Monthly Archives: December 2011

Saban explains why Tide practiced outside today

Late December afternoons don’t get much nicer than today’s.

So Alabama took its operation outdoors. In the first trip outside since opening prep for the BCS title game on Dec. 19, there was a specialized focus.

It was all about the kicking game. The relatively low ceiling of the indoor complex doesn’t create the ideal space for special teams action.

“The whole timing of catching punts relative to the punt return or kickoffs relative to the kickoff return or the coverage team trying to position themselves based on the punt ― it’s not possible to do that indoors,” coach Nick Saban said. “We’ve been looking for a day when we could go out and it worked out perfect for us today.”

Twice as much time was spent on the kicking game on Saturday, Saban said.

There were other fringe benefits enjoyed.

“It felt good,” senior offensive lineman Alfred McCullough said. “The turf does something to your body when you’re in there so many days. It felt good to really get on some real grass.”

It might be a while before Alabama practices in the sun shine. After arriving in New Orleans next week, all practices are schedule for the Superdome or the Saints’ indoor facility.

Read more notes like this one in tomorrow’s print edition.


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Oh wait, one more thing … Nick Saban wants you to have a happy new year

Take a look at the comical scene that ended this afternoon’s news conference with Nick Saban. He was leaving the room when he remembered to spread the holiday cheer on the last day of 2011. It was a quality moment. Enjoy.

 


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Video from outdoor practice on beautiful final day of 2011

The Alabama football team has practiced indoors straight through December practices. That ended today. A gorgeous, sunny, 70-degree day in Tuscaloosa certainly factored into that decision.

 


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Taking a 2-hour vacation for the second-best rivalry in college sports

Sorry folks, I’m clocking out for 60 basketball minutes. It’s not quite the Iron Bowl, but where I grew up, they sure think it is.

They used to call it the “Dream Game,” but this could be one of the more anticipated meetings between Louisville and Kentucky basketball teams. Both are ranked in the top-5 at tipoff for the first time.

Yesterday, I was asked to compare this rivalry to the one that grips this state. I give the edge to Alabama-Auburn. Easily. I can joke with fans on both sides of that series. Not down here.

(Watch this cool documentary by WHAS-11 TV for a small glimpse into Cards-Cats spat. Part I here. Part II here.)

Louisville-Kentucky doesn’t envelope life all year, but it will dominate my next two hours. See ya on the flip side.

Update: That was the worst vacation of my life.


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Barrett Jones explains why he’s returning for senior season

Barrett Jones changed my plans for today’s print story pretty quick Friday evening. The Outland Trophy Award winner made a surprising announcement. Read about it here:

TUSCALOOSA — Known as a deep thinker, Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones faced the biggest decision of his career with a list.

Pros on one side, cons on the other. It was only fair, since his future in Tuscaloosa hung in the balance.

Turns out, he’s pro waiting to go pro, as the Outland Trophy Award winner announced he will be back for a senior season.

“I don’t know if life gets much better than this. … It’s probably the most fun I’ve had being on a team in a long time,” Jones said after Friday afternoon’s practice. “I don’t know why that is. We have a real relaxed, great culture this year.”

Jones is the Tide’s third draft-eligible offensive lineman to commit to returning for next season. Right tackle D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack made the same decision in recent weeks as Alabama prepares for the Jan. 9 BCS National Championship Game against LSU.

Anthony Steen, a sophomore who started eight games at right guard, also is scheduled to return. And the injured knee of former top recruit and left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio should be healed by then.

Graduating center William Vlachos offered the first guess as to where the versatile Jones will land next season.

“He has a good chance he’ll probably play center next year,” Vlachos said. “That being said, I don’t make predictions who plays where on the offensive line. If you had told me a couple years ago that Drew Davis would be our starting right tackle in 2008, I would have said you’re crazy. But look what he went on to do. But I think there’s a chance (Jones) will play center.”

Click here to read more of the story.


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Barrett Jones goofs on little brother’s strange reading list

Friendly teasing among brothers and teammates took a 21st century turn Friday.

Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones took a friendly jab at younger brother and tight end Harrison Jones with an audience of his 10,000-plus followers on Twitter.com.

(By the way, Barrett Jones announced he would return for his senior season Friday as well).

The posting came after Barrett Jones came home late the other night to find Harrison Jones reading the book “The Hunger Games.”

“He’s got himself a little, I won’t embarrass him too much, but he has a new friend who’s a girl, and he never really does much reading,” a chuckling Barrett Jones said after Friday’s practice. “I walk in at 2 a.m. after watching a movie and he’s reading a book. It’s something I’ve never seen before. I thought to myself, ‘Why would he be reading a book?’

“There’s obviously only one solution, it’s because of a girl.”

The “Hunger Games” is a trilogy by author Suzanne Collins follows a 16-year old girl who faces a life or death decision on a reality television show.

A review in the Scotsman newspaper in Scotland breaks it down:

“At its best the trilogy channels the political passion of 1984, the memorable violence of A Clockwork Orange, the imaginative ambiance of The Chronicles of Narnia and the detailed inventiveness of Harry Potter. The specifics of the dystopian universe, and the fabulous pacing of the complicated plot, give the books their strange, dark charisma.”

Read a few notes with a little more football value in tomorrow’s newspaper.


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So, how much are BCS tickets selling for today?

Well, we can at least tell you how much people hope to sell tickets to that football game Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

The two most comprehensive websites for scalped tickets reveal not a single seat to the BCS national title game sells for less than $1,000.

The average ticket on FanSnap.com is right around $2,200 — down from a high of $3,000 a few weeks back. The numbers might be skewed by sellers who inflate the prices to draw attention. The most expensive seats that are legit run in the $3,000 range.

At TiqIQ, the 2,064 tickets for sale average a price tag of $2,253. The least expensive ticket costs $1,100 for Section 601, Row 36.  Anything below the 600-section (very top) will cost at least $1,600 a pop.

 


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Video from Friday football practice

Here’s another look at the sunny afternoon practice held indoors today in Tuscaloosa. It’s a buffet style peek inside. Enjoy.

 


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Full basketball game story from Jacksonville win

The full version of the game story from last night’s Alabama basketball game didn’t make all the print editions. It’s found starting here:

TUSCALOOSA — There was a basketball game and Alabama won Thursday night, but that wasn’t the story.

Seven-foot junior college transfer Moussa Gueye made his surprise Crimson Tide debut in the closing moments of a 72-55 win over Jacksonville. His appearance came four months after tearing his ACL and a day after head coach Anthony Grant said Gueye was “limited” but “progressing.”

Gueye, who entered after a timeout with 3:44 left, didn’t score. He grabbed one rebound while playing somewhat tentatively on the left knee protected by a brace. The decision to play Gueye came after two very strong practice performances, Grant said.

“I wouldn’t have put him out there if I felt like there was any jeopardy,” Grant said. “Our medical staff wouldn’t have cleared him if we felt like there was any chance of him putting himself in harm’s way.”

The Tide (10-3) played without injured leading scorer JaMychal Green for a second straight game, so Trevor Releford led the Tide with 18 points.

Continue reading

Maze moves past interception thrown against LSU and “bad call”

Take a look back at arguably the biggest play of Alabama’s loss to LSU back in November through today’s print story. Look below for video of the play in question.

TUSCALOOSA — Fluttering in the air for what seemed like a minute, one pass on one trick play defined the biggest game in SEC regular-season history.

Alabama was tied with LSU with more than 11 minutes left when Tide receiver Marquis Maze cocked back for the infamous and debatable throw of the season. A jump ball turned into an interception, and that ended what could’ve turned into the only touchdown drive of the game. The Tigers escaped with a 9-6 overtime win and their perfect record intact.

No, the momentum never returned for the Tide that Nov. 5 night. LSU safety Eric Reid made the play of the game when he wrestled the ball from Alabama tight end Michael Williams near the goal line.

A few fortunate bounces and upsets in the following weeks brought Alabama back from the depths and set up the Jan. 9 rematch with LSU in the BCS National Championship Game.

But the biggest play from Round 1 remains a conversation piece.

Maze, who threw from the Wildcat formation after faking the handoff, still questions the outcome of the play even though he said he has moved past it.

He thought it was a “bad call.”

“I think, Mike Williams, if both people have possession of the ball, the possession goes to the receiver,” Maze said Wednesday.

Officials on the field and the video replay booth disagreed with Maze’s assessment. The possession went to LSU, and the wind left Alabama’s sails. An overtime field goal won it as neither team found the end zone all night.

Click here to read the rest. Then watch the video here.

 


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Moussa Gueye makes surprise appearance in Tide win

Update: Grant said Gueye started practicing a week before Christmas and looked very good in the last two 0r three practices.

It was still up in the air whether he’d play against Jacksonville during the game. But with the big lead, the decision was made.

“I wouldn’t have put him out there if I felt like there was any jeopardy,” Grant said. “Our medical staff wouldn’t have cleared him if we felt like there was any chance of him putting himself in harm’s way.”

—-

Original post: Anthony Grant played quite a poker face yesterday when asked about the status of injured 7-footer Moussa Gueye.

He gave no hint to what was to come tonight. The center made a surprise debut with 3:44 left in a 72-55 win over Jacksonville. It was just four months after the junior college transfer tore his ACL in a preseason pickup game.

Gueye didn’t score and grabbed one rebound while playing tentatively on the affected left knee. Stay tuned for Grant’s postgame update.


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A look at smallish basketball crowd

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It would be hard to expect a sell out in Coleman Coliseum tonight. Students are still home for the holidays and, well, Jacksonville is 2-9.

Update: The crowd filled out some and Alabama leads 57-43 with 9:34 left.


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Video of Moussa Gueye warming up for first time

Alabama junior Moussa Gueye went through his first pregame warmup this evening before meeting Jacksonville. I still wouldn’t count on him playing only four months after tearing his ACL.

 


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Follow the live Alabama basketball game action right here

The Alabama basketball team is back in action against a struggling Jacksonville team this evening in Coleman Coliseum. We’re here to provide all the in-game analysis.

Click here to follow the action in the only official Twitter home of The Daily Bama Blog.

Here are a few of the particulars to keep in mind as the Crimson Tide (9-3) meets the Dolphins (2-9).


Alabama lineup:

F Nick Jacobs (6-8, Fr.), 5.3 ppg.;
F Tony Mitchell (6-6, Jr.), 15.0 ppg., 7.6 rpg.;
G Trevor Rele ford (6-1, So.), 11.5 ppg.;
G Levi Randolph (6-5, Fr.), 6.2 ppg., 4.1 rpg.;
G Trevor Lacey (6-3, Fr.), 6.7 ppg., 3.0 rpg.

Jacksonville lineup:
G Russell Powell (6-9, Jr.), 9.1 ppg., 4.8 apg.;
G Keith McCougald (6-1, So.), 11.3 ppg.;
F Delwan Graham (6-7, Sr.), 10.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg;
G Tevin Galvin (6-4, Sr.), 4.2 ppg.;
F Glenn Powell (6-5, Jr.), 11.3 ppg., 7.3 rpg.

Noteworthy: After miss ing the Dec. 21 win over Oklahoma State, Tide leading scorer JaMychal Green will be a “game-time decision,” coach Anthony Grant said. The senior who averages 15.9 a game injured his right shoulder. The Dolphins have lost seven straight since taking back to back games against Savannah State and Samford. … A 70-65 loss at UAB on Dec. 22 was Jacksonville’s most recent setback. … The most lopsided loss came at Florida in a 107-62 decision on Nov. 25. … Alabama players had a break after the Dec. 21 game with the Cowboys. The team resumed practice Dec. 26. … These two haven’t played since Alabama won 91-76 in 1965. … Only a Jan. 3 visit to Georgia Tech separates the Tide from opening SEC play against Georgia on Jan. 7.

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Moussa Gueye at shoot around

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That’s injured center Moussa Gueye at shoot around 90 minutes before Alabama plays Jacksonville.

An Alabama spokesman said he’s done this several times but I can’t remember seeing him out there in the past. So take this photo with a grain of salt.

The 7-footer hasn’t played all season after tearing his ACL this summer. He’s wearing a knee brace.

Coach Anthony Grant said Gueye was making progress on Wednesday but didn’t offer a timetable for a possible Alabama debut for the junior college transfer. Grant said the injury that kept Gueye off the floor all of last season also plays a factor.

Update: Gueye isn’t going full speed and still looks tentative.

In JaMychal Green news, the injured leading scorer is in a black jumpsuit watching his teammates shoot around. I wouldn’t bet on seeing him out there tonight.


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