Monthly Archives: February 2013

Scott Cochran shows off his new weight room

Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran takes the media on a tour of the new weight facility. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran takes the media on a tour of the new weight facility. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran vividly remembers stepping into his workplace, Alabama’s recently-completed weight room upgrade, with his son and asking him how many script A’s he sees around the facility, a question his son could only answer with something to the effect of, “a lot.”

Alabama’s news weight room was recently opened to the media, a tour led by the master of the operation, Cochran. Cochran made no hesitations to express his satisfaction with the new facility, saying the new building has, “everything I could ever dream of and then some.”

The 37,000-square foot facility opens directly to both the indoor and outdoor practice fields, fitting into the theme of the IMG_5464economization of the workout process. Cochran made a point to fit as many exercises into one station as possible and keeping all workout necessities as close to each other as possible.

Cochran said the proximity of it all makes his job much easier, but might make it harder for the players.

“They don’t have to jog across the gym to do the next lift,” Cochran said.

The facility, complete with several mounted flat-screen televisions on the walls, also has a nutrition station where nutritionist Amy Bragg ensures the players are correctly nourished.

Cochran said he always has video of how to do certain lifts or exercises properly on the televisions, to let the players see how to do what they should be doing.

But his favorite part of the facility is not the fancy machines or innovative technology, but the sound system. The very, very loud sound system.

Cochran said both current players and recruits immediately smile when they walk in the weight room and hear the sound system at its maximum level: “You can’t help but smile.”

Nick Saban, football team accept Iron Bowl trophy

The ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy, given to the winner of the Iron Bowl every year. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

The ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy, given to the winner of the Iron Bowl every year. (Copyright photo by Brett Hudson)

As the tradition goes, the victors of the 2012 Iron Bowl received the traveling ODK-Foy Sportsmanship Trophy during halftime of Alabama’s home basketball game against Auburn.

Below, we have video of the players taking the court for the presentation, Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressing the crowd, linebacker Nico Johnson after the presentation and a small surprise included.

Full Story: Alabama improves as it whips Auburn

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Anthony Grant coaching the Crimson Tide to its revenge win over Auburn Tuesday night. (AP photo)

Here is the full story from Tuesday night’s Iron Bowl of Basketball, as the Crimson Tide beat Auburn. At the bottom, you’ll see video of Alabama coach Anthony Grant’s press conference afterwards.

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TUSCALOOSA — Never has a basketball team felt better about itself on the offensive end of the floor after scoring 61 points and shooting 39.3 percent from the floor in a winning effort.

Drawing the regular-season series with rival Auburn to an even draw at one after losing on the road Feb. 6 was enough, but it was more satisfying to know that a groove is in place after the 61-43 win over Auburn.

“I thought the improvement we made over the last 20 days showed because we didn’t let (early offensive struggles) rattle us,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “We had some success and built a lead.”

A large part of the offensive renaissance is junior point guard Trevor Releford, who followed his 36-point explosion Saturday against LSU with a 21-point game on 7-for-13 shooting against the Tigers.

“I think I’ve been preparing better recently,” Releford said. “I’ve been more focused and when I’m focused, I have a lot of confidence in my shot.”

Grant added, “I thought Trevor did a great job. He was locked-in. He was energetic, and I thought that was contagious to our team.”

Fellow point guard, redshirt freshman Retin Obasohan, created opportunities for himself via the dribble-drive to the tune of 10 points. Obasohan also had four rebounds, two assists and a steal. Trevor Lacey had a dozen points for the Tide.

“That’s something I’ve been working on,” Obasohan said of his dribble penetration abilities. “Coach always gets after me to use my athleticism. I guess today was one of those days I was able to make some plays for my teammates.”

When they were not scoring, the guards found 11 of Alabama’s 13 assists setting up big men for offensive opportunities, paving the way for sophomore forward Nick Jacobs to put up 10 points on 5-7 shooting.

“I thought Nick Jacobs came in in the first half and gave us a big boost,” Grant said. “Alabama attributed the upgrade in offensive output to halftime adjustments. Alabama’s shooting percentage in the 20 minutes after the intermission was 14 percent better than the 20 minutes preceding it.

“I guess the message at halftime was we have to come out and hit first,” Releford said. “We just can’t let up, because we know we were going to come out and get their best shot. We just had to hit first.”

Grant added, “When we get good looks, trust your preparation, go play. Don’t be hesitant. I thought the guys did a great job of responding to that.”

The Tigers have done the exact opposite, losing rhythm going down the stretch. From Christmas Day to Jan. 16, the Tigers scored 75.8 points per game. Since then, Auburn has averaged 57.75 points per contest. Auburn’s 43 points was the fewest it has scored against Alabama since 1949.

“If you can put a finger on it, it would be easily fixed,” Auburn forward Rob Chubb said. “People aren’t creating how they should be. Aggressiveness on the offensive end is one of the reasons.”

Chubb led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points. Frankie Sullivan continued to slump for Auburn. He finished 1-of-9 shooting for six points.

Auburn coach Tony Barbee added, “Did you watch the game? Missing layups, missing open shots. We probably missed 20 layups tonight. How are you going to win a game when you miss 20 layups?”

Four arrested players no longer with Alabama football team, other news

Brent Calloway catching a pass in practice for the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. Calloway is no longer on the Alabama football team. (AP photo)

Brent Calloway catching a pass in practice for the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. Calloway is no longer on the Alabama football team. (AP photo)

Numerous reports have confirmed that the four players arrested in connection with two robberies on campus: Tyler Hayes, Eddie Williams, Brent Calloway and D.J. Pettway, are “no longer associated with the team.”

The four were indefinitely suspended from the team after their arrests and were later barred from campus before being kicked off the team, according to Wednesday’s reports.

The University of Alabama released a statement on the matter Wednesday afternoon.

“UA’s judicial review has been completed. The four students involved in the robberies on campus are no longer enrolled in UA,” the statement noted.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said the players’ actions did not “reflect the spirit and character that we want our organization reflect.”

“Their actions do not reflect the spirit and character that we want our organization to reflect,” Saban said. “It’s obviously very disappointing and unacceptable what happened.”

The wide receiving corps has also taken a hit, according to the same reports. Marvin Shinn has decided to forego offseason workouts and is expected to transfer. Shinn caught six passes for 42 yards in 2012, two for 14 yards in the BCS National Championship Game.

Another Mobile area product, wide receiver Danny Woodson Jr., has been suspended for a violation of team rules and will not participate in spring practice. Woodson Jr., the son of former Alabama quarterback Danny Sr., caught one pass for nine yards in the 2012 season.

Finally, in the wide receiving corps, Kevin Norwood, Alabama’s No. 2 wide receiver behind Amari Cooper last season, has been held out of offseason workouts with a toe injury and has an uncertain status for spirng practice. Norwood caught 29 passes for 461 yards last season. Cornerback John Fulton is in a similar situation after injuring his toe in the Texas A&M loss and having surgery on it.

Baseball now 7-1 with Tuesday night win over Samford

Last season, Alabama resorted to a five-run bottom of the ninth inning to beat Samford 6-5 that had two hits, two walks, one hit-by-pitch and an error.

On Tueday night, Alabama created its own luck, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, all with two outs, on three hits and beating the Bulldogs 5-4.

Alabama’s bottom of the fifth included a two-RBI single turned into a double for freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet. Overstreet’s double play partner, freshman shortstop Mikey White, led the Crimson Tide offensively with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, scoring two runs.

Alabama’s winnig pitcher was reliever Mitch Greer, who releived starting pitcher Taylor Gilbeau with two innings of relief, giving up only one hit and one walk while striking out four batters. Gilbeau threw 4.1 innings for the Tide in his second start of the season, allowing seven hits and three runs, all of them earned.

Alabama will be back in action on Friday to start a three-game series with Tulane.

Quick Story: Alabama evens basketball series with Auburn, wins home half

Alabama point guard Trevor Releford continued his hot streak with 21 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals as the Crimson Tide exacted revenge on Auburn 61-43. Auburn beat Alabama in Auburn Arena 49-37 on Feb. 6.

Releford’s 21 led the team, ahead of Trevor Lacey with 12. Also in double-digits for the Tide in points was Retin Obasohan with 10 and Nick Jacobs with 10.

Alabama’s defense contained Auburn’s leading scorer Frankie Sullivan effectively, holding him to six points on 1-for-9 shooting, 1-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Rob Chubb, however, stepped up for 13 points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Alabama improves to 19-9, 11-4 SEC, with the win and will prepare to travel to Gainesville to take on No. 8 Florida on March 2nd.

Alabama vs. Auburn, basketball game information

When: 6 p.m.

Where: Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Records: Alabama 18-9, 10-4 SEC. Auburn 9-18, 3-11 SEC.

TV: ESPNU (Dari Nowkhah and Dino Gaudio)

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink)

Alabama Lineup: G Trevor Lacey, 6-3, So., 11.9 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 3.1 assists per game; G Trevor Releford, 6-0, Jr., 15.4 ppg., 2.4 rpg., 2.7 assists per game, 2.2 steals per game; F Levi Randolph, 6-5, So., 7.5 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 1.2 steals per game; F Rodney Cooper, 6-6, So., 11.4 ppg., 4.7 rpg.; C Moussa Gueye, 7-0, Jr., 1.4 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 1.7 blocks per game.

Auburn Lineup: G Shaquille Jordan, 6-5, Fr., 5.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg; G Josh Wallace, 5-10, Sr., 3.6 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 3.0 assists per game; G Frankie Sullivan, 6-1, Sr., 14.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.9 assists per game; F Allen Payne, 6-6, Jr., 8.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg; C Asauhn Dixon-Tatum, 7-0, Jr., 3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.2 blocks per game.

Noteworthy: Auburn hosted the first game of the two-game regular season series between the two, winning the game 49-37 …. Alabama shot just 24 percent from the field in the second half against the Tigers last time, and 10.5 percent from behind the three-point line for the game …. Alabama’s Trevor Releford took the all-time school record for steals away in the Tide’s last game against LSU, now with 178. Releford also scored a career-high 36 points in the 97-94 triple overtime loss …. Alabama leads the overall series between the two teams 89-57, including being 37-7 against the Tigers in Coleman Coliseum …. Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan will break Auburn’s all-time games played record if he plays against the Tide as he is expected. It will be his 130th game …. Auburn is 0-1 in games in which the five players listed above start …. Frankie Sullivan has scored 20 points in nine games this season, while Alabama as a team has only had a player go for 20 points or more eight times.

Crimson Connection with Alabama baseball coach Mitch Gaspard

In his weekly appearance on Crimson Connection with TideTV’s Christopher England, Alabama baseball coach Mitch Gaspard reviews Alabama’s series win over Florida Atlantic and previews the week ahead, four home games in six days.

Star Series: Freshmen center fielders take top awards

Each week for the duration of the Alabama baseball and softball seasons, Daily Bama Blog contributor Brett Hudson will track outstanding individual performances with the Star Series. Three players from each team will get 1-star, 2-stars and 3-stars with a running season tally.

Baseball

Click here to read about Alabama’s series win over FAU this weekend.

3-star Player: Freshman center fielder Georgie Salem. Salem had two multi-hit games in four outings this week, one 3-5 outing on Friday and one 3-4 outing on Saturday. Salem had four RBI in the four games, also scoring two runs and stealing a base.

2-Star Player: Senior catcher Brett Booth. Booth started the week off with a 3-3, two-RBI performance against Southern Miss, in which he also scored two runs. Booth added two hits and two RBI in the weekend series against FAU.

1-Star Player: Sophomore relief pitcher Jake Hubbard. Hubbard appeared twice out of the bullpen for the Tide, pitching 2.1 innings and not giving up a hit or a run. Hubbard’s 0.2 innings of perfect pitching on Friday night got his second save of the season.

Season Tally

Georgie Salem: 3

Brett Booth: 3

Cary Baxter: 3

Mikey White: 2

Jake Hubbard: 1

Softball

Click here to read more about Alabama’s clean sweep of the Easton Bama Bash presented by DRASH this weekend.

3-Star Player: Freshman center fielder Haylie McCleney. McCleney was named the Easton Bama Bash Tournament MVP and the SEC Freshman of the Week for her performance last week. McCleney batted .611 (11-18) last week with three extra-base hits, four stolen bases and nine runs scored. McCleney started the Easton Bama Bash with a 3-3, four-run, six-RBI performance in a 21-0 win over Western Illinois.

2-Star Player: Junior pitcher Jackie Traina. Traina pitched twice in the Easton Bama Bash once throwing a complete game four-hitter allowing only one run and striking out 10 batters, and one throwing a complete game shutout allowing five hits and striking out six batters. Both outings came against Iowa. At the plate, Traina was 4-5 with two RBI.

1-Star Player: Senior left fielder Kayla Braud. Braud went 7-18 at the plate on the week, 6-15 in the Easton Bama Bash. In the Tide’s 21-0 win over Western Illinois, Braud was 2-3 from the plate with an RBI and two runs scored.

Season Tally

Haylie McCleney: 8 stars

Jackie Traina: 4 stars

Kaila Hunt: 3 stars

Keima Davis: 1 star

Kayla Braud: 1 star

Danae Hays: 1 star

Alabama baseball loses first 2013 game but wins road series

It was Florida Atlantic that, a little over one year ago, swept Alabama in the opening series, sending the Crimson Tide to its first 0-3 record since 1960. Now, Alabama won two of three against the Owls in a return trip to Boca Raton. Alabama won the first two games 5-2 and 4-2 before having its sweep bid ended by a 3-0 loss.

In the series opening game, Alabama lead-off hitter and center fielder Georgie Salem was 3-5 from the plate with one RBI and one run scored. Salem also stole a base, as did left fielder Ryan Blanchard and third baseman Kenny Roberts. Tucker Hawley got the win for the Tide, pitching two innings of no-hit relief with only one walk in place of starting pitcher Charley Sullivan.

In the second game, it was again Salem who led the pack, hitting 3-4. Designated hitter Austen Smith also added two hits for the Tide. Alabama starting pitcher Jon Keller pitched six innings, giving up four hits and no earned runs. Keller struck out five batters and walked three.

In the series-ending defeat, Florida Atlantic starting pitcher Jeremy Strawn pitched eight innings of shutout baseball, allowing only four hits while striking out eight batters and not walking a single batter.

The Crimson Tide will host Samford on Tuesday night before hosting Tulane for a three-game weekend series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Softball moves to 16-0 after Easton Bama Bash Sweep

Alabama started a 14-game homestand over 12 days with five wins in three days in a clean sweep of the Easton Bama Bash. Alabama beat Western Illinois twice, Iowa twice and Winthrop once to claim the championship in its first of two tournaments it will host in the regular season.

Alabama started the tournament on Friday by winning both games of a doubleheader by a combined 26-0, including a tournament-opening 21-0 win over Western Illinois in five innings. Junior Kaila Hunt ripped a three-run homerun in the top of the first inning, part of a nine-run outburst for the Tide in the opening frame. Freshman center fielder Haylie McCleney was 3-3 from the plate in the opening game, while scoring all four times she got on base and batting in six runs.

In the second game against Iowa, Alabama was led by a complete game shutout from pitcher Jackie Traina. Traina gave up five hits and struck out six batters in the outing. Senior right firlder Keima Davis led the Tide offensively, going 2-3 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI. Senior left fielder Kayla Braud went 2-4 from the plate with an RBI.

On Saturday, Alabama beat Iowa 4-1 to start the action and won the second game of the doubleheader against Western Illinois 6-0. McCleney was 5-7 from the plate in the two games, knocking in four RBI and scoring two runs. Against Western Illinois, first baseman Jadyn Spencer was 2-3 with a two-run homerun in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

In the tournament finale, a 6-1 win over Winthrop, Alabama went into the bottom of the sixth inning tied at one before a five-run outburst secured the victory, including a three-run home run from sophomore Danielle Richard.

Alabama gymnastics ties Arkansas, 5th tie in school history

Gymnastics is one of few NCAA sports that is not predicated on wins and losses throughout the regular season, but on the scores the teams put up throughout the season. Luckily that is the case, as the Crimson Tide gymnastics team tied the Arkansas Razorbacks 197.100. Even further, the teams tied perfectly in all four events: 49.425 on vault, 49.175 on uneven bars, 49.150 on balance beam and a 49.350 on the floor exercise.

Alabama was led on the vault by a 9.95 from Marissa Gutierrez, who injured her ankle later in the meet on an awkward landing in the floor exercise. Sarah DeMeo’s 9.9 was not only the best for the Crimson Tide on the uneven bars, but a meet-high.

Alabama had three 9.9s on the balance beam, from DeMeo, Ashley Priess and Diandra Milliner. The trio tied with Arkansas’s Erin Freier to tie for the meet-high. Leading the Tide on floor exercise was Kim Jacob with a 9.9.

Alabama’s next meet will be at home against No. 6 UCLA.

Easton Bama Bash, softball tournament information

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Who: No. 1 Alabama (11-0) hosts Iowa (7-3), Western Illinois (2-0) and Winthrop (2-4)

Schedule:
– Friday, 11 a.m,: Western Illinois vs. Winthrop
– Friday, 1:30 p.m.: Iowa vs. Winthrop
– Friday, 4:00 p.m.: Alabama vs. Western Illinois
– Friday, 6:30 p.m.: Alabama vs. Iowa
– Saturday, 11 a.m.: Winthrop vs. Iowa
– Saturday, 1:30 p.m.: Alabama vs. Iowa
– Saturday, 4:00 p.m.: Alabama vs. Western Illinois
– Saturday, 6:30 p.m.: Winthrop vs. Western Illinois
– Sunday, 11 a.m.: Iowa vs. Western Illinois
– Sunday, 1:30 p.m.: Alabama vs. Winthrop

Noteworthy: Alabama’s Jackie Traina is tied for fourth in school history in wins with 67. With a win in the Easton Bama Bash, she will take sole possession of 4th place with 68 over Chrissy Owens and Stephanie VanBrakle in 3rd with 97 …. True freshman outfielder Haylie McCleney has started all 11 games for the Crimson Tide this season and had two or more hits in eight of them …. Alabama has seven hitters batting over .350, led by McCleney with a .615 batting average …. Alabama is outscoring its opponents in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings by a combined 46-15.

Quick Story: Alabama steals its way to win over Mississippi State

In another less-than-potent offensive outing for the Crimson Tide, it was Alabama’s defense that propelled the Tide to a 64-56 win over Mississippi State. Alabama moved to 18-8 on the season, 10-3 in SEC play, while Mississippi State lost its 11th conference game in-a-row to fall to 2-11 in conference play, 7-18 overall.

Alabama picked the Bulldogs’ pocket 18 times, setting a new season-high over 13 steals against West Alabama on Nov. 11. Leading the way for the Tide in steals were redshirt freshman guard Retin Obasohan and junior guard Trevor Releford, who both had five. Sophomore forward Rodney Cooper added three.

Alabama also outperformed its norm at the free throw line, ending the game with a 77.8 shooting percentage with 21 conversions on 27 free throw attempts. Cooper was 4-4 from the line, leading the team alongside Obasohan with the same mark. Junior guard Trevor Releford also had a good night from the free throw line, 7-9, as did freshman forward Devonta Pollard, who went 3-4.

Cooper led the Tide in scoring with 20 points and adding 10 rebounds, making for both a career-high in rebounds and his first career double-double. Releford added 17 points on 5-10 shooting and five assists.

Mississippi State was lead by forward Colin Borchert, who contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Jalen Steele added 15 points off-the-bench and four rebounds.

Alabama will take to the road to play LSU on Saturday.

Alabama vs. Mississippi State, basketball game information

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Records: Alabama 17-8, 9-3 SEC. Mississippi State 7-17, 2-10 SEC.

TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal and Jon Sundvold)

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Chris Stewart and Bryan Passink)

Alabama Lineup: G Trevor Lacey, 6-3, So., 12.0 ppg., 4.0 rpg., 3.2 assists per game; G Trevor Releford, 6-0, Jr., 14.4 ppg., 2.2 rpg., 2.6 assists per game; F Levi Randolph, 6-5, So., 7.7 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 1.2 steals per game; F Rodney Cooper, 6-6, So., 10.8 ppg., 4.3 rpg.; C Moussa Gueye, 7-0, Jr., 1.5 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 1.8 blocks per game.

Mississippi State Lineup: G Craig Sword, 6-3, Fr., 10.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.6 steals per game; G Fred Thomas, 6-5, Fr., 10.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.6 steals per game; G Trivante Bloodman, 6-0, Soph., 6.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 assists per game; F Gavin Ware, 6-9, Fr., 8.9 ppg, 6.7 rpg; F Colin Borchert, 6-8, Jr., 7.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.4 blocks per game, 1.3 steals per game.

Noteworthy: Mississippi State has accumulated all 10 of its conference losses in its last 10 games. The losing streak was started by its home loss to Alabama on Jan. 16, 75-43 …. The Bulldogs have lost their last ten games by an average score of 21.2 points, including five by 20 points or more …. Statistically speaking, Mississippi State plays the worst defense in the SEC. The 74.8 points per game the Bulldogs allow is worst in the conference, as is the opponent’s field goal percentage of 47.9 in conference play and opponent’s three-point percentage of 36.4 on the year …. Alabama comes into the game leading the SEC in steals with 112 (9.3 per game) while Mississippi State’s assist/turnover ratio of 0.6 is worst in the conference.