TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Both Alabama and South Carolina suffered the ill effects of the agent-tampering scandal from last summer.
The Tide lost defensive end Marcell Dareus to a two-game suspension and the Gamecocks’ star tight end Weslye Saunders was kicked off the team.
Now, a Yahoo Sports report links both with then-North Carolina assistant coach John Blake, who allegedly tried to convince the pair to sign with agent Gary Wichard when they turned pro.
“First of all, I don’t know anything about this,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. “Secondly, it’s to me, it’s water that’s been under the bridge for several months now and it’s somewhere down in the Gulf of Mexico now.”
Asked about the situation later in his Monday news conference, Saban became agitated.
“I don’t know anything about this,” he said. “I haven’t thought about it. It’s not important to me. I’m worried about South Carolina. So if you want to talk about that, we’ll talk about that. But I’m not going to talk about that anymore.
“I guess I’m not stuttering. Do I stutter? I’m not very clear on how I articulate. Maybe I need to go back to West Virginia and get some more hillbilly slang and maybe everyone will understand a little better.”
Saban’s disinterest in addressing the topic followed several months in which he took a proactive stance against the rouge agents he compared to pimps at SEC media days in August. He even organized a teleconference between fellow college coaches, the NFL’s players association and the NFL’s top brass.
Julio, Jordan slowed
Heading into the week of preparation for South Carolina, wide receiver Julio Jones and linebacker Chris Jordan were given “day-to-day” status by Saban from injuries suffered Saturday against Florida.
Jones bruised a knee against the Gators after catching four passes for 19 yards. He was suited up for Monday afternoon’s practice, but did not run routes with the rest of the receivers during the brief media viewing period.
“You never know how these things are, but we did an MRI, checked it out to make sure things are OK and he’ll be day-to-day at least for the first part of the week to see how he progresses,” Saban said.
Jordan moved a little more gingerly on his pulled right hamstring.
Also dressed out for practice, the backup linebacker and special teams player had a heavy wrap on his leg and wasn’t moving at full speed.
A Rhodes Scholar?
It’s out of Greg McElroy’s hand now.
The Tide quarterback submitted his final application for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship on Sunday evening.
“That thing is a weight off my shoulders,” he said. “It’s been on my mind a lot. It’s just the constant revision of my essay and just the application itself.”
That included a copy of his birth certificate, essay and résumé.
“It probably took a couple hours just for the application not to mention all the different revisions and the changes I made to my essay,” he said.
About that résumé is there any mention of the perfect 19-0 record he’s piled up as a starter at Alabama?
“The 14-0 record from last year is in the résumé, but I didn’t want to include, or count my chickens before they hatch this year,” he said with a smile.”
Should McElroy’s application be selected, he’ll have an interview on either Nov. 19 or 20. The Tide plays Georgia State on Thursday, Nov. 18.
Upshaw, Warmack honored
Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw was tapped Monday as the SEC defensive player of the week after his breakout game Saturday against Florida.
Of his seven tackles, four were made behind the line of scrimmage. He also broke up two passes on back to back plays in the second quarter.
Alabama guard Chance Warmack was also honored by the league as the offensive lineman of the week. The sophomore threw key blocks on both of Mark Ingram’s touchdown runs and graded out highest among the linemen.
MICHAEL CASAGRANDE, DAILY SPORTS WRITER