Le'Ron McClain got drafted later than we all expected, but it could be for the best - the Ravens picked him up in the fourth, but they REALLY needed a fullback, and with Ozzie Newsome there, there's not a better fit for him in the NFL.
Darby was taken in the 7th round by Tampa Bay. Might have a shot at making the roster if he can get past all the things that made him so weak last year.
THE MIKE DUBOSE ERA
#20: Saturday, Oct. 28th, 2000vs. Central Florida in Tuscaloosa, AL
I remember this game the most because of Dustin McClintock (sp?) being suspended for pinning down a UCF player and punching him a few times on a kick return.
I also remember being down 37-24 and scoring twice in the last 8 minutes (Galloway run and McClintock pass) to take a 38-37 lead with 2:34 left. Our defense that year was awful, and this was another sign of it, as we let them drive down the field and kick a 47 yarder with 3 seconds left to win the game.
It turns out that Coach Saban is really starting recruiting early on some players. The latest prospect is 2 year old Cannon Parrett from Roanoke, AL. Coach Saban's been quoted as saying "He's got a heck of an arm for a 2 year old - he's got quick feet and a quick release. We can't wait to get him into practice in 16 years."
His dad is quite excited that he's already committed to the Tide.
Blaine Gibbert, a National Top 100 recruit at QB, has taken an unofficial visit to Alabama and lists them as one of his favorites, along with Missouri and Nebraska. The 6'4" 225lb four star qb had a monster junior season, and looks to be very good again this year. "I really like head coach Nick Saban and their quarterback coach Major Applewhite," Blaine Gabbert said. "He's gonna instill an Indianapolis Colts-type offense there, and I also really love their football tradition."
The Tide players are beginning to see the method to Coach Saban's madness. DJ Hall says "if he's not on you, it means he doesn't care about you. So if he's on you, that means he does care about you." Let's all repeat: he is process-oriented.
"That might sound like rhetoric, but it's the God-honest truth," said assistant head coach Joe Pendry. "It's a process. If you do the process every step of the way, the result takes care of itself."
So now we're having people from Washington make fun of us. Y'know, it wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that I KNOW they just don't understand. That's why only 1,000 show up for Washington State's spring game, and only 2K-4K will show up for Washington's. I guess we can laugh when both of them finish 6-5 or worse next year.
THE MIKE DUBOSE ERA
#21: LSU 30 Alabama 28Saturday, November 4th, 2000 in Baton Rouge, LA
This was the first game after DuBose resigned, following the loss to Central Florida. This was also the first loss to LSU in Baton Rouge since 1969.
There were no real special plays or anything in this one. We took the lead with 14 minutes left in the game, and then gave up a touchdown and a field goal to go down 30-20. We scored again with under a minute left to make the score appear closer than it really was.
We wasted a valiant effort by Ahmaad Galloway, who ran 21 times for 129 yards, including a 55 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter to gain a little momentum in the game.
The ironic part was this - LSU's coach at the time, Nick Saban, said "Alabama has a great football team and they are very well coached." This could not be further from the truth. Haha. I wonder why people didn't get mad at him about lying back then. Hmm...
¶ 8:49 AM1 commentslinks to this post
Ray Melick talked with Coach Stallings for a little while. He's warning us - Coach Saban is a good coach, and he'll turn it around, but it might take a little while. So don't get impatient with him in the first season.
DJ Hall and BJ Stabler both had successful surgeries at the beginning of this week. They both wanted to wait until after spring practice was done to have them. They'll be back in plenty of time for fall practice.
We told you on Monday that John Michael Boswell, OL from Tuscaloosa County, had committed to Alabama. Tidesports tells us a little more about him.
Tidefans.com's message board has pointed out that, contrary to what the Athletic Office is saying about there being no plans to expand the south endzone, the University's Construction Administration Projects report says differently. Now, they're only doing studies to see what it would take at the moment, but it is part of the plan. Check out this link - and if you need login info, use "guest" and "guest" for the login and password. Scroll down to where you see Bryant-Denny Stadium. It says "Davis Architects performing study. No Change." We'll just have to wait and see if it can be done, I guess.
CBS Sportsline's Claynation chimes in about Bama's 92K+ for a spring game. He's good at poking fun at us, but he's got some great lines in there - like "I was a bit disappointed that Nick Saban didn't bring out Mike Shula to announce that henceforth, in Shula's honor, all field goals from inside of 10 yards were going to be referred to as Shulas in the Alabama record book."
THE MIKE DUBOSE ERA
#22: Arkansas 17 - Alabama 16: Sept. 20th, 1997 in Tuscaloosa, AL
I remember this game because it was the first loss under Coach DuBose. Danny Ford's Arkansas Razorbacks won for the 2nd straight time in Bryant Denny, and I was ready to kill Mike.
I remember watching Anthony Eubanks run free in the endzone and Clint Stoerner finding him for the game winning score with only 1:45 left. My dad and I used to go to every home game, and this one nearly ripped my heart out.
It was a running back by committee type of day, and we saw Dennis Riddle, Curtis Alexander, and Shaun Alexander all give subpar performances. The offensive line was atrocious all day, and the whole team didn't look prepared to play at all. This was one of those 11:30am JP games that we hated, so it was even tougher because we had been up since 4am.
¶ 8:38 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Simeon Castille is the start of Shelby County, and the county newspaper is making sure people know about it.
The Clanton Advertiser's Stephen Dawkins talks about all of the good things about A-Day, and points out his favorite: Coach Saban wore a suit. He has the same idea that I do - if you're a winner, dress like a winner. Sadly, I think it's in Coach Saban's contract that he has to wear a Nike shirt on the sidelines. Since he hasn't signed the contract yet, maybe that's why he wore a suit. Who knows.
Anyway, on with the countdown of most memorable games.
I remember this game mostly because of David Garrard. The kid was supposed to be ridiculously awesome, and he didn't impress me at all until the 2nd half. The only thing that saved us against them was their inept kicking game, missing on one extra point, and having another one blocked (in which Kecalf Bailey returned it for 2 points).
Bailey's return of the blocked extra point ended up being the difference in the game, which is still unbelievable to me. Shaun never was able to really get going against a weaker Conference USA team, which was disheartening because it looked like nobody really cared about playing that day.
I remember sitting with my grandparents and my dad and them discussing whether or not to go ahead and leave early in the 4th once it got to 23-22 on a field goal with like 11 minutes left. We just knew we were beaten. We couldn't get anything going offensively, and we couldn't stop them defensively. It was ridiculous.
But, alas, both teams were scoreless in the last 10 minutes of the game, and Alabama escaped with a 23-22 victory - but it was another sign of Coach DuBose's inept ability to get a team prepared for the lesser games.
¶ 8:40 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Seriously, somebody in Lowell, MA is bashing Alabama? This must be a joke. See for yourself.
I'll see if I can't pull up some other Bama bashing articles. Also, I'm starting the most memorable games of the past 10 years, starting with the DuBose era tomorrow. Be prepared, we'll be doing one game per weekday, counting down until fall practice.
¶ 5:15 PM3 commentslinks to this post
Bamamag.com does a good job of detailing Mal Moore's Crimson Tradition fund. When the school was placed on probation in February '02, Coach Moore decided they couldn't just sit still, so they got together a big ol' list of donors and helpers to gather the funds necessary to start the stadium renovations and upgrades to all of the athletic facilities (football, basketball, golf, etc).
Yahoo Sports points out that we have a good passing game. This shouldn't be news to anyone that's been watching for the last two seasons, but I guess some people do still think that Alabama is a running football team only.
Coach Saban spoke at the Team Focus benefit event last night in Mobile. Team Focus was put together by Mike and Mickey Gottfried to offer guidance and assistance to young men without a father in their home. "There's nothing we can accomplish at the University of Alabama -- or at Michigan State or LSU (his previous stops as a college head coach) -- that's as significant as what Mike and Mickey Gottfried have accomplished with Team Focus," Saban said.
Not many people have pointed this out, but this team isn't exactly loaded with talent, and Coach Saban knows that. What A-Day accomplished, by drawing 92,138+, is it gave the coaching staff a ridiculously good tool to go and get the best players in the country. Who wouldn't want to play in front of 100,000, even in a spring scrimmage?
Saban wasn't satisfied with the on-the-field results of the A-Day game, but is pleased with the overall progress the team has made. Now the players have to focus on academics and self-discipline over the summer. The summer conditioning program will, I'm sure, be brutal. The kids are learning, and they've got a lot more to learn.
Darrell Simmons, a 6'2" 194 lb safety from College Park, GA, has Alabama and Florida listed as his favorites. He knows Coach Saban is a winner and would love to be a part of that.
What we'll be doing, starting tomorrow, is basically running down a list of my all-time favorite 'Bama games, whether it be football, basketball, baseball, etc. I'll find something to peak your interest - I'm sure. :-)
¶ 8:53 AM2 commentslinks to this post
It's been a little while since I printed new shirts for the merch store. In light of Saturday's events, I believe it is time for some new shirts.
"Our spring game can outdraw your biggest rivalry game." Yeah, we'll be boasting about this one for a WHILE. It's kinda funny...only 6 college football teams drew more than that for a regular season game. Haha.
"Our coach can meanmug better than your coach." After seeing some of Coach Saban's meanmuggin' over the past few months (and we've actually been watching it for years), we decided it was time for a shirt that lets everyone know that we're proud of him for doing it. It's the best way to get your point across without actually saying anything.
Meanmug is defined as "An evil glance or dirty look from a stranger, aquaintance, or friend." An example of the word being used in a sentence is "Dude, that broad at the register totally meanmugged you for buying those girl pants."
For a physical example, see the picture posted below:
This was, by far, the most amazing sight I have ever seen. 92K+ for a spring game? I had to run with my daughter and my better half over to the east upper deck when they finally opened it. Absolutely outstanding job by the Tide fans to fill up Bryant Denny on Saturday.
Finebaum's article from Saturday could be just about correct. I started thinking about it Saturday, and the last two times we had a decent coach come in to start off a dynasty, they didn't fare so well in the first year - hence why Paul says Bama will go 7-5 this year. There's a transition period. We don't have the players that Coach Saban needs to be successful, but we will, and maybe as early as next year.
Will Heath makes the comparison of Nick Saban and Tommy Tuberville. Saban coached at LSU and Alabama...that's a little bit different than Ole Miss and Auburn. haha.
Spring practice is officially over, and the love affair between Alabama and Coach Saban continues. The players are REALLY getting to love and appreciate their new coach. DJ Hall was quoted as saying "We love him to death." "That's what you need as a player, somebody who knows what they're doing and has been there before and has turned the program around. His past record, that's what he's done."
There's a ton of stuff about the A-Day game all over everywhere. The overflow crowd of 92,138 (of course, there were about 10K-15K more that filtered in and out of the stadium as people left) was an unbelievable sight, and there's a story about it everywhere. We picked out this, Scarbinsky's, the Montgomery Advertiser's, John Pruett's, The Decatur Daily's, and Tom Murphy's. The common point between all of them is this: Saban brings the possibility and the promise of winning. Bama fans have been hungry for this for over a decade now, and even though the first year may be mediocre, the season after this could be amazing.
The A-Day notebooks (The Decatur Daily and The Birmingham News) told a lot about what went on Saturday, like Juwan Simpson being the first Decatur native to have his hands on the Walk-of-Fame since Wes Thompson in 1956, Eric Gray sitting out A-Day with a hamstring injury, how the position changes are working out, the irony of Jimmy Johns winning the "I Like to Practice" award, the lack of red zone woes, the new freshmen on the field (Jamar Taylor and Kareem Jackson), Leigh Tiffin not missing any kicks, and John Michael Boswell, a 6-foot-6, 290lbs offensive lineman from Tuscaloosa County, committing to Alabama over Georgia Tech, Clemson, and Ole Miss.
The biggest laugh from the media room came when Coach Saban answered a question about Jimmy Johns winning the Jerry Duncan "I Like to Practice" award. "He practices good all the time," Saban said. "He didn't practice because he didn't go to class. I knew you all would have a hard time figuring that one out. They're not related. If the guy practices good and he doesn't go to class and I don't let him practice, what does that have to do with practicing? I knew that would get you." I absolutely love this guy.
Also, another thing I wanted to point out - Coach Saban wore a suit. I'm hoping this is a long term thing because I like the fact that Alabama coaches, for the most part, used to wear suits on gamedays. It makes them look more important and commands a little more respect than just wearing a golf shirt with the school logo on it. I'm sure that, in talking with Coach Stallings, Coach Saban may have decided to do that. I'm kinda shocked that nobody brought the subject up in the post-game press conference.
And, regarding MONSTERS OF BLOG I on Saturday, we cooked out and hung out with Eight in the Box and Todd & Nico from Roll Bama Roll before the game Saturday. Burgers, Brats, and beer are the perfect way to go about a Saturday as beautiful as this past one. I was amazed when I heard the numbers, and we had to wonder what the guys from the triathlon teams from other schools had to be thinking about the crowd for a spring football game. haha.
More things I realized at A-Day:
Todd, with a cowboy hat and sunglasses, does actually resemble Bocephus
there are other people just as obsessed with Bama football as me
my 20 month old daughter isn't quite ready to sit through an entire football game (we made it through 2 quarters)
coldstone ice cream is freakin AWESOME
Nico and I look eerily similar on gamedays (we both wear Alabama "A" caps and jerseys)
Eight in the Box is way more normal than I thought he would be (haha)
Strollers can give you a sense of balance when you're drunker than you thought
The autograph session in the fall will be ridiculous as well
having half-naked sweaty dudes from all over the country on the quad on a gameday is ALWAYS a bad idea
Alabama fans really are nuts, and I'm proud to be one of 'em.
Coach Saban laid out his plans for the A-Day game. He mentioned that certain media members will be coaches on the sidelines...I'm still waiting for my phone call.
Other than that, Coach went on a rant about how we need to forget about winning championships and focus on what we need to do to get to that point where we can talk about it. We're apparently not there yet - so to everyone that thinks we'll be competing for a national title this year...let this be your warning. Shula did more damage to this program than any of us will know, and it's going to take a little while to fix it.
Lionel Mitchell will be lining up with the first string on Saturday, but his starting job is far from secure. He'll have to prove himself in the fall against Eric Gray, who is sidelined right now with an injury.
I didn't realize this, but apparently Coach Saban still hasn't signed his new contract. The first year is only worth $3.5 million, but the total contract is worth $32 million over 8 years. My guess is that they're still working on the buyout clause. Just a guess though.
Asked about reaching his declared objectives of spring practice following the penultimate workout, Saban found his opening.
"It's a work in progress," he started. "We've made a lot of progress. I don't think we are where we want to be."
Then Saban got started, eventually raising his voice to make his point.
"What the amazing thing to me is," Saban said, "how we can have so many people that think about what the result can be, the result they would like for it to be and the expectations of that result and talk about winning championships and all that kind of stuff when the thing we need to be doing is figuring out what we need to do to do it.
"We have too many people who think that way and not enough people who think what do I need to do every day to be as good as I can be so we have the best chance to do that. We don't quite get that."
As the vent continued, Saban didn't call out any players by name but they likely know who they are. He also alluded to past success at Alabama meaning nothing about any future success.
"There's too many people," Saban said, "who are comfortable and satisfied and not hungry enough to do what they've got to do to do it because they hear too much stuff about all this stuff all the time around here. That's got to change and we've got to change it and we're changing it."
How many articles can you have about Simeon Castille being a standout this spring? Apparently not enough.
1. Make sure the Alabama program speaks with only one voice — his. Saban has limited access to media and fans since he took over, which has ruffled some feathers.
But that kind of control and discipline might be exactly what Alabama needs.
"Alabama football is at its best when there is one, clear voice and everybody knows that person is in charge," former 'Bama coach Mike DuBose said.
Since Bear Bryant retired in 1982, people with money and power felt they should get unlimited access to the Crimson Tide coach. That's about to change.
2. Recruit like he did in Baton Rouge. Few stockpiled talent better than Saban in his final three years at LSU. He must do the same at Alabama the next three years to bring the Crimson Tide's roster to the level of the LSUs and Floridas of the SEC.
So far, so good for Saban, who in February signed the AJC's 19th-ranked class, despite getting a late start.
His pitch? "He's not going to make you feel all good about yourself," Marist linebacker and Tide signee Jennings Hester said. "He lets you know that you have to earn everything, no matter who you are."
3. Beat Auburn. Tommy Tuberville's Tigers have beaten Alabama five straight times. Even tougher for Tide fans to take: Auburn's 22-15 win in November was its fourth in a row at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
It didn't take Saban long to figure out how much the Iron Bowl rivalry meant.
"You know, we have an opponent in this state that we work every day, 365 days a year, to dominate," Saban said at his introductory news conference. "That's our goal."
I may not post again until Monday, but we'll see what happens. Depends on if my laptop can start working in Tuscaloosa. We'll have plenty of pictures, etc from this weekend in Tuscaloosa, so be looking forward to that on Monday. ROLL TIDE!
¶ 9:05 AM0 commentslinks to this post
I've got a sore back and I wish I was still asleep. Aspirin rules.
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 2 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 135
John Parker Wilson is beginning to look more comfortable in the new offense. Like we've said before, it's getting back to what he's best at - running out of the shotgun and reading defenses before snapping the ball.
Castille wants one thing: to W-I-N. He would also like to match his dad's senior season - Jeremiah Castille got 10 interceptions that season, including 3 in the Liberty Bowl in Bear Bryant's last game.
Johnathan Baldwin, a 6'6" 200lbs wide receiver from Pennsylvania, lists Alabama as one of his favorites. He wants to take an official visit. “I want to take an official to Alabama too,” said Baldwin, who benches 320 pounds. “They just got Coach (Nick) Saban, who’s a former NFL coach. I hear a lot from them too. They offered me about a month ago. I know Coach Saban could make me NFL-bound." "I’ve never been to Alabama,” he added. “I’d like to get down there to check out the campus and the area. I heard its real cool down there.
And finally, if you were a Jim Grobe supporter, you may find this funny. Could you imaging what would happen if Alabama fans didn't know what time the team was practicing, or if they didn't use ALL of the allotted 15 spring practices? We would go insane. He probably would've been fired for that. Jeez. No wonder he stayed at Wake Forest - he doesn't even really have to work.
¶ 9:13 AM0 commentslinks to this post
The TideSports practice notebook does the best job on giving short stories about everything at practice, from Britt's outlook on the offensive line, to Simeon's star-capabilities, and the passing game trying to get back on track.
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 4 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 137
Not much going on in the land of the Tide today. The big story is, of course, the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. The entire basketball and football teams have been accounted for by the coaches. Can you imagine the kind of impact this will have on recruiting up there? Blacksburg already isn't a very "recruit-friendly" place, but now you throw this on top of it. The fallout from this will include higher restrictions in admissions, security on campus, etc. This won't go away anytime soon.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Blacksburg. To those who were lost, we'll be toasting to you. Rest in Peace.
So, I guess we move on to football, even though it seems a little bit trivial at this moment.
The United Way is setting up donation stations around Bryant-Denny Stadium from 11:30am to 1pm on Saturday to help the city of Enterprise, AL, who was hit by a tornado on March 1st. You can donate a personal check or cash at any of the gates on the way in to the game. Also, incase you didn't know - the title of the game this year is the "Golden Flake A-Day Game."
Paul Finebaum discusses more about the longstanding effects of the Don Imus situation, pointing out that it'll be tougher to find people that will speak out for fear of possibly losing their jobs. This world could soon become a very boring place.
South Alabama is hiring Ronnie Arrow as their new head basketball coach. Arrow has been at Texas A&M Corpus Christi for the last three years, but the funny, and somewhat humiliating, thing for South Alabama is this - he was their coach from 1988 through 1995.
Not sure if you caught this yesterday, but the Reggie Bush case just got a little more ridiculous. The fact that the NCAA hasn't done anything about this yet is a fucking joke and shows their bias towards several select schools - mostly Alabama. Former USC player Reggie Bush and his family were accused of accepting over a quarter of a million dollars from agents Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake. Michaels has been threatening to sue Bush for over a year now for all of the money that he gave that he was told would be paid back. Bush just settled with him for the exact amount that he was accused of taking. Michaels has now backed off of his initial claim and will not be suing Bush. It doesn't take a detective to figure this one out.
Lorenzo Washington and Brian Motley are going to be the anchors of the defense. Turns out there's only one true defensive lineman position in Saban's defense - the nose tackle. And Alabama doesn't have a proven one.
The Birmingham News pretends that the A-Day schedule was just released.
Good read on Omar Hunter, a highly touted 6'1" 300lb defensive tackle.
Coach Saban wants to "make it our advantage" whenever the Tide plays in less-than-favorable weather conditions, like they saw Saturday. The offense stunk it up, and the defense made the most out of it. Simeon Castille had a turnover (this time an interception) return for a touchdown for the 2nd scrimmage in a row.
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 8 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 141
Looks like the football team is having the same problem the basketball team had. Coach Saban has already told us "it doesn't take any ability to have effort..." God help those kids that are slacking, because they won't last long.
There's more discussion about the running back race. Coffee and Terry Grant both tell us about how the first hit is always the hardest after an injury like they both had last year.
Coach Saban defends his media lockdown and lets everyone know that he DOES want to have a good relationship with the media, but his first goal is to win games and rebuild the program at Alabama.
Rule changes that went into effect last year are going back to how they used to be - the clock will stop on possession changes, and the clock will not start on kickoffs until the opposing team touches the ball. The NCAA decided it wanted more plays in games.
Returning student football tickets sold out within 48 hours, not including the 1,000 allotted for incoming freshmen. The student section will hold 15,000, which includes student athletes and the Million Dollar Band.
For the first time in God-knows-how-long, Alabama lacks depth at linebacker. But not to worry - Coach Saban is fixing that problem. Knight and Saunders are doing well on the outside, and we've got several freshmen coming in that should be able to play immediately. Bobby Greenwood is envious of Saunders and Knight's move - for several reasons - but it's not a big deal yet. Prince Hall is apparently going to be the leader of the defense, because he has been designated the signal caller.
Players claim that Saban's defenses are very tough to learn. To that I respond with - DUH. Do you really think he would be known as a defensive guru if he didn't have a lot of unorthodox plays that other teams can't figure out? Hahaha. Suck it up boys...he'll make you winners.
Glen Coffee's last big play in a real game was a 37 yard run against South Carolina in 2005. Now it's 2007 and, after a ton of injuries last year, he is on top of the depth chart.
The latest position change (that I know of) now has Matt Collins, former middle linebacker, working out with the defensive line. Taylor Pharr has moved back to offensive line. Sharrief is still with the defensive backs and Corey Reamer is still working with the linebackers.
Cecil lets us know that he enjoys what Coach Saban is doing, and even though other media members don't like it, he loves it. Hahaha. This is why I absolutely love Cecil Hurt. He's got plenty of stuff to write about. He doesn't have to watch an entire practice to get his story. He just needs a little bit - so when SI or the Sporting News or local media members want to call Saban a jerk, Cecil just sits back and laughs because he understands that Coach knows exactly what he's doing.
The AP released a story about Jimmy Johns returning to practice. It pretty much sums up that we're not going to know who the starting tailback is until the first play of the first game. And the starter may not play most of the game. We won't know til the season's done, I guess.
Former Alabama recruiting coordinator, Ronnie Cottrel, finally got his wish. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in his lawsuit filed against the NCAA. Cottrell asked the justices to reinstate his $30 million verdict.
Matt Hayes lets the Sporting News audience know just how crazy Alabama fans can be, and while other people around may think the same thing, I look at it with pride. Haha. I'm proud to be absolutely insanely obsessed with Alabama football. I'm one of those guys that, if we're winning, won't allow anyone in the house to change a thing they're doing (and if we're losing, I encourage change) because of a cosmic connection that I have with a football team that is about 200 miles away and probably doesn't even know that I exist. It makes me happy and nobody else can understand it. Nor do I expect them to. So for all of these writers that continue to bash on how "unhealthy" it is to be so excited about Alabama football, let's find what they're excited about and see if it doesn't match at least a little bit.
Nico over at rollbamaroll.com has a genious idea about having our own bloggerpalooza, much like the Georgia bloggers did recently at their spring game. So if you're the admin of a Bama blog and you wanna meet up with the rest of us before the A-Day game, contact either myself or Nico:
Nico: rollbamaroll (at) gmail (dot) com Me: memphistider (at) inbox (dot) com
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 10 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 143
Jimmy Johns was back at practice Tuesday. The other running backs, notably Glen Coffee, viewed this more as a deterrent rather than an opportunity. You always want to have the best competition out there to push you even harder. Lorenzo Washington's injury has finally been specified - he tore a pectoral muscle while bench pressing earlier in the year. He's had surgery and will be full force in time for fall practice.
The Huntsville Times chronicles how long it has been since Alabama has not had an heir apparent at the running back position. The race, according to Coach Saban, is wide open. Not only do you have all of the superstar highly rated recruits from years past, but now you can throw in freshman Jamar Taylor, who enrolled in January as part of this year's signing class. He wanted to get a head start in practice.
Rashad Johnson and Marcus Carter are about as rock solid as you can get at the safety position. It's good to have some talent and experience back there, especially with a new scheme.
Brian Motley is turning into a beast on the defensive line. He'll be a huge factor when September rolls around. He could be a starter.
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 12 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 145
Sorry for no updates over the weekend. I had a show here in town Saturday night, had poker on Friday night, and then of course Easter was yesterday. Enough excuses...back to some Crimson Tide news.
Kevin Steele fits the mold perfectly as one of Coach Saban's assistants. Read on to see what I mean.
John Parker Wilson, while being one of the bright spots on the team, also still has a lot to learn in Coach Saban's new offense. He ran an offense like this when he was at Hoover.
The Mobile Press-Register had an interview with Coach Saban in Sunday's newspaper. It's a very interesting read...he tries not to go into detail about how Alabama went after him first (before Coach Rod), etc. It's a very good read.
DJ Hall is excited about stepping up and learning to block better after he watched game film of LSU's wide receivers. They come off the ball hard every single play and block the corner into the ground. He wants to do that.
The scrimmage on Friday was, as Coach Saban pointed out, "a good starting point." They're still learning and still growing in the new system, but overall they're beginning to grasp it. That's what I like to hear.
Coach Saban, like we all knew, is a big-time disciplinarian. Cecil goes more into detail about how stat sheets don't really matter, especially in scrimmages, and that Jimmy Johns' lack of practice is a sign of more discipline to come. This is definitely not Shula ball anymore - with "ice cream cones" and handguns now being tossed out the door.
Brian Motley had 11 tackles (3 for loss) in the scrimmage on Friday. He JUST moved their from the offensive line. Looks like Coach Saban knows what he's doing. Coach also touted Zeke Knight at the jack position, which is a very good sign of things to come. Read more about the scrimmage here.
Quotes from Coach Saban, regarding the first scrimmage, can be found here, thanks to the Dothan Eagle.
Josh Moon, from the Montgomery Advertiser, sounds like a bitter little kid who whines when he doesn't get what he wants. I guarantee that no reader has sent him a request to step up the coverage on Alabama practices, so he has no reason to bitch about Coach Saban stepping up the privacy on practices and such. He even goes as far as to take credit (for the media) for making Saban such a hot commodity and for making him so much money. If you want a good laugh, go read his article about how Coach Saban's strict policies are "only hurting the fans." Honestly, everyone should be happy we finally have a coach who will put his foot down and not give in to what everyone else wants. That's been part of the problem with the last few coaches.
¶ 8:50 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 15 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 148
Today marks the midway point of spring practice, which will be showcased by the first scrimmage under Coach Saban at 1:30pm at Bryant-Denny Stadium. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty excited. It really sounds like the guys are improving. People are finally figuring out why we hired this guy.
“It’s intense as hell," Britt said. “I don’t know if I am supposed to say that, but it’s true." Practice has apparently picked up quite a bit - maybe moreso than any of us knows. Cecil does a short bio on Justin Britt, and it's pretty damn detailed. Good read.
Didn't realize it, but the scrimmage is closed, not only to the public, but to reporters as well. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Another surprise is that Coach Saban is expecting everyone to read signals from the field today, just like in regular game action. This comes after just 7 practices under the new regime. Looks like they're being thrown in the fire early on here.
Here's a pretty good description of Coach Saban's created linebacker / defensive end hybrid - the jack linebacker.
In non-football news, it was announced yesterday that Alabama will be playing Georgetown in the Big East/SEC invitational on Dec 5th in Birmingham. It is the second game in a double header - the first game is Auburn vs West Virginia. Sounds like a good RPI game to me. Also good for the national radar. Here's hoping we can actually win that one.
¶ 8:43 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Coach Saban knows what he's doing when it comes to changing players' positions. He wants the best possible players on the field - hence why Pharr is playing on the defensive front for now, and Sharrief is working out at safety. They'll get more playing time at these positions, and they're probably better suited for them. Coach Saban pointed out that Josh Reed, Devery Henderson and Corey Webster all switched positions under him at LSU and they're all playing those positions in the NFL now.
Consistency and tempo are still areas of concern. It's obvious this team isn't used to working hard. Thanks to the former coaching staff. The first scrimmage is on Friday at BDS. That'll mark the midway point between the 15 allotted spring practices.
I was planning on firing up my own grill and everything for A-Day, but then my lovely soon-to-be wife saw this and this. So it appears that our 20 month old will be playing on the Fun Factory toys while Leslie and I eat some Willy T's chicken wings. I guess I can live with that. I may just take some food and go grill on Friday night when I get there, I guess. :-)
The offensive linemen appear to be quite different nowadays, with Andre Smith, Britt, and a few others knocking weight off like crazy. They're healthier, tougher, and are really impressing Coach Saban.
Coach Pendry makes sure to let everyone know that offensive line work is based on technique. So, basically, what we saw out of the same group last year is NOT what we'll be seeing this year. I'm thinking that Coach Saban really expects a lot from them this season.
You knew it was just a matter of time before some kids completely switched sides of the football. Running back Ali Sharrief has been working out with the secondary, while offensive lineman Taylor Pharr has been running drills with the defensive line. That makes two offensive lineman that have been moved to the defensive line. Coach Saban is calling them "experiments rather than position changes.
Coach Saban let it be known that intensity and consistency were still an area of major concern, but a lot of the mistakes are mental rather than physical, which, of course, comes with learning an entirely new philosophy in the first 5 or 6 practices.
In other news, Ronald Steele's surgery was successful, and his physical therapy will begin almost immediately. His left knee should be completely rehabbed in 6 weeks, and the right knee in 8 to 10 weeks. Which means, he'll be back at full force in time for next season. BOOYAH!
¶ 8:55 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Days 'til the A-Day Game: 18 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 151
So I read today that Wesley Neighbors committed to Alabama yesterday. It's all in the family, and boy does he have a legacy to hold up. Same as the Castille brothers, I suppose. Anyway, I started looking at numbers, and I remember correctly, we only have 16 seniors on scholarship this year. Which would mean we only have 16 openings for recruiting.
There is just an OBVIOUS need for defensive lineman. We've already got three big ole Defensive Ends committed for next year's recruiting class after we locked up four of them this year. That's a position that HAS to be plentiful.
From everything that we've heard, the offense sounds like it's going to be gumbo - a little bit of everything tossed in. At least we'll be well balanced, and hopefully nothing like last year's predictable formations.
Days 'til the A-Day game: 20 Days 'til Season Kickoff: 153
Coach Saban's press conference after the first scrimmage should have brought all Bama fans back down to earth. "I know y'all want me to say that we have a great team," Saban said at his Saturday post-practice briefing. "But I'm saying we've got to improve a lot." The defensive line is the biggest area of concern, but really, Coach wants impovement and consistency from EVERY position, and it doesn't look like he's getting it yet.
"We can't be up and down," he said. "We need to make a significant amount of improvement at just about every position out there." It's fairly obvious that the players are not displaying the consistency that Coach Saban wants.
Cecil makes a good point about how weak the defensive line really is, and how, eventually, the coaching will recruit their way out of this mess. It's just another reason why this team went 6-7 last year, and why Coach Shula was fired. The direction this team was going was COMPLETELY offensive based. He recruited speed and big time talent to the offensive side of the football, rather than the defensive side.