Happy Monday, everyone. As the football team rests before opening bowl practice near the end of the week, pickings for the old JP were thinner than a Pac 12 linebacker. As always, however, we are going to mine for whatever gold exists. The big news of the weekend in Tuscaloosa was the weather, as central Alabama was hit with its snowiest December day since 1963. The wintry scene felt like Christmastime, and we all know what you want from Santa this year:
We’ve been good all year, Santa. Even lost in Auburn and didn’t poison no trees or nothin’.
TideSports.com took some nice photos of Bryant-Denny and the players had some fun with the snow:
Bryant-Denny sure is pretty when she's all dressed up in white. pic.twitter.com/ESchClze72— TideSports.com (@TideSports) December 8, 2017
Pass those tests and get ready to work, men. Mack Wilson has his eyes on the prize:
Great stuff there. Hopefully this defense will get healthy and look like it did in the opener.
Minkah didn’t win some arbitrary character award, but he was a finalist and, as usual, Alabama players are the best recruiters for the program.
"Once I leave the program I am going to be the best possible player I can be" @JohnSchriffen caught up with one of the @TheLottTrophy finalist, Minkah Fitzpatrick as he discussed what it's like playing for Nick Saban pic.twitter.com/iaoWjhWznM— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) December 11, 2017
Roll Tide, Minkah. Alabama players have certainly collected some hardware in the Saban era:
Here's a list of individual awards won by Alabama players/coaches in the Nick Saban era. You have to click to expand and see them all: pic.twitter.com/l102yIGRmX— Ben Jones (@BW_Jones) December 8, 2017
Kudos to Ben for compiling the list. He also put out some nice profile work on the Tide medical staff.
“I think what happens a lot of places, and I know it happens, because when I say it, parents and recruits shake their heads,” Allen said. “I’m like ‘Look, most places in the recruiting process, they’re certainly going to walk you through the medical facilities. They’re going to show you the pretty tables, the nice pool, we have this, we have that. And you’re going to walk out the back door. You may never meet the people that are actually taking care of you. You may never hear about the doctors. You may not get the chance to meet them.’
“I think that is the norm, versus here, where I meet with every official visit that we have. I’ll meet with them, I’ll meet with their families. We’ll talk to them and give them a presentation about our medical care. It’s an in-depth presentation, if you will, on every kid that comes through here on an official visit. That’s a priority to Coach Saban, that they meet with our area.”
“I’ve told my other doctors that I work with and the other people around that I think there are several people important to the University of Alabama program,” Cain said. “Obviously Coach (Nick) Saban is at the top of the list. But I think Jeff Allen is probably in the top two or three. There is no coach, administrator, doctor or anybody else in the program that’s as important in terms of what happens through the season, what happens in the offseason, what happens with the players from a perception and happiness standpoint as Jeff Allen.”
Having the world-renowned Lyle Cain in Birmingham was pure luck, but Jeff Allen as the head trainer was a brilliant hire. He has been with Saban since he came to Tuscaloosa, and is responsible for
discovering deer antler spray helping the Alabama players consistently recover faster than expected. Of course, the attitude and work ethic of the player is the primary driver, but it’s clear that Allen has a great relationship with the team.
The basketball team was impressive on the road, even in defeat. Braxton Key will be back soon to add a bit more talented depth to the frontcourt, and this team should be able to compete with anyone. Of course, Collin Sexton is getting all the attention.
3. Collin Sexton, Alabama guard
Stats: 20.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, 48.1 FG pct., 32.2 usage rate
Alabama has a very talented team, but Collin Sexton is the special talent that could help the Crimson Tide compete for the SEC championship this season. He’s an unstoppable scoring machine and can get buckets in a variety of ways. His 40-point explosion vs. Minnesota, when the Tide were forced to play 3-on-5 for the last 10 minutes of the game because of ejections, foul outs and injury, will be the stuff of legend for years to come in Tuscaloosa. Scary thing is, he has room to get even better.
“Early in the game, I just had to get a feel for what type of defense they were going to do,” Sexton said. “In the second half, Coach [Avery Johnson] just said to attack more.”
Alabama led by 6 early in the second half before its defense and lack of rebounding did it in. The Tide committed 17 fouls in the second half and were outrebounded 43-30 overall.
“When you shoot 38 percent, you have to get more than (6) offensive rebounds,” Johnson said.
Alabama has one game left before SEC play, on Dec. 19 against Mercer in Huntsville.
Yeah, we’re playing Mercer again. So what?
Al.com has a nice compilation of the NFL action involving Alabama players this weekend:
Middle linebacker Reuben Foster (Auburn High) of the 49ers made a team-leading eight tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, against the Texans.
Left defensive tackle Jarran Reed of the Seattle Seahawks.
Tight end O.J. Howard (Autauga Academy) of the Buccaneers caught four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Howard scored on a 2-yard catch with 13:41 left in the fourth quarter. He has five TD receptions in his rookie season.
Running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans ran for 20 yards and one touchdown on eight carries in a 12-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Henry ran 6 yards for the first points of the game with 7:16 left in the second quarter.
Several nice videos there, but Eddie stripping the ball from A.J. Green takes the cake (SWIDT?)
Should be an Eddie Jackson strip fumble. pic.twitter.com/tVc6c70ICS— Kevin Marchina (@kg_holler) December 10, 2017
Way to make hay, Eddie. Wish we could have seen him play against Clemson. That had to be devastating for him.
That’s about it for today. Have a great week.