"These haters knock, 'cause we on the grind and they not." - Nick Saban, probably
After the spring 2007 evaluation period, coaches lined up to turn in Alabama's Nick Saban for violations of the bump rule. What did the schools do in response to Saban? Did they repeal a silly rule that made it illegal for famous football coaches to engage in conversations with high school students while at a school? No. They banned head coaches from visiting schools in the spring. The intent of such rules is pure enough. If a coach is allowed to engage a prospect during an evaluation period, every interested coach will take advantage of the opportunity. All those suitors could cause an unnecessary distraction for a high school student, but guess what? When a high school player sees assistant coaches from Georgia, LSU and Miami standing on the practice field, he's already pretty distracted. Ticky-tack rules don't really make life any easier for that high-schooler. They simply give coaches another reason to turn in one another to their conferences or to the NCAA, and they give compliance directors a reason to buy Advil in bulk.
The Alabama defense is fearsome on a yearly basis, and no Michigan football player or coach knows that better than Al Borges. The Wolverines' second-year offensive coordinator got an intimate look at the Crimson Tide during his tenure with Auburn from 2004-07, when his Tigers engaged them annually in the Iron Bowl. His takeaway: "They’re fast guys. Coaching down there, I’m very aware. Plus, they’re very well trained. Their staff, (defensive coordinator) Kirby Smart does a great job and (head coach Nick) Saban is a defensive guy by nature."
Proudly wearing his premiership ring with his name and playing number embossed on it, Williams is edging closer to his ultimate dream - playing in America's National Football League... Much of Williams' time back home in Brisbane was spent training at the Ballymore, with intense daily weights sessions. When asked if he's been training with the Queensland Reds, he laughed: "Nah, they don't lift a heavy enough weight."
"I've said it before, this is a great year for pocket quarterbacks," said ESPN's Tom Luginbill. "Both Alabama and Auburn got a good one." Let's start with Cooper Bateman, Alabama's quarterback commitment. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound resident of Salt Lake City is ranked the No. 4 pro-style quarterback by 247Sports.com and No. 6 by ESPNU and Rivals.com. "Because of the departure of (former Alabama backup) Phillip Sims -- and maybe even more so because of questions about quarterback and depth and talent -- this was a big commitment," Luginbill said. "For two years, Alabama was unable to secure the first guy (on the recruiting list). This year, they did, and it's pivotal. "In a really strong class of pocket passers, Bateman is polished, well-groomed and a guy with poise and anticipation. He fits into their system perfectly."
One reason more of Saban's proteges haven't advanced as head coaches, however, may be the issue that Kirby Smart is facing as a potential head coaching candidate -- that a large portion of his success is seen as directly attributable to Saban himself. Saban is such a hands-on coach with his defenses that any of his coordinators will be seen by many as simply carrying out the boss' orders, rather than devising their own schemes. Even Saban's offensive coordinators fall into this trap, which why the Tide's offense isn't expected to look significantly different under his successor, Doug Nussmeier.
Together, they have won an average of 53.5 games per season, and their final year isn't over yet. Their .846 winning percentage over the last four years is tops in the nation for any group of seniors. They have won back-to-back-to-back Southeastern Conference regular-season championships, and twice won the SEC tournament title. They have won four NCAA regionals and twice played in the semifinal round at the World Series. They are, UA coach Patrick Murphy believes, far greater than the sum of their parts. "They're much better kids, teammates, workers, than they are athletes," Murphy said. "They're good softball players, obviously, but they're much better as a group. They know their roles and they play them to perfection."
While the coach award is almost impossible to give, the Best Director honor clearly goes to Mal Moore. Not every sport at Alabama is performing at NCAA-championship level, but whether it is a "new" facility for women's basketball (technically, Foster Auditorium isn't new, but might as well be) or a new coach for swimming, UA is trying to upgrade every sport to that level. (Many eyes are watching to see what will be done to bring baseball back into Omaha contention.) Clearly, this year's three titles show that Moore understands the formula. It may take a couple of weeks before this can officially be proclaimed the "best" athletic year ever at Alabama. But it is hard to think of a year with more outstanding coaching performances.
Just hours after the University of Alabama secured its first NCAA women’s golf national championship, the National Golf Coaches Association handed out its annual awards at a postround banquet in Franklin, Tenn., Friday evening. Crimson Tide coach Mic Potter won the Eaton Golf Pride NGCA National Coach of the Year as well as East Region Coach of the Year. Potter, an NGCA Hall of Famer, just completed his seventh year at Alabama and his 29th in collegiate golf with his first national title. NCAA runner-up Brooke Pancake and junior Jennifer Kirby were selected as NGCA Division-I first-team All-Americas while sophomore Stephanie Meadow was a second-team choice.
Over the last decade or so, the bread and butter of the Ravens defense has been shutting down the running game. In order for the defense to remain at a high level, the Ravens need Cody to keep improving and making strides in his game. Additionally, with Cody set to enter his second full season as a starter, he’s going to have to step up and be more of a leader, especially when it comes to mentoring players like rookie Courtney Upshaw, a fellow Alabama product. Cody can help Upshaw with the transition from the college game to life in the NFL. Cody’s been there and done that. Plus, the two share a very unique bond having played under Nick Saban.
Slive supports a seeded four-team playoff without stipulations involving conference champions. "It's interesting because clearly what we did (with the SEC/Big 12 bowl) created a lot of thinking by a lot of people," Slive said during an interview from the SEC baseball tournament. "I appreciate people thinking about that. But I think what's in the best interest of college football is a four-team playoff. I think it's better for everyone involved in the game." Slive said he is open to how the top four teams would be selected. "It seems to me if that is the issue, then we ought to address that and not compromise the national championship by gerrymandering who plays," Slive said. "I am very much open to a thorough analysis of the selection process and whatever changes people recommend."
A study released earlier this year by Winthrop Intelligence, a firm that performs research for athletic administrators, surveyed the salaries of 472 assistant coaches in the six AQ conferences. Linebacker coaches had the highest average salary ($256,143). Lowest: wide receivers/tight ends ($199,314). Of the 20 assistant coaches making more than $500,000, nine of them worked in the SEC. That’s past tense because former Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn now is the head coach at Arkansas State.