Crimson Tide Extra by Marq_Burnett
A source for full coverage of Alabama athletics.
Aug 05, 2013 | 82903 views |  0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Alabama holds on to defeat LSU 82-80
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 25, 2014 | 947 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama has mastered the art of making fans hold their breath down the stretch of games, and Saturday night against LSU was no different.

The Crimson Tide started out slow, then built a 19-point lead only to watch it dwindle away.

But this time, the Tide held on for an 82-80 victory over the Tigers in Coleman Coliseum in front of 12,061 fans. LSU hasn’t won in Coleman Coliseum since 2004.

“My thing is, those types of games, we’ve been in a lot of them throughout the course of this season,” Tide coach Anthony Grant said. “We haven’t been able to make a play or have the ball bounce or way or whatever it is. But we made our way today and that’s growth for this team. I’m happy for these guys and the fight they showed to be able to come out with the win.”

After missing a free throw that would have given the Tide a three-point lead, guard Rodney Cooper back peddled, positioned himself and blocked what would be a game-tying attempt by the Tigers to end the contest.

Along with Cooper’s block to end the game, a timely trap by senior guard Trevor Releford and guard Levi Randolph forced a turnover with the Tide leading 79-77. Releford got the steal and stepped to the line to make two free throws.

“The thing I’m most proud of is that our guys stuck together,” Grant said. “They got tougher at the end. To a man, they were all talking about getting stops. They did what they needed to do in the end.”

While Releford, who played the entire game, led the way with 21 points, it was the hot shooting of Cooper and forward Shannon Hale that propelled the Tide down the stretch.

Hale hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 37 seconds left, putting Alabama ahead 79-77. He finished with 17 points.

“That’s huge. It just shows how much heart he has a freshman,” Releford said. “To step up and hit a shot like that, that’s huge. Congrats to him for stepping up and taking it after he missed the one before that. He stepped up and had the pride and courage to do it again. I’m glad it went in.”

Cooper made four 3-pointers in the second half to finish with 19 points, 17 of which came in the final 20 minutes. Randolph also added 14 points.

“A lot of times we’ll kind of rely on Trevor to make those plays for us, so it was good to see other guys step up and take those shots and make those plays,” Grant said. “That’s growth. That’s what this team needs. Hopefully this will be something that will build confidence for our team as we move forward.”

The Tide built a 19-point lead in the second half, but the Tigers slowly chipped away and took a small lead. The Tigers exploded for 57 points after the intermission, shooting 58.8 percent (20-34) from the field and 62.5 percent (5-8) from 3-point range.

LSU turned up its defensive pressure to force 11 second half turnovers and converted those into 14 points. But in the end, Alabama made the plays when needed.

“They did a good job in the press,” Releford said. “We worked on it in practice and got to see it a little bit. But LSU, they were a different tempo and it was kind of frustrating. But we were able to keep fighting and push through to the end.”

Alabama (9-10, 3-3 SEC) will travel to Auburn (8-9, 0-6 SEC) on Wednesday to face the Tigers at 7 p.m.

Nick Saban talks Tony Brown, DeAndrew White's return and underclassmen leaving early (video)
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 22, 2014 | 1665 views |  0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
MOBILE -- Alabama coach Nick Saban uses the Senior Bowl for recruiting and to catch up with a few NFL friends. 

On Tuesday, Saban spoke with reporters at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Among other things, Saban discussed Tony Brown's arrest, DeAndrew White's return and what the high number of underclassmen leaving school early means for college football and the NFL. 


 

Alabama coach Nick Saban comments on Tony Brown's arrest
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 21, 2014 | 1191 views |  0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
MOBILE -- Alabama coach Nick Saban appreciates teaching moments, and while this particular situation isn't ideal, freshman cornerback Tony Brown's recent arrest provides an opportunity for some tough love. 

Brown, a five-star cornerback prospect from Beaumont, Texas, was arrested Saturday night for failure to obey and resisting arrest. 

During an appearance at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday, Saban said he has spoken to Brown since the incident. Saban also said that the team will "certainly try to use this as a learning experience for him." 

"The punishment he receives will be so that he learns not to do something like this in a disrespectful way to somebody in a position of authority who is there to protect us all, which is our police," Saban said. "We're going to get him to learn from this." 

Saban doesn't expect to have any more problems out of Brown going forward. 

"Some people are in the wrong place at the wrong time," Saban said. "Some people don't make good decisions about what they do, what they say. Tony Brown's a fine young man and we're glad to have him in the program." 

Brown, a two-sport athlete, was ranked as the No. 2 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports Composite ranking. He is also expected to participate for the Crimson Tide's track and field team. 

Check out the heights, weights of Alabama and Auburn's Senior Bowl representatives
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 20, 2014 | 1056 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
MOBILE -- After a couple of days of informal interviews, the physical evaluation for players attending the Senior Bowl began Monday. 

First up was the weigh-in, as players trotted on stage at the Mobile Convention Center to have their true heights and weights revealed.

Both Alabama and Auburn have four players participating in this game. The Crimson Tide were scheduled to have a record of eight, but quarterback AJ McCarron and linebacker C.J. Mosley were healthy scratches while offensive lineman Anthony Steen and cornerback Deion Belue are out due to injuries. 

Of the four players in attendance for Auburn, cornerback Chris Davis was the only surprise when he stepped on the stage. Davis was two inches shorter than what he was listed as in high school and college. 

Here are the measurements for the Alabama and Auburn players in attendance along with what the schools listed them at and what they were listed at coming out of high school. 

LB Adrian Hubbard 

Senior Bowl: 6-5 7/8, 255-pounds 

Alabama: 6-6, 252 

High school: 6-7, 227 

WR Kevin Norwood 

Senior Bowl: 6-2, 197-pounds 

Alabama: 6-2, 195 

High school: 6-3, 180 

DE Ed Stinson 

Senior Bowl: 6-3 1/8, 292-pounds 

Alabama: 6-4, 292 

High school: 6-4, 227 

P Cody Mandell 

Senior Bowl: 6-2 1/4, 216-pounds 

Alabama: 6-4, 213 

High school: 6-4, 215 

DE Dee Ford 

Senior Bowl: 6-2 1-8, 243-pounds

Auburn: 6-2, 240

High school: 6-2, 190

FB Jay Prosch 

Senior Bowl: 6-0 3/4, 256-pounds

Auburn: 6-0, 258

High school: 6-3, 245

DB Chris Davis 

Senior Bowl: 5-9 3/4, 201-pounds

Auburn: 5-11, 200

High school: 5-11, 175

K Cody Parkey 

Senior Bowl: 6-0 1/4, 189-pounds

Auburn: 6-0, 190

High school: 6-2, 195 


Phil Savage says DeAndrew White 'absolutety' made the right decision to return
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 19, 2014 | 839 views |  0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

MOBILE -- Alabama wide receiver DeAndrew White’s decision to return to school was praised by Senior Bowl Executive Director Phil Savage.

White, who graduated in December, decided to return for his fifth season with the Tide after discussing his future with the Tide’s coaching staff and his family. On Sunday, Savage said White “absolutely” made the right decision.

White caught 32 passes for 534 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. For his career, he has 54 receptions for 790 yards and eight touchdowns.

“He’s got to show more consistency next year,” Savage said. “I think he’s a fabulous talent. His redshirt year, he let up the ‘Bama defense. There have been times where he has kind of flashed that sort of ability. But I think it’ll be his turn next year so I thought that was a real wise decision.”

The official list of underclassmen to declare early for the NFL Draft reached a record-high. According to NFL.com, 98 underclassmen submitted a written application to renounce their remaining eligibility. Up 25 players from a season ago, the number has increased six years in a row.

Last year, 73 underclassmen declared for the draft and only 52 were drafted.

“I think it’s an issue … something for the good of the game, both at the college level and NFL level, it’s going to have to be addressed one way or the other,” Savage said. “When you see almost 100 underclassmen come into the draft and there’s 250 some-odd slots, there’s going to be a lot of kids that have been sold a bill of goods come May.”

Savage noted that the brief careers of NFL players could be forcing players to decide to leave before they’re actually ready.

“With a career span of a little over three years, but not quite four, it tells you that most of the players do not get to that second contract,” Savage said. “That’s what they’re kind of being encouraged ‘Hey, you have to get plugged in the system and get to that second contract.’”

Savage said the rising number isn’t good for any of the parties involved and that the quality of the game is suffering because of it.

“Personally, I think it’s bad for college football and I think it’s bad for the NFL because players are coming into the league after three years in college and they’re not ready,” Savage said. “I think the talent, the size and the speed is better than it’s ever been. But the actual technique and the understanding of the game is probably worse.”

Alabama RB Alvin Kamara to transfer (report)
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 17, 2014 | 2070 views |  0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama’s backfield just got a little less crowded.

Running back Alvin Kamara was granted his release from the Crimson Tide and will transfer, according to 247Sports.

The report says Kamara spoke with Tide coach Nick Saban and that both parties agreed it was best he transfer.

Kamara is the second player to transfer this month after walk-on quarterback Luke Del Rio announced his plans to leave the team via Twitter.

Kamara, from Norcross, Ga., was one of four highly touted running backs in the Tide’s 2013 recruiting class. He didn’t see the field this season.

Kamara’s brief ride with the Tide wasn’t smooth.

He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl and also missed LSU week for what Saban called “behavior reasons.”

He also had knee surgery during preseason practice.


Alabama OC Lane Kiffin visits 5-star Auburn commit Roc Thomas
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 16, 2014 | 2255 views |  0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama’s coaching staff didn’t waste anytime hitting the recruiting trail on with Thursday marking the end of the NCAA’s “dead period.”

The big news from the Crimson Tide’s side of things came from new offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin heading to Oxford to visit five-star Auburn commit Racean “Roc” Thomas.

Oxford coach Ryan Herring confirmed that Kiffin was in Oxford and that he visited with Thomas for “about 30 minutes.”

The blue-chip running back prospect took some unofficial visits to Tuscaloosa last spring and fall, but has remained firm in his pledge to the Tigers.

“He’s 100 percent (committed to Auburn),” Herring told the Anniston Star. “I haven’t seen any change. I don’t think you’re going to see a change.”

Thomas, who was named Mr. Football for the state of Alabama on Wednesday, has been committed to Auburn since August of 2013.

At 5-foot-11, 200-pounds, Thomas rushed for 2,211 yards and 32 touchdowns as a senior.

With Auburn running back Tre Mason leaving early for the NFL Draft, Thomas could play a big role as a true freshman on the Plains.

Anniston Star reporter Brandon Miller contributed to this report.




Alabama hammers Mississippi State 80-61
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 15, 2014 | 810 views |  0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
TUSCALOOSA -- If Alabama could play Mississippi State every night, the Crimson Tide would be a lock for the NCAA tournament.

The Tide scored its second-highest non-overtime point total of the season in its 80-61 victory over the Bulldogs on Wednesday in Coleman Coliseum.

The contest marked the third time the Tide has cracked 80 points this year.

“Our guys did a really good job of sharing the ball,” Tide coach Anthony Grant said. “We got out in transition. Our defense was able to create offense. … We’re the type of team that if we can get ourselves going, in terms of playing in transition, that really helps us. I thought we were able to do that tonight.”

After taking a 2-0 lead, it was all downhill for Mississippi State (11-5, 1-2 SEC). The Tide (8-8, 2-1) essentially led wire to wire and at one point pushed the margin to 23 points.

The game turned when Mississippi State cut the lead to four late in the second half after a few Tide turnovers. Grant immediately took a timeout and the Tide responded with a 9-0 spurt en route to a 38-26 lead at the break.

Senior point guard Trevor Releford hit nearly every shot he put. Releford finished with 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 6 of 9 from behind the 3-point arc. This is the fifth game Releford has reached 20 points. He also passed out four assists and grabbed four rebounds.

“Trevor was tremendous tonight, not just with the points,” Grant said. “I thought he really led our team with the way that he played tonight.”

Freshman Shannon Hale was second on the team with 12 points. Retin Obasohan added 11 points, while Rodney Cooper put in 10 off the bench.

“It was good to see multiple guys step up,” Grant said. “Our guys were out there having fun. In the second half, you could see the ball moving. We had 17 assists. It’s great to see the ball go in. These guys had some success and it’s something to build off of.”

The Tide’s hot shooting kept the crowd of 10,112 energized all night.

“It is definitely fun when you execute as a team and you are doing everything right,” Releford said. “Coach Grant preaches that every day. As a team, we just have to continue to play every game like that and not fall off the next game. We have to continue to play as a team at Missouri on Saturday.”

On the season, Alabama is 8-2 at home, but 0-6 away from Coleman Coliseum. Grant said it’s all about getting more consistency on the road.

“It’s a matter of taking the lessons that we’ve learned from this season -- approaching every single game with the same mentality whether it’s on the road or at home,” Grant said.

Alabama will play at Missouri on Saturday. The Tide returns home Jan. 23 to host Florida.


Alabama WR DeAndrew White officially returning for season
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 15, 2014 | 669 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- After announcing the news on Tuesday via Twitter, Alabama wide receiver DeAndrew White is officially returning for his senior season.

The school announced the news on Wednesday.

“After sitting down with my family and Coach (Nick) Saban, I have decided to return to Alabama for my senior year,” White said in the schools news release. “I already have my degree and the chance to play in the NFL next year was something that I very much considered, but in the end I didn’t want to pass up my final year at Alabama. I have had the opportunity to speak with Coach (Lane) Kiffin and I'm excited about our offense and what we can accomplish next year as a team.”

White, from Houston, Texas, has 54 career receptions for 790 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 14.6 yards per catch. He has played 30 career games over the past three seasons while making 13 starts. White caught 32 passes for 534 yards and four touchdowns in 2013.

Alabama secondary coach Greg Brown expected to step down (reports)
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 15, 2014 | 498 views |  0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama secondary coach Greg Brown is expected to step down from his position, according to multiple reports.

ESPN.com first reported the news.

Brown’s departure clears the way for Kevin Steele to return to an on-field coaching position after working as the director of player personnel, according to ESPN.com.

With Steele’s return, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart would go back to coaching defensive backs.

Steele was reportedly offered the defensive coordinator job at Louisville, but declined.

Steel was the Tide’s defensive coordinator under Nick Saban in 2007.

In one season at Alabama, Brown made a salary of $300,000.

Brown’s departure marks the Tide's third assistant coaching change since the Sugar Bowl. Offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier left for Michigan and was replaced by Lane Kiffin. Defensive line coach Chris Rumph left for Texas and was replaced by Bo Davis.


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