Even though her name's going on a new campus landmark, Alabama gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson isn't going anywhere any time soon. She's ready to embrace the awkwardness that will likely come when the Sarah Patterson Champions Plaza, which received its approval today from the Alabama Board of Trustees, opens to the public in Spring 2013. "That will probably be a little odd," Patterson said. "But you know, Mal (Moore) walks into a building with his name on it every day."
The concept was not new, but none of the preliminary proposals added the name of the 34-year coaching veteran. Patterson's teams won the past two NCAA women's gymnastics titles. Judith Bonner, the interim university president, said Patterson's work with the Power of Pink Initiative also played a factor. Patterson helped raise $1.25 million since 2004 to help prevent and treat breast cancer in the Tuscaloosa area. "As a coach, her ability to balance success in athletic, academic and community service endeavors has empowered her gymnasts and continue to lead lives of excellence and service after graduation," Bonner said.
Alabama's 2012 team will no doubt draw more comparisons to the 2010 squad that had defensive issues for part of the year, but from what I've gathered, this team wants that. Players want to hear about 2010 because it upsets them -- it motivates them. The thing that team lacked was ideal leadership and if this team wants to get back to the BCS title game, that's the area where Alabama really needs to make sure it's solid in.
With Cole’s verbal, Alabama locked up their 18th commitment for the 2013 class. That’s incredible, especially in June. (And yes, I understand that they can’t sign until February, but it’s still impressive regardless). While signing a long snapper seems out of the ordinary to a degree, Nick Saban is not the only one to fill this void. Michigan picked up a commitment from the number two ranked long snapper Scott Sypniewski just last week. The Illinois spiral manufacturer fits right into Michigan’s monster class and the Wolverines now have 21 verbal commits (also incredible) for 2013. This leads the country. In comparison, Minnesota and Indiana have only one commitment overall for the 2013 class, matching Alabama and Michigan’s long snapper quota.
"With recruiting it's never over until a prospect has signed especially with a prospect as high profile as Robert Nkemdiche," said BamaOnline recruiting analyst Tim Watts. "Alabama is one of many schools who will continue to pursue him and there are some connections there that lead me to believe there is a chance he changes his mind. But at this point that's mainly speculation. His actions will tell the tale down the road."
It is no surprise that Huntsville (Ala.) offensive guard Grant Hill has moderate goals for himself at the upcoming Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge. Hill is self-assured, but not a self-promoter. He just wants to be himself at the June 22-24, invitation-only event in south Atlanta. "I want people to walk away thinking that I am a kid that works hard for what I have," he said. "I am not a loud barker and I am not cocky. "Playing on the offensive line is an all-gut, no-glory role and I like that. We are not scoring the touchdowns and we are not on the front page of the paper. I like to grind. I like being the foundation of success."
5. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama (Cleveland Browns) — Definitely a shocking pick as a potential bust, Alabama’s Heisman finalist is a tank that takes no prisoners with the ball in his hands, but shouldering the load in Cleveland after off-season knee surgery raises questions. Richardson could be a serious stud and perennial 1,500-yard running back, he’s that good. The other end of the spectrum seems more likely, at least, early in his career behind an offensive line in Cleveland that struggled last season.
3 S Vinnie Sunseri (So.)
2011 season: Played in all 13 games as a true freshman, posting 31 tackles while working mostly on special teams. Saw meaningful snaps at safety late in the season after Will Lowery went down with a knee injury. A five-time special teams player of the week selection by the UA coaching staff, Sunseri was named Freshman All-SEC a season ago. 2012 spring practice: Moved into the starting lineup at safety and also worked at star and money in the Crimson Tide's nickel and dime defensive packages. Recorded 14 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery in three spring scrimmages. Recipient of the Bart Starr Most Improved Player Award.
What he brings to the table: Sunseri is a tweener. That's right, between playing safety, money and perhaps even star, he may not come off the field in 2012. Sunseri makes plays and he's not going to give up plays as a result of busted assignments. What more could you want from a defensive back?
6 S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (So.)
2011 season: Played in all 13 games, recording 11 tackles while working mostly on special teams. One of seven true freshmen to see the field in 2011, Clinton-Dix also provided depth at safety. 2012 spring practice: Exited spring drills as the third safety, which, with Vinnie Sunseri a candidate to fill nickel and dime roles, essentially gives Clinton-Dix "starter" status. Posted three solo tackles, a tackle for loss, forced a fumble and returned an interception 30 yards in the A-Day game. Had four tackles and an interception in the spring's second scrimmage. One of five players to receive the Ozzie Newsome Most Improved Freshman Award at the close of spring drills.
What he brings to the table: Safety size with corner-like ball skills. Gives UA the flexibility to play Sunseri at money and/or star in the extra defensive back packages and not lose anything at safety.
The rematch? More like the Snooze in the Superdome. With a game featuring two teams from the same conference in the national championship game for the first time in history, college football's BCS was once again under the microscope, wondering if its formula made the right decisison. Alabama dominated LSU 21-0 for the 2012 BCS national title, giving the SEC its sixth consecutive BCS national title. During the regular season, LSU was being touted as possibly one of the greatest teams of all-time. The Tigers had defeated a record eight nationally ranked teams. Against Alabama, the Tigers didn't even make eight first downs. The Tigers ended up with five first downs and crossed midfield exactly one time. It was so bad former NFL quarterback Bobby Hebert, who works for a New Orleans radio station and is the father of LSU reserve offensive lineman T-Bob Hebert, made more noise than LSU's offense. In the postgame press conference, Hebert fumed at LSU coach Les Miles stating: "I'm 51 years old, and I guarantee I could have gotten more than five first downs," Bobby Hebert said.
The program that lost 18 straight SEC games from 1997-99 has won no fewer than three conference games in Spurrier’s seven years at South Carolina, has had an SEC title trip and its first 11-win season in program history. A lot of that success has come from keeping most of the top in-state talent home, which historically wasn’t the case. It started with Alshon Jeffery and Stephon Gilmore in 2009 and continued with Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney, and now Shaq Roland. The past wasn’t great for either of these programs, but in recent years, both Arkansas and South Carolina have thrown themselves right in the middle of the SEC conversation and both are looking to stay there for the foreseeable future.
But there's a difference between a seasonal rental and a permanent home. Climbing to the top is a story that writes itself, full of sentiment and that can-do element that resides in the American DNA. Staying there is a task devoid of the Hollywood ending. "They have to accept the challenge and the pressure of people thinking they're better than they used to be," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said of his players. "... They don't have a choice. They have to accept that we're better and live up to it. That's just the way it is."
"I have to be careful here because I work for Fox and NFL Network," Bradshaw said, "but I don't think they care. They're forced to care now because it's politically correct to care. Lawsuits make you care. I think the P.R. makes you care. But personally, when I got out in 1983, do I think they cared about me? No. And you know what? I don't expect them to. I don't need them to worry about me. I take care of myself. But, do they care? They're forced to care right now because, P.R.-wise, it's not very favorable to them."
"[Kingsbury]'s excited to be there. Fans, you look up and sometimes [they] are holding a guy up in a restaurant trying to fight him because of something that happened 10 years ago.People have got to let that go. "You've got to remember something. I was a part of that game at Kyle Field, the famous 48-47 game, when he and Wes Welker tried to get coach Sumlin fired. I've let it go, obviously. So you guys need to let that go. "He's a very, very talented guy. I've watched him four years. His background is more than just [former Texas Tech head coach] Mike Leach. … He's a student of the game and he's one hell of a quarterback coach. We're fortunate to have him. A lot of people don't know his brother went to Texas A&M."