Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
The Alabama football team is now two days into its pre-bowl mini-camp, bringing news of offensive coordinator-in-waiting Steve Sarkisian’s increasing involvement in practices. Sarkisian has been present at each practice thus far, watching the sidelines and occasionally speaking with Alabama players. It’s the most involvement the current “analyst” has seen all season with the offense, largely thanks to the NCAA bylaws.
NCAA Bylaw 11 governs the amount and type of coaches a program can use, and what their individual duties can be. As it stands, each team is allowed nine full-time assistant coaches — a rule Nick Saban has called to change to allow the addition of a 10th coach, presumably for special teams. At the beginning of each year, the head coach signs a form declaring who those nine coaches will be. He can’t change that roster until one of those coaches leaves, except in cases of extreme duress.
Those nine assistants, plus four graduate assistants, the strength coach and the head coach, are the only staff members permitted to “participate in coaching” during practices, games and workouts. Presumably, Sarkisian’s observation of practice wouldn’t violate this bylaw, so long as he doesn’t work with players individually or as a group.
The restrictions also extend to recruiting. Off-campus recruiting is only allowed by the head coach, the nine assistants and one of the four GAs. That means the incoming offensive players at Alabama can’t be recruited by Sarkisian, despite his having established relationships with several Alabama recruits. The early enrollees can’t be recruited by him now and can’t have much contact with him during the coming semester, until Lane Kiffin’s employment at Alabama has officially ended. According to the bylaws, he can’t evaluate incoming players or make phone calls to potential players until that time.
Those regulations are waived when players sign National Letters of Intent or financial aid agreements. As more and more players commit to Alabama in writing, Sark’s restrictions on their recruitment relax.
Kiffin’s decision to continue as offensive coordinator for the College Football Playoff is almost certainly in Alabama’s best interest. As for Sarkisian, he’ll watch and wait.
- Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated makes the case for Alabama to repeat as champions.
- Our countdown of Alabama’s top 10 players continues. Monday’s installment: StarDarius.
- Much is made of the 4- and 5-star recruits who populate Alabama’s bench. For the players who see out their careers at Alabama, the reward is worth the wait, writes Chris Walsh of Bleacher Report.
- Tommy Deas of The Tuscaloosa News picks out the four questions for Alabama to answer in the Peach Bowl.
- Alabama’s brand new permanent captains react to that honor, from SEC Country’s Marq Burnett.
- Alabama’s film study for the Peach Bowl has begun.
- For some Alabama players, film study never really stops, from Charlie Potter of BamaOnline.
- Rashaan Evans’ biggest opportunity comes in the season’s biggest games, from Ben Jones of The Tuscaloosa News.
- Dakota Ball, who shot his own hand, is back with his team.
- Reuben Foster and Rashaan Evans got jokes.
- AL.com’s Michael Casagrande put together a slide show of some obscure Alabama-Washington connections.
- And the usual practice video and analysis from BamaOnline’s Travis Reier.
Last week, we asked: Which non-CFP Bowl game are you most looking forward to? A majority — 53 percent — of you selected Oklahoma-Auburn in the Sugar Bowl, you vicious, hate-watching so-and-sos. The next closest, with 32 percent of the vote, was the Rose Bowl, featuring USC and Penn State. Of the write-ins, Florida State-Michigan led the way, followed by LSU-Louisville, which may be my two favorite matchups.
And one of you voted for the Peach Bowl. Which is a playoff game. Your teachers didn’t tell you to read the instructions twice?
Built by Bama
— NFL (@NFL) December 17, 2016
- Marcell Dareus of the Bills will host a Christmas party for Buffalo-area underserved children.
- An SBNation mock draft is ‘dominated’ by Alabama players.
What to watch: Bowl season
Bowl season continues with Memphis-Western Kentucky in the Boca Raton Bowl at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN on Tuesday. This game looks to be another high-scoring affair, and perhaps a little more well-balanced than the Miami Beach Bowl blowout on Monday. Memphis averages 39.5 points per game, while Western Kentucky averages 45, good for second in the nation. Both teams are powered by 60-percent passing quarterbacks, with WKU’s Mike White recording 34 passing touchdowns this season.
Also, Western Kentucky has Big Red, the odd red blob of a mascot that eats dogs …
— Joe Imel (@joeimel) September 26, 2014
…and occasionally people.
WKU's ad features Big Red eating a student. That's part of the advertisement for why you should go to WKU. You might get eaten by Big Red
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) December 21, 2015
Around the Capstone
- Women’s basketball beat McNeese State, 84-63, on Monday. The team improved to 10-1, its best start since 2000. They’ll play UTEP on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.
Goodbye, Egan’s Rose
— Druid City Brewing (@DruidCityBrew) December 19, 2016
This chalk mural is behind the bar in Tuscaloosa’s Druid City Brewing Company, the latest installation in a long line of Alabama and SEC football-related artworks.