Indoors or out, practice, was a sign that the awards circuit travel is done and it’s time for preparing on the field instead of just through conditioning and weight-lifting. Saban and tailback Trent Richardson — the Doak Walker Award winner — attended the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York, where Richardson was third. Jones won the Outland and several defensive players were finalists for other awards. "We would trade all our awards for a national championship," Jones said.
"The goal of what we're really trying to do here, especially with these five days of practice before Christmas, is to build a solid foundation fundamentally for the players to build on," Saban said. "Blocking, tackling, mental toughness, conditioning, ball security. Just fundamentals. Everything that you do as a football player, really is the goal of what we have for this week. "The players were anxious to get back to work. They had good energy and enthusiasm in the work. Probably in most players' mind they just feel like 'I'll pick up right where we left off three weeks ago.' Even though we've worked out quite a bit in that time, I think some of them find out it's a little bit different when you've got shoulder pads and helmets."
"It doesn't affect preparation at all," Saban said. "Mac's going to be here. I did this when I was the defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and got the head coaching job at Michigan State and coached the last three or four games in the regular season and two playoff games. The organization was good in supporting me in what I wanted to do, and we'll do the same thing for Jim."
"We're happy for him. He's done a great job here for us, in a lot of different ways. I think the players are very happy for him," Saban said. "I think he's the kind of guy that has a lot of pride in what he does and I don't think there's going to be any issues or problems in his commitment to what we're doing for our team and this game." As for McElwain's replacement, Saban said he plans to keep focused on the BCS title game for now, and added that choosing the right coach for the role takes time. "I don't think you can recruit, get ready for a game, practice for a game and try to be interviewing people at the same time," Saban added. "Something's going to get sort of left out. First of all, I'd like to see who's interested and who's available out there and kind of go from there, but our focus right now is the game."
There will be plenty to say about this matchup in the coming weeks. (Especially since the teams have already played — or hadn't you heard?) But for now, despite all of the above evidence of offenses' increasing dominance, because those offenses were in turn dominated by LSU's and Alabama's defenses there is no choice but to declare this season the year that, channeling William F. Buckley, those two teams stood athwart the march of history yelling, "Stop!" It was the year of defense. LSU was the undefeated team and its defense was more dynamic in terms of turnovers and big plays, but Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban's carefully crafted Alabama attack was equally devastating. We'll look at a play from Alabama’s 38-14 win over Arkansas to show how the defenses not only overwhelmed offenses but also confused them.
Backup running back Eddie Lacy's right foot still is heavily taped. He continues to cope with a turf toe injury that he suffered on Sept. 24 in a victory over Arkansas. Left tackle Barrett Jones (ankle) seemed to be moving well. He suffered a high ankle sprain in a 9-6 overtime loss to LSU but continued to play, but he sat out the next two games before playing in a 42-14 victory on Nov. 26 at Auburn.
One week into his new job, Colorado State coach Jim McElwain already has imposed one rule he learned at Alabama. McElwain has made his assistant coaches at Colorado State off limits for interviews while he completes his role as Alabama's offensive coordinator.
With Williams starting every game in the middle of the line, the Crimson Tide easily led the nation against the run, led the nation in total defense and allowed fewer points than any Division I outfit in more than a decade. That doesn't happen without an immoveable object in the middle, and Alabama's is about as unmovable — and underrated, if that's possible — as anyone in college football.
Nick Saban’s mood was foul for weeks leading up to the first Alabama-LSU game, and Alabama lost. So what to read into the Alabama coach’s seemingly jovial mood headed into the national-championship rematch? It could be just that LSU is the next opponent, so no one is asking him questions beyond the next game this time. It could be that Alabama returned to practice Monday, after a three-week layoff. "I absolutely love being back at practice, love being with the players," he said immediately after Monday’s shells session. "That’s the thing that I enjoy the most, is teaching and working with the players.
"If you're going to fight in the North Atlantic, you've got to train in the North Atlantic," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "That's what Woody always used to say. I guess we can go outside and put our long johns on and worry about wind conditions and all that stuff and then go play in the Dome. "My question would be, why not practice inside? What would be the advantage of practicing outside? I think if we were practicing outside, you all would be asking me why are y'all practicing outside when you're playing inside?"
Saban also cracked a smile when revealing some of what they spoke about when the television cameras weren't trained on them. "I didn't mind sitting by him. I think it was good," Saban said. "I showed him my phone and showed him how many calls I was getting from Louisiana people who were blowing my phone up. He thought it was funny, I thought it was funny, and changed numbers on Monday."
ESPN released its updated 2012 team recruiting rankings, and the SEC currently has eight teams in the top 25. Alabama (third), Florida (fourth) and Georgia (seventh) are all in the top 10. Auburn (13), LSU (14), South Carolina (15), Tennessee (16) and Vanderbilt (22) are the remaining SEC members. Auburn was in the top 10, but fell to 13th after losing ESPNU 150 running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne, Ala./Daphne), who flipped to Alabama on Sunday.
"I'LL TELL YOU EXACTLY what playing someone twice in one season is," Bobby Bowden says without hesitation. "It's a dadgum headache. Especially with the national championship on the line."
An Alabama basketball team that has been ranked since the preseason now is unranked in each of the major polls. The Crimson Tide was ranked No. 21 last week in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, but it has dropped out of the top 25 in the wake of a 71-58 loss Saturday to Kansas State in Kansas City, Mo. Earlier today, the latest poll from The Associated Press came out. Alabama was ranked No. 23 last week but it is not listed this week in the top 25.
Boise State believes the following: 1. 2001-96 creates an unfair playing field between institutions. It expands the divide between the "have's" and "have not's." It creates a recruiting advantage for those that can afford it and puts those that can't at a disadvantage. 2. 2001-96 creates a divide internally between those student-athletes who receive a full ride and those that do not. We believe this is unfair and unjustifiable. 3. 2001-96 creates a Title IX issue. Looking at head count sports alone, football and men's basketball have 98 full rides as compared to 47 on the women's side. That widens the gap allowable to be in compliance with Title IX.
Craig James is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Texas, he announced Monday. After he officially threw his hat into the ring, ESPN announced that James, who had called college football games for the network, would not return to the airwaves. "Craig has decided to run for the U.S. Senate," a spokesman said. "He will no longer work for ESPN."