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The Jumbo Package | 8.12.11

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Dre Kirkpatrick's metamorphosis boosts Alabama secondary |

"He's a much more consistent guy right now as a football player," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It's largely due to his maturity and his personality. He is much more goal-oriented now. He realizes from the experience he gained last year playing that paying attention to detail, doing the little things right, can serve him well as a player. He's more sort of into it in every way. Off the field as well as on the field." Kirkpatrick's unable-to-forecast persona was one reason he rarely spoke with reporters in the past. Kirkpatrick said Saban was tough on him behind the scenes. It was something Kirkpatrick said he needed.

Tide LB Dont'a Hightower has a fracture in his left hand |

Alabama junior linebacker Dont'a Hightower has a fracture in his left hand and missed practice today, but he should be back at practice Friday, Alabama coach Nick Saban said. Hightower suffered the injury Sunday during a Fan Day practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Saban said Hightower doesn't remember when he suffered the injury.

TRips: Thursday

Duron Carter isn't the only wide receiver waiting on a call from UA. While Carter waits for his eligibility status to be resolved, so does 2011 signee Danny Woodson, Jr., who has returned to the Mobile area to continue training. The simple answer is that if Carter gets in, Woodson will wait until January to enroll full-time at UA. That said, any scholarship attrition between now and the start of fall classes could result in a spot being available for Woodoson, once considered a longshot to qualify academically.

Krispy Kreme plans to return |

The April 27 tornado destroyed the Krispy Kreme and its delivery trucks. But within days of the storm, its employees put up one of the first signs promising Tuscaloosans that they would return to the site, which is owned by the Smith family. Smith said that as soon as he could, he had debris cleared from the lot, which is near the 15th Street intersection and had been the landmark business’s home for more than half a century. "We did that because we wanted to be the first to come back," he said.

Alabama preseason practice report: Day 7 |

Two starters were not at practice, at least during the early viewing period: junior inside linebacker Dont'a Hightower and senior center William Vlachos. Alabama coach Nick Saban is scheduled to meet with the news media after practice. We're sure to hear what's involved. Hightower injured his left hand or wrist during Sunday's Fan Day practice at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He has paused during practices since then to have extra bandaging applied. The injury is not considered serious. Junior Barrett Jones showed his versatility by filling in at center on the first-team line. He has started at right guard the past two seasons and has practiced at left tackle so far in camp. True freshman Cyrus Kouandjio filled in at left tackle, next to left guard Chance Warmack.

NCAA adopts APR benchmark for postseason play |

NCAA Tournament basketball teams and football bowl participants will soon have to make a passing grade in the classroom to play in the postseason.

The Division I Board of Directors passed a rule today requiring teams in all men's and women's sports to reach a four-year average Academic Progress Rate score of 930 to participate in postseason competition. The APR measures how well teams keep players in school and eligible, and the NCAA claims a 930 equates to a 50-percent graduation rate.

"This is about making sure student-athletes are students and the expectation is that they behave accordingly," NCAA President Mark Emmert said. - HURT: Saban in favor of new rule

"What's the proposal? 930?," Saban asked in response to a question about the change, one of many stories emanating from the ongoing NCAA Presidents' Retreat in Indianapolis this week.' "We're 963 over the last four years and (994) last year," Saban said. "It's everybody's responsibility to go to school and get an education. That's part of our program here. I don't really see it being a big issue (when) players are held accountable relative to what their responsibility is in getting an education.

Bowling for Grades: NCAA adds academic minimum to qualify for a bowl game - Dr. Saturday

No, they're not trying to engineer a BCS Championship Game between Vanderbilt and Northwestern, or to force Alabama and Florida State to start recruiting valedictorians. As benchmarks go, frankly this one is kind of soft: Of the 64 Division I-A/Bowl Subdivision schools that appeared in a bowl game last season, only eight of them — Louisville, UTEP, Tulsa, Michigan, Southern Miss, BYU, Maryland and N.C. State — turned in an average APR score below 930 between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 academic years

College Football Countdown: Nos. 1-5 - Washington Times

No. 1 ALABAMA It's already a noteworthy year for Nick Saban, who will match his longest stint at any of his coaching stops (as an assistant or program boss) when he completes his fifth year in Tuscaloosa. There isn't much reason to think about leaving, not with a healthy income and star-studded recruiting classes stacked on top of each other. The Crimson Tide is teeming with riches, in much the same way Southern California was in the middle of the last decade and Florida State was in the decade before that. Before long, there will be another national title trophy to join the one earned for the 2009 season. And it may well be claimed this year.

Texas A&M, Oklahoma would fit right in with SEC (Hicks) |

It's a win-win situation for all concerned, except, of course, the (not so) Big 12. The SEC won't be viewed as raiding schools from another conference. A&M and Oklahoma would be seen as protecting their best interests. Joining the SEC makes more sense than joining the Pac-12 or another league. A&M has many reasons to seriously consider the jump. Its football tradition is strong and its fan base would fit nicely in the SEC. Rivalries would quickly be built with Arkansas, LSU and perhaps even Alabama, which shares with the Aggies the history and legacies of former coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant and Gene Stallings. Mitchell: SEC Expansion...What Comes Next?

WHY is this happening so quickly, and why now? Technically, this subject has been smoldering for the better part of a decade; there's always been too much money to be made off the prospect of a 16 team conference. The reason it is accelerating now is because the Big 12 is imploding, and you need look no further than Austin, TX for the reason why.

Why Alabama had no choice but to face VCU the next two years - The Dagger

For a VCU program that traditionally has been a stepping stone job for elite coaches and often struggles to entice major conference opponents to come to the Siegel Center, the unusual contract clause is a clever ploy. The Rams had the same clause in Jeff Capel's final contract before he left for Oklahoma in 2006, which is why the Sooners split games against the Rams in 2008 and 2009. Next season's matchup between Alabama and VCU won't be as awkward for Grant as it could have been were it scheduled a year or two earlier since most of his recruits have already left the program. The only member of next season's VCU team who played under Grant is senior Bradford Burgess, a three-year starter for the Rams who was one of the standouts during their surprising run to the Final Four last season.

Knile Davis Injures Left Leg In Razorbacks' Scrimmage, Extent Of Damage Unknown -

Arkansas tailback Knile Davis was injured on the seventh play of Thursday’s scrimmage. The extent of the injury was not immediately known. Davis, who disappeared in a pile and could be heard screaming after running the ball, was helped off the field by team medical personnel. He was examined on the sidelines and after several minutes was helped into a cart and driven off the field.

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Tide's JaMychal Green scores 7 points as USA wins exhibition game |

Video: Check out Tide freshman DE Jeoffrey Pagan at practice |

FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger to retire after 2011 - NCAA Football -