What changes when the team puts on full pads? "Just like coach says, it'll separate the men from the boys," veteran linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "It's all about hitting. Taking on the guards. Finishing plays. Wrapping up. That's what it comes down to. You can't be in shorts all the time."
"We are very big, very athletic, though. We have some athletic guys this year - I'm not saying the guys we had before weren't athletic - but ... we have guys who can play any position up front and get it done. It's a great group of guys. ..."
When Mosley went down, knee or ankle injuries were feared, but he knew he had dislocated his hip because the sensation was similar to dislocating his elbow. "Surprisingly it didn't feel as bad as that," Mosley said. At least until the joint was popped back into the socket right there on the field. "I'd say a 10 out of 10 on pain," Mosley said. "Usually for a hip to dislocate, it has to be like a car accident - like heavy trauma. That's why I was lucky to get it put in there, because they say you usually have to go through anesthesia to get a hip back put in."
"I wouldn't say 100%, but I'm just getting there every day," Mosley said. "Rehabbing is going pretty well. I did a little rehab over spring break, but overall I'm feeling good at practice running around."
Coming off a BCS National Championship in his first season as a starter, McCarron already has the experience of a veteran. And he knows he'll need it. "I had to (be a leader) last year midway through the year and (now) I'm one of the older guys, or as we say on the team, old heads on the offense," McCarron said. "I have to push other guys and I have to be more vocal. That's really it." The weapons Nussmeier and McCarron have to work with this spring include several receivers who got limited playing time last year, including Kenny Bell, Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones. The rest are even less experienced, as is the talent on hand to replace Brad Smelley at tight end. "We're definitely going to have to have some guys step up. I feel like we have a really good group of guys, not just on the field, but off the field," McCarron said. "I feel like everybody has a good head on their shoulders and this group of receivers seems to be a little closer together, which is definitely a good thing."
The top-ranked Alabama softball team won in dramatic fashion in the first game and dropped its first contest of the season in the nightcap. The Tide won an 11-inning, 3-2, thriller and then fell, 5-2, to move to 26-1 overall and 7-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
Jackie Traina had sweated through 195 pitches. The University of Alabama softball team's sophomore ace pitcher had struck out 15 batters, the last one to escape a bases-loaded situation in the top of the 11th inning. Having already notched career highs in strikeouts and pitches thrown in a game on Wednesday, Traina only needed to see one more pitch. That pitch came from Tennessee's Ivy Renfroe with two outs in the bottom of the 11th, and Traina jumped on it. She blasted Renfroe's first offering 240 feet over the fence in straightaway center field to lift the top-ranked Crimson Tide to a 3-2 win over the 11th-ranked Lady Vols.
Alabama's season-long 26-game winning streak came to a screeching halt late Wednesday night, as 11th-ranked Tennessee beat the top-ranked Crimson Tide, 5-2, in the second game of an SEC softball doubleheader at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. UT junior Melissa Brown hit a three-run homer, and sophomore Madison Shipman added a solo shot and an RBI single to hand Alabama (26-1, 7-1 SEC) its first loss of the season after the Lady Vols (20-7, 4-4) were beaten, 3-2 in 11 innings in the opener.
In a recent account of the case, the Birmingham News called the lawsuit "embarrassing." News reporter Jon Solomon said in a phone interview last week that "Alabama couldn't have picked a worse PR fiasco than the one they've created." To put it in football terms: Picture Alabama's 2012 national champs playing a junior highschool squad—and going into the fourth quarter with the junior high leading. At least that's what it looks like as the university, using the lawyers and other "material and financial support" provided by Collegiate Licensing Co., Alabama's licensing agent, lines up against Mr. Moore and his Birmingham-based lawyer, Steve Heninger. (In addition to Alabama, CLC represents the NCAA and 100 other universities.) So far, according to the Birmingham News, the university has spent nearly $1.4 million in legal expenses battling Mr. Moore. The irony is almost dizzying: Mr. Moore's works have boosted Alabama football's prestige, bolstering fan support for the same self-sustaining athletic department that is now seeking to restrict the artist's right to portray the team in paint.
Upsets. Excitement. Heartbreak. Those are just three qualities on the endless list of reasons why the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is one of the greatest spectacles in sports. By now, I’m sure your bracket is ruined thanks to teams like Lehigh, Norfolk State or Cincinnati. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe you’re the master of picking upsets and are currently in the driver’s seat of your bracket pool. That’s what makes March exciting: three weeks of college basketball teams playing their hearts out for forty minutes to determine who moves on and who goes home. Just when you think you have figured out who will win it all, a school you’ve never heard of turns the whole thing upside down and chaos ensues. It’s great. March rules. Until somebody comes along and says something like this: "See! Look how exciting this is! Just imagine if they did this in football, too!"
Andy Reid told reporters that considers Ryans to be "one of the top 4-3 middle linebackers in the NFL" and that having Ryans is "like having a QB on the defensive side of the ball." The coach says that Ryans’ experience will be important for the Eagles young LB corps. Ryans said he was looking forward to getting back in a 4-3 defense, where he says he’s a natural fit inside. He’s played MIKE in a 4-3 since high school, but when the Texans shifted a 3-4 last season, he was clearly miscast as a weakside backer in that scheme. He says he’s looking forward to being back in natural position.
"The minimum should be 16 teams,’’ he said. "I think 32 is better than 16, but I think 64 would be ideal," he started to explain to me, without taking a breath. "You could cut the regular season down to 10 games, but guarantee everybody 12 games. In the end, the champion would play 16 games." Don't bring up school workload to him as an argument. "That's a bunch of foolishness," he chided, in a nice, polite tone. "Basketball players go to school, volleyball players go to school, baseball players go to school and they play a lot more games than football [players do]."
While logging the 2012 head coaching changes into our database, an idea occurred to us. While we have done extensive statistical analysis related to on-the-field performance metrics as they relate to head coaches and coordinators, we haven’t performed any statistical analysis associated with the coaching changes themselves. So our resident technology expert crunched some numbers and ran some queries, and we were astounded with the results. So what did our Coaching Changes By The Numbers reveal? Let’s find out: