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A look at the crowd gathering for Alabama’s SEC softball title game

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Click to enlarge.

Update 3: Alabama got one four six runs back in the third. It’s 3-1 6-1 8-1 Tide after three complete. Jazlyn Lunceford’s 2-out, 3-run homer broke things open before Kendall Dawson added a 2-run shot.

Update 2: Florida cut into Alabama’s lead in the second. It’s now 2-1 Tide after 2-out, RBI single for Gators.

Update: Alabama leads Florida 2-0 after one inning as the sun pops out. My weather skills failed again.

The radar isn’t promising, but the crowd is growing at Rhoads Stadium for the SEC softball championship.

It’s Alabama and Florida — big rivals — playing for the title at noon. Or at least that’s the plan. Stay tuned for updates.


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Did Harvey Updyke foreshadow his ill-fated trip to Alabama softball game?

By now you know Harvey Updyke wasn’t welcomed to Alabama’s SEC softball tournament game Friday. The boys in blue asked the father of Crimson Tyde Updyke to take a hike as Alabama beat Georgia 1-0.

School officials may have been tipped off to Updyke’s interest in attending if they monitored one popular Alabama fan website.

A poster on a TiderInsider.com message board named “Alfromdadeville,” inquired Thursday morning about the SEC softball tournament.

“If they win, what time do they play tomorrow,” the poster asked. He later checked on ticket prices for the SEC softball tournament played in Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2004.

From TiderInsider.com (Click to enlarge)

Alabama, minus Updyke, will face Florida at noon today for the SEC crown. Tune into ESPN2 for all the action.

 


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Harvey Updyke ejected from Alabama softball game

This just can’t get any stranger. Seriously.

Harvey Updyke, the man charged with poisoning the Toomer’s Corner oaks in Auburn, was thrown out of the SEC softball tournament in Tuscaloosa this afternoon.

Reports of the incident lit up social media sites and the University of Alabama released a statement a few minutes ago.

“Mr. Harvey Updyke was asked by University of Alabama officials to leave today’s softball game and he complied. Several months ago, the University issued a formal directive to Mr. Updyke stating that he is not to come to the University of Alabama campus,” the statement reads.

“Mr. Updyke has no affiliation with the University of Alabama and does not represent the institution in any way. The University of Alabama will have no further statement on this matter.”

Meanwhile, Alabama beat Georgia 1-0. The Tide plays Florida at noon Saturday for the SEC title.

Update: Click here for a photo of the alleged interaction between Updyke and the police.

Read more later.


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Few new Facebook cover photos for Alabama fans

This is the third set of Facebook cover photos for use in the newish timeline profile pages. I still credit the Orlando Sentinel from whom I borrowed the idea for this.

So, below, you’ll see a few photos I took over the past few years. They are self-proclaimed Daily Bama Blog classics and sized just right for use as Facebook cover photos.

Just click on the photo to enlarge it, then right click (for Windows users) and save the image. We’ll be updating the library over time. Enjoy.

New for May 11:

Two more for your Friday …

Gymnastics in Coleman Coliseum.

 

New for May 10:

A-Day 2011.

Coleman Coliseum

Million Dollar Band before football game.

—-

Original post …

BCS championship

Coleman Coliseum

ESPN GameDay before LSU game.

——————————

New for May 9

Here are two more for the collection. More to come. Stay tuned.

Baseball game.

Foster Auditorium.

Check back every day this week for additions to the collection. There are a bunch still to come.


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‘They’re all going to be gunning for us’

The SEC softball tournament begins today in Tuscaloosa. Here’s a quick primer before top-seed Alabama faces Mississippi State at 7 on ESPN …

TUSCALOOSA — Home is sweet unless you’re hosting the SEC softball tournament.

Not once in the eight years postseason games were played on campus has the home team walked away a champion. Therein lies the challenge for Alabama.

The No. 1-seeded Crimson Tide, ranked third nationally, won’t travel when opening the single-elimination, eight-team tournament at 7 tonight with Mississippi State. SEC bracket play returns to Tuscaloosa for the first time since 2004, and the four-time champion Tide are positioned to end the curse of the host.

Also qualifying was seventh-seeded Auburn. The Tigers (33-20) meet No. 2-seed Tennessee (45-9) in the second quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m.

For Alabama, just winning a third straight regular-season title won’t guarantee anything.

Named SEC coach of the year Wednesday, Tide coach Patrick Murphy called this the most competitive eight-team tournament outside the Women’s College World Series.

So taking the home-field advantage for granted isn’t an option.

“They’re all going to be gunning for us,” Murphy said. “That’s the fact of life. I’ve said it a million times, and (Alabama basketball coach) Anthony Grant came and talked to us a month ago. That’s the first thing he said. ‘You know you have a target on your back, right?’

Click here for the complete story.


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Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy faces tough decision entering SEC tourney

Work the ace or rest her? That’s the decision facing Alabama softball coach Patrick Murphy this week.

As the top seed in the SEC tournament the Crimson Tide hosts this week, winning for the home crowd is important. Murphy acknowledged that. But there could be a cost to winning a league postseason crown.

Besides the hometown support and adding hardware to the trophy case, the Tide has little to gain this week in Rhodes Stadium. A No. 3-overall seed in the NCAA tournament is practically locked down.

So does Murphy send ace pitcher Jackie Traina to mound circle for what could be three straight games with NCAA play looming just days later? Murphy pondered his move a day before facing Mississippi State in the 7 p.m. quarterfinal televised by ESPN.

“You have to figure out as a coach and a program if you want to throw your No. 1 for three straight days and you see what happens,” Murphy said.

So will he?

“I don’t know yet,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s important to us, obviously. We’re at home and we want to pack the stands and we want to do whatever we can for the sport of softball.”

Traina, named SEC pitcher of the year, said she feels great. But she isn’t exactly on full rest. She pitched all three games of last weekend’s SEC-clinching series win over Florida.

Remember, of the four previous times the Tide won the SEC regular season title, it claimed postseason glory just once. Kelsi Dunne started all three games of the 2010 SEC tournament championship run.

Read more about this in tomorrow’s newspaper.


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Saban offers another possibile solution to thin QB situation

Here’s your look at today’s story as it appeared in the printed editions of the newspaper. Buy one. It’s worth a shot …

BIRMINGHAM — Few positions necessitates practical experience more than quarterback. That’ll be somewhat of an issue for Alabama this fall.

Only Alabama’s returning starter AJ McCarron knows what it’s like to leave the sideline as a college quarterback. The transfer of backup Phillip Sims to Virginia last month leaves Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban with more former quarterbacks on his coaching staff than his bullpen.

So he might get creative.

Saban said there are options beyond redshirt freshman Phillip Ely and incoming freshman Alec Morris.

“I think last year, we actually had a plan for Blake Sims to play quarterback,” Saban said Tuesday before a Crimson Caravan stop in Birmingham. “He played quarterback in high school. He’s a different style of quarterback than what we have, but we also have the flexibility on offense.”

Blake Sims could add a running threat in a “Wildcat” style role that the Tide tinkered with last season. The plans were scrapped before the national championship season began and Blake Sims saw limited playing time as a running back.

Ely, a traditional drop-back passer, redshirted in 2011 after enrolling a semester early. He completed 10 of 18 passes for 83 yards as the backup on the second-team offense in the A-Day spring game April 14.

Morris is set to arrive in Tuscaloosa this summer for classes. Saban said enrolling early, as Sims and Ely did, isn’t a prerequisite for making noise as a freshman.

Click here for the complete story without further trouble.


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Saban: Seau’s death ‘really difficult’ for those wondering if they could’ve helped

Nick Saban’s path crossed with Junior Seau’s only briefly, but last week’s suicide of the former NFL legend left the Alabama coach in shock. The 20-year NFL veteran who retired in 2009 was found dead in his California home last Wednesday. The death was ruled a suicide.

Saban coached Seau in 2005, the linebacker’s final season with the Miami Dolphins. Saban was joking with reporters before Tuesday evening’s Crimson Caravan stop in Birmingham, but quickly changed tunes when Seau’s death was discussed.

The shocking death was “one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with, probably, this year,” Saban said.

“You always have these guys, if you’re fortunate, that are really special people that have you have the opportunity to coach or have on your team or whatever,” Saban said. “Junior Seau was one of those guys. He was one of the most popular guys on the team, the most positive, the most upbeat, the most enthusiastic, energetic, great practice player, great football player. (He) loved football probably as much as anybody I’ve ever been around.”

There are always questions lingering for those left behind when someone takes their own life.

“It’s just really difficult to think that maybe there may have been something you could do to help him or whatever,” Saban said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, but man, what a great guy and a great football player.”

Seau started five of the seven games he played under Saban in 2005. He didn’t finish the season after suffering an Achilles tendon injury.


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Free Alabama-related Facebook cover pictures for download

First, I have to say this wasn’t my original idea. The Orlando Sentinel did the same and I’m just borrowing the concept.

So, below, you’ll see a few photos I took over the past few years. They are Daily Bama Blog classics and sized just right for use as Facebook cover photos under the new timeline profile pages. Just click on the photo to enlarge it, then  right click (for Windows users) and save the image. We’ll be updating the library over time. Enjoy.

BCS championship

Coleman Coliseum

ESPN GameDay before LSU game.

New for May 9

Here are two more for the collection. More to come. Stay tuned.

Baseball game.

Foster Auditorium.

Check back every day this week for additions to the collection. There are a bunch still to come.


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Spring football attendance numbers for all 14 SEC teams

Bryant-Denny Stadium an hour before kickoff of A-Day.

Vacation is over and the work resumes. Waiting in the email was a lengthy release from the SEC. It had all kinds of nuggets exiting the spring football season.

One stood out. Though Alabama’s A-Day crowd was down 15,000 or so from last April, it was still easily the largest group to watch a spring game in the league. The 78,526 ranked second nationally to Ohio State’s 81,112 in Year 1 of the Urban Meyer era.

Here’s the complete ranking according to the SEC …

  • Alabama 78,526
  • Arkansas 45,250
  • Auburn 43,427
  • Florida  38,100
  • Georgia 44,117
  • Kentucky 4,500
  • LSU 33,000
  • Ole Miss 25,000
  • Mississippi State 22,604
  • Missouri 18,614
  • South Carolina 34,513
  • Tennessee  35,421
  • Texas A&M  15,000
  • Vanderbilt 8,500

Of the 14 total spring games, the average crowd was 31,898. Not bad considering these are glorified practices.


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A salute to the journalism icon you’ve never heard of

Just a few people witnessed the historic scene Thursday evening in Bowling Green, Ky. It passed quietly, but it’s significance required documentation.

Mr. A on Thursday.

The last page was flipped and that was it. Retirement unofficially began for Bob Adams a few minutes before 6 on Thursday evening. The last paper was put to bed.

Bob Adams you ask?

You probably don’t know the name, but you’re familiar with his work. You just never realized it.

For 44 straight years, Mr. A molded the careers of journalists you read every day. He was is a surrogate father for generations of aspiring newspaper men/women at Western Kentucky University.

The news organizations of Alabama are littered with Mr A products. You’re reading one right now.

He’s been the adviser of the award-winning College Heights Herald since 1968 and the director of Student Publications since 1990. Mr. A is the guy who, with a wink and a grunt, taught the lessons of newspapering to more than a few future stars. He’s seen 20 students go on to win Pulitzer Prizes — the Heisman and Super Bowl MVP of journalism.

But that’s just a small cross section of the population Mr. A touched. Hundreds of reporters, photographers, copy editors and people with serious jobs have him to thank.

Patience should be renamed in his honor. How he put up with the antics of quirky college students is baffling. And he did it proudly and without celebration.

That’s why he deserves a curtain call today.

I couldn’t miss that historic moment Thursday evening when he presided over the final Herald production day of his incredible career. It was a special moment for all in the 4-year old building named for Mr. A.

I can’t tell you how much Mr. A means to the people he advised over the years. I still call him when advice is needed. In that sense, he’ll never retire.

We all owe Mr. A a debt of gratitude. You just didn’t know it until now.


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The Bear Bryant-inspired NASCAR helmet, Alabama car you’ll see Sunday at Talladega

Click to enlarge.

Update: Clint Bowyer didn’t win after leading at one point. He was sixth in the end.


A reward for winning the BCS national title game, Alabama fans will once again see a crimson car cruising the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway. Clint Bowyer will drive the car (pictured above at A-Day) in the Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Bowyer, who won the fall race at Talladega last year, will also wear an Alabama-inspired helmet. He posted a picture of it on his Twitter page Tuesday.

From Twitter (@ClintBowyer)

Your thoughts? Post a comment below.


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Alabama football radio analyst named Senior Bowl executive director

Add a new title beside Phil Savage’s name.

The color analyst for University of Alabama football radio broadcasts was named executive director of the Senior Bowl this afternoon.

Savage, also the player personnel director for the Philadelphia Eagles, will continue his work alongside Eli Gold in the Alabama radio booth. He has been with the Crimson Tide Radio Network for the past three seasons.

The Senior Bowl made the announcement this afternoon through its Twitter page. The annual event is played in Mobile and is a showcase for top college football talent hoping to be drafted by the NFL.


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Alabama football legend passes away Monday

Former Alabama football star Billy Neighbors passed away Monday afternoon in Huntsville days after suffering a heart attack, multiple news outlets reported. He was 72.

A member of the 1961 Crimson Tide national championship team, Neighbors was a big part of a defense that allowed just 25 points all season. He was a consensus All-American that season and was a sixth-round pick of the Boston Patriots in the NFL draft.

Neighbors played eight pro seasons and started 56 times with the Patriots and Dolphins. A two-time Pro Bowler, he retired following the 1969 season and was a successful stock broker in Huntsville.

Two more generations of Neighbors went on to play football at Alabama. Son Wes Neighbors played from 1983-86 and grandson Wesley followed from 2008-10.

While attending the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1961 championship team, Neighbors commented on how much the game changed since he played both offense and defense.

“It wasn’t as complicated as it is now, but you had to be more physical because you had to be out there so long,” Billy Neighbors said. “Can you imagine playing 60 minutes and covering every kickoff and every punt, every special team and never coming off the field? It was unreal.”

Neighbors was inducted to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.

Update: Alabama athletics director Mal Moore, a teammate of Neighbors’, released a statement a little bit ago.

“Hearing the news of the passing of Billy Neighbors is very difficult. Billy meant so much to Alabama football over the decades. He was one of our first great players under Coach Bryant, and he had become a tremendous friend to me and everyone in the Alabama family. Billy was easy to like. It was always easy to talk with Billy. We spoke three or four times a week for as far back as I can remember. I have lost a great friend and Alabama certainly lost a legend. It’s just a tremendous loss.”


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Relaxing in Miami hotel, former Tide starter gets call from Ravens

Seven more former Alabama football standouts joined the eight drafted in the NFL over the weekend. Here’s the story of offensive lineman Alfred McCullough’s path to the Baltimore Ravens …

TUSCALOOSA — Watching hour after hour of the NFL draft didn’t interest Alfred McCullough.

The Athens High graduate had his mind on basketball Saturday afternoon. He had driven to south Florida to take his cousin to a Miami Heat game when his phone rang.

“I was chilling in my room in Miami, and they asked how I felt about being a Raven,” McCullough said Sunday on a break from the 15-hour drive back to Limestone County. “We made the deal.”

McCullough, an offensive lineman, was one of seven former Alabama players who signed free-agent deals in the hours after eight teammates were taken in the NFL draft. He will reunite with linebacker Courtney Upshaw, the second-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, also home to ex-teammates Terrence Cody and Chavis Williams.

“It’s always been a dream to make the NFL,” said McCullough, a starter in six games as a senior including the BCS National Championship Game.

“It’s just surreal right now.”

A few other NFL teams called later on, but McCullough already had a deal. He plans on training in Athens for two more weeks before heading to the Baltimore mini-camp. The real test comes in August when McCullough, all the drafted players, and returning veterans compete for the team’s 53 roster spots.

Click here OR here for the full story.


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