Thursday, August 14, 2008

Alabama Football: Tide to be Riding High in 2008

With kick-off the the 2008 season just two weeks away the major question is, will things be better in Saban's second year? Let's take a look at the upcoming season:

-Aug. 30 Clemson (at Atlanta): Clemson will be ranked in the top 10 coming into this with hopes of a BCS title game. The only plus is this game is in Atlanta, and Bama fans will travel. Early test for John Parker and company; expect a struggle for the offense against a strong Tiger defense. Clemson 24-17

-Sept. 6 Tulane: Nothing like a middle of the road C-USA team to work the kinks out of a new offense. Alabama 31-7

-Sept. 13 Western Kentucky: Back-to-back cupcakes to warm-up for a brutal road trip should serve the Tide well. Alabama 34-14

-Sept. 20 @Arkansas: Welcome back to the SEC, Bobby Petrino. This won't be D-Macs Razorbacks, but Fayetteville is always a tough place to play. Still, the offense should be hitting on all cylinders. Alabama 20-14

-Sept. 27 @ Georgia: The Bulldogs will be number one in the country and Knowshon Moreno should be making a Heisman run. To put it lightly, this will be a tough test for a young defense. Still, Bama plays up to its opponents, and Mark Richt teams are known to slip up at least one game per season. So, it expect a close one between the hedges. Georgia 26-20

-Oct. 4 Kentucky: Rich Brooks has Kentucky on the right track, but with the loss of Andre Woodson do not expect another 8-5 run by the Wildcats. After two tough road games the Tide will be happy to be back in front of the home crowd. Alabama 27-10

-Oct. 18 Ole Miss: The "Right-Reverend" Houston Nutt takes over the Rebels, and maybe he can get Colonel Reb to stop crying. A solid defense finally gets a SEC caliber QB in Texas transfer Jevon Snead, but the Rebels are still a year or two from competing in the very strong SEC west. Alabama 21-17

-Oct. 25 @Tennessee: Another tough SEC road game, but the Vols will be breaking in a new quarterback and a new offense. Still Alabama has only one win (2002) in Neyland since 1994. Tennessee 21-17

- Nov. 1 Arkansas State (Homecoming): lets hope the Tide show up to play this year, coming off last years let down against La. Monroe. Should be a good game for the backups and freshman to get some experience. Alabama 38-10

-Nov. 8 @LSU: Do you think this game is circled on Les Miles calendar? Nick Saban returns to Baton Rouge for the first time since raising the crystal football in 2003. Will Ryan Perrilloux still be under center for the Tigers? Will the "process" finally come full circle with a Saban shocker? Alabama 23-20

-Nov. 15 Mississippi State: Will the Tide end the two game skid against the fighting Crooms? This game will be better than most think but the Tide will not look past the Bulldogs for a third year in a row. Alabama 27-17

-Nov. 29 Auburn: There are six-year-old Bama fans that don't know what it's like to beat Auburn. The last time "Rammer Jammer" rained down on the Auburn faithful was in 2002. Well, fire up the band cause there will not be a louder place than Bryant-Denny stadium that November night. John Parker and this senior class will put their stamp in the Bama record books. Alabama 27-20

The Tide will end the 2008 season 9-3, vastly improved from Saban's first season. With tough road games, and if the injury bug bites, the lack of depth will show. So it could be worse. However, with a senior quarterback and Saban having one more year to shape the program, expect the Tide to be riding high in 2008.

Saban named "Most Powerful Coach"

With his 32$ million contract, and overseeing one of the nations top programs, Saban has the power at the University of Alabama.

The Sept. 1 issue of Forbes Magazine thinks so to.
"Nobody plays the college football business like Alabama's $32 million man,"
the cover reads. "Is he worth it?"

Saban is the first coach to grace the cover of the magazine since it was created in 1917.

The issue, which hits stands Friday morning, argues Sabans control over the Alabama program, his 32$ million eight-year contract, and Saban's positive influence on the students who apply to the University of Alabama has made him the most powerful coach in sports.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alabama Football: Notes from Two-A-Days.

With two-a-days starting and the nights getting cooler kick-off is just around the corner for the Tide here are a few links and notes from practice so far:

  • It seems in year two of the Saban era the players are taking more responsibility and getting on board with coach and his philosophy.

  • There is a lot of talk about this years freshman class and who will play. Mark Barron the safety out of St. Paul's in Mobile has the size and the speed to be a starting safety in the sec. Julio Jones, B.J. Scott, and Tyler Love are getting more reps in practice with the first and second teams.

  • Saban is looking for leadership to lead the younger players. He mentioned many of the upperclassmen like John Parker Wilson, Rolando McClain, and many of the offensive line, "We certainly could use their leadership and experience" Saban said.

  • Greg McElroy is having a really good camp, the sophomore was 9 of 18 for 146 yards in Saturday's scrimmage. He seems to have the second quarterback spot locked up.

  • One of the Alabama's main concerns will be depth at linebacker but in the scrimmage Saturday Rolando McClain had five tackles and one interception. Mountain Brook's Charlie Higgenbotham led all players in tackles with eight.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Five reasons why Alabama will win the SEC West

Yeah that's right Bama fans you read that right Alabama and Nick Saban's "process" will win the Sec West in 2008. Here are five reasons why Alabama will be in Atlanta come December:

  1. A Senior Quarterback- John Parker Wilson enters his senior season with the chance to become one of the most prolific passers in school history. This will be John Parker Wilson's third year as a starter for the Tide. In 2007 his passer rating was 114.6, completing 255 of 462 passes for 2,846 yards, 18 touchdowns (a school record), and 12 interceptions. Costly turnovers and poor play in big games is what most fans remember but in 2008 JPW will thrive under new offensive coordinator Jim McElwain.

  2. Senior Leadership- With Rashad Johnson, Antoine Caldwell, John Parker Wilson, and Andre Smith(he is a junior) this team has a strong core of leaders who want to bring Bama back to the top. These guys set a strong example for the underclassmen to follow from work in the weight room to in the classroom.

  3. Freshman play makers- Freshman can make a difference on a team. Julio Jones, B.J. Scott, Jerrell Harris, and Terrence Cody (JUCO transfer) will be asked to make an impact on this team. They will bring youth, energy, and play making skills to this team. Julio was one of the top recruits coming out of Foley last year and wide-out is a position that the Tide needs players immediately.

  4. The schedule - The Tide will play Clemson in the first game in Atlanta. Clemson comes in with all the pressure being a pre-season top Ten team. Arkansas lost a ton of talent and who knows how they will adjust to Bobby Petrino. When they travel to Athens to play Georgia the Bulldogs will have just finished playing Arizona State out on the West coast look for the Dawgs to have tired legs. Ole Miss will be better this year and that game always comes down to the last play. Going to Tennessee is always tough and Saban going back to Baton Rouge won't be easy but with a question mark at quarterback for the Tigers look for Saban to shut the rowdy crowd up fast. The season ends with the Iron Bowl and the seniors want more than anything to end Auburn's streak. This game will decide the West champion and Alabama will not lose number seven to the Tigers.

  5. Nick Saban- Love him or hate him you know he wins. When Nick was at LSU he took them to Atlanta in his second year. The players now know what to expect from Saban and with another year in his conditioning program the Tide will not fade down the stretch like last year. Saban wants to bring Alabama back and prove all his doubters wrong.

Julio and others Big Hit at Fan-Day

Fans endured the heat at fan day to get a look at Alabama's number one recruiting class, Julio Jones and others did not disappoint. Jones had a few touchdown grabs on 7-on-7 drills, beating starting corner Javier Arenas on one of them.

"They have shown on film in high school that they can play the part. So far, in 48 hours, we haven't been disappointed" said defensive head coach Kevin Steele about the freshman first two practices.

It still is not clear who will be on the first team when the season kicks-off Aug.30 against Clemson but expect Jones, B.J. Scott, and Jerrell Harris to contribute if not start.
Many of the fans stayed after practice to get autographs from their favorite players and head coach Nick Saban.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Georgia is Top Dawg in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Georgia is number one in the first coaches poll released today.

"Being number one in the coaches pre-season poll does have significance since it's one-third of the formula to decide who plays in the national championship game," UGA coach Mark Richt said. USC was number two followed by Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Florida round out the top five. Alabama did not make it, just missing at 26. The SEC had three in the top 10 with Florida at five and LSU at six.

1. Georgia (22) 2. Southern California (14) 3. Ohio State (14) 4. Oklahoma (3) 5. Florida (5) 6. LSU (3) 7. Missouri 8. West Virginia 9. Clemson 10. Texas 11. Auburn 12. Wisconsin 13. Kansas 14. Texas Tech 15. Virginia Tech 16. Arizona State 17. Brigham Young 18. Tennessee 19. Illinois 20. Oregon 21. South Florida 22. Penn State 23. Wake Forest 24. Michigan 25. Fresno State

A few links and notes before practice starts today.

Alabama opens practice today with veterans going at 3 p.m. and the freshman at 7:30 p.m.

Fan Day is set for Sunday festivities start at 1:30 p.m. with practice at 2:30 and a autograph session to follow.

Reserve offensive lineman Patrick Crump of Hoover High left the team due to "personal reasons," Saban said.

Senior wide receiver Will Oakley will not practice today because he is still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.

Linebacker Prince Hall will be suspend for the first three games the season.

Alabama has released the fall roster for 2008 you can view it here.