"It's usually easy to spot the five-star and four-star players and offer a scholarship," Bone said. "It's the three stars who may fill the bulk of a normal college roster. College coaches want to spend more quality time in a camp setting to determine who are the best players from this group. You'll also see more college coaches wait to offer quarterbacks and linemen in summer camps." Luginbill points out that combines and 7-on-7 tournaments remain the rage for prospects wanting to get noticed. But if a player has the choice between an on-campus camp and a neutral-site workout, the decision is simple. "Honestly, what can a coach draw from that, other than having heights, weights and times verified?" Luginbill said, referring to off-campus events. "Any good coach will tell you they can watch hundreds of kids play in shorts, but get them in person and they can't play dead in a cowboy show."
"For years, our offices were together on the third floor of the coliseum. Now that hallway is lined with championship coaches, but we would all do anything we could do for one another. I don't know if it was that way 10 or 15 years ago, but it is now. And it is everyone pulling together. I am a big Anthony Grant fan. Nick Saban spoke to our team after we lost at the SEC Championships and told them exactly the things they needed to hear. And I am very aware and very appreciative of football, which provides us with the financial basis we need to succeed." So there is more than one sort of family feeling, and more than one type of emotion that was tugging at Patterson's heart on Wednesday night, although she managed to tie them all together, and to touch on a crucial point - there was more than one kind of victory on Wednesday night, as an entire Alabama fan base cheered. "We have come to the point that as parents in today's world, we want the same opportunities for our children, girl or boy," she said. "And my daughter has that."
Johnston’s impressions of Richardson as a physical specimen? "You know that old term, country-boy strong? He is country-boy strong," Johnston said. "Trent’s the type of guy who, if he never touched a weight, he’d be a strong man. But he has really enhanced that by the work he put in at Alabama. "And what we want to do ... he has a strength and power ratio right now that can allow him to be elite, physically. I want him to maintain that, and I would like to work on things that can help him stay durable."
Percentage-wise, Saban’s bonus was by far the least of the four at 8.5 percent. Murphy’s was the highest. Within 30 days, he will be receiving an extra $77,082, or 41.6 percent of his $185,000 annual base pay. His new contract called for an extra two months of his base pay for winning a national championship. He also earned another month apiece for winning the SEC regular season and tournament titles. His SEC coach of the year honor also netted another month of pay totaling $15,416.
What are your thoughts on the new players that have come in?
"Fortunately, the guys that have come in are football guys. They know the game. So Dont’a [Hightower] came in and wanted to watch film; we watched film together. He understands everything I’m trying to say. That’s the fortunate thing about that – having guys who are true football guys."
1.] Julio Jones (2008-2010)
Why he's here: One of the most physically-gifted players to ever suit up for the Crimson Tide, Jones brought a toughness to the position seldom seen from a wide receiver. Saved some of his best performances for LSU, the second-best program in college football.
Claim to fame: A starter in all 40 games in which he appeared at Alabama, Jones led the Crimson Tide in receiving in each of his three seasons with the Crimson Tide. Ranks second in career receptions (179) and career receiving yards (2,653) on UA's all-time lists.
Real rivalries aren't about trophies: They're about the tumor-generating contempt churning deep in the bowels of their partisans, inspiring anger, jealousy and occasionally, under the right circumstances, actual criminal behavior. LSU fans have that kind of passion, and then some, but no consistent target at which to direct it.
It also is important to understand that Alabama is not completely free at last. Standard with probation of any length is a five-year "repeat-offender" window. "Any institution within that window, even if not on probation, has to continue the heightened attention to avoid a problem that could be deemed major during that time," said Greg Sankey, who was considered the Southeastern Conference's NCAA compliance czar before he was promoted in the spring to executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer.
I suspect you're insinuating that Alabama's Nick Saban would rank No. 1. If so, we're in agreement. I think most people in the media would have him there too. The No. 2 slot in the SEC comes down to LSU's Les Miles vs. Steve Spurrier. Miles, for all of his curious sideline antics, mannerisms and time-management maneuvers, has pushed the right button as often, if not more often, than any other coach in the country. He has produced five top-eight finishes in the past seven seasons. The most important thing a coach can do is get his players to respond to him, and Miles is great at that. If LSU had beaten Alabama a second time last season, I would have had him No. 2 in the SEC, perhaps even No. 1. But the Tigers looked like a mess in the BCS title game. Spurrier took Florida to a level it had never been at before. He also has taken over a previously listless South Carolina program, where no one, including his predecessor Lou Holtz (33-37 in six seasons and 16-19 in his final three years with the Gamecocks), has been able to do much with there and made them into a power. Spurrier won an SEC East title in 2010. Last fall, he led them into the top 10. The program looks like it's ready for another top-15 season. At 67, is he slowing down? Doesn't seem to be. Oh, and the guy won at Duke. I'll go with Spurrier at No. 2.