Jalston Fowler (#45) rushes upfield against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Spring practice should provide a strong opportunity for practice reps among UA's reserves, particularly if Lacy is limited. Jalston Fowler was effective for UA as a No.3 back a season ago. He picked up 385 yards for the season, but most of that came against defenses that had been worn down late in games. Other returning players involved in the competition include third-year sophomore Blake Sims and redshirt freshmen Dee Hart and Brent Calloway. Hart said in January that he expects to be fully ready for spring drills after spending the fall rehabilitating from a knee injury.
Talk about a tough schedule. Fresh off of a convincing road win at LSU, the No. 5 Alabama gymnastics team will travel to Norman, Oklahoma this weekend to take on the No. 2 Sooners. Of the eight teams the Tide has faced so far this season, six are ranked in the top-15 or higher nationally. The other two were part of a quad meet with Penn State that Alabama won by a margin of just .075. "It is kind of stressful, but we know that we’re one of the top teams also," sophomore Diandra Milliner said. "It just gets us pumped. It gives us a lot of confidence knowing that we’ve beaten all these teams."
The No. 5 Alabama gymnastics team closes out the road portion of its regular season this Friday, March 2 when it takes on No. 2 Oklahoma starting at 7 p.m. CST at the Lloyd Nobles Center in Norman, Okla. "Oklahoma is a great team," UA head coach Sarah Patterson said. "They've been in the hunt for the national championship the last two years and are obviously very good again this season." Friday marks the Crimson Tide's first non-conference meet since the Tide faced off against Penn State, Michigan State and Cornell in State College, Pa. on Jan. 21. Alabama closed out its regular-season Southeastern Conference slate last Friday with a win at LSU, giving the Tide a perfect SEC record for the first time since 1991. The Sooners, under head coach KJ Kindler, are also coming off a win after beating Michigan and Texas Woman's University last Friday in Norman. Oklahoma is the Tide's fifth opponent ranked in the top-10 and seventh ranked in the top-20 this season.
Having finished off the regular season in-conference schedule last weekend, the No. 5 University of Alabama gymnastics team will now delve into the Big XII conference to see some new faces. While the SEC is full of tough competition, the Big XII has its own teams to boast. It’s certainly not a break for the Crimson Tide before the postseason. Alabama competes at No. 2 Oklahoma tonight. For the third time this season, the Tide is competing against a team that’s ranked higher. But this time, it’s a road meet. "I think just knowing that Oklahoma is ranked a little higher than us right now is a good motivation to want to do our best, and even though the rankings don’t really matter, we know that they’re a great team, so we just want to go out there and show them how great we are as well," senior Geralen Stack-Eaton said.
The No. 1 ranked Alabama softball team continues its homestand by hosting the Easton Alabama Invite at Rhoads Stadium. Alabama will welcome Maryland, Massachusetts and UAB to Tuscaloosa this weekend. UA will open tournament play on Friday, March 2, against Maryland with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Tide will play a doubleheader on Saturday, facing off against Massachusetts at 1:30 p.m., and Maryland at 4 p.m. Alabama will finish off tournament play against UAB on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. All four Alabama games will be televised by WVUA.
The Tennessee Titans might be looking for help at safety early in the draft. Could an injury that kept a prime prospect out of the combine help that prospect slip to the Titans at No. 20? Alabama safety Mark Barron looks to be a player who could solve a big issue in Tennessee. He’s a big (6-foot-1, 213 pounds), rangy playmaker who should be an opening day starter. He played both free and strong safety for Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban. "Big safety, athletic, smart, rare size and frame," a scout told me at the combine. "Runs the show in a difficult defense to absorb. Very good kid. No issues. Coaches love him and trust him. Immediate starter wherever he goes. Injury is the only way he is available at 20."
The University of Alabama now has two running backs committed for its 2013 class in Altee Tenpenny and Tyren Jones, but Norcross, Ga., back Alvin Kamara isn't scared off in the least. He's just as interested in Alabama as he was before Tenpenny and Jones came to their decisions. "That doesn't change anything, honestly," Kamara said. "You can't get better without having some competition." Kamara said he grew up playing with Jones, and the two are close. He doesn't know Tenpenny well, but he welcomes the idea of playing alongside the pair of running backs. "It'd be a plus for Alabama having us all pushing each other, making each other better," Kamara said. "When it comes to splitting time, I'm not worried about that."
Then there’s the matter of who LSU would end the season with. Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, that team has been the Razorbacks. But Alleva is warming to the idea of ending the season against A&M, and he said he gets a similar vibe from College Station. That rivalry would be a natural season-ender for two schools with so much similar territory in common, but one of the problems is what to do with Arkansas?