Monthly Archives: August 2009

Practice update and video

Just got back from Monday afternoon’s media viewing period of practice. And now, some updates.

Linebacker Cory Reamer was not practicing, presumably as one of the few new players coach Nick Saban said came down with the flu making the rounds. Receiver Marquis Maze missed Saturday’s practice, but was back on the field Monday. Alfred McCullough of Athens was still missing, however.

Check out the following video of the wide receivers working out starting with Julio Jones.

Depth chart released

Without anymore talk, I present the game-week depth chart distributed Monday afternoon.

Offense
LT: James Carpenter, Alfred McCullough, Taylor Pharr
LG: Mike Johnson, Brian Motley, Anthony Steen
C: William Vlachos, David Ross
RG: Barrett Jones, John Michael Boswell, Chance Warmack
RT: Drew Davis, Tyler Love, D.J. Fluker
TE: Colin Peek, Michael Williams, Undra Billingsley
HB: Brad Smelley, Preston Dial, Baron Huber
QB: Greg McElroy, Star Jackson, Thomas Darrah OR AJ McCarron.
RB: Mark Ingram, Terry Grant OR Roy Upchurch, Trent Richardson
WR: Julio Jones, Mike McCoy, Brandon Gibson
WR: Marquis Maze, Darius Hanks, Earl Alexander

Defense
DE: Lorenzo Washington, Marcell Dareus, Milton Talbert
NG: Terrence Cody, Josh Chapman, Kerry Murphy OR Nick Gentry
DE: Brandon Deaderick, Luther Davis, Darrington Sentimore
SAM: Cory Reamer, Alex Watkins, Chavis Williams
MIKE: Rolando McClain, Chris Jordan, Nico Johnson
WILL: Dont’a Hightower, Jerrell Harris, Tana Patrick
JACK: Eryk Anders, Courtney Upshaw, Damion Square
LC: Javier Arenas, Marquis Johnson, B.J. Scott
RC: Kareem Jackson, Chris Rogers, Dre Kirkpatrick
SS: Mark Barron, Ali Sharrief, Rod Woodson
FS: Justin Woodall, Robby Green, Tyrone King

Overall, not many surprises. The long talked-about offensive line turns out to look exactly as expected. Notice Athens product Alfred McCullough is the back-up left tackle behind James Carpenter.

If you want to read the chart as released by the school, you can always click here.

Now that it is game week, I’d like to see a little more reaction from you, the loyal readers. Please post comments and get the discussion started.

New video, photos from Saturday practice

Check out this video I recorded at Saturday’s practice of Terrence Cody’s return after three days away with the flu. He is on the left.

And now, check out five new pictures from Saturday’s practice in the Bama Blog photo album.

Alabama football

Andre Smith (finally) signs with Bengals

The hold-out is over.

Andre Smith is officially a Bengal.

The former Alabama offensive lineman signed a 4-year, $26 million contract with Cincinnati after missed most of the preseason. Read more about the new developments in the Cincinnati Enquirer by clicking here.

Terrence Cody back at practice

After missing three practices with the flu, Alabama nose guard Terrence Cody was on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields on Saturday afternoon.

The 350-pound senior appeared gassed at times between drills.

Teammates also joked with him about being a little rusty after messing up one of the workouts.

Also in attendance was Athletics Director Mal Moore who recently wrapped up negotiations to extend coach Nick Saban’s contract through 2017. The media viewing period at the beginning of practice was cut short when an intense rain storm blew through Tuscaloosa, sending writers and photographers running for the hills (or their vehicles).

Read more in Sunday’s paper and check back later for video of Cody practicing.

BREAKING: Saban agrees to 3-year contract extension

Nick Saban will be in Tuscaloosa for a few more years. The release just arrived stating the Crimson Tide football coach will be under contract until 2017. Dollar-figures were not immediately available.

The agreement still needs to be approved by the board of trustees but I wouldn’t expect much of a fight.

Check back in a little bit for more details.

UPDATE: Saban’s comments on the new deal according to the news release:


“Terry and I are pleased and happy that the University of Alabama has offered us an extension to our original contract,” said head coach Nick Saban. “Our acceptance of the extension expresses our commitment to the University of Alabama for the rest of our coaching career. Dr. Witt and the University community have been tremendous in terms of their cooperation in rebuilding the football program. The outstanding support from Mal (Moore) and the athletic department have set the table for us to be successful. We greatly appreciate the time, effort and dedication of everyone involved with our football program, as well as all of the positive energy our fans have demonstrated since we’ve been in Tuscaloosa.”

Check out Saban's ESPN commercial

Nick Saban was in California for a few days this summer. He was filming a commercial for ESPN’s College GameDay. Here is the final product.

Future Alabama QB plays on ESPNU tonight

Tune into ESPNU at 6 p.m. to see the latest highly-recruited Alabama quarterback play some high school football.

Phillip Sims and his Oscar Smith High School teammates from Virginia will take on Venice (Fla.) on one of the several channels that makes up the “worldwide leaders” network. I will be covering a different high school game so you’ll have to fill me in with the details later.

Sims could make things interesting next fall with Greg McElroy, AJ McCarron and Star Jackson all eligible for the 2010 season.

Flu gets into football program

Read more in tomorrow’s paper, but coach Nick Saban confirmed that the flu has sickened “four or five” Alabama football players.

Various strains have reportedly made its way around the Tuscaloosa campus after students returned Aug. 19. Terrence Cody is one of the players to get sick as the nose tackle has missed two practices thus far.

Read more Friday.

UPDATE: Here is the story I promised. Click here.

Thursday afternoon notes

You’re just one day away from the weekend. Celebrate with a few nuggets I thought you might be interested in.

  • My admiration for Sports Illustrated has been well-documented in previous posts. That love was re-affirmed today when I found the following link to a new project. They are trying to use open records laws to obtain the ballots of coaches who vote on the USA Today Coaches Poll. Click here for the story.
  • Don’t forget Nick Saban is a voting member this year. I just traded e-mails with a university spokesman who said SI had contacted the school. He said the ballot was not a UA record, thus not subject to open records requests.
  • I smell a fight brewing.
  • What do you think? Should the ballots be made public? Leave your opinion in the recently repaired comment section.
  • One former SEC coach is not having a pleasant morning. Ex-Kentucky basketball coach Billy Gillispie was arrested and charged with DUI for the third time. Check out the booking mug. Ouch. Click here for that picture and the story written by two reporters who I worked with at my high school and college papers. Small world.

More on Michael Bowman

As promised, here is some extra info from today’s story on freshman wide receiver Michael Bowman.

  • First, click here for the link to the 67-yard touchdown reception Bowman had against his future rival from Tennessee.
  • Bowman’s high school coach Mark Mariakis on the receiver’s ability to perform in the clutch: “One thing about Mike, he’s at his best when he’s challenged. It just seemed like when we hit that last five game-run when we were playing for the region championship, he just responded well to the pressure and the challenge.”
  • Marikis on Bowman’s future: He’s one of the guys who I think their best years are down the road. He just had one really ― putting everything together mentally and physically ― one high school season with all that.”
  • In high school, Bowman was a star basketball player and competed in the long and high jump for the track and field team.
  • Now that he’s focused on nothing but football (and school), Mariakis said he can’t imagine the kind of success he will enjoy at Alabama.

Video: Wednesday afternoon practice

Here are two more of my very raw videos from practice. First up, the defensive lineman. See if you can figure out which 355-pounder was not out there during the media viewing period.

Next, check out linebackers’ coach Sal Sunseri work with his unit. Courtney Upshaw (No. 41) is closest to the camera.

To see all of the Bama Blog videos click here.

Coleman Coliseum: A construction zone

There are signs blocking all the entrances into the seating bowl of Coleman Coliseum as work to the basketball home of the Crimson Tide is worked upon.

It looks like the new scoreboards are being installed in the end zones in a move approved by the board of trustees in April. First is a picture I took this afternoon of the progress to this point.

The second photo is the rendering of what the scoreboards are supposed to look like when completed. (Courtesy of now defunct “Rap Sheet blog”)

A few notes for your Wednesday morning

Just a few tidbits to get you through lunch:

  • The Tide got another commitment from another member of the Jones family. Harrison Jones, brother of current offensive lineman Barrett Jones and son of former basketball player Rex Jones, committed to play his college football in Tuscaloosa. This Jones is a 3-star recruit according to scout.com and is the second tight end to pledge his future to Nick Saban, joining Brian Volger of Columbus, Ga. Read more about Harrison Jones’ decision here.
  • USA Today offered its college football preview section in this morning’s paper. The eight-page section didn’t include much on Alabama. The theme was “golden years” so the paper identified the glory seasons for each of the 120 FBS programs. The seasons from 1961-66 were selected as Alabama’s best years. Read more here.
  • Rolando McClain and Julio Jones are among the five SEC players Tony Barnhart would pay to see.
  • It isn’t about college football, but I think Alabama fans would be interested in seeing the new movie “Big Fans.” Watch the trailer here for the movie about an obsessed New York Giants fan and avid sports-talk radio caller.

Don’t forget to vote on the poll on the right side of the page. The comment feature, that hadn’t been working, is now working again so I welcome your feedback.

A few notes from Saban's news conference

Nothing major came out of this evening’s news conference with Alabama coach Nick Saban. The team practiced this afternoon for the first time since Saturday afternoon’s scrimmage and Saban seemed pleased with continued progress.

And now, a few more highlights:

  • Everyone practiced today in spite of any nagging injuries. Running back Trent Richardson wore a black non-contact jersey and did not take hits after spraining a shoulder Saturday. Saban said Roy Upchurch also practiced
  • The coach chose not to comment on the Julio Jones/Mark Ingram boat trip situation other than saying he thought the university was handling the situation “with integrity.”
  • Preparations for the Sept. 5 opener will officially begin Thursday when Virginia Tech game plan will begin installation.
  • The defensive line was practicing well, Saban said. Freshman Kerry Murphy, whose brother was recently murdered near Birmingham, is progressing well in spite of missing practice time following the tragic shooting.

Read more in Wednesday’s paper.