Friday, August 31, 2007

Future posts...

I'll post about our gameday experience and the game itself later in the weekend and next week!

A new era in Bama football...

It's been a long road for the Tide. After decades of glory that ended in the late 1990's, Alabama has been wandering in the wilderness most of the past decade. Obviously no one knows exactly how this season will turn out. One thing is clear, however. The Tide has a strong, effective leader at the helm in Coach Saban. Alabama fans have good reason to be optimistic that this year's team will show an intensity that has been lacking for many years. That is not to say they will win all of their games or that they will even win 10 games this year. I'm not saying they won't do that either. There seems to be an intangible quality that you can see in the players' eyes and hear in their words. I think Coach Saban is teaching these players about the importance of pushing themselves to be intense in everything they do. There have been setbacks, and there will probably be more. Finally, though, I get the feeling Alabama is headed in the right direction!

Looking forward to gameday.......Roll Tide!

What is a catamount, anyway?

Here's the scoop.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Great new article

AJC's Tony Barnhart interviews Coach Saban last Saturday...

My only problem....if Alabama was the "new wife" she would be afraid that he would return to his old flame, and soulmate, LSU...

Saban: 'I try to do the right things'

Published on: 08/30/07

Since 92,138 of them turned out for Nick Saban's unofficial coaching debut – in a spring game, no less – Alabama fans have been counting down the days until kickoff. Saban, who in January became college football's highest-paid coach, sat in his office with the AJC's Tony Barnhart last weekend to discuss his hopes to change the culture in Tuscaloosa, how he mishandled his departure from the Miami Dolphins and more.

Q: You're days away from your first game as Alabama coach. What's the most important thing you still don't know?

A: I'm anxious to see what happens if things don't go well on the field. That will be the key to the drill. That's a problem on our team right now. That's the culture here. Players have high expectations, but as soon as something goes bad, they kind of go in the tank. And that's lethal when it comes to being a competitor.

Q: You say you want to change the culture at Alabama. What do you mean by that?

A: We live in a culture of instant gratification. It's the fans. It's the media. It's the way young people look at the world. I had to get on my guys one day. I told them, "You guys are talking about winning a championship. Fans are talking about winning a championship. And nobody has done anything to win a championship. You guys don't go to class. You don't work like you need to on the field. You're not dedicated to being as good a player as you can be." I told them, "Do you guys think you're doing anything different than what Tennessee, LSU and Auburn are doing?" I just got tired of hearing it.

Q: Does that learning curve also exist for the fans?

A: I wouldn't want to coach anyplace where they didn't have an expectation of winning. But expectations also are what set people up so that if things go wrong, they think the sky is falling. We've got this expectation that everything is going to be great. But as soon as it's not great, it's a catastrophe. So how do you improve in that environment? It's like everything is all or nothing. It's important that we get that message out there, and I try to talk directly to our fans every chance I get.

Q: The word in the coaching fraternity is you're a tough guy to work for. Is that fair? Why do you push people the way you do?

A: To me, the human condition is not to be great. Most people are satisfied to make a C. Some people want to do good so they can take it easy. That's the way most people are. Trying to be the very best you can be is really kind of special. It takes a certain amount of character and mental and physical toughness to succeed. It's not normal to go out there in 100-degree heat and do what you have to do to win a championship.

Q: Does it bother you that members of the media, particularly in Miami, continue to pound you over the way you handled your decision to come here?

A: It does bother me, and I do care about it because I try to be a good person. I try to do the right things. I try to do the right things for other people. I try to do the right things for my players. I am constantly trying to do the right things, and it's hard to do because you can't please everybody.

Q: But do you understand that reaction, given the fact that you stood up in that news conference in Miami and said that you would not be Alabama's coach?

A: I should have handled it better. I should have just not talked about it. But it kept coming up and it kept coming up. Then came the hypothetical question: "Will you be the coach here next year?" I never answer hypothetical questions, but in this case I did, and I made a mistake. And [then] people questioned my character and integrity. It was a tough situation and I didn't handle it very well and I'm responsible for it. So whatever is happening to me, I know it's nobody's fault but mine.

Q: Is there any concern this issue will follow you for the rest of your career?

A: The biggest mistake was leaving college football in the first place. That's what I like and that is where I think I can affect people the most. I've been on the ethics committee for the NCAA. I've been on the rules committee for the NCAA. I would like to think I've done a lot of good things for college football. It's important to me. So to get beat up when it's not really who you are, it's not easy. But I think who I am is more important than what I did or what everybody thinks. I will probably forever regret the way that all happened.

Q: Any other regrets?

A: I will forever regret what this has done to my relationship to the people in Louisiana, who I have a tremendous amount of respect for and love dearly. We accomplished something with those people [winning the 2003 BCS championship at LSU] that is as special as anything that has been accomplished in my life. And now that's tarnished because now it's that I'm a traitor because I came here.

Q: Bottom line, what will it take to get this program back among the nation's elite?

A: In college, if you can recruit well for a few years, you've got a chance. But there is a greater disparity between the good teams and the bad teams in college football than there is in the pros. In college, you have to rebuild the entire program. We've got some good kids to build around. But the key is you have to have a critical mass of good players who believe in what you're doing. Then the other guys don't fit in if they don't conform. That is what you need.

Q: What will you be thinking about before Saturday's opener?

A: I want to do well for the people here. There are great people in this state and they have been very supportive. I want to do good things for them. I want to give them what they want. And I'm sure we're going to go through some frustrating times trying to get there. But things that are worth accomplishing don't come easy – and I don't expect this to come easy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tide News

Saban top topic for UA's Moore - Montgomery Advertiser - 8/1/07

Tide takes the practice field - David Wasson - Tuscaloosa News - 8/3/07

Prothro's playing days over at 'Bama - - 8/3/07

Tide offseason conditioning program paying off - Tuscaloosa news - 8/5/07

Saban Positive, But Realistic - Kirk McNair - - 8/5/07

Crimson Tide draws 9,000 for fan day practice - Decatur Daily - 8/6/07

Pulling the Tide Out of the Rough - Washington Post - 8/6/07

Demand soars for Tide tickets - Montgomery Advertiser - 8/7/07

Alabama's Hall is chasing wins, records - Sporting News - 8/7/07

So Far, So Good For Bama - Kirk McNair - - 8/7/07

Top returning Tide tailback switches positions - Montgomery Advertiser - 8/9/07

SEC West ready for football season - Crimson White - 8/9/07

Krauss Joins Crimson Tide Broadcast Team; Watts Takes On Larger Role - WVUA - 8/10/07

UA 'Fan Day' shows glimpse of Saban and local stars - South Alabamian - 8/10/07

Nick Saban press conference video - Tuscaloosa News - 8/10/07

Tide scrimmages today - Paul Gattis - Huntsville Times - 8/11/07
ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Caldwell to don cap, gown - Montgomery Advertiser - 8/11/07

Monday, August 06, 2007

Practice 8/5/07

I was impressed by many things yesterday during Alabama's football practice.

The overall organization. Everyone seemed to know where to go, what to do, and when to do it.

The tempo of practice was quick. People were moving and moving quickly. When the foghorn sounded everyone hustled to their next task.

They seemed to be in very good physical condition. Sweat was pouring off of me as I sat in the stands. The temp was close to 100 degrees with very high humidity. These playerw were not dragging around. They were hustling.

The strength and conditioning coach has a loud voice and was yelling instructions to the team like a drill instructor. The team responded in perfect unison.

Coach Saban is very much a hands on coach of the cornerbacks. He was in constant motion putting them through a variety of drills. It was interesting watching him throw passes for them to defend on the sideline. Not a bad arm for a 50+ year old man!

The quarterbacks looked good. Freshman Nick Fanuzzi did run into halfback Roy Upchurch while attempting to hand off during drills.

The running backs were interesting to watch as they did one-legged drills over the raised platforms. Jimmy Johns, jumped on top of them instead of between them as he was supposed to do.

The placekickers spent a lot of time standing around. That was my main concern about practice. I don't understand why they were not practicing place kicking.

Fan Day 8/5/07

Coach Saban, right after a hot practice and signing a jillion autographs.

Ok, I'll sign a few more...

Coach is about to sign my son Joe's helmet.

Coach Saban signs my A-Day 2007 program, which I gave to Matt.

I was the guy with three boys standing right in front of the officer who said, "I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we have to cut off the line here." Luckily I kept standing in my spot in the line to take pictures. I said to the officer, "What about these kids? We've been out here for hours." I asked to at least stay and take a few photos. Then Coach Saban agreed to do a few more. My three sons were therefore able to get Coach Saban's autograph. I didn't get an autograph, though, because right before Coach would have picked up my ball one of the officers moved my ball away from hi and out of my reach. Coach signed a few more then left. I was glad my boys got autographs (and that was my main concern), but it bothers me that an officer basically "stole" one from me. Coach Saban was very cordial and kind to stay after the deadline to keep signing for fans. I would not have blamed him if he left at the appointed time after a long hot day on the field. Alabama has a winner!

Photos from the Tuscaloosa News

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sad news from T-Town

End of the lineTide's Prothro put on medical hardship; career essentially over - Tuscaloosa News - 8/3/07
TUSCALOOSA University of Alabama senior wide receiver Tyrone Prothro has been ruled out for the 2007 season, essentially ending his college football career. Prothro sustained a horrific multiple leg fracture 670 days ago against Florida, a 31-3 victory, from which he has yet to recover. The closest he got to the field last season was bringing out the game ball against Auburn.With 105 players reporting for fall camp Tuesday, Prothro and three others were placed on medical hardship. Each will still receive athletic financial aid, which will not count toward the 85-man limit.“It’s a permanent situation, there is an appeal process that a player could go through, but our medical staff would not put a guy on this if they though that a guy be able to come back and play,” Saban said.

CECIL HURT: Reality of Prothro's status sets in - Tuscaloosa News - 8/3/07
“It’s great to be optimistic. It’s probably not so good to be pessimistic.“But it’s best to be realistic.”If Nick Saban has had a mantra this summer, that’s probably been it. It’s a phrase he’s repeated at most press conferences and public speaking engagements. The inference is he’s priming the safety valve on the boiler of expectations. He’s cooling off Alabama fans who are ready to jump from hiring a new coach to hoisting the BCS championship trophy without even the formality of a season — and certainly not the bother of two or three — in between.Saban didn’t employ that frequently employed phrase on Thursday, when he once again met with the press. But the words still echoed, in an entirely different context.When Saban announced that Tyrone Prothro would be moved to a “medical scholarship” for the 2007 school year, it represented more than just a necessary personnel decision. It represented a switch from optimism — or, more precisely, over-optimism — to realism.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bama video Collection

If you ever get in the mood to see some cool Alabama video clips, check this site out!