEC coaches speaking with the media on Friday. The decision came after Sankey released a statement expressing his disappointment in the public spat between Saban and Fisher.

“The membership of the Southeastern Conference has established expectations for conduct and sportsmanship that were not met (Wednesday night or Thursday),” Sankey said. “A hallmark of the SEC is intense competition within an environment of collaboration. Public criticism of any kind does not resolve issues and creates a distraction from seeking solutions for the issues facing college athletics today.

“There is tremendous frustration concerning the absence of consistent rules from state to state related to name, image and likeness. We need to work together to find solutions and that will be our focus at the upcoming SEC Spring Meetings.”

What Sankey is not going to admit is how good the Saban-Fisher feud will be for ratings. The Oct. 8 game between Texas A&M and Alabama has suddenly become the biggest one on the college football schedule. That, obviously, is good for business.

Saban expressed concern over the NCAA’s new Name, Image and Likeness rules at an event on Wednesday night. He said some schools have been abusing the rules by paying recruits, and he singled out Texas A&M. Fisher was irate and absolutely unloaded on Saban the following day.

Steve Spurrier chooses sides in Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher conflict

Steve Spurrier smiling

Jan 2, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Florida Gators former head coach Steve Spurrier is honored prior to the game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Indiana Hoosiers at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher have controlled the college football headlines over the past week after Saban accused Texas A&M of buying many of their new top recruits.

Fisher called Saban a narcissist in his response and said that he wants nothing to do with the Alabama coach moving forward.

On Friday, another big-time coach gave his opinion on the feud.

Former Florida and South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier told Mike Griffith of DawgNation that he doesn’t think Saban’s comments were wrong.

“I don’t know why (Fisher) is mad at Saban,” Spurrier said. “Did Saban say something that wasn’t true?

“I don’t think Saban told any lies in there, so I don’t know what he was mad about. Since (Fisher) beat him last year, I guess he can talk now.”

Based on his comments, it looks like Spurrier is siding with Saban in this case. The two coaches do have a relationship. In early May, Spurrier received the inaugural Nick Saban Legacy Award, which was created to honor coaches who had a long-lasting impact on the game.

Spurrier went 122-27 in 12 years as the Gators’ head coach, and 86-49 in 11 years with the Gamecocks.

Luckily for college football fans, Saban and Fisher will get to settle the score on October 8 when the two teams play in Tuscaloosa.

Arch Manning schedules 3 significant recruiting visits

Arch Manning running

Quarterback Arch Manning 16 runs the ball as Newman takes on Lafayette Christian Academy in the LHSAA Div III semi finals. Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Arch Manning Lca Vs Newman Football

Arch Manning has scheduled three major recruiting visits that may well point to the final three destinations he is considering.

The top-ranked recruit for the 2023 class is visiting Georgia over the first weekend in June, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247 Sports. He plans to visit Alabama and Texas on the two weekends that follow that. Manning has visited all three schools previously, so these will not be new experiences for him.

Manning has been courted by most of college football’s top programs, but most of the rumors have led the quarterback to one of these three schools. Others may still be in the picture, but the signs point to them having some ground to make up.

The order of the visits probably isn’t worth reading into, but that could still be telling. After all, Manning dropped a pretty notable quote about Georgia recently that could hint at which way he is leaning.

Report hints at possible reason behind Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher spat

Nick Saban in red

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Saban’s seemingly unprovoked shot at Texas A&M and Jimbo Fisher has been the story of the sports world for the bulk of the week, but there may be much more at play that led to the public spat.

Brody Miller, Bruce Feldman and Matt Fortuna of The Athletic dug into the relationship between Saban and his former assistant Fisher. Many sources that spoke to them believe Saban’s comments were at least partially rooted in the Alabama coach’s competitiveness with his former offensive coordinator. Some sources told The Athletic that they felt Saban was making excuses for losing to Texas A&M in recruiting, while another felt that Saban could not cope with his former assistant beating him head-to-head last season.

“Nick’s always gonna make an excuse,” the source, a former LSU staffer, said. “He should’ve just said, ‘Maybe we need to do better job with NIL.’ But he’s now done that twice to Jimbo. He did it also after signing day. When Nick does that, he’s attacking someone’s character.”

This is, of course, largely speculation, albeit from people who know both Saban and Fisher. Saban seemingly wanted to make his point about NIL rights, but slipped up when he explicitly named Texas A&M. Had he not done that, Saban’s comments probably don’t even register that much. He knows that, and that’s why he apologized for that aspect of them.

For what it’s worth, Texas A&M did have the top-ranked recruiting class of 2022, but Alabama still came second. The difference isn’t that great.

Report reveals how much Travis Hunter is making in NIL deals at Jackson State

Travis Hunter runs with the ball

Jackson State s Travis Hunter carries during its spring game at Veterans memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., Sunday, April 24, 2022. Credit: Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY NETWORK

Travis Hunter may not be making the huge amounts of Name, Image and Likeness money that Nick Saban thinks he is.

Saban spoke with some business leaders in Birmingham, Ala. at a dinner event on Wednesday night. The Alabama coach drew attention for saying Texas A&M attracted their No. 1 recruiting class by paying their players through NIL deals. He also repeated a rumor that Jackson State enticed Hunter to play for them with a $1 million NIL deal.

Both Hunter and Jackson State coach Deion Sanders are calling B.S. on the rumor.

Hunter tweeted a response and questioned the rumor.

Sanders also said he doesn’t even make $1 million to coach Jackson State.

But an article published on Thursday shared more details. ESPN’s Jean-Jacques Taylor reported that “Hunter has two current NIL deals and two pending. The deals are worth less than $250,000.”

Hunter making a quarter-million dollars is a lot, but a far cry from the million he supposedly received.

Sanders, Hunter and Barstool Sports (which was said to be the source of the money) have all denied the million dollar rumor. It’s surprising that Saban repeated that rumor during his talk.

Deion Sanders explains why he won’t take Nick Saban’s phone call

Deion Sanders in a hat

Jackson State University coach Deion Sanders heads into the locker room after pregame warmups with the Tigers before JSU s nonconference battle against longtime rival Southern University at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, April 3, 2021. Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Deion Sanders gave a response to Nick Saban over social media on Wednesday night. On Thursday, he provided a more detailed response in comments to a reporter.

Sanders told ESPN’s Jean-Jacques Taylor that Saban should have stayed in his lane and made the wrong decision to talk about paying players to attend schools. He implied that paying players to attend schools has been going on a long time and that he knows all about it.

Sanders, who starred at Florida State in college before his Hall of Fame career in the NFL, suggested Saban wasn’t even talking to him or Jimbo Fisher in Wednesday’s comments. Rather, he believes Saban was talking to Alabama’s boosters to let them know what they need to do to match schools like Texas A&M.

The Jackson State head coach also said he still has lots of respect for Saban. But he explained why he won’t be taking Saban’s phone call.

“I haven’t talked to Coach Saban. I’m sure he’s tried to call. We need to talk publicly — not privately. What you said was public. That doesn’t require a conversation. Let’s talk publicly and let everybody hear the conversation,” Sanders told Andscape on Thursday.

“You can’t do that publicly and call privately. No, no, no. I still love him. I admire him. I respect him. He’s the magna cum laude of college football and that’s what it’s going to be because he’s earned that.”

Saban complained in a talk with Alabama business leaders on Wednesday night that schools are misusing the new NIL rules. He singled out Texas A&M, Jackson State and Miami (for basketball) as schools that are using NIL deals as vehicles to entice players to play at their schools. The Alabama coach later apologized for singling out the schools. However, he stood by his complaint.

Sanders isn’t alone in not wanting to take Saban’s phone call. Fisher is refusing to talk with Saban and says the two of them are done.

All-American WR announces transfer destination

Jordan Addison warming up

Sep 18, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) warms up before the game against the Western Michigan Broncos at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

All-American wide receiver Jordan Addison has a new home out west.

Addison announced Thursday that he will transfer from Pitt to USC, where he will play under coach Lincoln Riley. Addison thanked his coaches and teammates at Pitt in a statement, but said he would “continue my full development as a student athlete” with the Trojans.

Addison is a big get for USC. The reigning Biletnikoff winner was an All-American in 2021, he caught 17 touchdowns and tallied 1,593 receiving yards as a sophomore for the Panthers last season. He will have a chance to at least match those numbers in Riley’s high-powered offense with quarterback Caleb Williams throwing to him.

While Addison’s decision is not a big shock, it will definitely sting for Pitt. That’s especially true considering it sounds like the school already had some concerns about what may have gone on between USC and Addison before the wide receiver even entered the portal.

Nick Saban apologizes for singling out Texas A&M

Nick Saban in an Alabama shirt

Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama coach Nick Saban sought to clarify his comments about Texas A&M and NIL rights after a furor erupted over them Thursday.

In a speech Wednesday, Saban had expressed concern about how NIL rules were being enforced, and singled out Texas A&M by claiming they “bought every player on their team.” After a furious response from the Aggies, Saban went on ESPNU Radio to clarify his comments.

Saban said he should not have singled out any schools by name and apologized for that. He reiterated that his remarks were motivated by “concern” for college football and what the current rules will lead to.

Saban also added that he had never actually accused Texas A&M of doing anything illegal.

“I really wasn’t saying that anybody did anything illegal in using name, image and likeness. I didn’t say that,” Saban said, via Mike Rodak of AL.com. “That was something assumed by what I said. That’s not what I meant nor what I said. … There’s nothing illegal about this. Its the system that allows you to do it, and that’s the issue that I have.”

Saban added that he had reached out to Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher to try to clear the air, but never received a response.

Fisher had issued a fiery response to Saban’s comments earlier Thursday. Fisher worked as an assistant under Saban, but said that he considers their relationship to be over in light of the remarks. We will have to wait and see if he changes his tune now that Saban has at least partly apologized.

Texas A&M AD wants Nick Saban punished over NIL comments

Nick Saban in red

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M is fuming over comments Alabama coach Nick Saban made about the team’s recruiting class, and the school’s athletic director clearly wants the SEC to do something about it.

Saban said in a speech Wednesday that the Aggies “bought every player on their team” by exploiting Name, Image, and Likeness rules. The comments provoked a firm response from Texas A&M Ross Bjork, who accused Saban of violating SEC sportsmanship bylaws by making the remark.

“This is personal. Coach (Jimbo) Fisher views this as a personal attack on his integrity and on Texas A&M’s integrity,” Bjork told Ross Dellenger of SI. “To have personal attacks, to say that the only reason A&M is [recruiting well] is NIL money is wrong. … There are sportsmanship bylaws in the SEC. We believe Coach Saban violated those bylaws.”

Bjork, who accused Saban of feeling “threatened” in making the comments, added that he has been in communication with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. The athletic director refused to go into specifics about what those conversations entailed.

SEC bylaws prohibit coaches and administrators from “public criticism of other member institutions, their staffs or players.” Of course, Alabama would likely argue that the response to Saban’s comments also constitutes a violation of those bylaws.

Bjork’s comments are not quite as heated as Jimbo Fisher’s were earlier Thursday. They didn’t need to be to convey how angry Texas A&M is, and how personally they view this budding rivalry.