Crimson Tide Extra by Marq_Burnett
A source for full coverage of Alabama athletics.
Aug 05, 2013 | 83702 views |  0 comments | 51 51 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier accepts same position at Michigan (reports)
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 08, 2014 | 1032 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has accepted the same position at the University of Michigan, according to multiple reports.

Nussmeier would replace Al Borges, who was let go after three seasons at Michigan earlier on Wednesday.

FootballScoop.com first reported the story.

Nussmeier, 43, joined the Crimson Tide in 2012 after spending three seasons as the offensive coordinator at Washington. In his first season, Nussmeier helped the Tide set school records in offensive touchdowns scored, total points, total offense, and passing touchdowns en route to Alabama’s third national championship in four seasons.

Nussmeier interviewed for the head coaching position at Washington last month and was one of two finalists.

“Obviously I feel very, very fortunate to be a part of this program and to be the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama,” Nussmeier said during his press conference at the Sugar Bowl. “I would like to be a head coach some day in the right situation, having the ties that I have to the University of Washington and understanding what that program is about, that was an opportunity for our family and coach Saban fully supported it, that it was a very good experience, and obviously very, very excited and happy to be a part of this program.”

Nussmeier, who made $680,000 in 2013, was under contract through 2015.

According to CBSSports.com, Nussmeier will be among the five highest-paid coordinators in college football.

Alabama will be looking for its fourth offensive coordinator in eight seasons. 


Report: Alabama LB Adrian Hubbard to enter NFL Draft
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 08, 2014 | 516 views |  0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, according to CBSSports.com

Hubbard, a fourth-year junior, was scheduled to meet with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban on Wednesday to discuss his future. Saban doesn't encourage underclassmen to leave early if they don't receive a first-round grade. 

Hubbard earned his degree in December. He also considered making the jump following last season.

On the year, Hubbard had 33 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. In 2012, he had 41 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Earlier on Wednesday, Hubbard tweeted: "Grad school or NFL. Big decisions." 

The deadline for players to declare is Jan. 15.  

Alabama DL Ed Stinson accepts invitation to Senior Bowl
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 08, 2014 | 525 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama defensive end Ed Stinson has accepted an invitation to play in the 2014 Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl announced Stinson would be joining on Wednesday. 

Stinson (6-foot-4, 292-pounds) was a two-year starter and the only Tide player to start every game in the past two seasons. As a senior, Stinson racked up 42 tackles, two tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. 

Stinson is the fourth Alabama player to accept an invitation joining linebacker C.J. Mosley, wide receiver Kevin Norwood and punter Cody Mandell

The Senior Bowl will take place on Jan. 25 in Mobile. 

Alabama opens SEC play with a 68-63 win over Vanderbilt
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 07, 2014 | 619 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- For once, Alabama was able to win one of its close games. After dropping some nail biters in non-conference play, the Crimson Tide opened SEC play with a 68-63 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday.

After building a 16-point lead, the Crimson Tide allowed the Commodores to chip away, but held on with free throws and clutch baskets down the stretch.

“I’m just proud of myself and of my team,” guard Retin Obasohan said of the win to open league play. “We had an opportunity to play a very tough non-conference schedule and it definitely prepared us going into this SEC season. This is not only a big confidence boost for me, but also everybody else on my team.”

It was a balanced offensive effort for the Tide as four players scored in double figures.

Senior point guard Trevor Releford lead the Tide with 16 points, six assists and three steals. Obasohan and Shannon Hale both had 15 points, while Levi Randolph put in 11.

Obasohan drilled a late three with the shot clock winding down in the final minute to keep the Commodores at bay.

Hale, a freshman, continues to earn more minutes after playing sporadically at the beginning of the season.

“That was extremely big for us. What you saw today is just a glimpse of what he is capable of,” Obasohan said. “Day in, day out in practice, he’s shown what an offensive threat he is, and he just came out and played with confidence today.”

Vanderbilt was without its top scorer Eric McClellan, who did not make the trip.

Alabama capitalized with 17 points off 16 turnovers and only turned it over eight times on the night.

“I really thought the difference in the game was probably the first half pressure of their defense and our turnovers enabled them to get separation before the end of the half,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.

The Tide used a 18-6 run to close the half and take a 36-26 lead into the break.

“I thought the last four minutes of the (first) half was what we want in terms of style of play and in terms of the energy our guys played with,” Grant said.

The Tide (7-7, 1-0 SEC) will travel to Athens for a matchup with Georgia on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Alabama returns home Jan. 15 to host Mississippi State.


Alabama season in review: Six seniors who'll be tough to replace in 2014
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 06, 2014 | 1173 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley will be one of the toughest players to replace in 2014. (Photo by Trent Penny/Anniston Star)
Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley will be one of the toughest players to replace in 2014. (Photo by Trent Penny/Anniston Star)
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TUSCALOOSA -- With every passing season, talent and leadership move on and teams are forced to reload or rebuild.

For this Alabama group, core leaders with championship experience have finished their careers with the Crimson Tide.

Here are six players that will be tough for Alabama to replace next season.

1. C.J. Mosley -- Mosley will be the toughest player to replace. He was an every down linebacker, a tackling machine and the unquestioned leader of the defense. He finished with 108 total tackles and nine tackles for loss on the year which earned him the Butkus Award.

For his career, the two-time All-American racked up 319 total tackles, which placed him third on the Alabama career list.

But his biggest assets were his ability to play in space and also put the entire defense in position. The defensive coaching staff had complete confidence in Mosley and allowed him to make every onfield adjustment. Having linebacker Trey DePriest back will soften the blow a tad, but the loss of Mosley will be felt on and off the field.

2. AJ McCarron -- Alabama will likely have more talent at the quarterback position in the future, but the Crimson Tide may never see a winner like AJ McCarron.

In his three years, McCarron led the Tide to a 36-4 record with two BCS National Championships and an SEC Championship.

McCarron took home some individual honors this season. He won the Maxwell Award while being named to a few All-American teams. He also finished in second place for the Heisman Trophy.

McCarron’s 387 passing yards in his final game helped him finish with 3,063 passing yards on the season, surpassing the previous single-season record held by Greg McElroy (2,987 in 2010).

McCarron was the face of the program and a team leader. The next signal caller will have big shoes to fill.

3. Anthony Steen -- Steen was one of the most quiet three-year starters you’ll ever see. He led by example and always did his job the right way. He was the one constant for the Tide’s offensive line in 2013 and not having him in the Sugar Bowl due to a shoulder injury disrupted the unit’s chemistry.

Steen was the big brother of the offensive line and with him gone, others will have to emerge as leaders.

4. Kevin Norwood -- If the Tide ever needed a big first down catch, Norwood was the go-to guy. Norwood made a living moving the chains. He had a knack for finding the first-down marker, getting separation from his defender and making catches while falling out of bounds.

Norwood was second on the team with 568 receiving yards and had a team-high seven touchdown receptions. He battled through injuries and never seemed to complain about his role. He was also great with the media during his final year.

5. Ed Stinson -- Stinson is the Tide’s only defensive player to start every game in the past two seasons. Stinson didn’t have the statistical season he may have hoped for, but his consistency was unmatched.

He finished with 42 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Stinson was the leader of the defensive line and that void will have to be replaced moving forward.

6. Deion Belue -- Belue was a true warrior throughout the 2013 season. He battled nagging injuries all year and at times, Belue could barely walk around. His injuries severely limited his practice time, but he found a way to fight through the pain to play in games.

Belue was the team’s only veteran cornerback and the Tide never developed a consistent No. 2 corner. Belue won’t be remember as one of the best during Nick Saban’s tenure, but he should definitely go down as one of the toughest players.


Alabama closes non-conference slate with 64-56 win over Robert Morris
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 04, 2014 | 2275 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama ended its three-game skid with a 64-56 victory over Robert Morris on Saturday in its final non-conference game of the season.

After scoring just 20 points in the first half and trailing by three, the Crimson Tide put up 44 in the second half and outscored Robert Morris by 11 points in the final 20 minutes of the contest.

Alabama used a 11-0 run early in the second half to take the lead and never let up.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games,” Tide coach Anthony Grant said. “Obviously at the start, we really struggled turning the ball over and finishing plays. … I thought our guys in the second half defensively really made a difference for us.”

The Tide forced 13 second half turnovers for a total of 19. Alabama also outscored Robert Morris 38-20 in the paint, 26-17 in points off turnovers and 12-4 on fast break points. The Tide’s bench contributed 24 points to just six for Robert Morris’ reserves.

Senior point guard Trevor Releford led the way with 18 points and six steals. Guard Retin Obasohan put in 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Tide concludes the non-conference portion of the schedule with a below .500 record, by Releford said there are some positives to be taken from the first 13 games of the year.

“Even though we had a lot of losses in the non-conference, I feel like it helped us a lot,” Releford said. “The young guys were able to play in the close games we had. In the SEC, no game is going to be easy. It’s going to be a fight every night. I think it helped the young guys a lot and prepared them for what’s ahead.

“I think they’ll be ready for it and I think everybody on the team will be as well.”

The Tide (6-7) returns to action on Tuesday when Vanderbilt travels to Coleman Coliseum to begin SEC play. ESPNU will televise the game with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m.


Derrick Henry shines in Tide's Sugar Bowl loss
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 03, 2014 | 1289 views |  0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Derrick Henry runs for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. (Photo by Trent Penny/Anniston Star)
Derrick Henry runs for a touchdown against Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. (Photo by Trent Penny/Anniston Star)
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NEW ORLEANS -- In the comic book series X-Men, the Juggernaut is a destructive force that is unstoppable when he gains momentum.

Along those lines, the Incredible Hulk is a creature no one likes to see when he's running angry.

Alabama freshman running back Derrick Henry may be a combination of both. Henry used the national stage of the Sugar Bowl to showcase all of his talents and abilities. Henry scored two touchdowns, made a tackle on kickoff and almost blocked a punt.

In his first interview since National Signing Day, Henry said his performance "was a dream come true."

"As a kid you always dream of playing college football when you're playing football as a youngin'," he said. "Going out there and just being a freshman and putting on for your team, and helping them try to get a victory, I was very thankful for my teammates for the opportunity that I got."

Before Thursday's game, Henry had rushed for 282 yards on 27 carries. He showed flashes of brilliance with 111 yards against Arkansas, including an 80-yard touchdown run.

But it all came together during the extra bowl practices and Henry was finally able to play significant snaps on Thursday. Throughout the season when asked about Henry, Tide coach Nick Saban said Henry only ran the ball and never had to worry about pass protection in high school.

His improvement in that area is what earned him the No. 2 running back spot behind T.J. Yeldon. Henry had a key block on AJ McCarron's 67-yard touchdown pass to DeAndrew White in the second quarter.

"It felt good to know my hard work paid of, practicing and studying," Henry said. "All week I've done a good job picking up blitzes."

Henry had nine touches and averaged nearly 18 yards per touch. He ran the ball eight times for 100 yards including a 43-yard touchdown. As a receiver, his first career catch went for a 61-yard touchdown. Both scores came in the second half as Henry kept the game close with explosive plays.

At 6-foot-3, 238-pounds, Henry is naturally a bruiser. He broke through every arm tackle and it often took multiple Sooners to bring him down. But what may be the most impressive weapon in Henry's arsenal is his ability to make cuts and moves in the open field. On his long touchdown run, Henry swiftly changed directions to elude defenders and outran everyone in the open field.

Saban said Henry has consistently improved since arriving on campus, earning every opportunity given to him.

"Derrick had a really good bowl practice," Saban said. "Actually we decided that he was our second best back going into this game, and we were going to give him an opportunity based on his performance in practice and what he had done and the confidence that he had gained throughout the course of the season in terms of knowing what to do and playing fast.

"And certainly had an outstanding game tonight and did a really good job for us, and I think he has a bright future."

Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said Henry is one of the younger players who could emerge as a future leader for the Tide.

"He does what he's suppose to do every time," Kouandjio said. "He's never late to anything. He's a good student, good athlete. He voices his opinion. That's a leader by showing it and by saying it. He's a perfect (fit to be leader)."


Sugar Bowl loss leaves Alabama wondering where to go from here
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 03, 2014 | 848 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
NEW ORLEANS — Confused. Dejected. Stunned. Defeated.

Just a few words that describe the looks on the faces of Alabama’s players as the final score to the Sugar Bowl showed a 45-31 victory for Oklahoma.

The 45 points are the most Alabama has given up since the 1996 SEC Championship game against Florida.

“We have a formula that we try to follow here, and I think it’s important that the players know that it’s a formula that will help us be successful,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “And some of the things we did tonight did not allow us to be successful.”

Make no mistake about it. Alabama wanted this game, or at least they said they did.

All week, every player harped on how important it was to send the seniors out on a high note. Each player and coach said all the right things about how the team was focused on the task at hand.

But when time expired, Alabama players could do nothing but wonder. Wonder what went wrong. Wonder how they got here. Wonder how they move on from ending the season with back-to-back losses. It left everyone else wondering if there was an Iron Bowl hangover.

“I can’t blame it on that,” Saban said. “I thought our team late in the season didn’t have the focus we needed to have. We didn’t pay attention to detail, didn’t do little things right, didn’t practice well.”

Oklahoma flatout outplayed Alabama and Alabama couldn’t stop shooting itself in the foot.

Four turnovers that led to 28 points. AJ McCarron threw two interceptions, T.J. Yeldon fumbled in the red zone and McCarron was strip sacked on the Tide’s final offensive drive.

“Oklahoma did a good job of mixing things up, showing us some things we hadn’t seen,” McCarron said. “But you put it all on me. I had two turnovers, (they) ending up scoring 14 points, and we lost by 14. So, you know, it’s football. It happens. I wish it wouldn’t have happened, but I’ll definitely take the loss and definitely take the blame because a lot of it is probably my fault.”

But wide receiver Kevin Norwood wouldn’t let his friend shoulder all of the responsibility.

“It’s not just a one-man team,” Norwood said. “We all win and lose together. AJ can’t put it all on himself. I can’t let him do that. … It’s not all on AJ; it’s all on us, and we didn’t come out and play like we should.”

From an offensive standpoint, Alabama actually outgained Oklahoma in total yards 516-429. But on top of the turnovers, McCarron was sacked seven times. There was a four-game stretch in which Alabama didn’t take a single sack. In the previous four games, McCarron was sacked just four times. And even when he wasn’t sacked, he ran for his life on nearly every passing play.

“It was all just being lazy on technique,” Tide left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said. “They’ll take advantage of that because they’re good players.”

Defensively, the Tide had no answers. Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight carved up the secondary for 348 yards and four touchdowns while completing 32 of his 44 pass attempts.

The Sooners simply were able to spread the Tide’s defense out and exploit matchups at will.

“They just had more intensity than we had,” Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard said.

So what’s next for this Alabama team? Gone is McCarron, Norwood, C.J. Mosley Anthony Steen, Ed Stinson and a host of other seniors. Where will the leadership come from?

For starters, a departing star offered one final piece of advice.

“Buy in. Buy into the system all the way,” McCarron said. “We have a lot of guys that don’t buy in. Some selfish guys. It’s all about them. I feel like the three leaders that we have on the team, me, C.J. and Kevin are the best examples of buying into the system. From the time we came in to us leaving now, us three we really bought in and you see all the success we had. If everybody else buys in, this team can be very dangerous next year. They got to buy in.”


Alabama lands two big recruits in Tony Brown and Laurence "Hootie' Jones
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 02, 2014 | 647 views |  0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

NEW ORLEANS -- Alabama received a huge bump in recruiting when Beaumont, Texas five-star cornerback Tony Brown choose the Crimson Tide over LSU at the Under Armour game on Thursday.

Brown is the No. 3 rated cornerback, the ninth best player in the nation and the top prospect in the state of Texas for the 2014 class according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. Brown was considered a lock to LSU because his sister attends the school, but he ultimately choose the Tide.

At 6-foot-0, 188 pounds, Brown is a two-sport star and is expected to run track at Alabama. Brown runs a 4.35 40-yard dash. He will enroll this month.

The Tide also landed four-star safety Laurence “Hootie” Jones. Jones originally committed to the Tide on Dec. 2 in a public ceremony before de-committing on Dec. 18 via social media.

At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Jones is considered to be the fourth best safety prospect in the country according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. Jones will also enroll this month.


Sugar Bowl: First half turnovers have Alabama trailing Oklahoma 31-17 at halftime
by Marq_Burnett
Jan 02, 2014 | 498 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
NEW ORLEANS -- Oklahoma scored on its final five possessions of the first half to take a 31-17 lead into halftime. Alabama

Here are some takeaways:

-Alabama turned the ball over three times, and Oklahoma was able to convert each one into points. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw two interceptions and running back T.J. Yeldon fumbled near the goal line. 

-Oklahoma's wide receivers are abusing the Crimson Tide's secondary. Jalen Saunders and Lacoltan Bester have combined for 146 yards and three touchdowns. 

-Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker is living in the backfield. He's working against Tide left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio and has won many of the battles. 

-Kicker Cade Foster's struggles continued in the first half. He missed a 32-yard field goal at the end of the half. 

-If not for some explosive plays by Amari Cooper and DeAndrew White, this game would be a lot worse. The Sooners are moving the ball at will against the Tide's defense and Alabama's offense has hit a wall. 

-Kenyan Drake has yet to carry the ball. Derrick Henry is spelling Yeldon. 

-Alabama is all but abandoned the run. 

First half stats: 

Total offense: UA 362, OU 270 

Passing: UA 301, OU 206

Rushing: UA 64, OU 61 

Turnovers: UA 3, OU 1

First downs: UA 13, OU 15

Individual leaders: 

Passing: UA - AJ McCarron 14-21-2, 301 yards, TD

OU - Trevor Knight 18-23-1, 206 yards, 3 TDs 

Rushing: UA - T.J. Yeldon 11 carries, 47 yards, TD 

OU - Brennan Clay 6 carries, 25 yards 

Receiving: UA - DeAndrew White 3 catches, 139 yards, TD 

OU - Jalen Saunders 5 catches, 75 yards, 2 TDs 

Defense: UA - Eddie Jackson 7 tackles 

OU - Dominique Alexander 4 tackles 

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