The Talking Heads: Volume III

Chase Glover Sports Editor sport[email protected] Quin Norris Senior Sports Writer [email protected]

Quin: The men’s and women’s teams both made the ASUN tournament in back-to-back seasons. The men lost to Stetson on the road while the women won their first ever ASUN tournament in school history at home against Stetson. How do you see the men’s and women’s teams doing in the 2020-21 season?

Chase: It will be a pivotal year for both teams. Pujol and co. are showing their grit in the ASUN and why they deserve to be in the mix of the top teams after landing at the fifth spot when they were named sixth in ASUN preseason poll. Tiber and her team will be looking to rebuild an absolute unit of a squad with the five seniors on their way out. However, Tiber will still have the tenacity of her coached teams instilled into the next group of players. Pujol will also have built on his young core for the coming years. If there is more improvement, I could see an up year from the Men’s team with a fourth place finish and maybe a down year for the Women’s finishing in the fifth spot.

Quin: Taking a moment to look at the men’s potential for next season has me excited. When you stop to look at the roster  all but one player on the team (Cameron Diggs) will be back next season. When you put the strong presence of big men like Mervin James alongside the leadership of guard Jamari Blackmon mixed in with the teams overall tenacity, I fully expect a top three finish heading into the ASUN conference tournament next season. 

Chase: Pujol has done a wonderful job in building his team with a big three of Jamari Blackmon, Christian Agnew, and Emmanuel Littles. Littles is one of my favorites because of his old-style play with his back to the basket. His double-doubles are what draws my attention to his game and how he dominates the boards. Blackmon and Agnew are an amazing give-and-take pair that can be the most deadly in the conference come their senior year. It’s awesome to watch how one can drop 20+ points in a game and the other can do the same the very next game. The addition of Brim and James have also been astonishing bursts of scoring and playmaking. This next season will be their best in program history I believe, and will be the start of Pujol’s grip on the ASUN landscape.

Quin: Meanwhile I believe next season will be a step back for the women’s program. Of course this is to be expected when you lose your entire starting lineup. However, I still see the women finishing in either fourth or fifth place due to Coach Tiber and her staff’s incredible understanding of the game and fierce passion for results. Not to mention north Alabama high schools have an incredible pool of talent to pull from. Deshler, Rogers, and Lauderdale County High Schools are all powerhouse programs with a ton of talent to replenish the roster with. While next season might be a step back for the team they will continue to be a strong presence in the ASUN for years to come. 

Chase: It will be hard to replace the No. 1 and No. 2 leading scorers for the Women’s basketball team in the Wallen twins. However, the cool thing about them? They were homegrown from Lauderdale County. Tiber has great recruitment strategy and has known to pull in amazing athletes such as Olivia Noah. I believe Tiber has a ‘reload instead of rebuild’ strategy, with the next players up. Players such as Jaida Bond, Jaila Roberts, Olivia Graham, Olivia Noah and others will be headlining the team next year. Tiber is not going to hold the team back either, she will be pushing for the same results just different players. They will drop but they will still have amazing wins over top ASUN teams this upcoming year.

Quin: I think it is safe to say regardless of how they finish next season the basketball programs have a chance to push for success in the ASUN for the foreseeable future. 

Quin: Outside of the university big stories are coming out of football in both the major and minor leagues. First the XFL has gotten underway in the spring trying to submit itself as a long-staying spring league for the NFL. What do you make of the new league and its chances for longevity along with some of the new rules the league have implemented such as the one, two, and three point conversions? 

Chase: I have not watched much of the new football league, however I am claiming to be a St. Louis Battlehawks fan so far. I like the idea of the new league as long as they do not reciprocate the old leagues wants such as the nicknames and celebrations they use to have. I think it is a great way for former AAF players to have a shot and show what they can do and also NFL players that want more playing time. The conversions are an awesome way to show that they resemble the NFL but are not the NFL. It shows they have their own tweak on football and can control their own future. What are your thoughts?

Quin: I will say your fears can be eased as the crazy antics of the old XFL are no more. The league is focused on two things. First, they are serving as a way for players to show out for the NFL which I would say they are doing a great job at that since players like Jordan Ta’amu the quarterback of the St. Louis Battlehawks was not given a chance in the NFL after leaving Ole Miss but now is considered the second best quarterback in the league just behind Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker who has a similar story being limited to a practice squad player for the Colts before leaving to the XFL. Second, the league is trying to implement new rules and practices such as allowing the viewers at home to hear what the referees are saying during decision making processes and a new kickoff system that is attempting to lower injuries on kickoffs. Overall the league has received good ratings and I like its chances to stay around as a potential long term development league. 

Chase: I would love to see the XFL dominate the viewings and compete some with the NFL for fans. This also can create maybe a minor league sort of deal to where players feed through the XFL and into the NFL potentially. Also, the NFL tried to pass a new CBA rule with the players and the players voted ‘no’. I heard that there is a chance for a potential lockout coming from the differences involving the rule and how upset the players are. What do you make of the CBA and what are your likes and dislikes?

Quin: I would like to start by saying that I fully support the players decision to not support the CBA as ultimately they are the people most affected by the rules. In particular I am not for an expanded season as it would mess with the current balance of teams in the league. I am also against the expansion of only two teams. The league would need to add at least four teams to the league for the same reason as before. However, I am for the league no longer making the use of marijuana a punishable offense as we are starting to see the use of the drug itself become tolerated in most states making it no different than a player drinking alcohol in their spare time. I am also for the expansion of the playoff as it just gives us more playoff football without adding any extra games. The only difference we would really see is now the only seed that has to win three games to be Super Bowl champions are the one seeds as the two seeds would no longer receive a bye week. 

Chase: I believe there are mutual benefits for both sides and I think the NFL might have been trying to persuade the players with the addition of the marijuana clause in there. I think they were trying to get the players to agree to that because of the multitude of players who voice that marijuana should not be tested for in the league. From a fan’s point of view, I would love to see an extended season and postseason because that means more football for me. However, the players could see more injuries throughout the extra games they have to play in that could be to the detriment of their careers. Also, I would love to see an expansion and addition of teams to the league, it would be awesome to see a shakeup of the league.

Quin: Ultimately I would love to see the league expand in which a longer season would be necessary, but for me to get on bored with the expansion it would need to be more than two teams. At the end of the day the NFL will always be growing and changing, but as long as we have professional football I will be happy. 

Quin: If you have an opinion you would like to share feel free to email us. We would love to hear what you have to say about any of the topics we discussed this week. 

Chase: If you have any questions, comments, or concerns reach out to us! We would love to know what topics you want to see or hear in our banter; just email [email protected]