"Guys talk about communication. We need to communicate better, we need to play better, but we need to play with better fundamentals," Saban said. "I don't think it has anything to do with that, quite honestly. That would be a good thing for you to make a big deal out of publicly, but it really doesn't mean jack you-know-what."
Coach Nick Saban doesn't consider the line shuffling a valid excuse for missed blocks or what he described as a lack of consistency in the opener with Kent State. "When you play on your toes and put your head down and whiff the linebacker, what does that have to do with who plays where?" Saban said Monday. "It doesn't matter if you're playing center, guard, tackle, tight end. "It really doesn't matter which position you're playing to be able to get your second step on the ground and butt the guy in the throat and finish the block."
"Against a team like this, every time we don’t score it’s something we did, not something they did," Vlachos said. "We couldn’t get anything going. "Part of that is my fault, I think. I’m the guy that gets everybody in and out of the huddle and keeps the tempo going. I kind of went into a lull myself. We got a lead early and I don’t know. That’s something we’ve got to work on and be conscious of."
Good news on the injury front: wide receiver Kevin Norwood returned to practice Tuesday, and went through passing drills. He also wore a white jersey indicating he is cleared for contact. Norwood was in a black non-contact jersey Monday after he sprained his ankle against Kent State.
Alabama will stick by its football scholarship to one of Georgia’s top running backs after his season-ending knee injury. Justin Taylor tore the ACL in his right knee last week in practice. North Atlanta High School coach Stanley Pritchett said he talked with Alabama assistant Chris Rumph. "Alabama said they are going to stay committed to him," Pritchett told the AJC. "That’s a good thing, you know, when a team will stick by a guy who is injured. That’s really good by Alabama. And I know Justin will work hard to get his knee back right and be ready to go next season in college."
UA defensive lineman Quinton Dial said the team's flight to Penn State this weekend will be his first time ever on an airplane. And that's got him more nervous than facing the Nittany Lions. "I'm kind of nervous about getting on that plane," said Dial. "I've never flown before." As a junior college player in Mississippi, Dial bussed to road games over the previous two seasons.
In any case, Saban didn't see enough to end the competition that's raged ever since the first practice of spring camp. "That's a hypothetical question," Saban said when asked point-blank if he would abandon the every-three-series rotation the Tide used against the Golden Flashes. "We know who we're playing this week. We know what it's like to play there. We've played there before. And we know what our quarterback situation is and I already addressed that."
"It’s definitely ... something special to me," Tide offensive lineman Barrett Jones said. "Happy Valley is a place that there’s a lot of football history, a lot of rich tradition. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to go up there and play and especially experience a whiteout and all that kind of thing. It’s a really big opportunity."
4. Alabama offensive line needs work. The Crimson Tide, as expected, is in much better shape than Auburn, but it's not without its issues. It's looking like Alabama was going to heavily count on its left tackle position being occupied by Aaron Douglas, who tragically died in May from a drug overdose. Douglas, a junior-college transfer, was in line to possibly replace James Carpenter, another JuCo transfer who played so well he became a first-round draft pick. How quickly talented freshman Cyrus Kouandjio develops has added importance at left tackle, where he is listed as co-No. 1 with Barrett Jones. Jones is an All-SEC right guard, where he's best at, but there are needs elsewhere so he's also playing tackle and even serving as back-up center. Kent State got into the Alabama backfield far too often on running plays last week. If the Crimson Tide's shuffling offensive line doesn't improve, it won't matter what happens with the shuffling quarterback position.
"The Family Clothesline/PennStateClothes.com will be donating all proceeds of their Penn State vs. Alabama T-shirt to Project Team Up. It is an organization dedicated to leading the way in the redevelopment of some of Alabama’s hardest hit communities in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornadoes. We are following the lead of Alabama’s head football coach, Nick Saban, whose charity, Nick’s Kids gave $77,000 to Project Team Up in efforts to help with the tornado relief."
The University of Alabama gymnastics team will face a difficult road in defense of its 2011 national title. Of the 11 schools UA will face in 2012, eight ended last year ranked in the top 25 nationally. After a magical season last year, UA will have to reinvent itself in 2011. "It was unexpected in terms of winning the national championship," said Alabama coach Sarah Patterson. "Now we have to turn around and realize everyone will be looking toward us."
Sarah Patterson, head coach of the defending NCAA Champion Alabama gymnastics team, released the Crimson Tide's 2012 schedule, which includes five marquee home events, on Friday.
"Game planning them, the coaches told us that we don't want to overlook this team," said junior safety Robert Lester. "This is a big team, a great team, a very disciplined team. That's how we are going to look at it this year. We can't just go in and think that because we beat these guys last year that we can beat them again. They're eager to come in and play us, and they're going to give us a great game."
If Duron Carter's time comes sooner rather than later, the timing couldn't be much better for the University of Alabama. The Crimson Tide's transfer wide receiver isn't certain to play against Penn State Saturday, but it's clear enough he'll have the opportunity to prove himself worthy of the opportunity in practice this week. The circumstances under which Alabama will take on the Nittany Lions make the benefit of an added receiving threat obvious: A first-year starting quarterback will play at one of the nation's toughest road venues, and will do it without help from one of UA's two most proven receivers in Darius Hanks.
It's hard to ask for everyone in the conference to have a good weekend at the same time. The teams that are supposed to be the best looked like the best. The potential weaknesses exposed came from the middle and bottom of the league, and that's where you'd expect to find it. Am I being a bit too sunny with this assessment, or was it really a good opening weekend?
Going on at the same time as Trotter's debut was the public's first glimpse at the Alabama quarterback competition. The eye test agrees with the stat sheet that McCarron had the better day than Sims did, but both guys threw a pair of interceptions. Nick Saban declined to name a starter after the game, and we don't know if he will this week. If he does it will be McCarron, but as of now, it looks like the rotation will continue into the big game in Happy Valley this weekend.
"We're going to continue to develop both of the quarterbacks that we have. We're not gonna name a starting quarterback today," Saban said. "Later in the week as we see how the two guys practice we'll make a determination as to which guy will give us the best opportunity in this particular game, or if there's some kind of combination of the two that would be helpful and useful to us, we'll look at the option of doing that."
Penn State sophomore tailback Silas Redd had a memorable debut Saturday. In his first career start he rushed for 104 yards on 12 carries, averaging 8.7 yards, and scored two touchdowns in the Nittany Lions' 41-7 rout of Indiana State at Beaver Stadium. "He played better than I thought he would, to be honest with you," coach Joe Paterno said. "Silas has a lot of ability, but Silas has had a tendency to make some mistakes. He hadn't done a really good job in some blocking assignments, but I thought he played a good, solid football game.
Most of the Nittany Lions’ 359 total yards — 245 of them, to be exact – came on the ground, which reflected the playcalling — 48 rushes to 20 pass attempts. Look for Penn State to strive for more offensive balance Saturday against an Alabama defense that allowed 90 total yards (and minus-9 rushing) in a 48-7 season-opening win over Kent State. Though the fullbacks might still get the occasional touch, the featured backs going forward will likely be Silas Redd and Brandon Beachum, who spent the summer and parts of Saturday’s game playing behind different fullbacks at different times.
School officials spent Tuesday preparing for a news conference at Kyle Field to celebrate the move, pending a favorable vote from SEC presidents to extend an invitation. The SEC presidents met Tuesday night and approved an invitation to A&M, said sources with knowledge of the situation, but the SEC made no formal announcement.
"I'm for whatever the president and athletic director feel is best for the University of Oklahoma," Stoops said Monday of David Boren and Joe Castiglione, speaking to media during the Big 12's weekly conference call. "And as long as we get to play I'll go play where we need to go play. So I've got great faith in them. So for me to say what I'd prefer wouldn't be at all right to do." The opportunity to join the Pac-12 is up to Oklahoma and Texas, and the schools realize the ball is in their court, a source close to the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad last week. The concept of a Pac-16 regained steam after Texas A&M said it would leave the Big 12 by July 2012 if it can find another home, preferably in the SEC.
The NCAA unveiled a new set of college football recruitment rules Monday, restricting teams from communicating with high school athletes using anything other than a wink or a raised eyebrow. "The only way to level the playing field for programs and temper the influencing of young athletes is to limit coaches to six of these facial movements toward a player in any given week," said NCAA president Mark Emmert.