The possible unprecedented size of Alabama's offensive line was noted, and coach Nick Saban was asked Wednesday if that could be a negative. "We have good size on the offensive line, but I think we're very athletic in the offensive line," Saban said. Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio is listed at 6-foot-6, 311 pounds. Left guard Chance Warmack is listed at 6-3, 320. Center Barrett Jones is listed at 6-5, 302. Right guard Anthony Steen is listed at 6-3, 303. Right tackle D.J. Fluker is listed at 6-6, 335. "I think we have a chance to have a really good offensive line," Saban said. "I think we need to have more players develop on the offensive line so that we have the kind of depth on the offensive line that we need. "We have how many games started by the guys that we have back?" It's 95.
A few players are getting a chance to show what they can do at different positions during the University of Alabama's second-to-last week of spring practice, including freshman Alphonse Taylor. The incoming freshman worked at offensive guard Wednesday after spending the first 10 spring practices on the defensive line, but UA coach Nick Saban, as he often does, stressed the move shouldn't be considered permanent. "This is just trial," Saban said. "We're just trying him there." Elsewhere, redshirt freshman Brent Calloway tried his hand at the H-back position after spending previous spring practices at outside linebacker. Calloway spent last season at running back, so he already has some familiarity with the UA offense. Junior Chris Bonds, previously on the defensive line, is working with the outside linebackers. Meanwhile, incoming freshman linebacker Dillon Lee has gone from inside linebacker to outside. "The decisions about where those guys end up playing will be made as we gather information about how they do," Saban said. "Then we'll be able to make a better assessment of what the best position and what role that they have on the team really is. That's kind of where we are."
The message to his team after Saturday's scrimmage was as simple as Nick Saban could put it. Improving, the Alabama coach said, was important. It just took a few more days than he would have liked to permeate through those crimson helmets. Saban was in a better mood after Wednesday's practice, Alabama's 11th of the spring, and he made it clear that the two-hour practice was exactly what the Crimson Tide needed. But he had to preface it. This wasn't how he felt earlier in the week. "We didn't have enough guys that came off the scrimmage with an idea of what they need to do to improve so that we can improve as a team," Saban said. "The players responded very positively today and had a little more intensity, a little more energy, a little more enthusiasm about what they were doing. "Even though we made mistakes, I think we made them with the kind of mental energy that you would like to see guys have so that they can improve."
The Alabama football practiced in full pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility during a two-hour workout on Wednesday afternoon. Spring drills continued for the Crimson Tide, who completed their 12 th practice leading up to the A-Day Game on April 14. After watching film from Saturday’s scrimmage, Alabama head coach Nick Saban felt like the team has to focus on two important factors. “I thought the players responded very positively today,” Saban said. “They had a little more energy, a little more intensity and a little more enthusiasm about what they were doing. Everybody needs to focus on what they want, and what they want to accomplish, and what they want to achieve individually and collectively.”
There seems little chance the BCS will continue as is. If the basic, four-bowls-plus-a-championship-game format is maintained, there is strong sentiment to eliminate automatic entry for the sport's five or six bigger-name conferences. That has branded leagues without it as second-tier. The cap of two BCS entries per conference also could be removed. The BCS document reveals, too, that officials are looking into an expanded lineup of upper-tier bowls beneath a possible four-team playoff. One proposal would set up three or four such bowls, accommodating six to eight teams. Another would create an eight-bowl lineup, making room for 16 teams and increasing the likelihood that teams from middle- or lower-echelon conferences could crack the lineup. Both plans call for a committee to set matchups in those games "with the aim of providing the most evenly matched and attractive games that make geographic sense for the participants."
According to the ProFootballTalk.com visit tracker (link below), the Falcons have kick the tires on Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman. He’s massive with a third to fourth round grade by Pro Football Weekly. “He played at a high level on a national championship team,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said. “So I think, I’d said all along for him, third to fifth round. Or fourth round. When you get to that particular point, there is not going to be a lot of guys who will be able to say, I can plug him in and he’s got experience at the college level in that (4-3) scheme. “Chapman does have the ability to be a guy that you can figure into the mix pretty early in his career. I would said third or fourth round.”
New Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano told Sports Illustrated last week that he has concerns about Blount's ball security after watching the former Oregon star fumble six times in his first two seasons in the NFL. "I think LeGarrette has tons of ability,'' Schiano said. "[But] no one who touches the football will get touches if they don't protect the football. That is one of our core covenants -- the ball. It's so important they named the game after it. We make a big deal about it.'' Schiano has also been very open with his praise of Richardson, helping spur on speculation that the Buccaneers may be eying Richardson as their top Draft prospect. "You can't argue with the production. One of the real barometers is production. Was he able to be consistently productive, and Trent has done it in what's arguably the toughest league in college football.''
This year's NFL draft is just around the corner and ESPN's draft gurus are hard at work, getting tons of information about past college stars and their NFL futures. Mel Kiper's two-round mock draft Insider is out and it shouldn't come as a surprise that the SEC is well represented. Kiper has 12 SEC players going in the first around and 15 total getting drafted in the first two rounds. Four SEC members -- running back Trent Richardson, cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive end Melvin Ingram and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (sorry Big 12, but the SEC claims him now) -- are all slotted to go in the top 10. Alabama leads the SEC with five players in Kiper's mock draft (all in the first round), while LSU is second with four.
The No. 2 Alabama softball team looks to stay in first place in the Southeastern Conference this weekend against LSU. Last season, the Tigers (27-8) swept the Crimson Tide (35-1) in a three-game series, but head coach Patrick Murphy said the team hasn’t thought about any other games except the ones they are facing during that week, so now is the time to focus on LSU. “LSU has two very good pitchers that we’re going to work hard to score against,” Murphy said. “I told the team at the very beginning of the season that softball and baseball are marathons, not sprints. If you look past one opponent and look forward to another, you’re going to get your butt beat.” The No. 24 LSU Tigers are currently 10-1 in SEC play, while the Tide is 12-1. The Tigers are coming off of an eleven game winning streak.
Alabama outfielder Cassie Reilly-Boccia (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) was one of 10 softball student-athletes that were selected as finalists today for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of finalists follows this release. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
There is no Alabama team motorcycle policy. "We had a guy get scraped up a couple of years ago that was a pretty good player," Saban said, referring to Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain. "We try to tell players that there are things that can be dangerous." Even though Saban no longer rides motorcycles, he enjoys similar adrenaline rushes. "I try to enjoy life," he said. "I still water ski. I ride them jet skis as fast as they'll go, and every two years I get the fastest ones they make to replace the last ones." Every year, Saban said his wife, Terry, has a fit. "But that's just the way it goes," he said. "There's not very many things that I like to do, so ... I try not to be stupid, but I'm not going to not do things that I enjoy doing. "You could get hit with a golf ball, and I like playing golf, too. You could have a fatal accident there, but I'm not going to not play golf because of it."
Two of Missouri's top offensive players are questionable for some or all of the 2012 season. Quarterback James Franklin and running back Henry Josey are both recovering from injuries — Josey suffered a major knee injury in November and Franklin injured his shoulder during spring practice in March — and coach Gary Pinkel was noncommittal on when either player would return to the field. Franklin suffered a middle and inferior glenohumeral ligament sprain (shoulder sprain) while diving into a pile to retrieve a fumble during spring practice on March 13. However, when surgeons opened him up, the injury was a little worse than originally thought. Franklin also had a labrum tear, which will add some time to his rehab.
Three national championships With the 2012 BCS championship victory, Saban has entered the hallowed territory where only the true college football coaching legends reside. Bo Schembechler never won one. Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, and Bobby Bowden each won two. Woody Hayes won three, as did Bud Wilkinson and Barry Switzer. Saban has done the near-impossible and won national championships in two different schools, raising the trophy three times in seven seasons with more likely on the way.
There’s not much debate about this: College football’s top coach resides in Tuscaloosa. Saban has led the Crimson Tide to two national titles and four straight seasons of at least 10 victories. Saban’s track record is impressive, going 48-16 in five years at LSU, 34-24-1 in five seasons with Michigan State and a 9-2 mark in 1990 with Toledo. Saban is certainly one of the most demanding coaches in college football, but there’s no question he knows what it takes to succeed. Saban has returned Alabama to national prominence and has brought in some of college football’s best recruiting classes over the last five seasons. As long as Saban sticks around in Tuscaloosa, expect Alabama to be ranked among the top 10 teams every preseason. And after winning two titles in five seasons, expect the Crimson Tide to only add to that total in the near future.
But when Mathieu reflects on what was truly a remarkable sophomore season, he uses words like “humbled” and “disappointment” and “hungry.” He just wishes he could have done more, specifically in that 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. Even in the first game against Alabama, a 9-6 overtime win by LSU, Mathieu concedes he wasn’t at his best. “My job is making plays for this team, and I didn’t do it in that last game,” said Mathieu, who in 25 career games has created a staggering 14 turnovers. “It’s definitely motivation and something I’ve carried with me. There are a lot of people out there who have talked specifically about both of those games (against Alabama) and me not making plays in those two games. “So, yes, it’s motivation, but I really didn’t need anybody to talk about what I didn’t do in those two games to motivate me. I already know, and I’ll be a better player next year because of it.”