...wait until the weekend/and we can make all our dreams come true...
My fellow voters, if you're looking to broaden your horizons and consider the 19 positions that aren't quarterback, tailback or receiver, begin by watching Jones. The redshirt junior will start the season at left tackle after two years starting at right guard, because that's where the Crimson Tide need him to play at the moment. Jones may not stay on blind side duty, though. "Every day, I've been taking a few snaps at center," Jones said. "I think I'm the backup center." Actually, Jones can play all five offensive line positions, and he probably could play any of them well enough to earn All-America consideration. Cam Newton (the 2010 Heisman winner) and Tim Tebow (the 2007 winner) may have been dual-threat quarterbacks, but Jones is a triple-threat lineman (guard, tackle and center).
"We'll try to work him out a little over the weekend and get him ready to be able to start maybe implementing himself with the offense next week in our preparation," Saban said. "We just don't want to throw a guy out there and make him do everything in pads and end up getting him hurt and setting him back further. We're just trying to bring him along and use some of the rules that we have and how we sort of get players started. That's in their best interest. It's certainly in the best interest of doing it that way now."
Tide linebacker Nico Johnson knows better than to run through a quarterback if it’s his teammate in practice. Saban, he said, wouldn’t put up with that. Still, it’s hard to avoid contact with a quarterback in any setting. "Yeah, it is," he said. "You worked so hard to get there, and to pull up … But I’ve been here three years. I’m kinda used to it now."
Because the university has not hosted a morning kickoff for two years, Andreen and university officials are asking fans to arrive early to avoid a pileup of traffic should everyone arrive for the game at the same time. "We expect a heavy influx of traffic around 9 a.m. We would also ask Tuscaloosa area residents to plan to arrive on campus early for the game and avoid the 9 a.m. surge," Andreen said. "We encourage parking in the downtown intermodal facility, behind City Hall for free parking and a $1 bus ride on Tuscaloosa Transit."
The Crimson Tide carries a nine-game winning streak in season-opening contests into this year's first game against Kent State. That equals Alabama's longest streak as an SEC team, set when it won every season opener from 1991 through 1999. (Between the two streaks, Alabama lost to UCLA to open the 2000 and 2001 seasons.) The nine-game streaks do not match the school record, however. Alabama opened its season with a victory 30 straight times from 1904 through 1934. (Alabama did not field a team in 1918.) Of course, only the final two of those victories came as an SEC member.
Plans are so top secret Tide players claim they don't know if McCarron or Sims will be the first to lead them Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Kent State. "I think in some circles the perception is there's definitely a guy and we're keeping it to ourselves," left tackle Barrett Jones said. "...I honestly have no idea which one will step up."
"I think mental toughness is a perseverance that you have when you can make yourself do something that you really don't feel like doing," he said in a news conference that followed Wednesday's practice. "In other words, you don't really feel like getting up, but you get up. You don't feel like practicing today, but you practice. You don't feel like focusing today, but you focus. And, even in difficult circumstances and difficult surroundings, you can stay focused on what you need to stay focused on.
[Nick] Saban: Former UA OL Justin Smiley is back in school and is acting as a student assistant in practice.
The lawyer for four men injured in a brawl involving LSU football players expects more arrests for the beating of one client who suffered three fractured vertebrae. "Other arrests could be made in this case that are just as serious as the two already made," attorney Michael Bienvenu said. "This isn't over."
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said he won't name a starter until later this week for the Gamecocks' season opener Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. It's more than just gamesmanship on the part of the Head Ball Coach. Garcia, who has a legitimate shot at breaking just about every major career passing mark in the school's history, is being challenged in practice by sophomore Connor Shaw. Spurrier said both Garcia and Shaw will play against the Pirates. What he won't say is who will start.
YOUR 2011 FULMER CUP CHAMPIONS: THE AUBURN TIGERS. The Switzer Slam is complete: Auburn has won the BCS Title, the Heisman Trophy, and the Fulmer Cup Title all in the span of a single year. A record year generated record scores: 430 points were awarded in the Fulmer Cup in 2011. Even without Auburn's unassailable 81 points in a single shot, the Fulmer Cup handed out more points this year than in the entire history of the Cup. This is admittedly a small sample size, but still notable for being the most active year yet. Congrats, world? Congratulations to the Auburn Tigers on this unprecedented achievement, and with this consider the Fulmer Cup 2011 closed. WAR DAMN LEGAL.
Bob Stoops said recently that the Sooners "have a strong hand to play." And he's right. If OU wants the Big 12 to survive, it will. But if the Sooners decide the Big 12 is not worth salvaging, the league will quickly dissolve. This time around, Texas does not hold all the cards and the Sooners have fewer obstacles in their path to another conference.
The top-ranked Sooners plan to honor the late linebacker Austin Box this season by allowing a defensive player to wear his No. 12 jersey for each game. Jones wears the same number on offense and says he asked Box's parents for permission to keep it.
So there you have it. You can dissect what "leading candidate" to become the 14th team means. Is it just that the SEC covets Tech? Or is in the interest mutual? It most certainly is not, Hincker said. "Total poppycock," he said. "What’s ridiculous is that we’ve got bloggers and unnamed sources postulating and telling what Virginia Tech’s future is going to be. And our athletic director and our president are on record as saying we have absolutely no interest in this whatsoever. And yet the speculation still continues. And it’s a little frustrating, to be honest with you."
A female kicker, Lauren Luttrell, tried out for Virginia Tech's football team and performed so well that Beamer decided to invite the freshman back to kick in spring practice. "Right now it's kind of tough to come out there and get a lot of attention. Things are happening so fast right now," Beamer said. "But I was impressed with her and we'll bring her back out there in the spring."