Tag Archives: Alabama Crimson Tide

The day in Tide sports

Alabama outfielder Casey Hughston, front, and Alabama's Ben Moore air bump to celebrate the win after Moore made the final out on a leaping grab at the wall during an NCAA college baseball game against Stephen F. Austin, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

Alabama outfielder Casey Hughston, front, and Alabama’s Ben Moore air bump to celebrate the win after Moore made the final out on a leaping grab at the wall during an NCAA college baseball game against Stephen F. Austin, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo)

The Alabama baseball team’s game with Auburn in Montgomery was postponed until Wednesday, but defeated the Tigers 4-3.

The big football news was the 10-second, Saban Rule will note be voted on Thursday. Check out football coach Nick Saban’s comments in my previous blog.

Former women’s golfer Martha (Jones) Lang, a Decatur resident, will be honored as the Crimson Tide’s SEC Legend on Thursday during halftime of the Tide’s 5 p.m. women’s basketball game at the SEC tournament in Duluth, Ga.

Lang played in the AIAW National Championship all four years of her career. She earned AIAW All-America honors in 1975 as a senior after finishing third at the AIAW Championship and helping Alabama finish seventh in the program’s first season as a varsity sport.

Former Alabama standout Ozzie Newsome was elected to the national prep hall of fame. Read more.

Seven men and three women track athletes qualified for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships on March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M. The Crimson Tide athletes will compete in 11  events led by SEC men’s 60-meter dash champion Diondre Batson, who has been approved for entry in both the 60 and 200-meter dashes. SEC men’s triple jump champion Jeremiah Green and SEC men’s weight throw champion Charodd Richardson also earned entry in their  events.

Joining them will be Elias Hakansson in the men’s weight throw, Jacopo Lahbi in the men’s 800 meters, Kamal Fuller in the men’s long jump, Kyle Felpel in the men’s shot put, Remona Burchell in the women’s 60-meter dash, Yanique Malcolm in the women’s 800 meters and Alexis Paine in the women’s pole vault.

The women’s swimming and diving team will send its largest contingent in more than a decade to  NCAA Championships with seven athletes headed to the March 20-22 event in Minneapolis.

Juniors Kaylin Burchell and Kristel Vourna will both be making their third trip to the NCAA Championships. Vourna, who redshirted last season, earned All-American honors in 2012.

Burchell will swim the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 and 400 medley relays, while Vourna will swim the 100 butterfly and both medley relays and the 200 freestyle relay. Freshman Bridget Blood will make her first appearance at the NCAA Championships, earning spots in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.

Senior Stephanie Kinsey will swim on the 200 and 400 medley relays as well as the 200 freestyle relays.  Sophomore Justine Panian will swim the 200 medley and freestyle relays, while Emma Saunders will swim the 400 medley relay. Freshman Bailey Scott rounds out the Tide’s NCAA roster with a spot on the 200 freestyle relay.

Thoughts and Analysis: Alabama in the NFL Draft

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

The picture Barrett Jones tweeted of himself after being drafted by the St. Louis Rams. (Photo from @BarrettAJones)

To add on to my analysis of Alabama in the First Round, I’m going to go through the Crimson Tide in the following rounds. But, before I do, be sure to check out all of the official Draft coverage here on the DailyBamaBlog.com, all of it on one page with no interruptions right here.

Here we go:

– The more feedback I receive via Twitter and more I see elsewhere, the more I think I may be the only one on the planet not surprised by Eddie Lacy and his fall into the Green Bay Packers organization at Pick No. 61. Lacy’s medical history is not very good (and even worse, it’s all in his legs) and in today’s NFL, where the runningback-by-committee approach is spreading like wildfire due to daily wear-and-tear, the thought of going from three backs to two is scary. That may have driven a team or two away from Lacy.

That being said, Lacy’s value to the Packers will be great. The Packers will likely only need 10 or so carries a game out of Lacy, and he can surely give that. His stats after a few years may be lower than some of the three backs drafted ahead of him – Giovani Bernard (North Carolina), Le’Veon Bell (Michigan State) and Montee Ball (Wisconsin) – but his situation suits him greatly and he is immediately in contention for a Super Bowl title.

– Maybe the Chiefs have caught on to the whole dynasty thing going on in Tuscaloosa: their selection of Nico Johnson early in the fourth round makes for three Nick Saban era Alabama defensive players to be drafted by the Chiefs, joining defensive backs Javier Arenas and DeQuan Menzie. Their presence in Kansas City should work wonders for Johnson, as long as he can do what he needs to do to work on his weaknesses: first step on the run, quickness in getting back on playaction, etc.

– I have yet to have a negative thought on the Rams picking up Barrett Jones in the fourth round. Ever since the Rams took quarterback Sam Bradford with the first pick a few years ago, they have been trying to find him some pieces to make his job easier on offense. Surely some security up front would be welcomed by Bradford. Where Jones will play is a decision that has yet to be made, but I think we all know he can play anywhere if necessary.

– Maybe it’s just me, but I think the Seahawks nabbing Jesse Williams in the beginning of the 5th round was one of the biggest, if not the, steals of the draft. Williams’ 4.9 40-yard dash and impressive showing in agility drills paired with his ridiculous strength makes him a once-in-a-generation physical specimen. Admittedly, we have not seen as much of his playmaking abilities as we would like, since the nosetackle in Saban’s 3-4 scheme is more of a space-eater than a TFL guy, but we have seen him get those tackles for a loss through a double team. Bold prediction: he’s going to be a top 5 pick-up for the Seahawks in the Russell Wilson era, which makes the Seahawks look like soon-to-be contenders in the NFC.

– Nothing new here, just the San Fransisco adding nice pieces to its rotation it late rounds again, like it did with Quinton Dial. Dial will most likely never be a star in the league: no Pro-Bowls, no All-Decade teams, etc. But he will prove to be a nice breather guy: someone who can take a few snaps at defensive end and continue to apply pressure while the starters rest up. Those guys are almost as important as the starters: on those 11 or more play drives, a glaring weakness in a back-up can turn a momentum-swinging stop into a game-clinching touchdown.

– In the final round of the draft, the Detroit Lions selected another piece for Matthew Stafford to throw to, tight end Michael Williams. Williams told the Detroit media that he wants to bring balance to the tight end position in Detroit, both as a blocker and a dumpoff option. Williams showed the tools to do just that with the Tide and if he is given an opportunity to show that in Detroit, he will certainly earn playing time before long.

Trio of former Alabama players sign contracts after NFL Draft

Former Alabama long snapper Carson Tinker has signed a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will try to win the starting long snapper job. The Jags had seven-year veteran Jeremy Cain as the long snapper last season. Tinker is currently the only former Alabama player on the Jaguars roster.

Lester is the second former Alabama player out of Foley, Alabama, to be signed to the NFL in the days of and surrounding the 2013 NFL Draft, joining offensive lineman D.J. Fluker in the NFL after signing with the Carolina Panthers. Lester is currently the only former member of the Alabama Crimson Tide signed by the Panthers.

Lester ended his senior season with four interceptions, second on the team, returned for 41 yards. Lester also recorded 48 tackles, 3.5 for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

imageDefensive lineman Damion Square was the third and final former player to sign with a team out of free agency, striking a deal with the Eagles.

The Eagles have two former Crimson Tide players on the roster: offensive lineman Evan Mathis and linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

Square recorded 33 tackles as a senior, four for a loss, with 3.5 sacks. Square also tallied nine quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.

Softball suffers third-straight sweep in Baton Rouge

For the first time since early April of 2011, the Alabama softball team has gone through a three-game weekend in Southeastern Conference without recording a victory, losing all three to the LSU Tigers. Alabama lost on Friday and Sunday 4-3 then 2-1 on Saturday.

In the last five years, the Tide has lost all eight games it has played in Baton Rouge. This was Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy’s first trip to Baton Rouge since his decision to leave the Tide for the LSU head coaching job after the 2011 season and changing his mind a day later.

Alabama tallied eight hits in the Sunday loss and only scored three runs compared to LSU’s four runs on six hits.

Jackie Traina pitched two of the three games, throwing 11.2 innings and giving up 11 hits and eight runs, seven earned. Leslie Jury pitched the Saturday game, giving up six hits and two runs, both earned.

Alabama dropped the first game of the series in extra-innings as televised by ESPN2. Click here for more from that game.

Two key hits open things up for Alabama baseball, clinched series win

Georgie Salem comes down with a fly ball in the Saturday win over Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Georgie Salem comes down with a fly ball in the Saturday win over Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

The Saturday game of the Alabama-Texas A&M baseball series was looking like a pitcher’s duel from days away. Texas A&M pitcher Parker Ray had allowed just 20 hits and five walks in 26 innings while Alabama’s Justin Kamplain had given up 11 hits in his 11.1 innings of work as a starter.

Through two innings of baseball, it was living up to the billing: the Aggies scored a hit in the top of the first and that was it.

Youthful exuberance took over, as freshman shortstop Mikey White belted a stand-up double to start the bottom of the third and fellow freshman Kyle Overstreet followed suit with a hit to open the bottom of the fourth, propelling the offense to a 3-2 win over the Aggies.

“Mikey’s hit was really big because we hadn’t really had too many good swings to that point, and then he splits the gap and really puts us in a spot to score a run,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “(Third baseman) Kenny (Roberts) gets the big two-out hit there to get us on the board, and really from there we started putting better swings on pitches.”

Right fielder Ben Moore added, “You’re always waiting on that first hit, and when you get it, it’s like the floodgates are open. It definitely makes it easier to hit after that first one.”

Even on a day where it looked impossible.

“It was one of those bad days to hit with the wind blowing in,” Gaspard said. “Kenny hits one on the nose, Ben, (center fielder Georgie Salem), there were a lot of guys that hit balls hard and didn’t get anything to show for it.”

The Aggies had similar struggles as Kamplain pitched a career-best start in many accords. Kamplain pitched a career-high 7.1 innings and 112 pitches and a season-best walks and hits per inning of 0.845 against the Aggies.

“Kamplain gave us a really good start,” Gaspard said. “He was locating his fastball and everything was in the bottom of the strike zone. I thought there were three to four innings where he was throwing that slider in a good spot, backdoor. He was shoving that fastball in, so really it was command on both sides of the plate.”

Kamplain added, “I had a little bit of everything going today. I was able, towards, the end of the game, to get that feel for the changeup. This week, we worked on a new pitch, my cutter, and showing the right-handed hitters something in. Everything was going today.”

And the numbers could be more gaudy had he not tried to start the top of the eighth. Kamplain had a three-hit shutout before his high pitch count, crossing over into triple digits, slowed him down in the eighth.

“We liked the match-up with the pinch hitter,” Gaspard said. “In hindsight, we probably should’ve (taken him out) a hitter or two earlier because of his pitch count, but Haack comes in and bails us out and gets a hold in the eighth.”

After winning its fourth game in-a-row, including the first two of this weekend series to secure the series win for the first time in the last four series, the Tide may not need ot be bailed out like that much longer. The team confidence is rising with the level of play and the win margin could come along with it.

“The more you can win those close ballgames like that, the more that confidence starts to elevate,” Gaspard said. “I think some guys are getting started and starting to understand what that is to let that barrell fly a little bit and get it out there.

“We’ve probably squared the ball up more in the last three games. You haven’t seen as many flares or where the ball is beating the bat up as much. I think we’re on the right path right now.”

Round Seven: Michael Williams makes it 9 Alabama draftees

After an uneventful Round Six for the Crimson Tide, the Detroit Lions put a cap on Alabama in the 2013 NFL Draft by drafting former Alabama tight end Michael Williams with pick No. 211, the fifth pick of the seventh and final round.

Williams proved to be a valuable part of the Tide’s run blocking success in addition to catching 24 passes for 183 yards and four touchdowns.

“In today’s game, a lot of people get caught up with tight ends doing more of the receiving part of it,” Williams told Detroit media in a conference call according to DetroitLions.com. “Sometimes they forget about the blocking end of it. I’m looking to try and bring that back.”

The Lions are excited about their new H-Back.

“He has a extremely high football IQ,” said Lions tight ends coach Bobby Johnson. “The kid started four years at Alabama and they could not replace him. If you talk to the coaches at Alabama, they say the hardest guy to replace in their offense is Michael Williams.”

Click here for a full report from DetroitLions.com, including video of Johnson on Williams.

Normally I would put a tweet of the player celebrating his being drafted here, but this is the only thing Williams has tweeted since.

Before you ask, no, I have no idea what he’s talking about.

Round Five: Jesse Williams, Quinton Dial to be rivals in NFC West

Jesse Williams' football career has moved him from Australia, to Arizona, to Tuscaloosa, to Seattle. (AP photo)

Jesse Williams’ football career has moved him from Australia, to Arizona, to Tuscaloosa, to Seattle. (AP photo)

Just like it was in the Fourth Round, Alabama had its named called early in the 2013 NFL Draft’s 5th Round, as former Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams was taken with the 4th pick (137th overall) by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks have one former Alabama player on the roster: offensive lineman James Carpenter, who was the franchise’s first round pick a few years ago.

***

Make it two former Alabama defensive ends that have been taken in the 5th Round, as Quinton Dial is taken with the 24th pick of the round, pick No. 157 overall.

Four of San Fransisco’s seven picks thus far have come from the SEC: Eric Reid of LSU in the first round, Corey Lemonier of Auburn in the third, Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina in the fourth and now Dial.

Dial is currently the only former member of the Crimson Tide on the 49ers roster, assuming he is able to sign a deal.

Round Four: Nico Johnson goes early, Barrett Jones to St. Louis

Nico Johnson is a now a Kansas City Chief. (AP photo)

Nico Johnson is a now a Kansas City Chief. (AP photo)

The national headline of the 2013 NFL Draft’s 4th Round will be the opening pick, as the Eagles traded up to get the first pick of the day and draft former USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The headline in Tuscaloosa, Ala., however, will skip that pick and go to the next one, where former Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson was taken No. 99 overall, 2nd in the 4th round, by the Kansas City Chiefs.

The USA Today had the following analysis of the Johnson pick.

If there’s any program that produces players virtually ready to step into an NFL lineup, it’s Nick Saban’s. Johnson is already experienced in the 3-4 defense — Alabama has helped popularize the scheme at the Division I level — and could very easily step into a starting job next to Chiefs ILB Derrick Johnson if he can beat out journeymen Zac Diles and Akeem Jordan.

The Chiefs are no stranger to drafting former Alabama players, drafting two defensive backs from the Tide in the last five years that still remain with the team: Javier Arenas and DeQuan Menzie.

The Chiefs have shown interest in Johnson throughout the process, starting with this interview while Johnson was preparing for the Senior Bowl.

***

With pick No. 113 (No. 16 in the 4th round), former Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones was picked up by the St. Louis Rams as a piece to help protect quarterback Sam Bradford.

USA Today put forth some analysis of this pickup, as well.

Jones is one of the most decorated linemen in college football history, earning three rings and multiple All-American accolades with the Tide. He’s played all five spots on the O-line — well — but left guard in St. Louis could be his ticket. Jones has played through a myriad of injuries and gutted out Alabama’s 2012 title march with a Lisfranc (foot) injury, which says a lot about his toughness.

Early home runs lift Alabama baseball to win over Texas A&M

Freshman closer Ray Castillo getting his 7th save of the year in the series-opener against Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Freshman closer Ray Castillo getting his 7th save of the year in the series-opener against Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Sophomore slump. Cold streak. Call it whatever may be appropriate, but sophomore right fielder Ben Moore was in it deep. In the last weekend series against LSU, Moore had just three hits and one RBI in three games in 15 at-bats.

New week, new Moore. Moore blasted a two-run home run in the first inning of the Friday night series-opener against Texas A&M and kickstarted Alabama to a 3-2 win over the Aggies.

“It’s back-to-back games where he’s found the barrel a little bit,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “He squared up a couple of balls at Southern Miss and really found his swing. Obviously when you run one off the scoreboard in the first it’s going to get your weekend off to a good start. As I said before, when he hits, he’s the guy in the middle that I think all of us are counting on.

“That’s the difference. When you play good defense, you’re always going to be in games.”

Moore had to clear his mind to get out of his slump, as he put, take some deep breaths and do not make so much of every at-bat.

“I’ve just been pressing all year,” Moore said. “When you’re struggling, you start thinking, and when you’re not struggling you’re just swinging.

“No more thinkin’.”

Moore’s comeback was aided a little by Texas A&M starting pitcher Daniel Mengden, whose stellar play throughout the 2013 season was absent in the first two innings.

“He was up in the zone early, and you could tell he was going to settle down eventually,” Gaspard said. “And when he settled, the velocity was good, his secondary pitch got good. That’s always the plan on Friday – to attack early, to try to hit the early mistakes and tonight we were able to do it.

Moore’s homer in the first was paired with a shot from catcher Brett Booth in the bottom of the second to make for all three of the Tide’s runs in the win over the Aggies. Starting pitcher Charley Sullivan held up his end of the low-scoring affair, holding Texas A&M to six hits and two earned runs in seven innings of work.

“I thought Charley Sullivan went out and did exactly what we needed: gave us seven solid innings,” Gaspard said. “He’s been in a little bit of a tough spot the last few weeks having to face three different first-rounders.”

Sullivan’s job on the mound was made much easier with the early run support.

“Getting those early runs, I try not to change my mindset a whole lot,” Sullivan said. “I try to pitch like the score is 0-0, but I like going in there knowing that I can throw that first pitch for a strike and let our defense play. It makes it easier to pitch earlier in counts.”

Eddie Lacy’s wait finally ends, drafted by the Packers

Twitter was set ablaze with theories as to why former Alabama running back Eddie Lacy and why he fell from a first-round pick in some mock drafts into the second round, and later and later into the second.

Lacy, who was in New York City for the first round but left the city after going undrafted in the first round, was taken with the 61st pick overall, the 29th of the second round, by the Green Bay Packers. Lacy will join a running back corps that includes Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant.

Lacy finished last season with 1,360 yards and 17 touchdowns, 321 of those yards and three of the touchdowns coming in the final two games of the year against Georgia and Notre Dame.

Video: Anthony Grant’s season wrap-up press conference

Notebook: Trevor Lacey’s parents initiated transfer conversations

Former Alabama guard Trevor Lacey was released from his scholarship and has elected to transfer elsewhere. (AP photo)

Former Alabama guard Trevor Lacey was released from his scholarship and has elected to transfer elsewhere. (AP photo)

Countless times after the season is over, players declare their intentions to leave their schools: for the NBA Draft, for higher competition in a better conference, for more playing time at a lower level, a multitude of reasons.

For former Alabama guard Trevor Lacey, it was none of the above.

“Probably about a week ago, two weeks ago, his mom and dad came in and met with me and expressed a desire for him to have that option to transfer,” Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. “So, I talked to them and they expressed, for them, where he was in terms of the opportunities that he had here, where he was in terms of his overall development.

“After I met with them, Trevor came in and we all met together and I think his thing was he understood where his parents were coming from….this past weekend, they met as a family and he came back on Tuesday and said that, as a family, that’s what they thought was in their best interest.”

Grant wished Lacey the best as he goes for an undetermined location.

“I think, for some of them, the opportunity to see it all from a different perspective helps, so I hope that’s what happens for him and I certainly wish him the best of luck,” Grant said.

Filling in

The search for the replacements, however, is one Grant foresees going well.

“I think any time you have change, there’s a chance for a guy to step up,” Grant said.

In the frontcourt, all signs point to center Carl Engstrom, who’s recovery from a torn ACL in early December got high remarks from Grant on his recovery.

“The doctors said that Carl’s ability to get himself back to get ready to play is probably top five that they’ve seen coming off of the injury that he had: not top five percent, top five period,” Grant said. “That’s a testament to his work ethic. By our last team workout, he was able to go through contact drills with our guys. That’s remarkable.

“When you look at him and Nick Jacobs in the frontcourt, plus the new guys we’re bringing in, Jimmie Taylor and Shannon Hale, I think it gives us a nice nucleus in the frontcourt.”

The clear candidate to fill the empty minutes in the backcourt was the Most Improved Player as voted by the coaches, Retin Obasohan, but as the leader of a committee.

“I thought by the end of the year, Retin Obasohan had really stepped up to the opportunity given to him,” Grant said. “We’ve got a guy like Rodney Cooper, who had to play a lot of four last year, and now he can swing back to more of his natural position on the wing.”

Now hiring

It has been more than just players leaving the Crimson Tide program in the five weeks that have passed since the end of the season, Alabama lost an assistant coach as well.

“We lost a staff member, and a dear friend of mine, a guy that is very, very dear to me in Dan Hipsher,” Grant said. “He got an opportunity to be the head coach at Texas-Pan American and on one hand you’re very happy for him and excited for the opportunity he has, but on the other hand, it’s almost like losing a family member.”

Hipsher’s four years on Grant’s staff was a reunion for the two, after Hipsher recruited Grant to the Dayton Flyers out of high school.

“For me, personally, he’s a guy that gave me an opportunity when I was a 16-year-old kid down in Miami when he was an assistant coach at Dayton when he came down and recruited me,” Grant said. “He gave me an opportunity to play college basketball and get an education and that was something I was always thankful for.”

The search for Hipsher’s replacement has not been a priority of Grant’s, as one of the heaviest recruiting seasons has taken priority.

“We’ve been pretty hectic since the season ended,” Grant said. “What I’ve done right now is kind of put that on hold. I think we’ve got enough in the office that we can manage what we’re doing right now.

“We’re very fortunate with the staff we have in right now, so I feel like I can kind of take my time to make the right decision so we get the right piece in.”

Filling out the 2013-2014 slate

Looking away from the future roster and towards the rosters to be faced, Grant laid out a pretty impressive lineup of teams Alabama will be battling in next season’s Preseason NIT: Duke, Arizona and Rutgers.

Grant said the rest of the schedule is rather fluid, with some exceptions like a return trip from Texas Tech, but some other games have yet to be filled.

Alabama baseball hosts Texas A&M in must-win series

Thirteen games remain in the collegiate baseball regular season. Both the conference tournament and NCAA Regional pictures are beginning to take shape, as the Crimson Tide currently stands 8th in the conference and as the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional. Just like the March Madness situation, quality wins and bad losses can make and break a team’s resume.

Alabama’s resume added another quality win with perfect timing, as a 7-4 win on the road over Southern Mississippi has Alabama feeling good entering a three-game series with the Texas A&M Aggies over the weekend.

“They had won nine of 10, and that’s always a tough place to play,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We played very confident, had really good offense for nine innings. It was really that kind of feel you want in the dugout.”

The win put Alabama on a small streak of its own, winning two games in-a-row after losing five of the previous six games, and just in time for Texas A&M (22-20, 7-11 SEC) to visit Tuscaloosa for the first time as a member of the conference.

“They’ve got a really good Friday night starter (Daniel Mengden) and a really good closer in the back end,” Gaspard said. “Offensively, they like to run, they like to do some things in the bunt game, some hit-and-run, and those type of things. Really for us, it’s going to be trying to defend the field and get ourselves out of some bad spots.”

Facing a team that likes to mix things up on the base paths is no foreign concept to the Tide, seeing similar concepts both in- and out-of-conference.

“We’ve played teams earlier this year that like to run a lot: Louisville, Georgia, teams like that,” No. 1 starting pitcher Charley Sullivan said.

Gaspard added, “We’ve done a good job of mixing up our looks and our holds and things you have to do against the run game. Obviously, Brett, now, at this point, has a reputation. He’s thrown out the majority of runners that have run. Normally, if you can handle that early in a series, that has chance to slow that down.”

The experience against running teams makes the pressure of a potential steal or hit-and-run nonexistant on Alabama’s pitchers.

“I’m kind of one of the guys that is sometimes almost too quick and tries to rush,” Sullivan said. “Sometimes I have to back myself down a little bit. We simulate bullpens to be quick to the plate so it’s not something that effects us during the game.”

If you haven’t seen the play Sullivan and Salem alluded to, a catch Salem made in game two of the three-game series against Georgia was selected as one of the top five plays of the day by ESPNU. We posted video of that play below for you.

Thoughts on the First Round of the NFL Draft

Former Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker was drafted No. 11 overall by the San Diego Chargers. (AP photo)

Former Alabama tackle D.J. Fluker was drafted No. 11 overall by the San Diego Chargers. (AP photo)

Before I get analytical here, be sure to click here to read the post from earlier on the draft, including the spot in which every Alabama player drafted in the first round was taken and what head coach Nick Saban had to say about it.

– I cannot get over the fact that the Detroit Lions did not take Dee Milliner at No. 5. The Lions already have Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley on the defensive line, and have no one in the secondary to speak of. Instead, they draft Ezekial Ansah, a defensive end from BYU, to add to a defensive line that is set as it is. One of the biggest head-scratchers of the draft, I think.

– That being said, Milliner found a pretty good landing spot in New York. The Jets recently traded Darrelle Revis away to the Tampa Bay Bucs and leaves a hole wide-open for a No. 1 cornerback that an aggressive, blitz-heavy defense like the one Rex Ryan runs needs desperately. Milliner will be tested heavily and quickly, being in a division with greats like Tom Brady in New England, plus meetings with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones (Falcons), Drew Brees (Saints), Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers) and Joe Flacco (Ravens) on the schedule for 2013 as well.

– Speaking of head scratchers, I’m also a little skeptical of North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper being taken No. 7 overall ahead of Chance WarmackD.J. Fluker going to the Chargers. I don’t see Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers complaining at the thought of putting Fluker’s massive body in front of him for protection. Fluker may not be on a winning team right away, sometimes because of Rivers…..

….but he will certainly have a chance to shine.

– I am not surprised that both Eddie Lacy went undrafted after the first round. Lacy is quite injury prone, as you have surely noticed by now, to the point where he really only played one game close to 100 percent – the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame. He may have exploded for 140 yards a a touchdown on seven yards per carry, but that’s just one game. There is not enough data on him as a fully healthy back.

Plus, in today’s NFL, a 20-carry back is a thing of the past. Lacy will be part of a three-man rotation, in all likelihood, and first-round money might be a little too much to pay for one of three backs.

– I can say the same for Barrett Jones. His Lis franc injury in his foot surely does not help his case, but his versatility could come back to bite him: we all know he can play every position on the line, but can he be a soldified starter in the NFL at any of them? This is a question that a lot of general managers have about Jones. Whoever gets Jones will certainly be drafting a valuable player, as his attitude and public perception will do wonders for the team’s PR department, but his on-field potential is being questioned, whether that be fair or not.

Video Gallery: Alabama in the 1st Round of the NFL Draft

Below, we have compiled videos from the three former Alabama players selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Cornerback Dee Milliner

You can click here to see Milliner’s name called as the No. 9 overall pick, on his way to the New York Jets. You can also see some highlights of Milliner’s post-draft interviews by clicking here, and then another in the video below.

ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay went in-detail with the Tennessee Titans decision to draft Chance Warmack.

Finally, you can click here to see the video of D.J. Fluker being drafted by the San Diego Chargers.

Also, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and head coach Mike McCoy go over the decision to draft Fluker.