Stadium expansion=kicker's best friend?
File this one in the "we'll take all the help we can get" category; by closing in the south end zone the stadium was effectively "bowled," blocking wind that previously came through unabated. How big of a help will that be? Leigh Tiffin has some thoughts:
"I think it will help those guys and make a difference for them," said Leigh Tiffin, UA’s former three-year starter who knows as well as anyone what kicking at Bryant-Denny pre-expansion was like. "I would say about 70 percent of the impact the wind has on kickers is psychological, more than physical. But if it changes the way you think, it can change the way you kick, and cost you some accuracy. If it’s just a breeze out there, that’s not a problem. You kick right through it and don’t even let it affect you. But if it’s 10, 15 miles an hour or more, it’s something you have to compensate for."
I think we're all expecting Dareus to play this season considering he hasn't missed a single practice and has worked exclusively with the first spring thus far. I mean, if the staff had the slightest inkling that he may have to sit any games then those reps would be going to whoever would be taking his place. But the ruling hasn't come down, and there's blessedly little in the way of info on what is actually going on. Saban is still doing his usual comment while saying nothing routine:
If it's any comfort, Dareus doesn't seem too worried about it:
"But he’s also been pretty selfless in trying to influence and impact especially the other guys in his group. I think his example has been good, and he’s played fairly well."
Where would us dumb ol' boys be without yankees to teach us about your misplaced priorities?
The SEC has made seven coaching changes in the past two years alone. Five of those coaches - including Phil Fulmer, who coached Tennessee to its only national championship in 1998; and Tommy Tuberville, who coached Auburn to a perfect 13-0 record in 2004 - were dismissed. A sixth, Bobby Johnson of Vanderbilt, retired out of the blue in June, two years after the Commodores broke down decades-long barriers, winning their first bowl game in 53 years to punctuate a 7-6 season.
"Football is not life, but it's a way of life and it consumes your life," Johnson admitted, citing a personal decision. "You only have so many years to live and you want to see a different way."
Last, but not least, I answered a few questions for Team Speed Kills here.