Well, I get to host this week's Crimson & White Roundtable. Sounds good to me. The question for the week was For the entire offseason, the national media has talked about Alabama being a 6 or 7 win football team. This past Saturday, on the ESPN College Gameday preseason show, both Kirk Herbstreit and Lou Holtz picked Alabama to win 9 (and Holtz said 10) games this season. Would you prefer to stay under the radar and let everyone continue to think we'll only win 7, or do you appreciate the national recognition we're already beginning to receive before the season kicks off? ...and, of course, why?
I personally prefer to stay under the radar, even though any publicity is good publicity. The fact that they feel they need to even talk about Alabama now is a good sign, but I would prefer that they expect 7 or 8 wins. If we fall below the 9 or 10 they're predicting, they'll look at the season as a failure, and that's not what we need right now.
I'm going to lean in the direction of flying under the radar. The more pundits click up the expectations the more room they give themselves to double back and criticize Saban, his salary, and the fans for supporting him if he doesn't win nine or ten games. In a normal year I probably wouldn't mind the national media talking us up a little, but with this being a transition year I'd rather everyone continue to think seven wins.
I'd rather stay under the radar for right now. This year isn't supposed to be the big break out year for Coach Saban and company. Sure, I think that after a few games we could pull off an upset or two if we stay healthy. But, I'd rather have a little more depth before receiving a ton of hype since we're so thin on the D-line. I feel that the reason a few people are picking us as a dark horse is due to Saban's arrival, not because of the talent level. We've got some talented players, but we're so thin on Defense it's caused me to lose sleep at night. I have bags under my eyes man! Besides, I've always been a "save the bragging for after you win" kind of guy, so staying under the radar until you achieve something is right up my alley. I'll be expecting plenty of hype in 2009, even some in 2008; however, this season is just a wait and see year for me. By the way, John Parker Wilson will throw for 22 touchdowns; I'm calling it right here and now.
Even a bad Alabama team is still a target for whatever team we face. Alabama could be winless and our rivals would still boast about defeating us and the talking heads on ESPN would be, well, talking about us. I don't think we can ever really be under the radar.
With that said, any type of publicity is a good thing (well other than an NCAA investigation). As long as Alabama is being mentioned, it helps recruiting and it helps improve the perception of the program.
Alabama spent time in the cellar due to our own hubris and poor choices. We finally made the right choice, and it is good the so-called experts are finally recognizing it. Of course, Saban would tell everyone to stop with the expectations game because expectations can kill the positive energy around the program. But as long as the expectations aren't irrational, I don't see the problem.
You know, as nice as it is to get some media attention, that sort of thing doesn't help us win games. Looking at the media hyped teams of the past few years (tOSU and ND last year, Southern Cal the year before, OU before that, etc) it seems to be more of a curse. I'm actually a little happier that we've done respectably among the blogpoll voters (we're not ranked, but are in the "receiving votes" category and I've seen us listed into the higher teens by a number of bloggers) since the fans are generally more knowledgable and not so beholden to the "narrative" than the mainstream press. So I'm going to say "prefer to stay under the radar" for two reasons. One, it gives us a better chance to slip up on teams, and two, the joy of knocking off a team we "shouldn't" and listening to all the whiners talk about how we got lucky is far greater than taking care of business against an opponent that shouldn't give us any troubles.
So, that was the roundtable. Hack and Nico didn't send theirs in. I'm sure they were doing something...y'know...important, or whatever. :-) Haha.
Last night's Miss St / LSU game was miserable. LSU looks incredibly beatable. The white kid that had the 3 picks last night is the luckiest safety ever. He caught three passes that were just lofted into double or triple coverage. There was one where he was the ONLY player out where the ball was. Just goes to show how bad Henig is - and we made him look like a Heisman trophy winner last year.
Either way, LSU's defensive line appeared to be "out-physical'd" for most of the first half, as did their offensive line. They were being blown off the ball quite a bit, and had Henig not throw 4 picks in the first half, State could have still been in it. Either way, this game was quite disgusting. I was hoping to see the Hat angry early on. Appears I'll have to wait til next weekend for that one.
The Sporting News lets us know that Saturday's game, while all about Saban, will not give us any indication of where this Tide program is headed this year under Coach.
Cecil is comparing Terry Grant's home-run potential to that of David Palmer, Freddie Milons, and Tyrone Prothro. Looks like this kid's got some big shoes to fill.
Wanna read more about Rolando's big day on Saturday? Check it out here. Also, Ian Rapoport chimes in on McClain as well.
Alabama and Clemson are, in fact, in talks about a '08 neutral site game, probably in Atlanta. The details are still being worked out, according to Mal Moore, but the game is definitely a possibility. I would actually like to see that game. Go beat up another team that wears orange. Sound good to me.
Saban's big gamers this year will be DJ Hall and John Parker Wilson. The defense will probably struggle a little bit, and that's fine, so long as the offense can rack in points. :-)
#1: Alabama 6 Tennessee 3Oct 22nd, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, AL
This will probably be the most memorable game of the past decade for me, simply because of the dramatic ending that actually went in our favor against a rival I absolutely hate.
This game was a beautiful display of defensive football. It wasn't that the offenses were awful (they weren't great, either), but the defenses both had NFL players scattered all over the field.
The first half had very little scoring, as did the 2nd half. The "Rocky Stop" play by Roman Harper, the 3rd down pass to DJ Hall along the sideline, and the field goal with just a few seconds left were all picture perfect memorable moments that are sure to stick with Bama fans for quite some time. We'll let youtube do the rest of the talking.
And I guess it's time to finally make my picks. We'll start off with my picks against the spread.
UAB (+21.5) at Michigan State Arizona at BYU (-4) Central Michigan (+7.5) at Kansas Houston (+16) at Oregon Missouri (-4) vs Illinois (neutral site game in St. Louis) Nevada (+21.5) at Nebraska
I really think some of these numbers may be inflated. Not sure though. We'll just have to see. On a national scale, here's what we'll go with.
Georgia Tech at Notre Dame Wake Forest at Boston College Washington State at Wisconsin Illinois vs Missouri Ole Miss at Memphis Arizona at BYU Oklahoma St at Georgia Kansas St at Auburn Tennessee at Cal Texas Tech at SMU Florida State at Clemson
I'm pretty confident with a lot of these, so we'll keep tabs and see what my record looks like after this weekend.
Don't forget, you can still get tickets for the Western Carolina game by rolling over to TickCo.com's Alabama section and their Bryant-Denny Stadium section. This will be your best place to buy tickets all year, so head over there and check out what they've got.
Seriously, it is TONIGHT! I woke up this morning and ESPN was still covering college football. I fell asleep in front of the TV watching Reece Davis (is that spelled right?) and Mark May talk about football....at 2:30am. Insane, my friends.
But I've got most of it DVR-ed, so I can go back and watch what on earth they were talking about at 4am. Haha.
I'm off work tomorrow, and today's already been pretty crazy, so I apologize if the updates are, shall we say, not up-to-par.
Mike and Jay have posted their picks for the first weekend. They seem to think that Alabama will catch Western Carolina looking ahead to their Southern Conference showdown with Eastern Kentucky next weekend, and we'll escape with a 28 point victory. Riiiigght. Haha.
The defense, this weekend, will only have 4 returning starters. One of those will be the leader, Mr. Simeon Castille. Check out the CW's story about him here.
DJ Hall is beginning his assault on the record this weekend, but for the first time in three years, it's sans Keith Brown. Mike McCoy will be stepping up as a starter this weekend.
The Tide is ridiculously thin on the front seven this year. Like you didn't already know that. Read more here and here. Wallace Gilberry thinks they'll be proving EVERYBODY wrong.
I'm sure most everyone already knew this, but freshman Josh Chapman will more-than-liekly sit out the season opener against Western Carolina because of the whole Hoover-grade-change-scandal.
The LSU Blog checks in and asks the question "What if LSU lost tonight?" Seriously, it could happen. You never know about these sorta things.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#2: Alabama 31 Florida 3Oct. 1st, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, AL
There were all sorts of wonderful things about this game, and one really bad one. First off, it was the first win for Alabama over at top 5 team in Bryant Denny Stadium. Apparently we don't get to play top 5 teams all that often, at least in the past. Second, it gave us the cover of Sports Illustrated - "BAMA IS BACK!" and jumped us WAY up in the rankings, which led to the first battle of top 5 teams in Bryant Denny against LSU later in the year. Third...it was just fun to beat up on the Gators.
The only negative was a huge one - losing Tyrone Prothro in the middle of the fourth quarter. We were up 31-3 and Shula was going for blood. I will NEVER question him having Prothro in the game, like a lot of people do, but I do think that, to put it lightly, it sucked. Big time.
We started the game with a DOMINANT defensive effort, but then Prothro muffed a punt that Florida picked up on our side of the field. After another 3 and out and a punt downed at the 13, Croyle hit Prothro on the first offensive play for an 87 yard touchdown to make it 7-0. After that it was one thing after another - linemen getting an interception, Keith Brown going the distance for another long touchdown, etc. It was the perfect afternoon in Bryant-Denny.
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I watched the first episode of season 2 of frasier last night. I've completed all 24 episodes of the first season. I swear, I'm just a normal ass, blue collar, football lovin dude, but that show is absolutely hysterical. Oh well.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 3
Yup, that's right. Tomorrow's the first games of the year. Tusla at La-Monroe at 6pm on ESPN2, LSU at Miss St at 7pm on ESPN, and Utah at Oregon St at 9pm on FSN. That's a full evening of football, my friends.
I've gone through the lines again, and man-oh-man, some of these lines are really moving. LSU is now an 18.5 point favorite over MSU. Didn't that line open at 16? East Carolina and Va Tech started at 24 points and is up to 27.5. I think Skip Holtz is a better coach than that, and he'll have is boys ready. I'd take East Carolina to cover that. Nevada is better than being a 21.5 point dog to Nebraska, and I'm wary of taking Houston +16 against Oregon. That line opened at 13.5. UAB is now a 21.5 point dog to Michigan State. I think Callaway will be able to keep that game close. And, of course, last year's darlings for me, BYU, are only a 4.5 point favorite over Arizona at home. I may take every one of these games. I'll let you know Friday what my final picks are.
Sooo, here goes the news....
Chris Walsh wrote an article yesterday about how the defense has some holes to fill. That was, of course, before we discovered that starting nose guard, Brian Motley, will be out for what looks to be a significant amount of time due to a serious leg or ankle injury. A family member confirmed that he broke a bone on the outside of his ankle. As if we didn't have depth problems on the line anyway, now we have this happen. We don't even know if Josh Chapman is eligible, so the only two players we've got at nose tackle at the moment are Lorenzo Washington and Alfred McCullough. Not good. Not good at all.
The Dothan Eagle explores the fact that this will be the first time since Shaud Williams was here that we've had a homerun threat at tailback (Terry Grant). Every time he touches the ball, it could be a touchdown...from anywhere on the field. Speed kills, my friends.
Mike McCoy is the biggest surprise, right now, on offense, because he jumped Keith Brown, who has been a starter basically since he was a freshman. Look for McCoy to help turn short passes into big gains, thanks to Western Carolina's tendencies to play off the line to nullify the deep pass.
If you're interested in previewing Western Carolina, check here for their teleconference yesterday and some notes about their matchups this weekend.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#3: Alabama 30 Southern Miss 21Sept. 10th, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, AL
Yeah, you knew it had to be up there in the list. Possibly the greatest catch anyone will ever see.
Southern Miss was pretty much whooping up on us. We took a quick 10-0 lead, which quickly evaporated into a 21-10 lead for Southern Miss after a pick-6 and two other touchdowns.
To close out the 1st half, we were 4th-and-12 from the Southern 43 yard line with :29 left in the half. Momentum was clearly in favor of Southern Miss.
Brodie threw a missile over the secondary and found Tyrone Prothro 1-on-1 with Jasper Faulk. Prothro stayed focused and caught the ball reaching around Faulk. He pinned the ball against Faulk's back and they fell into the endzone. It was ruled a catch, but we were placed at the one yard line. Le'Ron McClain scored one play later, and we finished out the scoring for the night, ending the game at 30-21.
Talk about a helluva play. Nobody will forget that pass anytime soon.
Coach Saban's press conference yesterday was fairly normal. Read the transcript here. He said what he was going to say, and told the media that was it. He wouldn't say anymore. That included discussions about the depth chart and about the suspensions for Keith Brown and Prince Hall. Not sure what they did, but I'm sure it was pretty bad.
Ray Melick's article about Saban and "the intangibles" is actually a pretty good read. Check it out here.
Mark McCarter reminds us that Western Carolina is only a speed bump, even if Simeon Castille says they're "not in a position to overlook anyone."
How they turned Prince Hall and Keith Brown's suspensions into an entire article, I'll never know. Coach didn't say anything other than they violated team rules and it's a one-game suspension. See? That didn't take an entire article. If you wanna read the filler stuff, check it out here, here, and here.
Well, it turns out that Rolando McClain will be THE signal caller on Saturday (haha, lil bit-of-an inside joke there). Check out more about it here.
The offense is ready to roll. Read up on what Cecil has to say about it here.
Y'know, our offensive line was God-awful last year, but it still wasn't as bad as Auburn's (haha). Either way, the same guys are back, but they're looking to really step it up this year, and they're starting with the first game.
The Press Register goes in-depth about just how good the coaching is in the Southeastern Conference. Sounds good to me. Now we've got one of the better ones.
Coach Saban released a depth chart to the media yesterday, but I'm not sure how much I trust it. Cecil Hurt goes into detail about it, but you'll find more information from our boys over at RollBamaRoll.com. They attack and try to answer all of the questions you might have from it.
Also, Travis Henry has 9 freakin' kids from 9 different mothers. Good ol' Rocky Top, ehh? RollBamaRoll has that one covered.
The basketball schedule was released yesterday, and it includes a road game at Texas A&M, and home games against George Washington and Clemson, along with a "neutral site game" against Georgetown in Birmingham (not very neutral, in my opinion). Either way, it's a pretty decent schedule. We open with Troy, so even though we won't play them in football, we're giving them a little piece of the action on the hardwood.
THE MIKE SHULA ERA
#4: LSU 16 Alabama 13 OTNovember 12th, 2005 in Tuscaloosa, AL
Alabama was ranked #3 in the country, and LSU was ranked #5 after an earlier loss to Tennessee (the infamous time-out call made by Les Miles - yeah, everyone remembers). Gameday was there (and we always lose when Gameday comes to town), and it was a festive environment. We had just lost JB Closner, our starting center, in the game prior to this against Mississippi State, but we were still ranked #3 in the country. We hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in SEC play since the Ole Miss game back in October, so we were due. We were underdogs, but the spirits were up. We honestly thought we had a chance.
The first quarter was a chess match, but we pulled ahead 3-0 on a 28 yard field goal by Jamie Christiansen. LSU was held scoreless. Their defense was one of the top units in the country, but we were having some success moving the football.
Our defense continued to hold through the 2nd quarter, and our offense finally broke the endzone with an 8-yard pass from Brodie to DJ Hall, making it 10-0. We went to the half like that. We had EVERYTHING going in our favor.
3rd quarter was a different story. Their defense was a machine. I don't know that we had ANY yards in that quarter. They were able to score an early touchdown, and then kick a field goal with 5 minutes left in the quarter to tie the game. Momentum was definitely back on the Tigers side.
Then, our defense took over. The game stayed at 10-10 for the rest of the game. Their kicker missed a long field goal at the end of the game that would have won it, but we ended up in overtime.
Their defense was ferocious in the overtime. We went 3-and-out and had to settle for a 35 yard field goal from Jamie Christiansen. We were up 13-10.
Then, LSU got the football. They steadily moved it, but were stuck with a 3rd-and-6 from the 11 yard line. They sent 3 wideouts, and JaMarcus Russell evaded a couple of tackles to threw an ad-lib 11 yard strike to Dwayne Bowe in the endzone.
I actually was sick to my stomach after that game. Talk about depressing. I thought I might have hurled. Oh well...as Mike always said "it's a tough one to swallow."
#5 Alabama 52 Western Carolina 0Sept. 18, 2004 in Tuscaloosa, AL
There's not much more to say about this game other than "crap." We had a 31-0 lead.
It's fairly normal to have your starters play the 1st series of the 2nd half, no matter what the score is. They do it in the NFL, which is where Mikey cut his chops, and since the offense hadn't looked very good in the first half, they wanted to try and get a head start on the next week's practice for Arkansas.
But, of course, everyone remembers it. Brodie rolled out to the right looking for a receiver, planted wrong, tore his ACL, and was lost for the season. In one play our entire season was pretty much lost.
We went on to score a few more touchdowns, but it was all for naught. Everyone in the stadium knew what was up.
Of course, Brodie going down showed how ill-prepared the two backups were, which is a sign of how ill-prepared the coaching staff was. We somehow managed 3 more wins and go a bowl bid to the Music City Bowl, where we were promptly run over by Minnesota's incredible running game.
Ohhh yeah. I'll be hosting the Crimson & White roundtable later on this week, so be sure to check in on Friday for all of the best Bama bloggers' takes on whatever question we have this week.
Listened to a helluva lot of Lucero this weekend, which, somehow, got me in the mood for football season.
The LSU - Miss St line has jumped up to 18.5 points from 16. If you remember my rule from last year, you'll take State. Any line that jumps more than 2 points, I'm goin the other way.
Anyway, on with the news...
Javier Arenas is the real deal. In the 2nd scrimmage of the season, from the "star" position in the nickel formation, he returned an interception for a touchdown and also recorded 3 tackles. He's gonna be a force to be reckoned with.
Ok, regarding Josh Chapman - here's what we know: the correct grade would have made him ineligible, but with the false grade, he was declared eligible. Soooo, if he's already on the team and has already been accepted into the school, does that mean that he's still eligible? I know it should be cut & dry to just kick him out for right now, but there's a little more to it than that.
Cecil tells us about the anticipation building for August 1st. It's a good read. Check it here.
I didn't actually remember this, but Saban recruited Ali Sharrief to play in the secondary at LSU back in the day. And now, they're reunited at Alabama. Kinda funny story there.
So we have all of these slogans for this season, like "refuse to lose" and stuff like that. I think Saban's real slogan for the '07 season is this: consistency.
Heading to practice tonight. I've been writing some new stuff all week, and after meeting with a couple of producers last week, I can easily say that I'm excited about getting back into the studio. As Prosevere, we've only released 2 songs out of the 10 or so that we already had written (not recorded), but now we've got an ever growing library of tunes. We'll have at least 25 to 30 songs written and we'll pick the best 10 to put on the album. Oh well...enough about that crap. If you wanna check out the band more, check out prosevere.com or myspace.com/prosevere.
Less than a week away from the first night of actual college football. And honestly, ESPN is kicking things off on Wednesday night with a 25-hour lead-in to the first game (LSU and State). That's unprecedented coverage, my friends. I guess I'll have to DVR what I can't watch. I think I'm going to take off work next Friday so I can just enjoy the day and watch all of the football reruns from the night before. :-)
The Crimson White points to our wide receivers as our deepest and most talented group on the team.
Simeon Castille spoke with the media yesterday, so that ended up being the big story. Honestly, I don't really give a shit. Read more about it, if you're so inclined, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Everybody is freaking out about Leigh Tiffin being named the starting kicker. Didn't we just announce that Christiansen had a strained quad? I figured this was old news. Not to mention, Tiffin's a pretty damn good kicker anyway. Or at least was until the Arkansas fiasco. Either way, it's a big news story as well. Read about it here, here, and here.
Javier Arenas has earned a shot in the secondary. He's been playing the star position, which is the 5th defensive back, in nickel situations. He was a corner last year, but made the move to safety successfully.
Mike Johnson and BJ Stabler have been given the opportunity to battle for the starting position at right tackle. This is the 3rd year in a row that we're changing starters at right tackle, even though the previous year's starter is returning.
One week until the first day of college football. There are games out the frame on that first Thursday, so we'll have plenty to watch on Gameplan that night.
The latest lines finally came out over at Sportsbook.com, so I'm reading through what I think will be the sleeper games. This year I'm doing 4 games and a parlay each week on the site, so be ready. Here's what I'm looking at as possibilities for the first week of the season:
LSU at Mississippi State (+17.5) Kent at Iowa State (-4) Western Michigan (+24) at West Virginia East Carolina (+24.5) at Virginia Tech UAB (+19.5) at Michigan State UCONN (-5.5) at Duke Nevada (+19.5) at Nebraska Iowa at Northern Illinois (+11.5) Houston (+14.5) at Oregon Missouri (-5) at Illinois Arizona at BYU (-6) Tennessee at Cal (-5.5) Idaho (+45) at USC Arkansas State (+39) at Texas North Texas (+41) at Oklahoma Troy (+24) at Arkansas
I haven't decided which ones I like the most yet, other than Kent at Iowa State (only 4? seriously?). I'll decide on them by next week. Which ones do you like the most?
Anyway, Ray Melick is trying to stir up a little bit by sayin that Saban's discipline ain't like the Bear's.
Western Carolina's defense looks to be their strong point. I guess that, lucky for us, our offense is our strong point thus far.
The Crimson White goes a lil into detail about our lack of experience at the linebacker position, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
We've heard it before, but now we figure out everything behind Coach Saban allowing kids to play two sports at the Capstone.
Josh Cooper gives a little bit of information about all of the questions that Tide fans want to know about, including linebackers, Terry Grant, Eric Gray, and Leigh Tiffin.
Josh Chapman is part of the Hoover probe regarding grade changing. Not much info on it as of right now. Read what the Tuscaloosa News has pulled up.
The full 105 players joined practice again for the NCAA mandated 5 days before game preparation begins. Nick Gentry, would couldn't play this year because of off-season shoulder surgery, was among them. He wore a black "no contact" jersey.
Roy Upchurch and Brandon Fanney both pleaded not guilty to charges of disorderly conduct stemming from an incident earlier this summer.
Keith Brown has had to answer a ton of questions this off-season, like can he stay healthy, can he keep his starting job, etc. Read more about it here.
More about the whole Simeon Castille case. The story goes deeper. I jumped to conclusions - the kid was acting idiotic, but at the same time, this crap happens all the time in Memphis and the police act like the kids have the right to do it. Either way, I'm tired of all of it, so I'm done talking about it. If you're interested in all the stories about it, read up on it here, here, here, here, here, and here.
See? That's more than enough info about how Coach Saban supports Sim, but he will be punished.
Paul Gattis chimes in to remind us that, even though there's a buncha crap about the arrest, football season is less than 2 weeks away.
The offense played well in Saturday's scrimmage, but the defense finally stepped up to the plate and did some good things.
Coach Saban said to not hold him to it, but Jonathan Lowe should report to the team before the first game. If so, that puts him and Javier Arenas as the kick returners, and I'll be damned if that's not gonna be fun to watch for every kickoff.
Coach should be talking about the first game of the season, or how the last few practices have gone, but instead he gets stuck talking about discipline and how he hopes players are learning from their mistakes.
Alabama is back on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and they got a helluva writer to do the article to go with the cover. Rick Bragg, author of All Over but the Shoutin' and Ava's Man, wrote the piece, and it's a good one too. Check it out here.
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Jeez. I am just about dead this morning. Me, my better half, and my guitar player and his girlfriend went to see Daughtry and Nickelback last night at FedExForum. I didn't expect much (even though I really dig Daughtry), but both bands absolutely blew me away. I was in shock at how great their shows were. Nickelback took quite a few things from Pantera, and I guess that's what entertained me the most - the whole "beer throwing" thing is always cool. Anyway, if you get a chance to see them, seriously, go check it out.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 11
Western Carolina is getting ready for Alabama soon. Their final preseason scrimmage is this Wednesday, and then they begin preparations. Read more about them here.
I have a feeling that the whole deal around Simeon Castille is going to get really ugly. This could end up turning into something political, which would suck. Or, it could just go away next week. Either way, it's only been one day and I'm sick of it. Bottom line is that Sim was yelling at some teammates in a car that was driving slowly by them. They were joking around. The police took it seriously, mainly because they have nothing better to do. Sim's mom has gone so far as to say that the cops only acted because he's a football player.
Lorenzo Washington is getting a chance to play with Brian Motley out for the next few days. He, Josh Chapman, and Alfred McCullough, are getting more reps and it's giving them a chance against some stiffer competition. That's always a good thing.
So I guess now we're blaming the poor tackling on the fact that the players don't practice it. Notice we haven't heard that from Coach Saban.
Want more on Mike Johnson's quest to start at right tackle? Check it out.
LakefrontHartwell.com has an Alabama preview. They seem to think Alabama will do some very good things in '07.
Don't forget to get your tickets for the first game, or for any of Alabama's games this year, over at TickCo.com. Check out their Alabama section, and their Bryant Denny venue schedule as well.
So I guess we have to start off Monday with some incredibly bad news: Simeon Castille likes to be loud and obnoxious...apparently at 2am with friends walking down the strip in Tuscaloosa. Sim was arrested for disorderly conduct on Sunday morning around 2am. It sounds like a bunch of bullshit, if you ask me. The police have withheld reports of what happened, and the employees of a restaurant across the street at the time said they didn't notice a disturbance at the time of Castille's arrest. The police chief even said "There was no alcohol. There was not a fight of any kind. He met the elements of disorderly conduct and that's why he was arrested." So basically, he was arrested for acting goofy with his friends after a night at the club. This is BOGUS.
UPDATE: Check out RollBamaRoll.com for the latest on this. Turns out I was right about it.
Read more about our first opponent's (Western Carolina) scrimmages here.
Scarbinsky's latest column really didn't have any kinda direction at all. He jumped from AP rankings to Bama's latest scrimmage, to ball-carriers eating dirt.
Cecil, the king of reading between the lines, fills us in on what Coach Saban is REALLY saying in press conferences: like telling us that you're only as good as the last 40 players on your team. But, he also says that you can be successful by having a bigger competitive spirit as well. It's definitely a good read.
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The CRIMSON & WHITE ROUNDTABLE is up this week at Roll Bama Roll. The question is "Coach Saban has stated that he likes to see position battles at every position, and there are several that should be decided over the next few weeks, namely running back, nose tackle, cornerback, and right tackle. Give us your projected starters at those positions, and list any other positions that might be open for competition from the freshmen."
Coach Saban said that the team is not where he wants it to be, but he's not disappointed either. He's pretty happy with how well they've done through the heat.
Brian Motley has a slight injury to his hand, but it shouldn't keep him out for very long at all. He may need to have surgery, but worst case scenario is he would be out for a week at the most. Also, Mike Johnson is straight killin' at right tackle. Watch out for this kid.
Not really 'Bama related, but Alley Broussard, former LSU running back who quit the team, is transferring to North Alabama. Wonder what the Hat did to piss him off.
In the next scrimmage, look for the defense to make a statement. Coach Saban has said that they've made great strides this week in practice and that he expects them to perform MUCH better than they did in the first one.
Jonathan Bentley says he's ready to just toss out the SEC Championship game. The Pac-10 and Big-10 don't have one, so why should the SEC take the chance of losing their national title contender in an extra game?
Coach Saban tells us how karate helps football teams. We can thank Belichick for that one.
Darren Mustin is showing out. He'll be a starter this year, I would put my money down for it.
Rashad Johnson may end up being one of the leaders on this year's defense. TideSports tells us all about it.
Rolando McClain is the real deal, and Coach Saban knows it. Read more about how much he's improved so far this fall.
We shouldn't be worried about basketball recruiting right now, with football coming up and everything, but Bama got Ronald Steele's little brother, Andrew Steele, to commit on Thursday. He's not a true point guard - he's more of a scorer, which is fine by me. We need more shooters.
Brodie Croyle led the Chiefs to their first touchdown of the preseason. He hit 5 out of 6 passes and looked as crisp as ever.
So, I finally got through the Auburn chapter in Clay Travis's Dixieland Delight, and it is absolutely amazing to me how much Auburn fans hate Alabama. Everything they say and/or do revolves around us Bama fans. Kinda humorous, if you ask me.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 16
Heard something pretty interesting. Apparently the University of Memphis allotted 7,500 tickets to send to Ole Miss for them to sell to their season ticket holders, etc. They've only sold 5,500 so far and are looking to return the rest to Memphis. This game is at the Liberty Bowl, right at an hour from Oxford. They're playing Memphis, a regional rival, and can't even sell 7500 tickets? Are you kidding me? Things aren't looking good for Coach O.
LSU at Mississippi State is exactly 2 weeks away. The line, currently, has LSU as a 17 point favorite.
Alabama completed 2-a-days yesterday. They also had another guest speaker. The guests so far have included Chuck Smith (All-Pro with Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns), Gene Washington (Head of the NFL Players Association), Jeremiah Castille (former UA player and team chaplain), Rogers Redding (SEC Football Officials Coordinator), and even a former mobster telling the kids about the dangers of gambling.
Josh Cooper is putting together his own depth chart, even though Coach Saban said there isn't one. He did like pointing out that another reporter is correct in having recently said that Rolando McClain is looking "bigger and bigger every day." He looks to be a starter on Sept 1st. Cooper also points out that the freshmen defensive linemen are making this group not nearly as "thin" as Coach and everyone else would like for you to believe.
Chris Capps is working his ass off to make sure that he doesn't feel like he did last year. The only way to fix that is to GET BETTER, and that's what he's doing. The coaches are really moving him around to see where he fits best.
Simeon Castille made sure that everyone on the defense took home their playbook to study last night, to make sure that everyone gets better and knows what they're doing. Gilberry said the playbook is thicker than the Bible. "I would say it's like a biology text book," he told reporters.
One of the biggest helps to the team was the off-season karate program, which Saban wanted everyone to do to help out with flexibility, stretching, and discipline. It was especially helpful to senior cornerback Eric Gray, who, until this season, had problems with his hamstring every single year. Wallace Gilberry told reporters that they don't have time to do it anymore, but he wishes they did. "I was goin for that black belt."
Eli Gold was on Phil Paramore's radio show the other day and reminded everyone that "“We are not going to win the national championship this season. It is simply not gonna happen.” He doesn't have a win total in mind, but just wants to see progress, more discipline, and fewer penalties.
Tony Barnhart has released his top 5 games of the year, and Alabama vs LSU is #5.
John Pruett tells the wonderful story of Bubba, an Alabama fan, and Billy Bob, an Auburn fan, getting into an argument in the local bar. It's a wonderful thing now that football season is only a couple of weeks away.
Charles Rich, National AOL sports blogger, has figured something out: Coach Saban doesn't like the media. I think Charlie took it personally when Saban had a little rant about how there's no depth chart. I wish these idiots had something better to write about.
Y'know, I still find it hilarious that LSU, who have their eyes set on an SEC and National title this season, are still so worried about little ol' Alabama on Nov. 3rd. I mean, seriously, c'mon guys. We'll be lucky to go 7-5, right? Haha.
¶ 8:46 AM1 commentslinks to this post
I hate waking up so early in the mornings. It's killing me. Oh well. We've got the bean bag toss tourney again tonight at Buffalo's in Southaven. I'm gonna win a trip to las vegas. Haha.
For those that are just getting to read this, the internet here at the office has been down since about 10 this morning. Sorry for the delay.
Oh yeah, and I thought you guys might find this funny. I heard from a radio personality here in Memphis that one of his buddies down at Alabama told him that there was a meeting with all the big wigs at the University one night last week. By big wigs, I mean Dr. Witt, Mal, and a lot of the members of the Board of Trustees. Coach Saban was the last person to walk into the meeting and he said "alright guys, you've got 20 minutes, so let's go." Now THAT is what I want out of my football coach. Haha.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 17
Coach Saban absolutely lit into the media yesterday after practice regarding the idea of a depth chart. He was pissed and you can tell.
The defense has stepped it up the past 2 days after a pitiful showing in Saturday's scrimmage.
Greg McElroy grew up a big fan of Major Applewhite. Pretty cool being in that kinda situation, right? Coming to a school, and then, during the coaching change, your new position coach and coordinator is your idol when you were growing up.
Mike McCoy has been getting some good reps and is really showing out in practice. He appears to be the real deal. We'll see what happens when he gets into game time. Can't say he's not working his ass off, though.
John Parker Wilson is on the Manning Award list, which is an award for the best quarterback in the country, but is the only one that takes into account the players' performance in their bowl game.
The temperature just continues to rise, but that's fine by the players and the coaches. Everyone is really standing tall right now.
Remember Chris Rock's god-awful movie called "Pootie Tang?" Yeah. Wadatay.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 18
I've been reading Clay Travis' new book, Dixieland Delight, as of late, and I've gotta give it to him: the guy is a phenomenal writer. For anybody that enjoyed Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, you've got to go and get this book. It's a great read.
So, anyway, on to some more important news.
In case you didn't hear it last night, or read it on the blog here, the Alabama game will, most likely, be a 6pm PPV kickoff, thanks to Florida's game being moved to 12:30. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that they're on Eastern Time, so they would have a whole 'nother hour to tailgate before gametime at 12:30. That's just a guess though.
If you are at all interested in breaking down our opponent in week 1, the Western Carolina Catamounts, then I suggest checking out the report from their first scrimmage, which was held last night. They also took part in picture day, whatever that is.
Alabama finished another 2-a-day session yesterday, with full pads in the morning and helmets, shoulder pads, and shorts for the evening.
John Parker Wilson gets it. The new offense almost seems perfect for him, and he's on key with his receivers - partly because they met every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday throughout the summer to get on the same page.
The Times Daily tells us about recent Alabama and Auburn practices, but what I noticed the most was the fact that down at the bottom there's an individual note that lets us know that there are still tickets available for Auburn's games against Kansas State, South Florida, Mississippi State, New Mexico State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech. Jeeeez.
Mike McCoy has worked his way up to working with the 1st team offense (even though there is no depth chart). Check out more here.
Terry Grant just keeps on rolling in practice. Read more about that here.
The defense has finally started to come around. I guess the butt-whippin they got in the scrimmage on Saturday, and Coach Saban getting after 'em pretty good after the showing, was enough to really get them fired up to play better. The front seven was significantly better, and they look to continue to improve.
Crimson Rider, a poster over at TideSports.com, has listed the 8 things that will absolutely set Alabama football on fire over the next few months and I agree with all of them - so much so that I decided to post an entire blog with his post quoted. This is, word for word, his blog, so check it out and let me know if you think he's missing anything.
These are the things that will position Bama for conference and national titles for the next five years. Any single event listed below or combination thereof will in some way launch Bama back to greatness. Listed in order of importance:
8. Beating the Noles - The plotlines in this game will make for great TV. Saban v. Bowden (& his old comrade Fisher), Steel v. his old staff, etc. Lots of eyes on this game and Saban can drop napalm on the college football world with a win here.
7. Landing Star Jackson & AJ Mccarron - If Star commits at the end of this month and AJ commits in September (as has been rumored), Bama is officially loaded at QB through 2012. Other recruits nationwide will take notice and our stellar WR class of 08 recruits will be cemented in their commitments. This also might spur...
6. Julio Jones to commit - This guy is straight Hollywood. Before his senior season, he already has the star power of Timmy Tebow, Joe McKnight, et al. These kinds of players are like magnets, drawing other thoroughbreds to the program. With the allure of these Hollywood studs, a program dripping with tradition, a swollen rabid fanbase, and a larger than life coach who is treated like a rockstar, expect a national title by 2009. Gonna be tough to get JJ to commit before NSD though.
5. A creative, explosive offense - Though it may take a couple of years, there is no questioning the ability of CNS and CKS to develop a punishing defense. In 2007, the great X factor of the Alabama football program is Major Applewhite. He has a lot of potential but is mostly unproven on a bigtime stage (can't you just hear the obese Fulmer telling an offensive recruit, "Well now Applewhite was a success at Rice, but Rice ain't the SEC. Why would you want to take a gamble with someone young and unproven?). Applewhite just walked into an arsenal stocked with weapons (think Reba Mcintyre's basement in the movie Tremors), and the whole SEC is waiting to see if he can pull the trigger.
4. 9 win season - CNS can silence all the hate-spewing journalist losers about his coaching ability by obliterating the 7-5 expectations for 07. A New Year's day bowl win gives him a ten win season in his first year. Expect 184,000 people at A-Day.
3. Beat Allbarn - While this win wouldn't have a whole lot of national significance, the instate significance is immeasurable. Tommy T's softy image would be swallowed up by the gruff Bear-Bryantesque, superman-like nature of Saban. Expect an instate recruiting windfall in favor of the Tide.
2. Landing Arthur Brown - This would be the greatest recruiting coup since McKnight spurned LSU. Plucking this 5* stud out of the midwest would send shockwaves in the recruiting world and would prove that the Bama staff is the greatest recruiting team in CFB. Though it is a longshot, a verbal commitment by Brown in the Fall would trigger a recruting typhoon. (oh yeah, and that bryce kid comes too)
1. Upset LSU - In four quarters of football, Nick Saban can slay a top-3 rated team, embarrass Les Miles, shut LSU out of the national title game, prove the worth of his $4 million price tag, and take all the steam out of a neighboring state's recruiting. On Nov 3, he will be the top story on SportsCenter and king of the football world.
Cecil mentioned in his live chat today that he would love to see a neutral site game at the SuperDome between Alabama and Texas. That could be REALLY fun. We'll keep an eye on this and see if anything comes up.
¶ 10:34 PM1 commentslinks to this post
I REALLY didn't want to get up this morning. We watched "Rock of Love" last night. I'm guessing my favorite, as of now, is Jes, even though it's a little creepy to see Bret Michaels, who has to be like 45 or something, dating a 23 year old. Just a little odd. And that streak in her hair, and that feather-head shit really annoys me.
Anyway, my best friend of the past 20 some-odd years, has moved off to California. He'll be back for Christmas, but we won't get to hang as much as we usually do. That sucks. I've still got the band, but it ain't the same. I've got nobody to sit and watch 12+ hours of football with me on Saturdays now. Haha. Oh well...I guess I'll have to teach my better half how to enjoy football from now on.
The Van Halen reunion tour will be announced officially today. The press conference is at 11am PDT, which is 1pm CST. So I'll be listening to the radio to see if anybody broadcasts it or not. Doubtful because, really, nobody cares anymore.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 19
We are less than 3 weeks away from kickoff. There's only 10 days of practice left. Are you kidding me? That's awesome. The waiting is almost over. If you haven't gotten your tickets yet...you seriously should. Check out the Alabama section over at TickCo.com. You can also check out the venue schedule and go ahead and order tickets for other games as well. You don't want to miss being there...I promise.
Still nothing regarding the kickoff time for Sept. 1st. I'll find out more later.
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis has a feature story on how mysterious Coach Saban really is - they go so far as to say that even though he's been on the job for 7 months, his own players don't really know him. I find that difficult to believe...but maybe it's not.
For those Bama fans that seem to be obsessed with Coach Saban's discipline, etc, please check out this article. It tells about how other coaches in the SEC handle their discipline, and goes into detail about how Coach Saban does his.
Sunday was the Tide's first day off after 9 straight days of practice. Coach said that they really could use 2 days to recuperate, but it's camp, so they don't have that much time. They've got to get through it before they run out of time. Remember, last practice is August 23rd, and the first game is Sept. 1st.
Also, Alabama picked up their 16th commitment on Saturday evening. Damion Square, 6'3" 270 lbs DE from Houston, TX, was a Texas A&M commitment until he attended coach Saban's camp last month. He thought that Alabama would be winning championships before Texas A&M. Haha. The biggest thing about this kid is not just that he's the #14 overall prospect in Texas, or that he's huge with room to grow (just a senior in high school and he's 6'3" 270), but that he can absolutely fly. The kid runs a 4.7 40.
Wallace Gilberry and Bobby Greenwood know that there's not a lot of depth on the defensive line, and they're kinda taking that as an insult. Gilberry, in particular, wants to prove everyone wrong this season. I really hope he does.
Saturday's scrimmage showed a combination of how good the offense can be, rolling up 596 yards and 8 touchdowns in 92 plays (that's 6.5 yards per play), but it also showed how much the defense has to make up. Tackling was particularly bad, according to the coaches, and that needs to be fixed immediately. My guess is that the offense is going to score 90 points per game this year, and the defense will give up 75 or 80. Seriously. If the scrimmage stats hold up throughout the year, we should score a touchdown every 11 plays. I can handle that.
I honestly didn't realize this, and I have no idea why. Coach Saban's policy regarding practice is that they cannot take players to the ground. If you wrap up somebody, you grab hold, but don't finish the play. The whistles blow as soon as you hit them. They don't want anybody getting hurt in some injury prone pile-up.
Finally we're getting closer to an actual depth chart of sorts. After Friday's practice, the coaches are going to be giving more reps to the players that have a better chance to play on gamedays, and that's important to finally figure out who's ready and who's not.
Y'know...it's something that they players haven't had for the past 4 years: teaching. At least on defense. They're learning where their eyes are supposed to be and how to read a quarterback. The secondary has acted on instinct for the past few years, but that's all about to change. They're about to be REALLY good.
For those of you that keep asking what I know about the kickoff time - here it is:
A friend of mine works at the CW here in Memphis and filled me in on a little bit of this. Lincoln Financial was supposed to announce today who they were broadcasting. They thought they could force either Alabama or Florida into playing the 11:30am kickoff on the first Saturday of September.
That didn't quite work out to their liking. You won't find two more stubborn athletic directors in the country as Mal Moore and Jeremy Foley, and both of them are refusing to play so early in the first game of the season. PPV games, especially home games against non-conference opponents, are incredibly profitable to Universities, so if they have the opportunity to do a late kickoff, boost tourism dollars on campus, and still make fat TV cash, they'll do that every time.
Again, both Moore and Foley have refused to play the early game. The Kentucky / Eastern Kentucky matchup has been brought in as a possible replacement. The delay in the announcement, which will now be on Wednesday, August 15th, is due to the fact that Lincoln Financial is attempting to convince SEC officials to force Alabama into the game, due to their television contract with the SEC. Lincoln Financial is supposed to get their pick of which game they want on whatever weekend they want, after CBS and ESPN, but since Alabama and Florida aren't adhering to that, they're a little bit pissed.
Of course, the contract also reads that they get their pick of an "SEC game" which is a very general term. Alabama and Florida's legal councils are reading this as a game between two SEC teams, so they can't be forced into an early kickoff because of that.
You can bet that, unless LF Sports is incredibly stupid, they'll have the generalized terms made more specific the next time the contract is up, which, if I'm not mistaken, is in 2009. Unless Mike Slive whips Mal Moore in a fist fight, look for Alabama to kickoff at 6pm and Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky to kickoff at 11:30am on Lincoln Financial.
¶ 3:39 PM1 commentslinks to this post
Luther Davis hurt his neck a few days ago and is wearing a no-contact jersey
We still don't have an answer as to who is stepping up at the 2nd cornerback position
Coach Saban has created an ad-campaign for the complainers: the "poor-me"s. Haha
Chapman and McCullough are gonna be hosses on the defensive line
So far, the most interesting battle in practice is watching Bobby Greenwood against Andre Smith. Andre claims, since he's lost 26 pounds, he runs like a gazelle. A 333 lb gazelle. Haha. Gilberry says it's like watching Ali vs Frasier every day. This could be fun.
Alabama is still looking for running backs. Cecil chimes in and tells us exactly what's going on with all of them.
Terry Grant appears to be the front runner to start. DJ Hall says that if you don't catch him at the line, you may as well just stop, cause you can't catch him. But my issue is this: he's only 5'10" 188 lbs. That tells me that we're going to be running a whole lot of spread this season. Cause you can't play power football with a 188 lb running back.
Zeke Knight, although it seems like he's been here forever, still has two years left. And he's at his 3rd position in 3 years. But he's at his most comfortable: linebacker.
Coach Saban is bringing in a new philosophy that Alabama hasn't seen before: mental toughness. The players seem to be responding, and it's making them a stronger football team.
Coach won't let anyone talk about the heat or even use the word "hot" in practice or at the football facility. That's freakin awesome. Haha.
Dennis Pillion, blogger at al.com, talks about how Saban's living up to his word. He said early on that there's "an opponent in this state that we work every day, 365 days a year, to dominate." Well, we haven't even played a game yet, but I think we know what's happening: Saban's recruiting class so far is ranked #9 in the country compared to Auburn's #42. That's domination.
Stewart Mandel, writer from SI.com, lists college football's pecking order - from national powers, to not even state powers. Alabama is listed as a king.
...'Til the weekend. Me and some buddies went and played in a bean bag toss tournament yesterday. We made it to the 2nd round, but got stomped. I need to start playing that game more. It was intense.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 23
Yesterday was the first 2-a-days session. The heat, once again, was a major factor, even though they practiced in morning and evening sessions. The guys are doing well through everything though.
The Birmingham News talks about how much Jimmy Johns likes to hit people, so his move to fullback is warranted. I say, if he likes to hit people, PUT HIM AT LINEBACKER. He's a stud, he's quick, and he'd KILL opponents. Either way, he's getting used to FB, and has stated that "whatever will help the team, that's what I'm about."
Justin Woodall, who I feel will be a star safety, has been given the OK to play baseball next spring. He'll be a pitcher.
Also, Josh Chapman and Alfred McCullough, two freshmen on the defensive line, are lighting it up in practice. Gilberry says they're coming along great and that they're in great shape already.
The coaching staff has been mixing and matching players on the offensive line, trying to find the right combination. Chris Capps looks like he won't be anything close to starter, which is fine by me.
The Tuscaloosa News tells us the story behind Zeke Knight's injury last season. Looks like he's back and ready to hit people this year. That's one thing I haven't noticed in the past...all of these guys just really want to hit people. That's definitely a good thing.
Javier Arenas is ready to return some kicks. Seriously. He's also added 15 lbs of muscle to his frame, so not only can he run past you...he can run over you if he wants.
The Tide practiced in full pads for the first time yesterday. The heat index soared up to 108 degrees, which made it a pretty grueling practice. Also, Coach Saban chimed in about some injuries - freshman Chris Lett is being held out with an unspecified health issue, and Nikita Stover has a hip pointer from Monday, so he'll be a few days before he's at full speed again.
Jimmy Johns is getting a lot of reps at fullback, which could be a good move considering Terry Grant and Glen Coffee are seeming to be running away with the starting tailback job. Coach Saban said he could be used the same way Bill Walsh used full backs - basically as a short field receiver, picking up 4 to 7 yards per catch. I think this could be an element that a lot of teams overlook on our team this year. I think Jeramie Griffin could end up being the best at that position...but we'll see what happens.
If you want to read up on the Peer Intervention Group, check this out. It's basically a leadership council made up of players from every class, and if a player acts up, they have to go before the group and explain what happened. The peers then make the decision for the punishment before handing it to Coach Saban for the final decision.
Coach Saban said that practices have been a little bit too up and down, and that the kids need to put the pedal to the metal at all times, especially when the practicies are only for 2 hours in a day. Again, it's all about building consistency. It will come in time.
Kirk McNair has the absolute best breakdown of everything that's happened at practice, along with the coach's post-practice press conference (say that five times fast...haha). Check out his stuff here.
Simeon Castille knows about the Alabama tradition. Read up about Sim here.
Antoine McClain, big offensive lineman from Anniston, has been getting help with his recruiting from Andre Smith. Maybe....just maybe...this could lead to another OL pickup for us.
If you're one of the RVers that reads this blog - read this. If you're worried about a spot to park on gameday, there may be a solution.
I've been stupid busy at work lately, but I swear that, eventually, even if it's over the weekend, I'll get to Shula's top 5 most memorable games.
¶ 8:39 AM0 commentslinks to this post
Are you serious? Van Halen looks like they'll be touring this fall with original vocalist David Lee Roth. I'm a Hagar fan, but I guess I'd still go see this in hopes that I can watch Eddie smash a guitar over that psycho's head.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 25
...and it can't get here soon enough.
Mr. Finebaum proceeds to trash talk the new Alabama media guide, which is fine by me. He's concerned about how the A-Day game got 7 pages, and the combination of Bear Bryant and Gene Stallings only got 4...but I remember hearing crap all the time about how Alabama needed to "move on." Auburn fans, etc, will tell you all the time: "THE BEAR'S DEAD. GET OVER IT." Well, we're moving on. But in the process we're being trash talked by the media all over again. It's a lose-lose situation. Keep 8 or 9 pages about Bryant and Stallings and only 2 about the most recent A-Day game, and we'll be criticized for living in the past again. Now exactly how does that work?
Coach Saban confirmed that Demetrius Goode recently injured his ACL. I'm not sure if that means he tore it or just sprained it. Either way, it's a 5-9 month healing process, so here's hoping he'll be back in time for next spring.
Darren Mustin was recently rewarded with a scholarship to play football here at the Capstone. Great story, if you ask me. It's nice to see a good kid getting something he deserves every now and then.
I believe I've already talked about it, but Alabama picked up commitment #15 from Mobile receiver Destin Hood. We seem to be picking up quite a few receivers. I have a feeling that Hood's commitment will also bring in quarterback AJ McCarron.
RollTide.com posted a story about yesterday's practice. Coach Saban was quoted as saying "...basically the players learn that the price for success has to be paid up front."
Although the temperatures are soaring into the hundreds during the day practices, it's not having a bad effect on the players. It appears that their off-season conditioning program has really helped prepare them for fall practice and, hopefully, the season.
Marquis Maze is the new #4 at Alabama. And he looks exactly like Tyrone Prothro. For example - Maze: 5'9" 167 lbs / Prothro: 5'8" 175 lbs.
I played a lot of my NCAA '08 over the weekend, and I'm happy to say that, along with winning the SEC's Western Division Championship with an 11-1 record and a victory over Auburn, I also ended the season and possibly the career of Quinten Groves from Auburn, who sustained a complete MCL tear in the 1st quarter while sacking John Parker Wilson.
We'll see if this is an omen.
Anyway, I went to the promised land (Tuscaloosa) this past Saturday with my best friend of 20+ years. He'll be moving to California next week, so I wanted him to be able to see the Bryant Museum, etc, before he left for the dreaded west coast. Dreamland was incredible, and I really think he enjoyed the football tradition we have at Alabama, even though he's a Mississippi State fan. We ate dinner at Wings, went to several Bama shops, including Bama Fever in the mall, and basically just made a full day out of nothing. Pictures will be coming soon, I promise.
Anyway, on to the news.
Randy Kennedy tells us to go ahead and pick some other team to win the SEC Championship because LSU has officially been jinxed. For the past 12 years the media has missed the SEC Champion every time. We already knew that, but I like to bring it up over and over. He also says that Tennessee will go 2-2 to open the season, which means their game against Georgia could be "program changing." He also thinks that DJ Hall is the best receiver in the SEC and that he'll still be cashing NFL checks long after Early Doucet and Marcus Monk's careers are over. Now THAT is what I'm talking about.
Not sure if this had anything to do with him practicing with the freshmen on Friday evening or not, but the coaches are trying to get Prince Hall to lose about 20 pounds off his playing weight. He's already lost 6 or 7 pounds, and has about 13 to go over the next four weeks.
Wallace Gilberry is only half a tackle away from breaking the "tackles for loss" record. He sits at 33.5, and Kindal Moorehead recorded 34 over his career. Gilberry looks to be the leader of the defense, along with Simeon Castille, and should shatter the record with ease.
John Parker Wilson tells us that "it feels like it's been longer than 3 days." It actually has for him, because he's been in Tuscaloosa all summer working out and helping lay the foundation for this year's team.
DJ Hall didn't make 1st, 2nd, or 3rd team on the media or coaches preseason All-SEC teams. He doesn't feel snubbed. He's not upset. He's just gonna work his ass off. And that's how I like it. He's set to break pretty much every receiving record this season at Alabama that he doesn't already own, and I'm sure that at the end of the season, he'll be recognized as one of the best.
The Montgomery Advertiser talks a little bit about practice so far. Read more about it here.
Fan Day drew about 9,000 people. Not too shabby for something that wasn't even announced until the middle of last week. Read more about what all went on here and here.
The Birmingham News has grabbed onto a new concept: the idea that some Alabama fans actually are "realistic."
It appears that Terry Grant is getting a lot of praise so far from his teammates. He appears to be the leading candidate to start at running back.
In the middle of all the excitement, Cecil is doing his best to make sure that we all realize that the big turnaround won't happen this season. We can talk about returning players, etc, all we want, but the bottom line is that everyone is still new in this system, so there's going to be a learning curve. Coach Saban has stated that we all need to be realistic with our goals, and Kirk McNair from BamaMag.com continues to drive home that point.
Coach Saban was impressed with the results of the team's conditioning tests. The tests include measures of strength, endurance, and sprinting ability.
Alabama picked up a commitment over the weekend from Devonta Bolton, a 6'3" 220 lb 3-star receiver from Norcross, GA. He runs a 4.45 40, and, while it says that he'll be a receiver, I really think he'll end up playing linebacker. :-)
I'll be in Tuscaloosa tomorrow. Thank God. We'll get there around 11. Again, e-mail me if you wanna hang out for a lil while.
Days 'til Season Kickoff: 29
RollCrimsonTide.com will be hosting today's CRIMSON & WHITE ROUNDTABLE. The question this week is: Discuss the two BAMA rivalries that stand out the most to you, and discuss BAMA's special teams and what we should expect to see from them in the future.
All 105 players reported yesterday. Tyrone Prothro is among the 4 players that were given a medical hardship scholarship, which means he can't play this season. Kerry Murphy and Michael Ricks both were declared academically ineligible, so the safeties' jobs are safe for this season. Darren Mustin has some kind of injury and may not be able to open camp. I look for him to be a starter on opening day, as long as he gets over this injury. All practices, other than fan day, are closed to the public. Practice on Saturday is at 2:30, and I'll be down there. :-)
If you wanna read up on Coach Saban's first verbal commitment for the '08 class, read up on Michael Williams here.
The medical scholarship basically means that Tyrone Prothro's football career is over. Read more about it here, here, and here.
Johnathan Lowe, who I thought was going to be an outstanding kick returner this year alongside Javier Arenas, will not be on the roster due to academic troubles. Kids really piss me off when they don't make the grades to play football. Get off your ass and go to the library. Jeez.