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.


Sharp said...

I've wanted to ask you how you feel about all the heat Saban is taking for restricting media access to the players and practices. Personally, I really don't care as long as the Tide improves this season. It may hurt our rankings in the writers' polls, though.

Mike Wilhelm said...

I agree. None of that matters, IF he wins!