"Once you win two titles back-to-back, you sort of forget," receiver Christion Jones said. "It's hard to find a hunger to chase after." Hunger? Every program should have such problems. To recap: Bama still has won two out of the past three national championships and three of the past five.
That's a dynasty by any measure. A further reminder: Most preseason predictions have Alabama participating in the first playoff -- at least. It took a play for the ages at Auburn to end that 15-game winning streak and a shot at three straight titles.
All of it happened at the gun in a rivalry game. A depressing Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma followed. Lost in the post-mortem: That's probably the closest any program has come to winning three titles in row. It's still never been done.
With the '14 season about to kick off in a mere matter of days, this is a good time to sit back and revel in what our team has accomplished since 2007.
2001-2007- Pretty much nothing....
2008- SEC West Champions
2009-SEC West Champions
2009- SEC Champions
2009- Heisman trophy winner
2009- National Champion
2011- National Champion (lulz @ LSU)
2012- SEC West Champions
2012- SEC Champions
2012- National Champion
2008-2013- ALL YOUR RECRUITS ARE BELONG TO US
I know we like to complain about how '13 ended, and it was definitely painful, but let's not forget just how good we have it.
What we started this week, for a practice, a guy is the starter," Saban said live on SportsCenter on Tuesday morning. "The other guy is the backup. Then they take turns. So I think it gives a guy a better chance to show his leadership. Show how he can affect other people and basically show how he can go out there and consistently execute and do the job for us."
Been saying it for a while now — don't expect a clear favorite or starter to be named until 2-3 games into the season. We are looking at 2011 all over again and the guy who makes the least amount of mistakes, in a real live football game, will win the job.
Sims proved in the Spring that he plays well in practice but might just struggle in live action games. The coaches likely know this. Coker has yet to prove anything, good or bad, so how on earth can he be named the starter?
This is not to revisit the "quarterback battle" again so soon after Sunday, but one point that I didn’t mention in considering Nick Saban’s decision at that position was that the deadline is indefinite, or could be. Yes, someone has to take the first snap against West Virginia (assuming Saban doesn’t mess with everyone by starting Kenyan Drake, the "mismatch player," in the Wildcat formation.) But does that decision have to be forged in steel or could it be flexible?
In broader terms, do the first three weeks of the schedule give Alabama some time to mature?
The network will launch at 5 p.m. Central on Thursday with a special three-hour airing of its studio show, SEC Now. After that, the first of four new SEC Storied specials, The Stars Are Aligned, will air at 8 p.m., profiling a famous "superfan" from each of the SEC's 14 schools:
-- Melissa Joan Hart -Alabama
The first of a series of "Best of" marathons for each SEC team will then kick off in the early morning hours Friday, with four recent Alabama classics featured -- the 2009 SEC championship game against Florida, the 2012 SEC championship game against Georgia, the 2013 Texas A&M game and the 2012 BCS national championship game against Notre Dame.
The SEC Network is going full gump on Friday, as well it should.
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Opposing coach's take
They’re very big on defense. Big up front. Their linebackers are those bigger bodies, which helps against the run, but they don’t play in space as well because of their body types. They’re meant to be stop-the-power, stop-the-counter guys. They don’t do too much schematically. You know where they’re going to be.
I do like their philosophy of, "Hey, this is what you’re going to get." It’s up to you to try to beat it. They’re very, very hard bodies to move. Their pass rush is not going to be bullets off the edge. We knew if it was going to be Cover 2 or if it was going to be man.
They’re coached very well, and their structure is very good. From talking to our players, the Bama kids did the least amount of trash-talking out of any team we played. They’re just very disciplined players, and I have a lot of respect for that
I was a little shocked by the first two comments by opposing coaches. We hear all the time that Saban is the master of disguising blitzes and mixing up coverages and how you never know where the free man is coming from...Seems to me the opposing coaches aren't at all confused by what they are seeing, it's just they can't figure out - or don't have the players- to beat it..
Not only do the stats say increased pace of play is not contributing to more injuries, it actually shows conferences snapping the ball more frequently have less injuries. Like significantly less. In 2012 the Big 12 Conference snapped the ball almost 9 times more a game than the SEC, but has around 40% fewer injuries per play.
I am certainly not a stats guy, so I won't comment on the finding laid out here, but this seems to be the first attempt (at least one I've seen) at figuring out if increased number of plays leads to more injuries.
On Wednesday, Hamilton was spotted working alongside Ragland on the first-team nickel defense. It's a spot he's occupied occasionally throughout the preseason, swapping back and forth with sophomore Reuben Foster. Alabama's used a three-man rotation at its two traditional inside linebacker spots in the past. If it goes with that strategy in 2014, Hamilton will certainly be in the mix.
The only problem I see with our LB's (and it's not really a real serious issue) is that Ragland is likely our best ILB in coverage, but isn't quite the run stopper when compared to Foster or even Depriest. But Depriest and Foster are suspect in coverage. We just don't have a guy like CJ or McClain, who is a true three down linebacker. So I suspect we'll see a rotation of Depriest, Ragland, Foster and now Hamilton at ILB, depending on the situation.
BTW Watch the video below of Hamilton in practice. He looks and plays a lot like CJ Mosley....and he's only a freshman.
Noticeable is the drop in Florida signees since 2007, likely coinciding with the apex of Urban Meyer's power in Gainesville and then continuing with Jimbo Fisher's ascendance to head coach in 2010. Meanwhile, every program in the country competes for the state's recruits.
Footage from Wednesday AM practice:
Footage from Wednesday PM practice: