As some of you have noticed, we've not posted lately. And today, after lengthy talks with nxojkt, we've decided to pull the plug. It's for all the right reasons - I'm opening a brewery in Tuscaloosa, probably having a little fun on some sports betting sites, and nxojkt was recently promoted at his (mostly) day job.
I'll still be hanging around on Twitter, shouting down those blowhards who heap nastiness on Alabama for "oversigning", but this will in all likelihood be the very last post here. Thanks to everyone who's read and responded to our stuff. I've had the opportunity to talk to some of you in real life as well, and hope to again.
As always, Roll Tide.
The University of Alabama football team has concluded the spring semester, and with it the 2012 spring practice session. Bama made it through the spring without any major injuries and is now waiting on 18 high school seniors to graduate and move to Tuscaloosa.
Here's where things stand:
As a lot of folks expected, backup quarterback Phillip Sims has decided to transfer. He was extremely classy in his remarks while leaving, and Coach Saban had great things to say about him in return. The official story is that he has a sick relative back in Virgina, and he is transferring to the University of Virginia in order to be closer to home. That is, I am sure, the story that the NCAA will be told so that Phillip can petition for a hardship waiver and not have to sit out the 2012 season. Alabama has released him from his scholarship, so if the NCAA grants that waiver, he will be eligible to play in the fall. I would imagine that Phillip would be returning to Tuscaloosa despite the health of his family if he were the returning starter, but I wish the kid luck at Virginia. He represented the University of Alabama well in his two years on campus and helped the Tide win a national title. Transfers will happen when you recruit at the level that Alabama does.
With Phillip Sims now gone, it looks likely that Blake Sims will move back to quarterback. Behind starter A.J. McCarron the Tide has only redshirt freshman Phillip Ely returning at the position. Alec Morris will be reporting to Tuscaloosa in a few weeks, but he is not expected to be an instant impact type of player. So it looks like it will be a battle between Ely and Sims for the backup job when fall camp opens. Coach Saban has indicated in the past week that if Sims ends up being the quarterback at any time, Bama will adapt the offense around his skill set.
Ely looked better than expected during his time on A-Day. I would imagine if A.J. McCarron were to roll and ankle and miss a handful of snaps that Phillip would be the guy to go in and take the game snaps. The Tide would run essentially the same offense, though the passing game would like be limited to shorter throws. It would probably resemble a lot of what Bama did with John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy. If McCarron were to miss multiple game, then you would possibly see the offense change to accommodate the skills of Sims.
Senior tight end Brandon Lewis has decided to move on from football and join the business world. He made the move from defensive tackle to tight end during the season last year, and was fighting for a spot at both the traditional tight end spot and the H-back spot during the spring. He has given several interviews since announcing his decision, and it would be impossible for anyone to sound more happy about their time at Alabama than Brandon does. He is a great kid and it looks like he will remain a huge Alabama fan.
A-Day is a few weeks behind us at this point, and there was really only one thing to take away from the game - holy crap this team is talented! I think we all knew that headed into A-Day, but it's always nice to get that complete of a reminder. Anyone watching at home - especially Bama's opening opponent Michigan - was likely equally impressed. Expect Bama to ranked in the top five in most preseason polls. USC, Oklahoma, and LSU will all be ranked up there with the Tide.
One of the fun things about A-Day is getting the chance to see the development of guys who have impressed the coaching staff during the spring. Guys like D.J. Fluker and A.J. McCarron were repeatedly complimented by Coach Saban. Barrett Jones locked down yet another new position on the offensive line. But among the returning players, possibly no one caught the eye quite like Adrian Hubbard.
While the official depth chart (if there was one) would list him as the starting sam linebacker, he's not likely to leave the field much in 2012. When Bama goes to nickel he will likely slide over to the jack spot. In passing downs he will be a major part of the rabbit rusher package. He had a fantastic spring, and was the defensive MVP of A-Day. A lot of fans are already talking about the possibility of him leaving early for the NFL. Not bad for a guy who had 9 total tackles last season. The reality is, he had that type of spring. And he is likely to have a big 2012 season as Bama's primary pass rusher on the edge.
The new wrinkle over the last few years for A-Day is seeing the early enrollees play. This season we got to see eight new players take the field at Bryant-Denny Stadium:
-- Ryan Anderson. He might already be the second guy at jack linebacker behind Xzavier Dickson when Bama is in the base defense. There is a revolving door of guys like William Ming, Wilson Love, and Anthony Orr that got looks over there over the course of the spring, but Anderson is likely ahead of all of them. He didn't stand out much on A-Day, but he got a lot of snaps. Don't be shocked if Anderson is pushing for rabbit rusher playing time by midseason.
-- Deion Belue. I still thing his biggest contribution to this team will come in the return game, and we didn't really see much of that on A-Day. But he is already heavily in the mix for playing time in the nickel and dime packages. If Coach Saban opts to have a third corner play the money or star spots, he is primed to be that guy. I think the ridiculous depth that the Tide has at safety might mean we see some different looks this year, but Belue will push John Fulton hard in the fall and could end up starting at one of the corner spots.
-- Chris Black. He ended up with 3 receptions for 61 yards and a 44 yard touchdown pass. This kid is electric and got the chance to show it on his long play. There is still a need for depth to develop at wide receiver, and he took a big step towards the rotation.
-- Amari Cooper. He didn't take that step. That's not to say he had a bad game. He was noticeable as a blocker on several runs, which is an important part of the job. With Phillip Sims and Phillip Ely not throwing the ball downfield much, there were only six receptions by receivers for the white team. So the fact that he didn't have a catch had as much to do with the flow of that offense as anything he did.
-- Travell Dixon. He did not have the big spring that a lot of folks, including me, were expecting him to have. According to the staff, though, he did close the spring well. He had six tackles and a PBU during A-Day, and that's indicative of the way he closed the spring. It looks, at this point, like he is a "gamer" - meaning he is a guy that plays better than he practices. He's likely been able to get away with that in his career up to this point. He won't get away with that at Alabama. If he takes the same intensity into the practices in the fall that he had on A-Day, he could quickly make a move up the rotation.
-- Dillon Lee. He got a lot of playing time with the second unit and got a lot of special attention on the sidelines from the staff. It is clear that the coaching staff loves this kid and you can see why. While he only had two tackles, he was constantly around the ball. His sideline to sideline speed is better than expected, and only the fact that there are several NFL linebackers on this team will keep him off of the field.
-- Alphonse Taylor. We didn't really see much of the big fellow because he made a final week position change to the offensive line. I still think that the move was to help cover some depth issues on the offensive line, and once Arie Kouandjio is healthy and Brandon Hill & Brandon Greene report this summer we will see him move back to the defensive line.
-- T.J. Yeldon. Wow! He had 88 rushing yards and 91 receiving yards, and at times looked like the best player on the field. There have been some recent rumors pop up that Dee Hart might be considering a transfer. If those rumors are true, it's likely because Yeldon had the type of explosive spring that could catapult him up the depth chart. I think there are enough carries to go around between the four running backs that Bama has (Eddie Lacy, Jalston Fowler, and the two guys mentioned). And I think all four are talented enough to make an impact this year. Yeldon was the talk of the day, though.
The really crazy thing is that it's easy to see the talent of these guys and forget the amount of talent that is set to report at the end of the month. Bama has 18 more guys coming into the fold, including nine guys who were ranked among the nation's top 150 high school players. Two of those guys (Landon Collins and Eddie Williams) were ranked in the top ten.
When those 18 join the returning guys in the fall, that will give Bama 84 guys on scholarship - by my numbers, at least. The staff doesn't make those numbers public, so no one knows if Cade Foster is still on scholarship, or if Jeremy Shelley might be. What is truly scary for Tide opponents is that Bama will be a national title contender despite the fact that of the 84 guys on scholarship, 54 will be freshmen or sophomores. In fact, Bama will take the field with just 8 scholarship seniors.
In other words, this brilliant run of football isn't likely to come to a close any time soon. Enjoy it, folks!
When we left off our rankings of the scholarship guys on campus, all we had left was the top ten. So... here we go:
#10 - Robert Lester. He will be the guy that makes all of the secondary calls for the Tide in 2012. He's come a long way since being considered by many to be a tag-along to Julio Jones out of Foley high school. He was sixth on the team in tackles last year and became a guy that quarterbacks began to avoid in the passing game. He still managed two interceptions. His value to the team is his leadership, though. With the Tide secondary being the least experienced part of the defense, there will be a lot put on Lester to carry the mental load for the group. The Bama safeties play a myriad of roles in the defensive scheme, and Lester will get a chance to become much more involved in run defense this year. I think he will still be the guy that drops back deep into coverage, but with Mark Barron gone, he might get a few looks up near the line of scrimmage.
#9 - Dee Milliner. A lot of 2013 NFL Draft projections are starting to include this Bama junior in the first round. He is one of the five fastest guys on the team, and could contribute in the return game. But his value is plain and simple - he will be Bama's "field" corner. That means that he will replace Dre Kirkpatrick as the guy who get to guard the opponent's best receiver. He was second on the team last year in passes broken up with nine. He also led the Tide in interceptions with three. What that means is that he got thrown at a lot. And considering that Bama had the nation's best pass defense, he didn't give up that many receptions. A lot is going to be expected of his this season, and the first three games will give him a chance to establish himself. Last season saw Kirkpatrick basically eliminate one side of the field for a lot of quarterbacks. If Milliner can have a couple of big games early, QBs might start ignoring that half of the field again.
#8 Chance Warmack. This kid is an absolute road grader and might be the best guard in college football. Think back to last season and how many times you heard his name... can't think of many; can you? Typically the only time you hear a lineman's name is if he's being called for a penalty. He was the guy who did the vast majority of the pulling in Bama's rushing attack, and he simply didn't commit many penalties. He also helped pave the way for Trent Richardson to help break the school's single season rushing record. I have said many time that I don't know a whole lot about offensive line play, so I really can't do his value to the team justice. What I do know is that he is expected to be one of the first two guards drafted in next year's draft. And I know that he'll be a major part of the Bama rushing attack in 2012.
#7 Damion Square. You don't hear much about him, but that's because you don't hear much about defensive linemen in Bama's system. Until Marcell Dareus had the huge BCS title game against Texas, you didn't really hear all that much about him. It's the nature of the 3-4 system. But here is the one thing you need to know about him - he was third on the team in tackles for a loss in 2012. The two guys he trailed were Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw. With Jesse Williams moving inside and demanding double teams, he'll have the benefit of facing more one-on-one blocking in passing downs this year. He's also one more year removed from knee surgery that a lot of folks have forgotten about. He is the second best player on the best defensive line in college football. With Williams rushing up the middle and Hubbard and Dickson coming off of the edge, I expect we'll see Damion have a dominant year beating up opposing left tackles.
#6 C.J. Mosley. What is crazy is that right now C.J. isn't a starter in Bama's base defense. He plays the mike, and Nico Johnson is ahead of him. But let's be honest, C.J. is going to play, and he is going to be the biggest playmaker among Bama's ridiculous linebacker corp. He will be the guy that slides into the middle during Bama's nickel and dime defenses. He might be the nation's best coverage linebacker, which means that he'll help eliminate tight ends from being weapons against the Tide defense. He has recovered well from the hip injury that sidelined him during the BCS Championship Game. But that injury is still a slight concern for me. Which is why he is behind the next guy.
#5 Nico Johnson. Has there ever been a four year starter for Bama have a more quiet career? Don't confuse that quiet with non-production, though. He has ranked in the top ten in tackles all three years, and was fourth on the team last year. In fact, he is the leading returning tackler. The bottom line is that Nico doesn't make flashy plays. He just simply makes plays. He is a guy who is seemingly always in the right spot, and he simply doesn't miss assignments. He would be an every down player for virtually every defense in the country, but the fact that Mosley excels so much against the pass likely pulls him off of the field on third down. If Mosley is 100% healthy in the fall, these two guys probably switch places. But don't be shocked if Nico ends up leading the team in tackles. Of course, with Bama's defense being as balanced as it is, don't be shocked if the leading tackler has less than 75 - Dont'a Hightower was the only guy over that number in 2011.
#4 D.J. Fluker. It's rare to see a right tackle this high on the list. But if you talk to people who were at practice every day, they will tell you that he might have had the best spring of anyone on the team. What is crazy is that despite the fact that he plays right tackle, he is popping up as a top ten pick on a lot of mock drafts for next year. And he's just a junior. His weakness last season was the speed rush. He struggled at time against Xzavier Dickson and Adrian Hubbard this spring, but that has more to do with their ability than it does with Fluker's struggles. The staff was extremely pleased with his development, and scouts are starting to indicate that he might have developed enough to be a left tackle at the next level. All that aside, he is a devastating run blocker. When he is paired with Chance Warmack on Bama's right side, there are very few defenses that can stop the Bama rushing attack.
#3 Jesse Williams. He performance on Bama's pro day sent him to the top of a lot of scouts' lists for next year's NFL Draft. He ran a ridiculous 40-yard dash time for a guy his size and apparently did more than 50 reps on the bench press. And he's still learning the game. He's made the move inside to nose guard, and it looks like he'll stay there. All spring long I talked about how the staff would like to move him back outside. I think you can forget that. Damion Square, Quinton Dial, and Ed Stinson are good enough on the outside, and there is no one close to Jesse on the inside. In fact, don't be shocked to see him have a Terrence Cody like impact in the middle this fall. When you consider that Cody was a two-time All-American, that's saying a lot. That position doesn't put up big numbers, but opposing offenses know when there is an elite guy in the middle. Cody took the middle away from teams in 2009. Jesse will do that this fall. He's not quite on Cody's level against the run, but he is light year's ahead of him in rushing the passer. Don't be shocked to see him jump into the top 15 of next year's draft.
#2 Barrett Jones. What is there to say about a guy who was an All-American at right guard in 2010, and then won the Outland Trophy as a left tackle in 2011? The fact that he's moving inside to center, and that the move seems to have concerned no one is just nuts. Guys aren't supposed to be able to move around like that and be that good at each position. Barrett will likely be a three-time All-American, and could win the Outland Trophy and Riminigton Trophy in consecutive years. No one has gotten the Elias Sports Bureau on that, but my guess is that it hasn't been done. I'm also guessing that no one has been a three-time All-American at three different positions. With guys like John Hannah and Dwight Stephenson having come through Tuscaloosa, you just aren't going to see anyone else enter the conversation for "best lineman ever at Alabama." But I think he's proven to be the most versatile, and will likely leave Tuscaloosa as one of the five best linemen to ever play for the Tide. And I haven't even mentioned his off of the field value as a leader. When DeMeco Ryans left Alabama, it was tough to imagine anyone being a better ambassador for the University. Barrett might end up being just that. He's as good of a kid as has ever come through Tuscaloosa, and that is saying a lot. He might be the third best linemen on this team, but the fact that he is the starter at center and the likely backup at every other position means he goes ahead of everyone else. The fact that he is almost guaranteed to be a team captain puts him right next to the top.
#1 A.J. McCarron. I said at the beginning of this list that I would try not to make any changes to the list based on how things went during the spring. I can honestly say that I accomplished that until right now. When I made my original list, I had A.J. at #2 and Barrett Jones at #1. When Phillip Sims announced that he was transferring, I had to make the change. A.J. was better than Sims, but the gap was not huge. The gap between A.J. and every other quarterback on the team is simply titanic. It's so big that Coach Saban has already indicated that if he missed any substantial time that the offense might have to be tweaked to fit the skill set of Blake Sims. Plain and simple, A.J. McCarron is the most important player on this team. He's in the top ten when it comes to talent, but the fact that the team changes considerably without him vaults him straight to the top. The talk about importance is justified, but it also does a dis-service to how talented he actually is. I don't think we really got a great appreciation for just how good A.J. was last year. The Bama rushing attack was so good, that Bama didn't have to throw it much. Bama blew out every opponent expect for LSU the first time around, so A.J. was typically finished passing in the third quarter of most games. He still threw for more than 2,600 yards and had a 3:1 TD to interception ratio. We finally got to see what he was capable of in the BCS Championship Game, and he whipped the LSU defense. The Tide defense was so dominant that it hid the fact that McCarron had a great game against what was a great passing defense. He was the offensive MVP of that game, and it wasn't even close. He was also just a sophomore. This is his team now. He has fully and completely taken ownership of his role as the quarterback and leader of the offense. I will not be shocked to see him break every single season passing record that Alabama has. Teams will start the season trying to take away the run and make A.J. beat them. And he will. You won't hear much about him, with Matt Barkley dominating the national talk and Tyler Wilson likely dominating the regional talk. But anyone who actually watches the Tide this year will see a quarterback playing at a high level. We haven't seen that in quite some time at Alabama. So it should be a lot of fun.
Before we close the sportsbook on the spring, I want to send out a huge congratulations to Sarah Patterson and the Alabama women's gymnastics team for bringing home the NCAA Championship. It is the Tide's sixth, and second in a row. It's also the first time in school history that Bama has seen two teams win an NCAA Title in the same year. With softball, and men's & women's golf ranked in the top ten of their sports heading into post season, the Tide has a real chance to add to that. It's an amazing time to be a Bama fan.
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The University of Alabama football team has concluded its regular practices for the 2012 spring session. Thursday's practice was held in shorts and helmets and was the final practice before Saturday's A-Day.
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The University of Alabama football team has begun its final week of practice for the 2012 spring session. The full pads practice was the first of two this week, leading up to Saturday's A-Day.
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The University of Alabama football team completed its penultimate week of the 2012 spring session with a scrimmage on Friday. The team was then given Saturday and Sunday off for players to spend the Easter holiday with their families.
Here's what you need to know:
The University of Alabama football team held its first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. Coach Saban was pleased with the way the team worked.Following practice games and scrimmages is a really good way to gain an insight into the chances of any team, which is beneficial knowledge especially when you fancy placing a bet on an important game. Betting on games online on different sports, and even casino sites, is increasingly popular. Some sites only offer traditional games like the slots in http://www.luckynuggetcasino.com/online-slots, but you can find that many will have a sportsbook as well. You can't go wrong betting on the Tide!
Here's what you need to know:
The University of Alabama football practiced on Friday in their final preparation for the first scrimmage of the spring on Saturday. The practice was held in shells and inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
Here's what you need to know:
The University of Alabama football team had its seventh practice of the 2012 spring session on Wednesday. The full pads practice was held outside in the bright sunshine of a beautiful spring day in Tuscaloosa.
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The University of Alabama football team had its sixth practice of the 2012 spring session on Monday. The practice was in full pads and, according to Coach Saban, was not a particularly good one.
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March Madness is winding down, and sadly, the officials decided that getting slapped hard enough to stop your shot 6 feet short isn't enough to justify a foul. So, our Crimson Tide is at home, licking their wounds and waiting for next year.
With New Orleans just a short drive from Tuscaloosa, some of you may have been pondering a road trip. You may have thought tickets were too expensive... but they're not as outrageous as you'd expect, and there's less of a concern about counterfieting with TiqIQ. Check out the info after the jump. no comments