Friday, April 20, 2007

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.”

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