"It fell back on the leaders back then. Coach [Nick Saban] will tell you. We didn’t have a lot of leadership [in 2010]," McCarron said. "We’ve got a lot of older guys on here, we’ve got a lot of younger guys. I think it’s going to be a good mix up. "We’ve got the ingredients for a great season, we just have to put everything together and get everybody going." "It’s always work — never be satisfied," Johnson said. "I’ve been here so long, I’ve won two national championships. It’s like, ‘What is my motivation?’ I’m trying to motivate myself day in, day out to just keep working, never being satisfied and always stay hungry. Always know you can get better."
Alabama’s receivers and defensive backs never back down from each other. A scrimmage only intensifies things. Everything is earned – including respect. Cornerback Dee Milliner admits, however, that two Crimson Tide receivers have earned a little extra cushion in coverage. Asked to name the speediest of the Tide’s receiving corps, Milliner thought a moment and said, "Probably Kenny Bell and DeAndrew White. Both guys can flat-out run. Once they get going, it’s hard to get with them." While White was held out of Saturday’s first scrimmage with a hamstring injury, Bell affirmed his big-play ability by catching three passes for 68 yards, including a touchdown. "Kenny Bell is having a really good spring," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "… He’s probably been the most consistent guy making plays."
The players had barely unpacked from New Orleans when Saban delivered a message to his sixth Alabama team that was about as subtle as a two-by-four across a crimson helmet. "The first thing I told them was that the team in this room is not the national champs. This is our team for next year," Saban said. "You were on a national championship team and you made a significant contribution to it. But this is not a national championship team."
"This is our offense. This is what we do," Saban said Saturday. "We tried to run. We didn’t run it very well. I don’t know if that was the defense stopping the run pretty good or if we can’t run. If we were running it, I’d say we weren’t very good on defense."
There were touchdown passes to Christion Jones and Kenny Bell, and there was an interception that newcomer Deion Belue turned into a touchdown of his own. AJ McCarron absorbed both with a higher level of maturity Saturday following the University of Alabama's first spring scrimmage. The second-year starter at quarterback has now been around enough to know that not all will go perfectly, and that the next play could always be the most important. "I don't pay attention to lows. I really don't pay attention to highs. In every game, you're going to have highs, you're going to have lows. You've got to know how to balance both of them," said McCarron. "If something good happens, celebrate it for that split second, then let it go."
"One thing I think Coach is going to want us to focus on in Friday's scrimmage is just keep intensity the whole time," Johnson said, referring to coach Nick Saban. "We started off like hype, intensity, focus, everything, then we died off. "That's one thing we don't do around here. We finish strong. That's one thing for a fact I know he's going to say, so that's one thing we're going to focus on."
Senior Nico Johnson, Alabama's leading returning tackler, said he's liked what he's seen from the new faces, particularly redshirt freshman Brent Calloway and early enrollees Ryan Anderson and Dillon Lee. "They are trying to learn everything," Johnson said. "That's the main thing. Catch on." Calloway, who is working with the inside linebackers, spent all of last season at running back, but never saw the field. The learning curve hasn't been as sharp as it would be for others, Johnson said, because Alabams's defense is similar to the one Calloway played at Russellville High. "He's just rolling," Johnson said. After Saturday's scrimmage, coach Nick Saban wasn't nearly as optimistic about Calloway's handle of the defense, but stressed that he was making progress.
"I would say that the permanent games are probably as safe as anything that's on the table," Templeton said. "I think there is a strong commitment to keep the traditional games in this league. And to do that you have to keep the permanent opponents."
Alabama sophomore infielder Kaila Hunt (Evans, Ga.) and sophomore pitcher Jackie Traina (Naples, Fla.) earned Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honors as announced by the league office Monday. Hunt was named the SEC Player of the Week while Traina garnered Pitcher of the Week accolades. The honor is a career first for Hunt while Traina nabbed the pitching honor for the second time this season and the third time in her career.
Alabama football signee Dalvin Tomlinson will undergo surgery after suffering a "significant" knee injury, according to the Henry Daily Herald. Tomlinson, an AJC Super 11 defensive tackle from Henry County High School, waited until signing day to reveal his college decision, putting on an Alabama baseball cap over runners-up Georgia Tech and UGA. Tomlinson injured his knee while playing soccer for his high school. He told the Daily Herald’s Brian Paglia that he expects to be fully recovered by the start of his college football season.
In any event, reading between the lines of Dodd's reporting makes me think that one reason the NCAA wants to get out of bowl governance is because there will soon be fewer bowls. Back in January, we learned that there is "strong support" for raising the bar for bowl eligibility from six wins to seven. If that happens, seven or so bowls will no longer exist because there won't be enough eligible teams to participate in them. Dodd mentions that in 2004, the Aloha Bowl sued the NCAA (and lost) over losing its license to operate. If seven more bowls are going to lose their right to exist, I highly doubt the NCAA wants to have to go through up to seven additional lawsuits.
Regardless, the first eye-opening score has leaked from the 2012 edition of the 50-question Wonderlic test. Per multiple league sources, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four. Yes. A four. Out of 50. The joke, however, continues to be on anyone who thinks that all college athletes are also students. Plenty of them aren’t. They’re minor-league football players who have no choice but to wait at least three years until they get a shot at joining the NFL.