Good morning. The Rammer Jammer is a daily rundown of everything you need to know about Alabama athletics, published every weekday morning.
It appears our wariness regarding Lane Kiffin’s impending Houston contract was well-founded. A full hot stove weekend of hirings and firings has passed, and Kiffin remains the Alabama offensive coordinator, and only the Alabama offensive coordinator, for the immediate future.
Cincinnati chose Luke Fickell. Purdue chose Jeff Brohm. Oregon chose Willie Taggert, then South Florida chose Charlie Strong. And if you believe the chairman of the University of Houston board of regents — who is supremely interested in protecting his university’s image and that of his head coach going forward —Kiffin just isn’t a safe hire.
As it stands, Kiffin’s opportunities to become a head coach next season are limited to Western Kentucky, Temple, San Jose State and Florida Atlantic, where he is a front-runner. It’s possible he’ll take one in an effort to re-establish his head coaching credentials as the next step in his rehabilitation. It’s possible he’ll be back at Alabama next season, though I’m not sure that’s likely. And it’s possible, though still illogical, that he’ll end up as Ed Oregron’s offensive coordinator next season.
A few days ago, it looked for all the world that Kiffin’s future would be sewn up before game-planning for Washington began in earnest. Now, his uncertain future has no sell-by date.
- Jalen Hurts’ resilience at Ole Miss won his team over, from Aaron Suttles of The Tuscaloosa News.
- Tommy Deas of The Tuscaloosa News gave his first-place Heisman vote to Jonathan Allen, as did Kevin Scarbinsky of the Alabama Media Group.
- Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News revealed his Heisman ballot as well.
- Incidentally, Jonathan Allen received more first-place votes than finalist Jabrill Peppers — 17. Winner Lamar Jackson finished with 526.
- Alabama landed a surprise defensive end commitment and 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses signed his financial aid agreement at Alabama.
- Get more recruiting information from Chris Kirschner’s mailbag.
- Jalen Hurts and Jonah Williams made the USAToday All-Freshman team.
- And Roll Bama Roll offers a tribute to the perfect long snapper, Cole Mazza.
Yet another comeback attempt on the road fell short, as Alabama men’s basketball lost to Oregon, 65-56, on Sunday. Unlike the earlier loss to Texas, Alabama managed to stay close for most of the second half and could easily have beaten a top 25 team on the road, if not for an abysmal 2-for-19 performance from 3-point range.
Avery Johnson made the decision to start Donta Hall at center, giving the big sophomore 25 minutes. Hall responded by posting a game-leading 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting and 7 rebounds. It was Hall’s performance that sparked Alabama’s comeback, while Oregon had no answer for him late. If he could catch the ball just a little better on hard passes into the post, he’d have had a shot at breaking 20 points. Probably no player is as promising for long-term success in the SEC than Hall.
Alabama’s veteran forwards, however, had an abysmal night. Riley Norris posted no points and took just 3 shots in 29 minutes. He did pick up 7 rebounds, but Alabama expects points from a starter who averaged 8 points per game last season. Shannon Hale, meanwhile, had an even worse night, missing the 2 shots he took and turning the ball over 3 times. By plus/minus, he was minus 14 in 13 minutes of play. Hale is in the midst of the worst statistical season of his career, averaging just 2 made shots on 6 attempts per game. From beyond the arc, he’s shooting 28 percent.
This Alabama team has the potential to contend in the SEC; the Tide’s performance on Sunday showed that. But without a star, go-to player like Retin Obasohan, the road to contention could be longer than some hoped in Johnson’s second year.
Built by Bama
- Kenyan Drake finished with 8 rushing yards, 3 receiving yards, 44 kick return yards and a tackle as Miami beat Arizona.
- T.J. Yeldon recorded 59 yards on 17 carries and 31 yards on 7 catches as Jacksonville lost to Minnesota.
- Derrick Henry posted 42 yards on 12 carries as the Titans beat Denver.
- Landon Collins had 6 tackles and a crucial fumble recovery in the Giants’ 10-7 win against the Dallas Cowboys.
- And former Alabama golfer Tom Lovelady clinched guaranteed starts on the Web.com Tour with his Q-School finish on Sunday.
Saturday Night Live poked fun at academics and college athletics, using Alabama as its example. It’s lighthearted, and certainly not accusatory. They’d use UNC for that.
I’ve never seen a classroom like that in Reese Phifer Hall, but what can you do?
Around the Capstone
- A poor shooting night handed the women’s basketball team its first loss of the season, 70-59, at Georgetown. It was Alabama’s first road game of the season.
- Thirty Alabama student-athletes, most of them football players, marked the end of their undergraduate careers at winter commencement over the weekend.
- The most notable of those graduates? Hero of the 1979 Sugar Bowl Goal-Line Stand, Marty Lyons, who fulfilled a promise he made long ago to coach Paul “Bear” Bryant by finishing his coursework.