Alabama coach Nick Saban plans to join his five former players for the primetime event televised by ESPN. "It really is a happy time to know these guys probably worked their whole athletic career to this point to have an opportunity like this," said Saban who took over the program in 2007. "To see them finally sorta get the self-gratification of that being fulfilled with being picked by one of the teams in the first round, I certainly hope and pray these guys do get picked in the first round."
"It is special for us to see our guys who have worked so hard have the opportunity now to get a lot of positive, self-gratification from the opportunity of getting to play at the next level," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "They all did it the right way here. They were all good students, and they all have a chance to graduate if they haven't already."
"I was at the national championship game," Newsome said. "In watching that defense this year, it was very similar to the way we played defense in 2000. "They were able to stop the run. They could rush the passer and then they had guys in coverage with a ball-hawker at safety. If you want to compare the two, it’s hard to do a college team versus a pro team, but they looked very similar to me. For that level of football, they were as dominant of a defense as it could be for that level."
Barron, considered the draft's top safety, is NFL-ready, according to Saban. "I think he's ready to play in the NFL. He's got a lot of experience here," Saban said. "We do a lot of the same stuff (at Alabama) that we did in the NFL, so he's been exposed to a lot of those types of coverages, adjustments and different things. All those things enhance a guy's ability to have a smooth transition into the NFL and be a productive player early on."
Mark Barron, S, Alabama: It’s been a long time since the Cowboys had a deadly safety prowling, and Mark Barron is just the Right Kind of Guy to fit the mold. His hard nose play and unrivaled leadership for the NCAA leading Crimson Tide defense will allow Barron to step right in and start kicking butt and taking names. Rob Ryan did an excellent job last year in improving defense less intimidating than a wet paper bag. Having a talent like Barron brings a little bit more swagger to a defense that lacked swag down the stretch. Barron brings the capability to cover tight ends which has become increasingly important with how offenses utilize them. This season alone, the Cowboys will face Fred Davis (twice), Jimmy Graham, Jermaine Gresham, Tony Gonzalez, and Kellen Winslow. All are important components of each team’s offense and if Barron can help shut them down, the Cowboys chances of winning jump through the roof. Alt Pick: If Barron is off the board, look for the Cowboys to draft another Crimson Tide defense in either Dre Kirkpatrick, or Courtney Upshaw.
Hightower: "He could play inside or outside 'backer. He can play Mike or Will inside, strong side or weak side — he's play 'em both here. He can play outside. He's been a designated pass rusher on third down for us. He's also been a stand-up fourth rusher drop, X package when they put all the linebackers in there — he can play any one of those positions. He's a very smart guy. He's a signal caller that has really good leadership qualities and understands football extremely well and has a lot of diversity in terms of how you can use him. So…when you got guys that size, that speed and that athletic that do so many things, those guys don't come around very often."
Nick Saban keeps most of his conversations between NFL coaches and general managers private, but the Alabama coach couldn't resist sharing the latest example of overanalysis earlier this week. Saban didn't cite the source, but the query regarded former Alabama running back Trent Richardson. The questioner, Saban said, wanted to know if Richardson "used to hang around the wrong people" while he grew up in a hardscrabble area of Pensacola, Fla. Saban's quick reaction: "Where in the heck did that come from?" "I think one of the worst things about the draft now is how everybody gets beat up," Saban said during his interview with ESPN Dallas radio. "Trent Richardson is the finest guy that I've ever been associated with as a coach. In terms of a person, forget about a football player."
As the 2012 draft approaches, there’s increasing buzz that Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is "dropping" on draft boards. The truth is he isn’t dropping. The truth is that he was already lower than the media believed. Which, as more information trickles out about the actual content of draft boards, creates the impression that the player is dropping.
Someone please explain how one of the cogs of two national championship offenses is deemed a seventh-round prospect, if that. Barrett Jones was the most talented and versatile Alabama offensive lineman, but Vlachos was the three-year starting center for a team that consistently wore down opposing defenses and moved the pile for star backs Mark Ingram and Richardson. Vlachos is also the kind of smart, charismatic leader teams want in the locker room. I'd give him a chance.
Alabama running back Trent Richardson might be the top player on the Jets’ draft board, but it is unlikely that the team will trade up to get him on Thursday night. The Jets are currently picking 16th in the first round and they would need to move up to the third pick in order to guarantee themselves Richardson. Manish Mehta of the Daily News quotes a team official as saying that the price tag for that deal is "ridiculous."
Take an in-depth look at what it takes to make it in the NFL, as Gatorade's Everything to Prove series takes you all-access with top prospects in this year's draft, including Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and Alabama RB Trent Richardson.
The third ranked Alabama softball team used the long ball early and often on Wednesday night, hitting four home runs en route to a 12-0, run-rule victory over in-state rival Troy in front of 2,726 fans at Rhoads Stadium. With the victory, the Crimson Tide improves to 43-4 on the year, while the Trojans fall to 31-17. On top of the offensive output, freshman pitcher Leslie Jury threw a one-hitter to improve to 11-3 on the year. Jury struck out six Trojan batters in her five innings of work while walking four. The only hit came on a third inning bunt single. Alabama senior Amanda Locke belted two home runs and drove in three while junior Kayla Braud also chipped in two hits. The Tide outhit the Trojans, 11-1, as nine different players tallied a hit in the winning effort. As it had done all season long, the Crimson Tide took an early lead with a big first inning. Alabama plated four runs on the strength of back-to-back home runs.
On the eve of the NFL draft, Georgia head coach Mark Richt was asked if he looks at the event as an evaluation of the talent his program had on hand. "No, not really," Richt said. "I look at the draft as a time to hopefully celebrate with some of our former players, guys that have been dreaming to do this and getting an opportunity to do this. Hoping and praying they get drafted by the right team and in a good round."
The first question SEC Commissioner Mike Slive fielded from an audience member last week during a speech in Hoover was less inquiry, more demand: Give us a college football playoff. Then came the man's question. "Can you promise to us," he asked Slive, "that you're going to fight for the SEC not to have a superior second-place team left out over an inferior Pac-10 team?" Slive's response: "My position has always been that the purpose of the postseason is if you're going to have a championship game, it ought to be the best teams without conditions."
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the Atlanta Falcons confirmed Wednesday afternoon that they are working toward construction of a new retractable roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. The new plan would replace plans for an open-air stadium on a site north of the World Congress Center that would have operated in tandem with the existing Dome. Both the Falcons and the GWCC Authority said it would make more financial and logistical sense to build a single $948 million retractable roof stadium than to retrofit the Georgia Dome.