Alabama was the ultimate winner in college football during the 2011 season. But the Crimson Tide might not be set up for a repeat performance in 2012. And it might not be because of a lack of talent (something Alabama hasn't really experienced since Nick Saban arrived). According to ESPN colleague Ryan McGee, Alabama might not hoist the crystal ball in Miami next year because of its schedule. McGee named his top 10 early schedule losers in 2012, and Alabama came in at No. 1. It was the only SEC team to make his list.
Anthony Grant can be succinct at times. He can give courteous but brief answers to questions about the University of Alabama basketball team that he coaches, and he often leaves the specifics of his communication with the Crimson Tide in the locker room where he clearly feels it belongs. Grant, though, is mysterious. He can be a man of few words, but those words are direct. Such was the case on Tuesday as he talked about his team as it comes off a frustrating 56-52 loss at Mississippi State and continues to navigate the tricky shoals of upcoming games with Vanderbilt and Kentucky, perhaps the best two teams in the Southeastern Conference. "I don't like the tempo we're playing at right now," Grant said. "We need to get out of our comfort zone." When asked specifically about his displeasure with the tempo, Grant said "it's too slow. "We need to create other ways to manufacture points."
Has it really been three years since Thompson vowed UT would "own Memphis" in recruiting? To say a lot has happened since Thompson made that statement would be, well, an understatement. Since 2009, Alabama has captured two national titles, with both teams featuring key Thompson recruits (Trent Richardson, Mark Barron, Julio Jones, etc ...). Meanwhile, the Vols have compiled an 18-20 mark, a stretch that saw UT post one winning season. History will show that Lance got Lane'd while Sal got the rings.
3. Alabama: Nick Saban will have a legit shot to win his third BCS title in four seasons because he'll still have a stellar O-line and a proven QB (McCarron). Eddie Lacy is also ready to be a feature back. They will have to replace most of the defense, but there is plenty of talent ready to break out in the front seven, led by powerhouse DE Jesse Williams, who is still raw but an offseason of polish should make him a nightmare for SEC offenses. LB Xzavier Dickson is also a guy that has Tide coaches buzzing after a nice freshman year. They'll have a nice test in the opener in Texas against a good Michigan team. The bad news is they do have to go on the road to face the other two heavyweights in the conference: LSU and at Arkansas.
The #1 player in the state of Alabama, QB Jameis Winston will be a busy man on Wednesday. At 11:30 tomorrow, he is set to receive the Mr. Football award in a ceremony in Montgomery. After picking up that hardware, he has to head back to Birmingham for a tryout with the San Diego Padres. There will be three spectators of note in the stands tomorrow night in Pelham for Winston’s MLB tryout. Tide assistants Jeremy Pruitt, Lance Thompson and new OC Doug Nussmeier. The Tide staff wants the 6’4" 200 pounder to become familiar with Coach Nussmeier prior to his scheduled official visit to FSU this weekend.
Daphne running back T.J. Yeldon was named Mr. Football today, edging Hueytown quarterback Jamies Winston to become the the first running back to win the Mr. Football award since 2000. Yeldon -- ranked No. 4 on the Press-Register's preseason Elite 18 -- picked up the award at the annual awards luncheon, sponsored by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association. Mr. Football is awarded by the Alabama Sports Writers Association.
Moving to the defensive side of the football, three linebackers made big jumps including two from the state of Alabama. Madison (Ala.) Bob Jones linebacker Reggie Ragland and Daphne, Ala., 'backer Ryan Anderson, both Alabama Crimson Tide commits, impressed Rivals.com Southeast Analyst Keith Niebuhr recently. "Ragland is a big, strong and powerful inside backer who mans the middle of the field extremely well. He's a player who at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds looks incredibly good in pads, and is sneaky fast for someone his size," said Niebuhr of Ragland, who jumped 40 slots up to No. 43 in the nation. "He sees the field well, and is quick to hit his gaps and attack. Once he gets his hands on a ball carrier that player is usually going down because of his solid combination of strength and technique. The thing that surprised us most with Reggie was his speed. Ragland is best against the run, but also is very good at sticking with running backs in coverage." As for Anderson, he impressed enough at the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic to move from outside the Rivals250 all the way to No. 98. "Anderson's ascent into the Rivals100 came largely because of his dominant performance throughout the week at the Classic. In that event, he arguably was even more impressive than five-star tailback T.J. Yeldon. After making the transition from being a defensive end with his hand down to outside linebacker, Anderson got progressively better throughout the season," said Niebuhr. "He has terrific size, great quickness and is extremely explosive off the edge. When pursuing the quarterback, he is flat-out relentless. He also has shown the ability to drop into coverage when necessary. He should be an excellent outside backer in the 3-4 at the next level."
"Today's tight ends are too big and athletic to be covered by most safeties and too fast and agile to be handled by linebackers," he said. "Getting a versatile, athletic tight end who can stretch the field has become much more important than getting one that can block. But if you can find a tight end who can do both, like Gronkowski, then you've hit a home run."
His parents Arthur and Sonia were among eight family members yesterday tattooed with Alabama University's logo and Jesse's playing number 54 after the 21-year-old last week won one of football's highest honours. Alabama won America's Bowl Championship series against Louisiana State University and his proud dad said his family wanted to mark the occasion. "We wanted to mark the win, even though it's a win for Alabama, it's a huge win for our family and all our relatives,"he said.
Now, the accompanying debate: Where does this Alabama defense, only the second in 14 years of the BCS to hold the opponent without a touchdown in the title game, stack up historically?
So with that in mind, let’s compare three great defenses: ’86 Oklahoma, ’88 Auburn and ’11 Alabama. First you’ll see their schedules, the outcomes and a few notes on the opposing offenses. Below all that we’ll have a few crunched numbers and, finally, the limitations of this brief bit of research.
Weis wouldn’t go into great detail about the 10 cases, but an interesting tidbit was written about Berglund’s dismissal. Apparently, Berglund found out about it via Twitter, rather than from the coaches.
Rumored for a couple of weeks to be headed for a reunion with his former offensive coordinator, Michael Dyer‘s move from Auburn is now official. "We are excited to have one of the top running backs in college football join our program, and we welcome him to our Arkansas State family," said Malzahn. "Michael is obviously a proven player, and he will certainly make a great addition to our team."