While it's certainly troubling to hear the quotes, we can at least take heart in knowing the senior leadership is doing its part:
"It was just time," said Dial, a fifth-year senior whom Hightower said was the first player to speak. "We had a couple meetings last year where we just kind of had to analyze where we’re at, and make corrections and move forward. No different than coaches in the install meetings and corrections meetings we have before and after practice. We went out there today, and it was just little things here and there.
"We just emphasized on keeping the tempo up to Coach (Nick) Saban’s standards, up to championship standards. ... It’s always better to get the good, the bad and the ugly out there so everybody knows what’s going on."
Not to try and downplay any of the concerns, because they are both real and many, but there's still a way to go before the start of the season and we do still have leadership that remembers the bad times and the disappointment, not just a bunch of young pups who have only known success. When that day comes, and we're hearing these types of quotes about lack of effort and concern, then I'll start worrying (more).
"(I saw) want-to. He’s accepting it and embracing it," Dial said. "It’s different obviously for him, coming from being an X (receiver) and a split guy to come in there and bang around. But he’s got the frame to do it. Once he gets a little more experience and bulks up and gains a little weight, he’s going to be good. He’s got the aggressive mentality -- he’ll be fine."
I'll be surprised if Bowman ever develops into a true, blocking TE, but as OTS pointed out yesterday he gives the offense a real mismatch opportunity in the passing game, and if the offense is going to be as explosive as we will likely need it to be this season, we'll need all the weapons we can get. Here's hoping Bowman continues to embrace the move and views it as a chance to get on the field after being effectively buried at WR for the foreseeable future.
"The way we play in the secondary, we have a role players," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Somebody’s the ‘star.’ Somebody’s the ‘money.’ Guys move around and play multiple positions, so you can play situational defense."
That "situational" defense mentality is a blessing and a curse, unfortunately, since being so multiple against the pass is one of they key reasons we've been so dominant on defense the past two years (as illustrated in kleph's Process by Numbers posts), but it also is one of the biggest reasons depth is such a concern right now. We have two more than capable corners in Dre Kirkpatrick and B.J. Scott, plus an All-SEC safety in Mark Barron and at least a serviceable rotation with Robert Lester, Jarrick Williams, and DeMarcus Milliner as backups. The problem is, we don't have the same quality role players as we did last year (think Robby Green, Ali Sharrief, Tyrone King, and Chris Rogers) behind the top five DBs. I keep going back to Mississippi State last year when we were having trouble stopping them with our nickel package and had to go back to the base defense, even though they were running a lot of spread looks at us. If the front seven is really going to be a strength, we may have to abandon using the nickel and dime packages as often as we did last year and hope the LBs are learning a lot of good coverage techniques from Kirby Smart.
A little bit of fluff from the Birmingham News, though two points stand out:
1) Robert Ezell apparently does a mean Nick Saban impression, so much so that Saban himself endorses it:
"If you really want to have a good interview, get Ezell sometime," Nick Saban said. "He can talk just like me, give speeches just like I give 'em. Everybody kind of has fun with all that."
Video, or it didn't happen.
2) Dont'a Hightower is a bad man. When asked who is the hardest hitter on the team, his teammates had this to say:
Vlachos: "Just something that nobody should ever want to experience."
Barrett Jones: "He can lay people out. Like hitting a brick wall."
Dial: "He's so explosive. ... I've definitely got to give the crown to him, and to be honest, I'd have given it to him last year with Rolando (McClain) here, too. I had the opportunity to get him last year. I dumped him off one time. The next play, he came back and pretty much picked me up and slammed me on my head."
Also, Brian Motley is considered the best dressed. Pics, or...well, you know.
For those of you lucky enough to get tickets to the 8:00 showing, get there early:
A red carpet reception for invited guests, beginning at 6:30 p.m., will precede a VIP screening of the film. Those in attendance are expected to include members of the Saban family, University of Alabama officials and the film’s producers, among others.
Surprising pretty much no one, word finally came out yesterday that Deion Belue had not qualified academically and was headed to Northeast Mississippi Community College. Belue will spend three semesters getting qualified and will have three years of eligibility left if he ultimately enrolls.