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. :-)