Sunday, April 22, 2007

People are talking...

They are talking about my videos!
Check out here and here.
Check out "Every Day Should be Saturday" here.

More coverage of A-Day...
An overflow crowd watches Saban's Bama debut -
Nick Saban is already filling Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium -- and then some.
An overflow crowd of 92,138-plus fans attended the Crimson Tide's spring game Saturday, nearly doubling the school's A-Day attendance record and forcing university officials to start turning people away in the first half. That kind of turnout for essentially a scrimmage was yet another indication of how much Saban's hiring in January has stirred up a rabid fan base hungry for a championship. "It shows the passion that people have for the University of Alabama, and it certainly makes me feel great about being here as head coach," Saban said.

Alabama fans win argument - Chattanooga Times Free Press
One of the best SEC football arguments is among fans from different regions arguing why their school is the most passionate. Tennessee fans will nod toward the Vol Navy and point to huge crowds inside Neyland Stadium. Florida and Auburn fans will cup their ears, a signal to acknowledge the deafening noise. A Georgia fan would describe the tailgating scene on North Campus. And so on. It's a great argument because there's no winner. Almost every SEC school boasts tradition, huge attendance figures and exuberant tailgaters who arrive on Wednesday for a Saturday game. There's no statistic to anoint one school definitively the most passionate about football. Well, until this one: 92,138. The argument is over. There were 92,138 Alabama fans packed into Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday for a televised spring game, and officials had to turn people away in the second quarter. "I hate they did that," Alabama defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry said. "I wish the fans could have flooded the place out." All this for a glorified practice. Allen Iverson would be astounded by this turnout. More than 90,000 for practice? We're talking about practice? And that's why Saturday's A-Day game, won 20-13 by the White team, was so bittersweet. A crowd like this makes the SEC so great. But it also ends one of my favorite arguments. We have a winner, and they were wearing crimson and white Saturday afternoon.

A-Day makes top 10 plays on ESPN Sportscenter

92,138 attend Alabama spring game - AJC
Kayla McCoy and her dad, Stephen, arrived at Gate 6 of Bryant-Denny Stadium at 9 a.m.
The gate wouldn't open until 11 a.m. For a spring football game that wouldn't start until 1:05 p.m. "We just think that this is going to be a historic day," said Kayla, from Dothan, Ala. "We just wanted to be first in line to see it." Kayla didn't know how right she was. Hope is a powerful emotion. So powerful that it brought a crowd of 92,138-plus to Bryant-Denny on one of the most perfect Saturday afternoons you'll ever see. Alabama officials, expecting about 60,000 fans for Nick Saban's much-anticipated first spring game as coach, had to stop them from entering the stuffed stadium in the second quarter. The NCAA doesn't keep records on such things, but it is believed to be the largest spring-game crowd in college football history. It beat the SEC record of 73,000 set by Tennessee in 1986 and dwarfed school-record Saturday turnouts at Penn State (71,000) and Notre Dame (51,852). If there was any doubt that Saban, who took over as coach in January, was worth the $4 million Alabama is paying him, well, there's less of it now. You just can't put a price on this kind of excitement.

Standing room only Alabama draws 92,000 for Saban's first spring game - Sports Illustrated
(This was an AP article run in various papers across the country)
Nick Saban is already filling Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium -- and then some. An overflow crowd of 92,138-plus fans attended the Crimson Tide's spring game Saturday, nearly doubling the school's A-Day attendance record and forcing university officials to start turning people away in the first half. That kind of turnout for essentially a scrimmage was yet another indication of how much Saban's hiring in January has stirred up a rabid fan base hungry for a championship. "It shows the passion that people have for the University of Alabama, and it certainly makes me feel great about being here as head coach," Saban said.

Two extremes of college football fanaticism: SU, 'Bama - Syracuse Post Standard
In "The Longest Day," that dusty flick detailing the invasion of Normandy, an American officer (played by John Wayne) and a German commandant (played by Curt Jurgens) mutter to colleagues at different times, "Sometimes I wonder which side God is on." I was reminded of those cinematic musings while mulling the stunning crowd sizes at Saturday's spring football games at the University of Alabama (92,138) and here at SU (maybe 2,000). Because at all times, and leaving God for other matters, I wonder which side gets it when it comes to the chin-strapped set. The greater Tuscaloosa area has a population of some 120,000. Greater Syracuse weighs in around 700,000. And yet, the Crimson Tide drew a gathering 46 times larger than did SU. Perhaps even more revealing, the Orange would have needed roughly 537,000 fans to descend upon the Carrier Dome Saturday afternoon to proportionally match the 'Bama house at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Ask one of our former football coaches around here about that and he'd likely blurt, "That's out of whack." But which way? Are those lunatics with a hobby who follow the Tide, or are they loyal supporters of the cause? Is our community filled with apathetic mopes, or with savvy folks bearing discriminating enough taste to recognize a meaningless scrimmage when it is hawked, barker style, in front of them? "We," said Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, "were standing around there, like, 'Man, there's a lot of people here.' We didn't expect that."

CECIL HURT: Biggest A-Day changes visible to all - Cecil Hurt, Tuscaloosa News
It was the best seat in the house – an enviable position when every one of the 92,318 seats in the house are full.Nick Saban invited a half-dozen reporters to be “media coaches” for Saturday’s A-Day game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. In a wise move by Saban, that invitation didn’t involve any actual coaching decisions. Instead, it just gave those reporters (myself included) an up-close look at what we had really only gotten a far-away glimpse at all spring: the University of Alabama football team.What was fascinating about the day wasn’t just the chance to watch the team on the field, although the game itself – won by the White team, 20-13 – had its revelatory moments. Blocking and tackling, catching and running, are pretty much the same, year in and year our, regardless of the vantage point from which you are watching. But a few things were obvious.

Photos from the Tuscaloosa News - 1
Photos from the Tuscaloosa News - 2
Photos from the Tuscaloosa news - 3

My photos from A-Day

Eli Gold interviewing coach Saban before the game.
Many more photos to come.

A-Day Game, April 21, 2007

Here are three short clips I took at the A-Day game yesterday. The first video is from pre-game warm-ups. The second video is of the NCAA record crowd doing the wave. The third is Coach saban presenting spring practice awards after the game.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A-Day Tomorrow

I cannot wait for the A-Day game Saturday! I will be posting photos and my "take" on the event later in the weekend!

Bama Practices 4/12-4/20

Crimson Tide Wraps Up 10th Practice
The University of Alabama football team completed its 10th practice of the spring Wednesday afternoon with a two-hour practice in full pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.With five practices remaining in the spring, Alabama head football coach Nick Saban talked character building and improving as a team heading into the final week of practice."The team's competitive character is made up of the individuals and what kind of competitive character they have, what kind of discipline they have, what kind of effort they give, what kind of toughness they play with, how responsible they are, and what kind of condition they are in, that's really what is most important." Saban said."In whatever we do the individuals on the team will make up the teams character and no on can create it but the individuals on the team."We want to make sure we know what to do, so we can go out there and do it over and over again, not just go out and endure the practice but improve and get better," Saban added.Alabama will practice again Friday, April 13 and hold its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday, April 14 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. All practices and Saturday's scrimmage are closed to the general public.

Defensive tweaks-Saban teaching Tide the 3-4 defense he used with the Miami Dolphins
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Add defensive terminology to the list of things by which Alabama football Nick Saban insists he won't be bound this spring. Saban has already rigidly refused to make evaluations, predictions or comparisons about both his team's personnel and his new surroundings. Now, he's refusing to get caught in the trap of revealing what type of defensive package the Crimson Tide will feature most prominently in 2007. Since practices and scrimmages this spring have been closed to the media, it's hard to tell exactly whether Alabama will operate out of a 4-3 (four linemen, three linebackers) or a 3-4 (three linemen, four linebackers).

ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Saban not putting much stock in stats - Montgomery Advertiser
Alabama went through a two-hour scrimmage on Saturday, with the defense and the rain dominating the Crimson Tide offense at Bryant-Denny Stadium. "We made improvement in a lot of areas," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It was a little difficult for the offense to function in the passing game. We had a lot of drops. The weather was tough. We thought it was going to quit raining." Instead, the light rain turned into a heavy downpour midway through the scrimmage, limiting the offense to a pair of touchdown receptions by DJ Hall and walk-on Reyn Willis, and a 3-yard touchdown run by Jimmy Johns. There were other plays from the closed scrimmage that did not make their way to the statistics sheet as more than half of the workout focused on situational drills. "It seems like we ran it more, so I don't know where these stats came from," Saban said as he glanced over the page. "Are these from the whole scrimmage? Three quarters of the scrimmage was situational, so this is not very accurate. There were more plays that aren't counted in this than are. It's not my fault. You can call me a jerk, you can put it on national headlines, but I didn't do this."

College football beat Sunday, April 15, 2007 ALABAMA A-Day Game schedule released
TUSCALOOSA - Alabama released its schedule for next Saturday's annual A-Day Game, which is sponsored by Golden Flake and will air on Comcast Sports South. The gates of Bryant-Denny Stadium will open at 11:30 a.m. Fullback Le'Ron McClain and Juwan Simpson, captains from the 2006 season, are scheduled to participate in the Walk of Fame ceremony at Denny Chimes at 12:15 p.m.. Former defensive coordinator and interim coach Joe Kines will also be in attendance. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. Tickets to the event are free. In the broadcast booth for CSS will be play-by-play man Chris Stewart and color commentator Tyler Watts, while former cornerback Antonio Langham will report from the sidelines. The Crimson Tide Sports Radio Network will also air the game. Unlike previous years, there will not be a Fan Photo Day until August. Receiver Keith Brown sat out most of Saturday's scrimmage with a leg bruise, though he had two catches for 15 yards. Linebacker Keith Saunders was "hit in the head," coach Nick Saban said, so he did not participate. Saban did not think it was serious. (B'ham News)

Caddell strives to finish career on a high note-Christopher Walsh Tuscaloosa News
The full reality has already hit wide receiver Matt Caddell like a well-thrown ball to the gut.This is it, his last season playing football for the University of Alabama. One final chance to do something special as an individual, and as a part of team.“Going into my last year, I just want to turn it up a notch," Caddell said. “Coach [Nick] Saban, he’s picking up the intensity each day so we’re getting better each day.“I don’t want to have any regrets when I leave here -- I just want us to win."Saturday afternoon, Caddell and the rest of the Crimson Tide held the second of three spring scrimmages in the rain at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which was closed to the public and media. Although Saban seemed extremely pleased with the timing and execution of the passing game in the previous practice, he didn’t seem overly surprised that there were dropped passes and missed opportunities in the poor conditions.Caddell didn’t have a reception in the run-dominated scrimmage, and only Keith Brown had more than one.However, Caddell led the Tide with four catches for 80 yards last week.

Saban defends his media policies at AlabamaFormer LSU coach's restrictions drawing criticism-Associated Press
Coach Nick Saban’s honeymoon with the media didn’t last very long at Alabama.
Yet to take the field for anything but a practice with the Crimson Tide, Saban has found himself on the defensive lately. The $4 million-a-year coach is dealing with critical columns, radio talk shows and reporters’ questions about restrictions imposed on the media since his arrival. Saban said he’s not doing anything differently from previous coaching stops.“I don’t know if I really do things that much differently than everybody else,” Saban said Thursday during a teleconference with reporters. “I just think people lately, at least since I went to Miami and came here, a lot of people seem to want to point out things I do differently.“It may not be as different from everybody else in a lot of ways.”The Saban Way is somewhat different for Tuscaloosa. Saban has allowed only limited access to players and assistant coaches, alternating days when he and Tide players are available to the media. Assistant coaches generally don’t speak publicly.

Alabama could draw largest crowd ever for a spring football game -
The spring football game to end all spring football games will be played next Saturday in Tuscaloosa when the Alabama Crimson Tide winds up its spring drills with the annual A-Day Game.Bryant-Denny Stadium on the Alabama campus holds 92,138 fans. It might not be enough. Spring football games as a whole are not important, even those that have been televised on cable the past few years. When it is a team divided and playing itself, what can you actually discern? If your offense looks good, your defense looks bad and vice versa. It might be important for individuals who are trying to impress coaches and make a depth chart move, but it won't really tell you anything about to how a team will play in the fall. Fans have tried to make spring games more important than necessary because by the time they are played, the college fan has gone two to three months without a football game. They are ready to see anybody in pads knock heads. There's nothing wrong with that. But deep down those same fans know spring games are nothing more than reasons to return to the campus and spend an afternoon pretending to get the inside scoop on the upcoming football season.

Tide's Saban taps into Castille's 'star' quality - Montgomery Advertiser
It shouldn't surprise Alabama fans to learn Simeon Castille is a natural for the new "star" position on the Crimson Tide defense.
But it isn't his favorite role.
Part of first-year coach Nick Saban's defensive alignment is a set of names that have not been part of the Crimson Tide vocabulary in the past. There is a "jack" linebacker, a combination defensive end and outside linebacker. Then there's the "star" defensive back, the fifth secondary player in a nickel scheme. "It's the same position I played last year, just a different name," Castille said. "I never really thought about it. We have a 'money' position, too. I'd love to be called 'money. " He's been as good as money for the Crimson Tide defense this spring, picking up a fumble and returning it for a touchdown in the first scrimmage and intercepting a pass and returning it for a touchdown in the second. "He's done a really good job," Saban said. "He's smart, he plays multiple roles. It's good to have a few guys like that on your team. He makes a lot of plays because he is instinctive. But I think he can also take a lot of what you're trying to teach and apply it on the field without needing multiple reps of it because he is smart, he is instinctive and he's a good athlete."

Life with Saban's policies - Josh Cooper - Decatur Daily
Well, it's time to chime in about Alabama football coach Nick Saban's media policies, and no, there will not be any big-time bashing. If anything, this will be an attempt to be informative by letting people know how things have changed under Saban's regime, how reporters are coping and how it will change the coverage of football news. In terms of facts that are known, reporters are allowed to watch the first 20 or so minutes of practice. After practice, either Saban or random players talk to us. As for scrimmages, we are not allowed to watch them. So it is true, we cannot give you a sense of how the team is doing in game-time situations.

Crimson Tide Practice Notebook - The Tuscaloosa News - April 19, 2007
The University of Alabama football team wrapped up its final regular practice of the spring Thursday afternoon and now all that remains is the annual A-Day game, which will be played Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 1 p.m. Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban said he has used different scrimmage styles during spring games, but getting the players on the field in a competitive atmosphere is the most important thing.“Regardless of the format, it’s a game-like situation, where you can see which players go out and perform better on the field,” Saban said.“I always try to choose the best [format]. When you have a lot of depth, I think splitting the squad is the best one. I’d much rather have a competitive game. If we were looking for show dogs, we’d put all the show dogs on one team and let them show. If we’re looking for hunting dogs, you put them in a competitive situation, and see which ones can find the ducks.”
(video included with link)

Saban has yet to sign lucrative contract - Tuscaloosa News
Announced as University of Alabama football coach in early January, Nick Saban has yet to sign a contract for employment, a technicality those involved say is not worrisome. “I’m not concerned about that right now,” Saban said Thursday after the Crimson Tide’s 14th practice of the spring. “I’m focused on spring practice. There are no issues relative to it. These things just take a little time sometimes.”It’s been 15 weeks since Saban arrived to a rock-star welcome at the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport, ending weeks of speculation about whether he would leave the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and return to college football.It’s been widely reported since his arrival that Saban and UA officials have agreed to an eight-year, $30 million — some say $32 million — contract, making him the highest-paid college football coach in history. However, Saban’s contract and those of his assistants have yet to be brought before the UA trustees’ compensation committee for approval.“Those negotiations are proceeding fine, and parties are working well together,” said Doug Walker, spokesman of University of Alabama athletics. “It’s not a point of contention for anybody here.”

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bama Practices 4/7-4/11

Crimson Tide fans, meet 'Jack’ on defense - Christopher Walsh - Tuscaloosa News
TUSCALOOSA Even many non-football aficionados are already familiar with the standard nicknames associated to linebackers: Mike, Sam and Will.The first letter of each name corresponds to the player’s place on the field: Mike is the middle linebacker, Sam is on the strong side and Will the weak side.Well, University of Alabama fans have a new name they need to become familiar with, due to coach Nick Saban’s unique version of the 3-4 defense (three down linemen, four linebackers).Say hello to “Jack," which could be short for “Just about everywhere else," because there’s nearly nothing typical about the position that’s a cross between defensive lineman and linebacker.“A guy that has some size, maybe he’s not truly linebacker-type athleticism, but has some of those characteristics," Saban said. “A guy that may be a good pass-rusher, but not be a true defensive lineman relative to his physical characteristics. So you can kind of co-mingle those things into a guy who is sometimes a linebacker and sometimes a defensive end, sometimes a linebacker who does a lot of rushing."

Crimson Tide Football Prepare for First Scrimmage - Ben Blevins, UA Media Relations
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Crimson Tide football team was in helmets and shoulder pads on Thursday for a two-hour practice at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility. It was the last practice before the team scrimmages for the first time Friday afternoon. The team has been working on its new offensive and defensive systems andwill be able to get a good look of where they stand halfway through spring drills on Friday as they go head-to-head. "We have a lot of stuff in," said junior quarterback John Parker Wilson. "We are just going to go out there and work on those plays and try to get as good as we can with everything we have in so far."

Tide taking baby steps in scrimmage-Establishing depth a priority-Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
The Alabama football team will take a break from the tedium of spring practice today, conducting the first of two spring scrimmages under new head coach Nick Saban this afternoon at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The scrimmage will also mark the halfway point of spring practice, with two weeks of work remaining before the annual A-Day spring game on April 21.
"I think it is going to be fun," quarterback John Parker Wilson said. "It will be like walking baby steps where the coaches let us go and see what we can do. It is important for us to know where we stand so far. When we go against the defense tomorrow, it is going to be faster."
Of course, it will be difficult to gauge how much progress Alabama will make in its first spring scrimmage. Unlike past Crimson Tide events, this one is closed to the public and the media.

Practice Notebook - By Dan Sellers - Special to The Tuscaloosa News
Sophomore running back Jimmy Johns has not participated in the last two Alabama spring football practices, including Friday’s scrimmage, because of academic issues. “If he does what he is supposed to do, both yesterday and today, and again on Monday, we will see if we end up letting him back on the field,” head coach Nick Saban said.Saban said the running back position was wide open, even before Johns’ absence from practice.“It’s wide open,” he said. “Dependability is a part of it. If a guy can’t even do what he’s supposed to do to get into practice, that’s not saying much in terms of where he’s at.”In Johns’ absence, Saban said Glen Coffee (15 carries, 81 yards, TD), Jamar Taylor (10 carries, 32 yards, TD) and Terry Grant (12 carries, 53 yards, TD) performed well during the scrimmage at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
(Video Included with this link)

Football practice, 4/6/2007 Photo Gallery - Tuscaloosa News

COMMENTARY: Saban's stingy media policies only hurting fans - Montgomery Advertiser
The hypocrisy of Nick Sa ban is astonishing. So far this spring, the University of Alabama head coach has blown off the media several times.
He's prevented reporters from speaking to players and assistant coaches most of the time. On Friday, after the Crimson Tide's first scrimmage of the spring, Saban refused to make players available to the media and opened the scrimmage up for only the first six minutes.
This from a guy who owes most of his financial success to the very media he's now giving the shaft.
Let's be real here, Nick Saban's reputation is mostly hype.
He was overrated at Michigan State, overrated at LSU and rated about right in Miami. He's an average coach who, through mostly media attention, has garnered this reputation of being a great coach.
In truth, he's not as successful as Auburn's Tommy Tuberville. The two have roughly the same coaching records and Tuberville has a better record in head-to-head meetings.
There's not an Alabama fan alive who believes Tuberville is anything other than an average coach. And maybe he is. But that leaves a serious question: If Tuberville is considered average, how has Saban managed to achieve his big reputation?
The answer is simple -- the media.

Alabama football - Sunday, April 08, 2007 IAN R. RAPOPORT - Birmingham News
The subject was Kevin Steele, and why he was hired to become Alabama's defensive coordinator. To explain, coach Nick Saban told a story: Back in 1994 when defensive guru Buddy Ryan was the Arizona Cardinals' head coach, Saban was the Cleveland Browns' defensive coordinator. Visiting Ryan to gain some insight, Saban asked him what was the toughest part about being a head coach? "When I become head coach, I lose my best assistant," Ryan, the architect of the great Chicago Bears' defenses, told Saban. "I was always somebody's best assistant, and when I became a head coach, I just turned the defense over to somebody else. It was never the same." Saban, who often was a head coach's top assistant, vowed he would not face the same dilemma when he was in charge. He would make sure this facet of the team was "done the right way." That's why he hired Steele, who has been a Saban confidant for years. Routinely, one would find himself calling the other and asking, "What do you think of this idea?"
"There has always been a common bond there," said Steele, whose resume includes stints as Baylor's head coach, as Florida State's executive coach and as an NFL assistant. "We've been personal friends for a long time, and he was always somebody I could lean on heavily from a football standpoint."

Saban has upper hand with media - Paul Finebaum - Tuesday, April 10, 2007
In what has become a common occurrence since early winter, another media attack has landed squarely on Nick Saban's noggin. Poor guy. Almost makes you want to feel sorry for Alabama's $4 million a year head football coach. Almost. However, the shocker was that the shots came from inside the boundaries of the state of Alabama. Not from ESPN, the New York Times or the Miami Herald, but from a sports columnist at the Montgomery Advertiser named Josh Moon. After waking up and reading his column on Easter Sunday, many Tide fans were probably ready to fly this guy to the Moon -- on a one-way ticket. "The hypocrisy of Nick Saban is astonishing," Moon's column began. Yep, got my attention, too. From there, Moon began to hammer the Tide coach's attitude toward the media -- from allowing reporters into a recent scrimmage for only six minutes to refusing to allow players to speak afterward. "This from a guy who owes most of his financial success to the very media he's now giving the shaft," wrote Moon. "Let's be real here. Nick Saban's reputation is mostly hype. ... When he needed the press for his personal advancement, we were great guys to have around." Oh my, I love a good spicy sports column that is full of great entertainment. This one certainly qualifies in every department. However, I began to wonder if Moon had hit his head against the wall before penning this particular entry. Or was he writing it with an AK-47 rifle being held to his head in the hands of some deranged Auburn fan? How does one equate two SEC championships and a BCS national championship at LSU with hype?

Does Saban know what he's in for? - Sporting News
It always comes back to the story of the brick. Doesn't matter who's preaching or pontificating, who's venting or fuming. It's the brick that begins and ends every coaching story at Alabama 25 years A.B. (After Bear). Yet there's this nagging detail in the anecdote as it grows larger and looms heavier with every dissertation on the obstacles facing each new coach who follows legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant: It wasn't that big of a deal. Hey, no self-respecting Alabama man can put up with a loss to Mississippi, especially on homecoming weekend. Bill Curry -- the coach in the barrel when the brick crashed through his office window nearly 20 years ago -- was lucky he didn't get worse. "Strange things happen to coaches everywhere," Curry says. "That was the least of it at Alabama, I can assure you."

ALABAMA: Motley right at home on 'D' - Montgomery Advertiser
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama's Brian Motley was told the day before the start of spring training he would be moving to defense. Eight practices later, the former Autaugaville High two-way star recorded a surprising 11 tackles, including three for loss, in the team's first scrimmage. "I surprised myself," Motley said Tuesday. "The coaches told me I did a great job." As Motley and his teammates went through the Crimson Tide's ninth practice of the spring Tuesday, all of the buzz focused on the 6-foot-1, 280-pound Motley. Redshirted last season as a third-team center behind Antoine Caldwell and Evan Cardwell, he earned his teammates' respect last Friday by winning the battle of the trenches against those players.

Johnson, Carter quietly add stability to secondary-Christopher Walsh-Tuscaloosa News
If there’s one spot on the University of Alabama football team this spring where it appears the adage, “The more things change, the more they stay the same," holds true, it’s at safety.Although there are new coaches, a new defensive scheme, numerous changes to the depth chart, players moving around on a daily basis, and no Jeffrey Dukes, who has moved on and hopes to land with an NFL team later this month, the Crimson Tide still has two proven commodities in the middle of the secondary with junior Marcus Carter and sophomore Rashad Johnson.They’re the rocks of the position, the experienced players who have quietly gone about their business through the first nine practices -- although in the shadow of head coach Nick Saban, who has been very hands-on with the defensive backs thus far.So what’s new with the two? Actually quite a lot.“It’s a totally new system, a lot of new calls," Carter said. “We’re still trying to get a feel for him. Big difference from last year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bear Bryant Show, Part 1

This is a clip of the beginning of the Bear Bryant Show after Alabama's 25-18 defeat of Auburn in 1979.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bama Practices 3/28-4/6

ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Crimson Tide players say coach is intense Montgomery Advertiser TUSCALOOSA -- Not surprisingly, Alabama players seemed to have one word to describe their new head coach. "He's very intense," receiver Keith Brown said, "but he's a fun guy." "Without a doubt, it's been very intense," defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "It's been different. It's a good different." Alabama players, speaking to the media for the first time since Nick Saban was hired on Jan. 4, said a four-week offseason program -- twice the amount they encountered with former coach Mike Shula -- put the players in better condition for the unusually high March temperatures they have faced in football practices on Saturday and Tuesday. See above link for more.

ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Applewhite finally arrives at The Capstone Montgomery Advertiser TUCALOOSA -- Alabama's offensive coordinator inherited the tradition he now finds himself trying to rebuild. Major Applewhite's father Larry, a past president of the University of Alabama national alumni association, had the perfect name for his son, who was born in the summer of 1978. The future football star was named after Crimson Tide starting tailback Major Ogilvie, who would go on to lead the Crimson Tide to national championships in 1978 and 1979. And while he was never offered a scholarship to play football at the school he grew up adoring, he certainly understands the tradition and folklore that was built by years of winning championships. "I know what it means to be at Alabama," he said. "I grew up an Alabama fan and all that kind of stuff. It's not a shock, the expectations and the importance of football in the state and to the people." Applewhite lived up to his name, earning Parade All-America honorable mention status as a senior at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, La., after leading his team to a 25-2 record as a junior and senior. See above link for more.

Crimson Tide practice notebook by Dan Sellers - The Tuscaloosa News March 31, 2007
The University of Alabama football team completed its fifth practice of the spring Saturday afternoon, and head coach Nick Saban said that consistency has been lacking thus far. “Consistency in performance is the biggest thing we’re trying to emphasize right now,” he said. “One day, we’ll have one group, or one side of the ball, or one set of players end up performing better, and then the next day they don’t seem to perform as well and another group seems to surface.”Saban said there hasn’t been as many players practicing with consistent effort or toughness as he would like. See above link for more.
Steele's not a stranger by Creg Stephenson - Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer
New Alabama defensive coordinator Kevin Steele has spent a lot of time around Crimson Tide football in his nearly 48 years, perhaps an inordinate amount of time for someone who didn't play at the school and didn't work there until less than three months ago. Steele's father spent several years as a coach at Gordo High School, just one county over from Tuscaloosa (his parents still live just to the northeast in West Blocton). His uncle, Tommy White, played for the Crimson Tide on the first three teams coached by the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant. It goes without saying that Steele's hiring at Alabama in early January was a major event in his family. But like everyone else on Nick Saban's Crimson Tide staff, that emotion faded quickly in a blur of late nights at the Alabama football complex and on the road recruiting. See above link for more.

ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Saban wants Tide to improveBy by Tim Gayle, Montgomery Advertiser - TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama concluded its first week of practice Saturday in front of more than 800 high school and college coaches. Head coach Nick Saban stressed improvement. "Obviously, the past two days have been very hectic for our staff, with back-to-back practices and the clinic going on," Saban said. "Practicing two days in a row is always challenging for the players, especially at this time of the year with as much learning as we are trying to do." With a third of the Crimson Tide's spring practice in the books, the first-year Tide coach refused to evaluate his team's progress to this point. "It is what it is," he said. "Every player is what he is, the coaches are working hard, everybody's trying to improve and get better. I accept it is what it is, so I don't have any expectations of what it should have been after five days. "I don't have a calendar (planner) that says the football players are supposed to be 72 percent of their efficiency on this date and if it isn't I'm going to go jump off the Mal Moore Building."
Crimson Tide practice notebook by Dan Sellers - The Tuscaloosa News
The third practice brought out yet another first for the Nick Saban era. The University of Alabama football team practiced in pads for the first time this spring Wednesday afternoon with a two-hour session at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility. According to Saban, the Crimson Tide has made progress.“Today was actually a little better practice,” Saban said. “It was a little bit tough yesterday in terms of getting them to focus and getting them going again after two days off, but I was really encouraged today that we had a little better intensity and a little more sense of urgency.”

Crimson Tide opens second week of spring drills Montgomery Advertiser
TUSCALOOSA -- The Alabama football team practiced for approximately two hours under muggy conditions on the first day of the second week of spring practice Tuesday. "Tempo is a hard characteristic that we need to really work on and develop, so that we can maintain intensity," said Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. "A lot of that has to do with the consistency part I talked about on Saturday. With consistency in performance, one of the main things you have to do is to be able maintain your sense of urgency and maintain your intensity. Half of the plays we correct have to do with mental errors, not physical ones, so that's something we are continuing to work on." Saban announced that two offensive players from last season, offensive lineman Taylor Pharr and running back Ali Sharrief got a look on the defensive.
Big Tide Football Day Coming by Kirk McNair, posted Apr 4, 2007
Friday is a big day in Alabama football spring practice as the Crimson Tide is scheduled to have its first scrimmage under new coach Nick Saban. That practice will put Bama into the second half of 15 spring practice days. Alabama will have its second practice of the week and seventh practice of the spring Thursday before going to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the Friday scrimmage. The scrimmage will not be open to the public. The only open practice will be the A-Day Game to conclude spring training.
Alabama offensive coordinator Major Applewhite clearly is no Nick Saban. He wasn't mobbed when he arrived in Tuscaloosa, he didn't sign a contract worth $4 million a year and at age 28, he is a coaching neophyte. But if you make the southwestern trek to Texas, Applewhite may have the same rock-star status his current boss does in Alabama. People remember the gritty competitor, the Southern boy who beat out New Jersey-import Chris Simms for the University of Texas' starting quarterback job. They remember the 19-point comeback in the 2001 Holiday Bowl against Washington.