Monthly Archives: April 2011

Panoramic views of destroyed Tuscaloosa neighborhood

Here are three quick images from the damage that defies the English language. These were taken in the Holt community of Tuscaloosa where Wednesday’s tornado did some of the worst damage. Read Sunday’s newspaper for a complete account of Alabama student-athletes and coaches including Anthony Grant who spent the day helping those who lost it all. Click to enlarge the photos.

All Alabama athletes accounted for in Tuscaloosa

There are still hundreds missing in tornado ravaged Tuscaloosa, but a UA spokesman confirmed all Crimson Tide student-athletes have been accounted for.

At this point, only long snapper Carson Tinker has been reported injured. He was hospitalized with relatively minor injuries after Nick Saban said he was thrown about 50 yards from his Tuscaloosa house. It sounds like his condition continued to improve Friday.

Read more in the print editions tomorrow.

Daughter of former UA football player killed in tornado

The daughter of former Alabama football player Shannon Brown was killed in the tornado that ravished Tuscaloosa on Wednesday. Loryn Brown, 21, is among the 37 known dead in Tuscaloosa.

Read more about the tragic story in today’s Decatur Daily by clicking here.

Shannon Brown, a defensive lineman at Alabama from 1991-95, has been the head football coach at Ardmore High School for the past two seasons.

If you haven’t bookmarked it yet, click here for the Daily’s  high school blog “River City Rumblings.”

Four first-rounders sets UA draft record

It was a historic night in Radio City Music Hall for the Alabama football program. Four Crimson Tide players — a new school record — heard their names called in the first round of the NFL draft.

There were no surprises when Marcell Dareus went third to the Buffalo Bills and Julio Jones was taken sixth by the Atlanta Falcons. It wasn’t until the later stages of the primetime event when the projections went out the window.

Left tackle James Carpenter was drafted 25th by the Seattle Seahawks, though he was realistically viewed as the fourth Alabama player taken. Mark Ingram was selected three spots later by the New Orleans Saints, but Carpenter’s big move stole some of the spotlight.

A junior college transfer, Carpenter started the last two seasons protecting quarterback Greg McElroy’s blind side. He was viewed as a second-round pick at best by most draft projections, but he ensured a much richer contract by moving into the first round.

The 2011 class broke the Alabama first-round picks set in 1993 when John Copeland (fifth), Eric Curry (sixth) and George Teague (29th) set the mark at three.

The draft resumes with the second round Friday.

Report: UA football player injured, girlfriend killed

Update 5:44 p.m. CST: I found video of Nick Saban’s appearance on ESPN’s College Football live. Here’s what he said about Carson Tinker:

“Carson Tinker was at his home with several others and was right in the middle of the storm. His house was completely destroyed. He was thrown probably 50 yards from the house, but has a concussion, has a fractured wrist and is pretty beat up, but is stable and will be fine.”

Click here to see the full video.

UPDATE: I missed this on television, but Nick Saban apparently told ESPN that UA long snapper Tinker was thrown 50 yards from his home. Read more of Saban’s comments on The Sporting News website.

Fox6 out of Birmingham is reporting the girlfriend of Alabama longsnapper Carson Tinker was killed in the tornadoes that devastated Tuscaloosa on Wednesday. Tinker was also injured, the TV station reported on its website.

Ashley Harrison, 22, was among those who didn’t survive the massive twister that hit just east of the Alabama campus. Click here for the Fox6 story.

The Associated Press is reporting two Alabama students were among those killed in Tuscaloosa.

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A time when sports can’t matter

The NFL draft is tonight and there’s a chance Alabama’s Marcell Dareus could be the No. 1 overall pick. But honestly, it’s hard to fathom that matters much right now.

I was not in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday so I have no news to share from the complete disaster left by the tornado. All I can do is offer my best wishes to all those affected across the state. Check out the following news sources for all the latest from Tuscaloosa. I’ll update anything that pertains to Crimson Tide athletics as warrented.

The Tuscaloosa News

The Crimson White

Bobby Bowden talks Nick Saban

Bobby Bowden’s barnstorming world tour stopped in Athens this evening. The former Florida State coach attended a fundraiser for Athens Bible School, but he took a few minutes to speak with reporters.

You can read his views on retirement, whether he misses coaching and all the scandal surrounding the sport in tomorrow’s newspaper. Here’s a quick preview.

(Click here for the complete story)

I asked about Nick Saban and his reputation for being unpersonable among certain sects.

“Let me say this, I think if people knew him personally, they couldn’t help but like him,” Bowden said. “You know how it is when you don’t know somebody personally and you hear this and you hear that, you form opinions when you’re not really sure what you’re hearing.. I know this . He takes care of his coaches. He works the heck out of them. But he takes care of them and they appreciate that.”

Read more in tomorrow’s newspaper. Buy one!

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Which Alabama player will have the best NFL career?

The headline says what needs saying.

A story of promise, redemption and NFL draft

Michael Ricks

The following ran in Sunday’s newspaper.

COURTLAND — The ceramic tile floor turns to cold concrete where the barber shop becomes a training center.

It’s Friday morning and a million miles from anywhere resembling the National Football League.

But walk past the waiting room, beyond the lone hair-shaping station, and there stands the embodiment of A Weekend’s Passion Fitness and Barber Shop — not flashy but more than functional.

Bulldogging through another round on the bench press, Michael Ricks shouldn’t be dreaming of the big leagues — not after his roundabout college career.

He didn’t make grades after signing with Alabama. Twice.

Two years at a junior college.

One semester at Troy.

Two years away from football.

Finally, a career resurrection came just down the road from his original destination. His career at Division II Stillman College in Tuscaloosa now complete, Ricks is back where it all started, training for the career that hardly seemed possible.

Read the rest by clicking here or here.

Bama signee Randolph wins big dunk contest

I couldn’t make it home to Louisville this weekend, but Alabama signee Levi Randolph made it to the Derby City for one of the nation’s premier all-star events.

And he made the most of it.

Click here to see his winning performance in the dunk competition of the Derby Festival Basketball Classic — an event loaded with McDonald’s All-Americans. He scored a perfect 40 on his second dunk in front of 10,000-plus fans at the new KFC Yum! Center.

Fellow-Huntsvillian Trevor Lacey was also in town. Still deciding between Alabama, Kentucky and Kansas, Lacey went just 2-for-8 from the field. Lacey spoke to the Courier-Journal about the recruiting process here.

Updyke appearing on Finebaum?

That’s what they’re hyping online right now. Harvey Updyke, the alleged Toomer’s Corner tree hater, will do a live interview on the radio show that he allegedly called in January to start this alleged mess.

If you want to hear what he has to say a day after allegedly taking a beating in Opelika, click here for the WJOX website where you can listen live.

Ex-Tide assistant hired by UFL team

It’s been a winding road for former Alabama linebacker’s coach James Willis. He left the Crimson Tide for a job with Tommy Tuberville at Texas Tech, but that ended badly.

Now the Huntsville product is back coaching — this time in the minor leagues of pro football. Willis was hired as linebacker coach for the Hartford Colonels of the United Football League.

He was picked up by head coach Jerry Glanville, formerly of the Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons, and television studios. Read more here and here.

Is this Updyke/Toomer’s poisoning a state-wide embarrassment?

My previous posting called the continuing saga of Harvey Updyke, his alleged tree-poisoning and today’s alleged assault an embarrassment. I say that as a transplant to the state of Alabama who’s lived here for just two years.

So I put it to you, native Alabamians. Are you ashamed of this story and the light it shines on this state?

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Report: Updyke assaulted, taken to hospital

This story keeps getting more embarrassing for the state of Alabama.

Click here to read a quick story on the WFSA-TV website saying accused Toomer’s Corner tree poisoner Harvey Updyke was assaulted in an Auburn-area convenience store.

Update: Charles Goldberg of the Birmingham News has new details including an interview with the clerk at the convenience store where the attack allegedly took place. Click here for the story.

This is getting surreal, but when wasn’t this story?

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Accused Toomer’s Corner poisoner Updyke appears in court

Here’s the latest from ace Associated Press reporter John Zenor reporting on the scene.

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The lawyer for the man charged with poisoning landmark trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner has waived a preliminary hearing in the case.

Defense attorney Glennon Threatt Jr. announced his decision during a court appearance Wednesday in Opelika with his client, Harvey Updyke Jr., who wore a crimson tie.

Threatt got his client’s bond conditions changed to allow Updyke to live with relatives in Louisiana.

Threatt had earlier tried to work out a plea deal with prosecutors, but they rejected it. He wanted his client to avoid serving any more time in jail. Threatt says he sought a deal because innocent people sometimes get convicted.

Updyke is free on bond after being charged with first-degree criminal mischief in the poisoning of the trees, where Auburn traditionally celebrates sports victories.