"The message to the players today was, 'Are you going to be able to go out there and play better today than you did in the last opportunity you had in the last scrimmage? ... The first units were probably pretty good at that, and I would say we made some improvement," Saban said. "But I'm not sure we have enough guys where they need to be. That's why we have spring practice, that's why they call us coach, that's why we teach. We certainly have some work to do, especially with the depth on our team."
"I'd say that we made some improvement, but I'm not sure that we have enough guys sort of where they need to be - which is why we have spring practice," Saban said. "That's why they call us coach, that's why we teach. So we certainly have some work to do, especially with the depth on our team." The most positive aspect from Saban's conclusion after Alabama's 12th practice of the spring? It hasn't been for a lack of effort. "We've got a lot of young players and they have a very enthusiastic attitude and they're trying hard but I think they need a little bit more knowledge and experience to get where we need them to go," Saban said. "We're going to keep working hard with them. We're certainly not frustrated with anything that they're doing. "We're not disappointed in where we're at, but we're certainly not satisfied, either."
When Saban and the rest of the Tide coaching staff set out to recruit the past two years, finding explosive playmakers was a top priority. If there was one thing missing last year, it was a lack of big plays. Now, Saban wants players capable of scoring quick touchdowns and turning nothing into something. "I think some of the guys we recruited in the last year are showing that," Saban said of finding more explosive talent. "Hopefully some of the freshmen we have now will have an opportunity to do that. I think there are a few of them that will have an opportunity to do that and we have some guys coming in the fall that will also have an opportunity."
Quarterback AJ McCarron continued his strong spring, completed 14 of his 29 passing attempts, totaling 160 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Leading the receivers was DeAndrew White, who was practicing with the team after being held out with a minor hamstring injury. White tallied 112 yards and two touchdowns on five catches. "I thought AJ played well," Saban said. "We didn’t start out well offensively, but I thought we did better as we moved along. I think we ran the ball more effectively today. I think the hitting was a little crisper out there today. We probably didn’t throw as much as we did in the first scrimmage."
Jalston Fowler, the top healthy returning running back, had the most impressive numbers among the limited stats released by the school. He rushed 22 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns. A 68-yard run was included in an improved outing for the running backs. Numbers for the other backs were not provided. "Jalston probably ran it a little bit better today," Saban said. "T.J. Yeldon didn’t gain a lot of yards but got some good experience. I think the first offense ran the ball and had better balance today. … The second offensive line couldn’t block the defense very well and didn’t do very much and that affects the stats adversely."
Backup quarterback Phillip Sims was again limited due to a sore shoulder – something Saban compared last week to bursitis. "He didn’t really throw it in the scrimmage," Saban said. "Ran some running plays and did some other things to try to contribute to the team." DeAndrew White, who missed the first scrimmage due to a hamstring injury, caught five passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Christion Jones caught five passes for 61 yards and two TDs. Kevin Norwood had four catches for 55 yards and freshman Chris Black caught two passes for 36 yards.
Wide receiver Marquis Maze returned punts and kickoffs for the Crimson Tide the past two seasons, but he hopes to be selected in the NFL draft later this month. So who are the candidates to return kicks now? Alabama coach Nick Saban noted that wide receiver Christion Jones was the backup last season "and has done a nice job all spring doing that in terms of punt return. He's also a pretty good kick return guy." Cornerback Dee Milliner, who will be a junior in the fall, probably will be the second deep back on kickoff returns.
"You're always looking for playmaker type guys on defense," Saban said. "You never feel like you have enough. We're probably a little thin on edge rush guys." Saban added that Adrian Hubbard and Travell Dixon have done a good job, but he wants more to develop.
Alabama’s expectations have gotten so routinely lofty that "Remember 2010" has become something of a rallying cry this spring. Ten wins, three losses? How depressing for a program that seems to be entering every season lately with national championship expectations — not just aspirations — among players, coaches and fans. Slack off, and the Crimson Tide might just have to deal with barely managing double-digit wins again. Remember 2010? "That wasn’t a good year," Tide linebacker Nico Johnson said. "We lost to South Carolina, LSU, Auburn. It was different. We don’t want that to ever happen again. What we do year in and year out is try to get to a national championship. If we don’t get there, it’s kind of depressing. We’re trying to prevent that from happening."
Alabama senior Jennifer Fenton set an NCAA record by swiping her 74th consecutive base without being caught and the No. 2 Crimson Tide never trailed after a two-run first inning Friday in its 6-0 victory over No. 21 LSU. Alabama (36-1, 12-1 SEC) ran its winning streak to nine and took a 1 1/2 game lead over LSU (28-9, 10-2) for first place in the SEC West in the process. Sophomore Jackie Traina picked up her 22nd win and fourth shutout of the season by going the distance. She allowed four hits and struck out eight in an effort that featured few stressful moments.
The fourth-ranked Tide is the No. 1 seed in its regional. Ninth-ranked LSU is seeded second and Arizona is seeded third. Host Washington, Iowa and Central Michigan also will compete. "We don't want to treat it as if it isn't an important meet, because this is THE meet," Alabama junior Ashley Sledge said. "If we don't do well at this meet, there is no rest of the season. We just want to have a great performance." Alabama and LSU have met twice this season. The Tide won 197.025 to 196.575 in a Feb. 24 meet at Baton Rouge, La. In the SEC Championships, Alabama scored a 196.775 to finish second behind top-ranked Florida. LSU scored a 196.425 to finish fourth behind Georgia.
University of Alabama System Chancellor Robert E. Witt announced this morning a 23-member advisory committee to assist him in the process of finding his successor as President of the University of Alabama.
Saban received "a couple" overtures from interested teams in the months following Alabama's latest national championship. But unlike his last foray into the professional game, Saban has nothing to prove.
RB T.J. Yeldon/ Alabama -- Even with depth at the position, Yeldon could make an instant impact. "Yeldon is one of the most impressive looking incoming backs in the SEC. He has a great chance to play as a freshman."
It was in his final collegiate game that Janerette made history. Until Penn State's 7-0 triumph in the inaugural Liberty Bowl, which took place at Municipal Stadium, Alabama had never played against an opponent with a black player. C.J. Schexnayder, an Alabama writer working on a book about that bowl game, explained its significance: "By playing a team with a black starter in 1959, Alabama broke a racial barrier that would have been all but impossible even a year later due to the polarized political climate in the state over segregation."
Long is not the first athletic director to face this type of predicament. In May 1999, Alabama AD Bob Bockrath's coach, Mike DuBose, lied about a relationship with a secretary after she filed a harassment complaint. Ultimately, the truth came out and the school had to pay the woman $350,000. Did Alabama fire DuBose? Nope. It fired Bockrath. (DuBose went on to win the 1999 SEC title and got himself fired in 2000 for losing.)