Friday, August 1, 2008

Rolling into August

Saban discusses start of football practice 7/31/08
Alabama will begin practice Friday with two sessions, approximately half the squad in each session. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban pointed out that nothing should be made of players working in one session or another. It’s strictly administrative he said, trying to get an equal number of players at each position in each session.

It's Nick Saban, so what should Alabama expect LA Times 7/31/08
They're not quite sure how to feel right now in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the University of Alabama is coming off a 7-6 season and paying football Coach Nick Saban this season's portion of his estimated $35-million contract.

A taste of fall arrives with fan day Tuscaloosa News 7/30/08
I plan on being there and blogging about it next week...

SEC's hate-o-meter ESPN 7/29/08
Guess who's number one?

The SEC loves to hate Alabama ESPN 7/29/08
Maybe it's the fact that Alabama once dominated this league like nobody has since or before. Maybe it's the fact that Paul W. "Bear" Bryant is the most iconic figure in all of college football history. Maybe it's the fact that Alabama has been caught cheating each of the last two decades, serving three years of NCAA probation in the mid 1990s and five years of NCAA probation from 2002-'07. Maybe it's that obnoxious elephant roar at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Maybe it's Bryant's gravelly voice still being piped in over the loudspeaker at Bryant-Denny Stadium before every game. Maybe it's the fact that Alabama is ... well, Alabama.

Saban looks to lift Tide Chattanooga Times Free Press 7/28/08
Nick Saban may not boast the best collection of physical talent in the Southeastern Conference. Alabama is lacking at linebacker and wide receiver, and Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa was less prosperous than his first year at LSU. But Saban is still attempting to make his players the strongest in a different aspect — their minds. He employed The Pacific Institute, an organization that describes itself as “culture transformation experts” and works to improve lives through educational seminars, to teach 12 classes to Tide players.

Alabama players adjust to Saban
Cullman Times 7/26/08
Alabama’s players admit the first season under Saban was a bit overwhelming. “It was all kind of crazy,” senior offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell said. “None of us really knew what to expect.” Now heading into their second season with Saban, Alabama’s players said they have a better understanding of what the Crimson Tide coach expects. It’s not a secret that Saban is intense. The Alabama coach has built a reputation as a workaholic that demands a lot from his players.

Florida, Auburn picked to win divisions Montgomery Advertiser 7/26/08
No one can claim the media's predictions at Southeastern Conference Media Days are a rubber stamp of the 2007 season.

Saban Keeps playing mind games
New Orleans Times Picayune 7/25/08
For days Alabama football wires have quivered with news LSU Coach Les Miles thought last year's victory over the Crimson Tide was nothing more than one notch in a 2007 clean sweep of Alabama by Pelican State teams. On Thursday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban -- a one-time LSU icon who Tide fans expect will return greatness to Tuscaloosa -- winced when asked about the remark. But he declined to take the bait. "Well, he told the truth," Saban said. "He told it like it was. So, you know, I don't -- you know we need to earn it."

Cecil Hurt: Media Days has evolved into seminar Tuscaloosa News 7/25/08
One of the complaints that veteran observers of Southeastern Conference football have about the league’s annual Media Days are that they tend, after a while, to seem the same. The changes from one year to the next, according to conventional wisdom, are minimal. There are the same coaching cliches, the same answers to the same questions, a monotony relived only by the occasional flying subpoena. On Thursday, though, it was clear how much the event has changed over the years.

Saban counting on young players 7/24/08
Saban touched on a number of topics but mentioned few players other than quarterback John Parker Wilson. Wilson, who will be a third year starter with a third position coach and offensive coordinator, should benefit from the past and from the present, Saban said. The coach said that it was difficult for Wilson to have different coaches and coordinators and systems “when he was doing it,” but that having accomplished it will enhance Wilson’s decision-making process. Saban also called the offense that Wilson will operate under new coordinator Jim McElwain as “quarterback friendly.”

Cecil Hurt: Bryant made Waldrep part of the Alabama family Tuscaloosa News 7/23/08
Charley, the younger of the two Waldrep boys, was in Tuscaloosa this week as well. He’s about to enter his senior year at Celina High School, a perennial Class 3A football power in Texas. He’s rushed for over 3,600 yards on the Celina team over the past two seasons, earning honorable mention All-State honors in a state (like Alabama) where that means a lot. Accompanying Charley to camp, the Waldrep family made a new acquaintance – coach Nick Saban. Charley was a participant in Saban’s football camp, an experience he called “intense.” “I went to another camp,” he said, naming a program in the Big 12. “It was nothing like this. At that school, the head coach rode around in a golf cart one day and that was it. At this camp, Coach Saban has been out there coaching the entire team. And it’s tough. I’d rather go through five days of drills at the other school than a half-day here. It’s a totally different atmosphere.”

Miles: I have great respect for the University of Alabama Mobile Press Register 7/23/08
His answer today ..."I want you to know something. I have a great respect for the University of Alabama, the history they have represented to college football, the competition they put on every time they take the field. I promise you that any fun and entertainment I have with supporters is very respectful." So there you go.

Miles' Alabama comment causes stir WBRZ Baton Rouge 7/22/08
Miles’ Tigers beat the Crimson Tide, coached last season for the first time by former LSU coach Nick Saban, 41-34 in Tuscaloosa. The Tigers went on to win the BCS national championship. According to The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, Miles cautioned LSU fans “not to make too much of that game, as it seems like a lot of teams in Louisiana beat that team.” Miles’ reference was to Alabama’s 21-14 loss to Louisiana-Monroe last year, two weeks after falling to LSU. The defeats were part of a four-game losing streak to end the regular season for the Crimson Tide, which finished 7-6 after an Independence Bowl victory over Colorado. Miles’ comment was already the talk of local sports radio in Birmingham, two days in advance of his appearance with center Brett Helms and defensive end Tyson Jackson at SEC media days in suburban Hoover. Saban and Alabama players will make their appearance at media days Thursday.

UA to require more reservations Tuscaloosa News 7/21/08
This fall, more University of Alabama football fans are likely to have to open up their wallets before they even leave home. More areas of campus will require payment before fans can park or tailgate there. Aside from those changes, little else will change for football game days in 2008, said Gene Hallman, head of the Bruno Event Team out of Birmingham hired to manage UA events.

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