Crimson Tide Zone http://www.crimsontidezone.com Get the Latest News From the University of Alabama Sports Program Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:34:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 Football Straps on Full Pads for Wednesday’s Session http://www.crimsontidezone.com/football-straps-on-full-pads-for-wednesdays-session-80138/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/football-straps-on-full-pads-for-wednesdays-session-80138/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:34:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/082615aaa.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team put together a two-hour session outdoors on Wednesday afternoon, drilling in full pads once again on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.

The second practice of the week was the Crimson Tide's 21st of the fall in a series of 28 total before the team kicks off live action for the 2015 campaign. Alabama will open the new season inside AT&T Stadium on Sept. 5 for the AdvoCare Classic against Wisconsin. The Tide and Badgers are slated for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on ABC.

Thursday and Friday are scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. CT start with the team putting in a 2:30 p.m. session on Saturday before taking Sunday off. Following Sunday's break, the Crimson Tide will start game week preparations for the season opener.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team put together a two-hour session outdoors on Wednesday afternoon, drilling in full pads once again on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.

The second practice of the week was the Crimson Tide’s 21st of the fall in a series of 28 total before the team kicks off live action for the 2015 campaign. Alabama will open the new season inside AT&T Stadium on Sept. 5 for the AdvoCare Classic against Wisconsin. The Tide and Badgers are slated for a 7 p.m. CT kickoff on ABC.

Thursday and Friday are scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. CT start with the team putting in a 2:30 p.m. session on Saturday before taking Sunday off. Following Sunday’s break, the Crimson Tide will start game week preparations for the season opener.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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W. Golf. Seven Current and Former Alabama Golfers to Compete at Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-golf-seven-current-and-former-alabama-golfers-to-compete-at-yokohama-tire-lpga-classic-80165/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-golf-seven-current-and-former-alabama-golfers-to-compete-at-yokohama-tire-lpga-classic-80165/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:10:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/w-golf/spec-rel/082615aaa.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Seven current and former University of Alabama women’s golfers will tee it up this week at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala. The four-day tournament is being held on the Senator Course at the Capitol Hill Golf Club, which is located just 95 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa, and tees off Thursday morning.

Five former Crimson Tide players, including Brooke Pancake, Jennifer Kirby, Stephanie Meadow, Jenny Suh and Kathleen Ekey, will compete as professionals. Joining the professional contingent are Alabama seniors Emma Talley and Janie Jackson, who are both competing as amateurs.

Pancake, Kirby and Meadow were all part of the Crimson Tide’s first NCAA Championship in 2012. Pancake’s four-foot putt on the 72nd and final hole clinched the win for head coach Mic Potter’s team. Talley then became the first Alabama golfer to capture medalist honors at the NCAA Championships this past May with a win at The Concession Club.

Live scoring for the 72-hole event can be found at http://yokohamatirelpgaclassic.com.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaWGolf, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Seven current and former University of Alabama women’s golfers will tee it up this week at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala. The four-day tournament is being held on the Senator Course at the Capitol Hill Golf Club, which is located just 95 miles southeast of Tuscaloosa, and tees off Thursday morning.

Five former Crimson Tide players, including Brooke Pancake, Jennifer Kirby, Stephanie Meadow, Jenny Suh and Kathleen Ekey, will compete as professionals. Joining the professional contingent are Alabama seniors Emma Talley and Janie Jackson, who are both competing as amateurs.

Pancake, Kirby and Meadow were all part of the Crimson Tide’s first NCAA Championship in 2012. Pancake’s four-foot putt on the 72nd and final hole clinched the win for head coach Mic Potter’s team. Talley then became the first Alabama golfer to capture medalist honors at the NCAA Championships this past May with a win at The Concession Club.

Live scoring for the 72-hole event can be found at http://yokohamatirelpgaclassic.com.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaWGolf, on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


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Track & Field, Cross Country. Kirani James Wins 400-meter Bronze at 2015 IAAF World Championships http://www.crimsontidezone.com/track-field-cross-country-kirani-james-wins-400-meter-bronze-at-2015-iaaf-world-championships-80167/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/track-field-cross-country-kirani-james-wins-400-meter-bronze-at-2015-iaaf-world-championships-80167/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:48:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/c-xctrack/spec-rel/082615aah.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Former Alabama sprinter Kirani James, running for the country of Grenada, crossed the finish line third in the 400m final on Wednesday, claiming a bronze medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing.

After winning his heat in both the prelims and semifinals, James posted a season-best 43.78 in the finals. He was just edged out by South Africa’s Wayde Van Nierkerk, who turned in the fourth-fastest time in 400m history at 43.48, and American LaShawn Merritt, who was the defending champion in the event and ran a personal-best time of 43.65. It was the first race ever that featured three men finishing in under 44 seconds.

James, who was a member of the Crimson Tide program from 2009-2011, now holds a gold and bronze medal from the IAAF World Championships, winning the gold in the 400m at the 2011 Championships. A two-time NCAA champion in the 400 meters and 2011 SEC Indoor and Outdoor Runner of the Year, he won three gold medals in junior international competition before breaking through to win Olympic gold in the 400 meters at the London 2012 Olympics. James won with a time of 43.94, becoming the first Grenadian to ever win an Olympic medal. He was also the first non-US runner to break the 44-second mark in the 400 meters. James comes in with the second-fastest time in the event on the year. 

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Former Alabama sprinter Kirani James, running for the country of Grenada, crossed the finish line third in the 400m final on Wednesday, claiming a bronze medal at the 2015 IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing.

After winning his heat in both the prelims and semifinals, James posted a season-best 43.78 in the finals. He was just edged out by South Africa’s Wayde Van Nierkerk, who turned in the fourth-fastest time in 400m history at 43.48, and American LaShawn Merritt, who was the defending champion in the event and ran a personal-best time of 43.65. It was the first race ever that featured three men finishing in under 44 seconds.

James, who was a member of the Crimson Tide program from 2009-2011, now holds a gold and bronze medal from the IAAF World Championships, winning the gold in the 400m at the 2011 Championships. A two-time NCAA champion in the 400 meters and 2011 SEC Indoor and Outdoor Runner of the Year, he won three gold medals in junior international competition before breaking through to win Olympic gold in the 400 meters at the London 2012 Olympics. James won with a time of 43.94, becoming the first Grenadian to ever win an Olympic medal. He was also the first non-US runner to break the 44-second mark in the 400 meters. James comes in with the second-fastest time in the event on the year. 

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaTrack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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M. Basketball. Alabama Head Coach Avery Johnson Finalizes Men’s Basketball Staff http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-alabama-head-coach-avery-johnson-finalizes-mens-basketball-staff-80169/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-alabama-head-coach-avery-johnson-finalizes-mens-basketball-staff-80169/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 20:42:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/082615aab.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama head coach Avery Johnson announced on Wednesday that Kobie Baker has been hired as the special assistant to the head coach/senior director of basketball operations. Baker returns to Tuscaloosa, where he spent three years in the program as the director of basketball operations (2006-07), assistant basketball coach (2007-08) and athletics development officer (2008-09).                                                             

"We are very excited to welcome Kobie Baker back to the Crimson Tide men's basketball program," Johnson said. "Kobie has certain areas of expertise that will only strengthen our coaches, players and staff. He will be a great addition for us and we look forward to him helping us move forward and reach new heights."                            

Baker was most recently at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters for three years (2012-15) serving as associate director of amateurism certification and assistant director of enforcement basketball development. Johnson said this was a strategic hire which he feels will only help the men's basketball program continue to operate at a high and compliant level. 

"Kobie will be a big addition in terms of his familiarity in certain specialty areas," Johnson said. "He will be able to use his expertise and help our coaching staff maintain the Alabama men's basketball program's high standard when it comes to integrity and compliance." 

In addition to his two years spent on the Alabama coaching staff, Baker has had assistant coaching jobs at Troy (2001-02), Nicholls State (2002-03) and North Texas (2003-05). The Jackson, Miss., native also spent the 2009-10 year has the head boys basketball coach and athletics director at Livingston High School in Livingston, Ala.                                                             

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to return to the University of Alabama and work for Coach Avery Johnson," Baker said. "I have been particularly impressed with his passion for student-athletes and am confident in his leadership and commitment to build a championship program. My experience at the NCAA Headquarters has provided me the opportunity to grow and learn under exceptional regulatory leadership as well as observe the administration of collegiate athletics at its highest level. The time spent as an assistant basketball coach at multiple universities has given me essentialcampus experience and understanding of the daily challenges student-athletes face. There is nothing more fulfilling than serving and empowering students. I am blessed, honored and eager to be a positive contributor to Coach Johnson's program and University of Alabama family.”

Baker is a 1993 graduate of Tuscaloosa's Central High School and a 1998 graduate of Talladega College, helping lead Talledega College to the 1995 Southern States Conference Championship. He started his coaching career at Southeastern Louisiana upon graduation in 1998 and was a graduate assistant at The University of Alabama from 1999-2001.               

In addition to announcing Baker, Johnson officially announced the rest of his support staff, which includes Colton Houston as director of basketball operations, Clarke Holter as athletic trainer, Alex Fain as video coordinator, Blake Gray as graduate manager and David Miller as assistant video coordinator.               

For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama head coach Avery Johnson announced on Wednesday that Kobie Baker has been hired as the special assistant to the head coach/senior director of basketball operations. Baker returns to Tuscaloosa, where he spent three years in the program as the director of basketball operations (2006-07), assistant basketball coach (2007-08) and athletics development officer (2008-09).                                                             

“We are very excited to welcome Kobie Baker back to the Crimson Tide men’s basketball program,” Johnson said. “Kobie has certain areas of expertise that will only strengthen our coaches, players and staff. He will be a great addition for us and we look forward to him helping us move forward and reach new heights.”                            

Baker was most recently at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) headquarters for three years (2012-15) serving as associate director of amateurism certification and assistant director of enforcement basketball development. Johnson said this was a strategic hire which he feels will only help the men’s basketball program continue to operate at a high and compliant level. 

“Kobie will be a big addition in terms of his familiarity in certain specialty areas,” Johnson said. “He will be able to use his expertise and help our coaching staff maintain the Alabama men’s basketball program’s high standard when it comes to integrity and compliance.” 

In addition to his two years spent on the Alabama coaching staff, Baker has had assistant coaching jobs at Troy (2001-02), Nicholls State (2002-03) and North Texas (2003-05). The Jackson, Miss., native also spent the 2009-10 year has the head boys basketball coach and athletics director at Livingston High School in Livingston, Ala.                                                             

“I am extremely excited about the opportunity to return to the University of Alabama and work for Coach Avery Johnson,” Baker said. “I have been particularly impressed with his passion for student-athletes and am confident in his leadership and commitment to build a championship program. My experience at the NCAA Headquarters has provided me the opportunity to grow and learn under exceptional regulatory leadership as well as observe the administration of collegiate athletics at its highest level. The time spent as an assistant basketball coach at multiple universities has given me essentialcampus experience and understanding of the daily challenges student-athletes face. There is nothing more fulfilling than serving and empowering students. I am blessed, honored and eager to be a positive contributor to Coach Johnson’s program and University of Alabama family.”

Baker is a 1993 graduate of Tuscaloosa’s Central High School and a 1998 graduate of Talladega College, helping lead Talledega College to the 1995 Southern States Conference Championship. He started his coaching career at Southeastern Louisiana upon graduation in 1998 and was a graduate assistant at The University of Alabama from 1999-2001.               

In addition to announcing Baker, Johnson officially announced the rest of his support staff, which includes Colton Houston as director of basketball operations, Clarke Holter as athletic trainer, Alex Fain as video coordinator, Blake Gray as graduate manager and David Miller as assistant video coordinator.               

For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaMBB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.

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W. Tennis. Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama Women’s Tennis Advance to US Open National Playoffs Semifinals http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-tennis-maya-jansen-and-erin-routliffe-of-alabama-womens-tennis-advance-to-us-open-national-playoffs-semifinals-80171/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-tennis-maya-jansen-and-erin-routliffe-of-alabama-womens-tennis-advance-to-us-open-national-playoffs-semifinals-80171/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:26:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/082615aab.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama duo Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 US Open National Playoffs with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Liga Dekmeijere and Karina Traxler on Wednesday afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut. The two-time national champions are now just two victories shy of earning a wild card spot in the 2015 US Open.

For the second consecutive day, Jansen and Routliffe got off to a fast start by taking down the match's opening set. The Crimson Tide duo jumped out to a 5-3 lead and held off a comeback effort by Dekmeijere/Traxler to win 7-5.

"It was important for us to gain momentum early and we were fortunate enough to do that," said Jansen. "Today was a tough match, but we just focused on doing what we needed to do. They made it tough, but we locked in and were able to execute." 

Jansen and Routliffe took the first three games of the second set and owned a 5-1 lead before ultimatley winning the match by a final score of 6-2. The two-time national champions will await their competition for tomorrow's match as Routliffe and Jansen are now just two victories shy of earning a wild card spot in the 2015 US Open.

"Maya and I really controled the pace of the match in the second set," said Routliffe. "We played really well in the net and were happy with almost all of our serves. We are now just focused on tomorrow and excited to find out who advances in the draw."

The sixth annual US Open National Playoffs has narrowed the field from thousands of competitors to just 32 singles players and 16 men's doubles, women's doubles and mixed doubles teams. All participants are at various stages of their playing careers, but all face an equal opportunity at a spot in the US Open.

The winner of the Women's Doubles Championships at the US Open National Playoffs advances to the main draw of the US Open Women's Doubles Championship, held Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Jansen and Routliffe are coming off of their second consecutive NCAA Doubles Championship in 2015, as the duo became just the third doubles team in the history of NCAA women's tennis to win back-to-back national titles. The All-American duo turned in an overall record of 32-4 in 2014-15, the most wins by a doubles pairing in the history of the Alabama women's tennis program. Jansen and Routliffe own a two-year record of 57-8, already the third-best mark in UA women's tennis history.

Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaWTN on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama duo Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 US Open National Playoffs with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over Liga Dekmeijere and Karina Traxler on Wednesday afternoon in New Haven, Connecticut. The two-time national champions are now just two victories shy of earning a wild card spot in the 2015 US Open.

For the second consecutive day, Jansen and Routliffe got off to a fast start by taking down the match’s opening set. The Crimson Tide duo jumped out to a 5-3 lead and held off a comeback effort by Dekmeijere/Traxler to win 7-5.

“It was important for us to gain momentum early and we were fortunate enough to do that,” said Jansen. “Today was a tough match, but we just focused on doing what we needed to do. They made it tough, but we locked in and were able to execute.” 

Jansen and Routliffe took the first three games of the second set and owned a 5-1 lead before ultimatley winning the match by a final score of 6-2. The two-time national champions will await their competition for tomorrow’s match as Routliffe and Jansen are now just two victories shy of earning a wild card spot in the 2015 US Open.

“Maya and I really controled the pace of the match in the second set,” said Routliffe. “We played really well in the net and were happy with almost all of our serves. We are now just focused on tomorrow and excited to find out who advances in the draw.”

The sixth annual US Open National Playoffs has narrowed the field from thousands of competitors to just 32 singles players and 16 men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles teams. All participants are at various stages of their playing careers, but all face an equal opportunity at a spot in the US Open.

The winner of the Women’s Doubles Championships at the US Open National Playoffs advances to the main draw of the US Open Women’s Doubles Championship, held Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Jansen and Routliffe are coming off of their second consecutive NCAA Doubles Championship in 2015, as the duo became just the third doubles team in the history of NCAA women’s tennis to win back-to-back national titles. The All-American duo turned in an overall record of 32-4 in 2014-15, the most wins by a doubles pairing in the history of the Alabama women’s tennis program. Jansen and Routliffe own a two-year record of 57-8, already the third-best mark in UA women’s tennis history.

Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaWTN on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.

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Track & Field, Cross Country. Alabama Women’s Track & Field Rounds Out 2015 Recruiting Class http://www.crimsontidezone.com/track-field-cross-country-alabama-womens-track-field-rounds-out-2015-recruiting-class-80173/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/track-field-cross-country-alabama-womens-track-field-rounds-out-2015-recruiting-class-80173/#comments Wed, 26 Aug 2015 15:37:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/c-xctrack/spec-rel/082615aae.html Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - University of Alabama head coach Dan Waters has announced the addition of 19 student-athletes who have signed letters of intent to join the Crimson Tide track and field program for the 2015-16 season.

Overall, the members of this signing class claimed a total of 33 individual high school state championships. The class includes student-athletes across the full spectrum of disciplines: nine distance runners, five sprinters (including two hurdlers), four jumpers, and one thrower. Signees come from 10 states (Alabama - 5, Tennessee - 3, Texas - 2, Florida - 1, Georgia - 1, Illinois - 1, Maryland - 1, Michigan -1, New York - 1, and Ohio - 1) and two foreign countries (Belgium - 1, Germany - 1).

This year's class provides exceptional depth to the distance portion of the roster, including eight-time AHSAA 3A state champion and Tuscaloosa native Kaitlin York, who ran for American Christian Academy. Also adding to the distance corps is University of Texas transfer Rachael Reddy, who redshirted in her one season with the Longhorns, but won the 5,000 meters at the 2015 USATF Junior Championships to qualify for the 2015 Junior Pan American Games, where she won gold in the event. The remaining distance signees are Calli Coggins (Thompson's Station, Tenn.), Ashlin Conroy (Muttontown, N.Y.), Ebie Douglas (Mobile, Ala.), Nicole Gardner (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Brianna Koshy (Sandersville, Ga.), Sarah Mohan (Huntsville, Ala.), and Abby Rentschler (Saline, Mich.).

Stacey Destin (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Kiara Williams (Homewood, Ala.) own multiple state titles in the jumps, while Claire Orcel (Brussels, Belgium) brings in a wealth of experience from international competition. Freshman Randi Blackmon (League City, Texas) and Portland will also be jumping for the Crimson Tide this season.

Alabama continues to add to its group of talented sprinters as well. Diamond Gause (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) won multiple state titles in high school before competing for South Plains College, where she ran sprints and relays for the NJCAA champions, including claiming national titles in the 60-meter dash and 4x400 relay. Katie Funcheon (Bamberg, Germany) and Kristyn Williams (Richmond, Texas) both capped off their prep campaigns with state titles, while Jada Jackson (Waldorf, Md.) and Janel Pate (Nashville, Tenn.) were versatile, dynamic competitors for their high school squads. The lone thrower in the class, Holly Julifs (Aurora, Ill.), consistently improved over the course of her varsity career, winning a state title in the discus as a senior. She had the best mark in the state in each of the past two years, while also ranking in the top 10 in the U.S. among junior in 2015.

A look at the entire class of signees:

Randi Blackmon
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 17-1 ¼ (5.21 meters) in the long Jump and 37-6 ½ (11.44 meters) in the triple jump
  • Finished second in the triple jump at the TAPPS Class 3A State Track & Field Championships as both a junior and senior
  • Named an all-state honoree for Class 3A a total five times in her career

Calli Coggins
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 2:21.00 in the 800 meters, 5:17.00 in the 1,600 meters, and 19:15.00 in the 5,000 meters
  • Won the indoor 800m state title as a senior, becoming the first state champion in Independence High School program history
  • Received the Willco Award for cross country as a senior along with the Student-Athlete Award for all of Williamson County

Ashlin Conroy
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 19:39.69 in the 5,000 meters and 25:10.00 in the 6,000 meters
  • Spent three seasons at St. John's University, competing in both the Big East Championships and NCAA Northeast Regional in cross country
  • Guided Kellenberg Memorial High School to the 2012 league championship by winning the 2,000-meter steeplechase, 3,000 meters and 4x800 relay in one day
  • Claimed the 2012 New York Relays Steeple title

Stacey Destin
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 6-0 (1.83 meters) in the high jump, 18-10 3/8 (5.75m) in the long jump, and 37-7 ½ (11.46m) in the triple jump
  • Named the 2014 Florida Class 4A-3A Track Athlete of the Year as a junior
  • Won 2014 FHSAA Class 4A state titles in the high jump (5-8) and long jump (18-10 ¾)
  • Owns the Palm Beach County high jump record

Ebie Douglas
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 5:20.56 in the 1,600 meters, 11:45.28 in the 3,200 meters, and 19:04.40 in the 5,000 meters
  • Awarded Mobile County's 6A Cross Country runner of the year in 2013
  • Earned cross country All-State honors in 2013

Katie Funcheon
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 12.09 in the 100 meters and 24.51 in the 200 meters
  • Swept the 100 and 200-meter dash in the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity European Championships as a sophomore and junior
  • Competed for Moanalua (Honolulu, Hawaii) her senior season, where she was named Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year
  • Won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championship meet, posting the fastest times in Hawaii prep history in both events

Nicole Gardner
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 10:48.33 in the 3,200 meters and 18:11.01 in the 5k
  • Won the 2012 TSSAA State Cross Country Championship (18:44.13 - 5k)
  • Claimed the 2014 Class 3A Region 4 cross country title (18:15.26 - 5k)

Diamond Gause
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 6.92 in the 55 meters, 7.35 in the 60 meters, 11.33 in the 100 meters, 23.51 in the 200 meters
  • Competed for South Plains College for two seasons, helping the team to three national titles
  • The 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) indoor national champion in the 60-meter dash (7.35)
  • Ran the second leg of South Plains' national champion 4x400-meter relay (3:36.64) at the 2014 NJCAA Outdoor Championships

Jada Jackson
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 8.74 in the 55m hurdles, 15.32 in the 100m hurdles, and 45.46 in the 300m hurdles
  • Finish third in the 300m hurdles at the 2015 MPSSAA 3A State Championships
  • Posted top-ten finishes in both the 100m and 300m Hurdles at the 2014 MPSSAA 3A State Championships

Holly Julifs
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 154-0 (46.94 meters) in the discus and 40-10 (12.45 meters) in the shot put
  • Won the 2015 Class 3A state discus title with a throw of 142-7
  • Holds the Metea Valley High School discus record at 154-0, set at the 2014 Metea Valley Invite

Brianna Koshy
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 11:31.00 in the 3,200 meters and 19:14.00 in the 5,000 meters
  • Earned all-Midstate honors in 2013 and 2014
  • Participated in the 2014 Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional

Sarah Mohan
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 2:18.95 in the 800 meters and 5:12.19 in the 1,600 meters
  • Ran 5:12.19 in the 1,600 indoors, the No. 5 time in Alabama in 2015
  • Member of the 4x800 relay team that won the 2014 AHSAA title and the sprint medley relay team that won the 2013 AHSAA title

Claire Orcel
Career Highlights

  • Has a personal best of 5-11 ½ (1.82 meters) in the high jump
  • Represented her native Belgium as a member of several national teams competing in international events
  • Consistently clears heights that would rank her among the SEC leaders

Janel Pate
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 7.14 in the 55 meters, 7.56 in the 60 meters, 11.70 in the 100 meters, 24.26 in the 200 meters, and 54.29 in the 400 meters
  • Won the 55-meter dash (7.14) and the 200 meters (24.96) at the 2015 USATF National Junior Indoor Championships
  • 2012 and 2015 Tennessee Division I AAA 100 and 200 meter champion
  • Ran 24.26 in the 200 meters to place 12th overall at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals

Rachael Reddy
Career Highlights

  • Has a personal best of 16:23.35 in the 5,000 meters
  • Won the 5,000 meters at the 2015 USATF Junior Championships with a time of 16:28.04
  • 2015 Junior Pan Am Champion in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:23.35
  • Won the Emerging Elite Two Mile event at the 2014 New Balance Nationals

Abby Rentschler
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 18:13.00 in the 5,000 meters, 5:01.00 in the 1,600 meters, and 10:42.00 in the 3,200 meters
  • A four-time cross country all-conference and all-region performer for Saline High
  • Two-time all-state performer in the 3,200 meters
  • Earned All-America status at the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals in the 4xmile in 2012, 2014, and 2015

Kiara Williams
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 14.29 in the 100m hurdles, 25.41 in the 200m hurdles, 43.94 in the 300m hurdles, 20-5 ¼ (6.23 meters) in the long jump, and 41-9 ¾ (12.74 meters) in the triple jump
  • Holds the Alabama state record in the long jump at 20-5 ¼ (6.23 meters)
  • Won the 2015 Class 6A state titles in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump
  • Also won the 2015 AHSAA heptathlon title with a score of 4,745 points
  • Named Alabama's Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for 2015

Kristyn Williams
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 57.87 in the 400 meters and 2:10.01 in the 800 meters
  • Won the 800 meters at the 2015 Texas 5A State Championships
  • Won the 400 and 800 meters at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic District Gulf Meet
  • 800 meter Champion at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympics National Championships

 


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Aug. 26, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama head coach Dan Waters has announced the addition of 19 student-athletes who have signed letters of intent to join the Crimson Tide track and field program for the 2015-16 season.

Overall, the members of this signing class claimed a total of 33 individual high school state championships. The class includes student-athletes across the full spectrum of disciplines: nine distance runners, five sprinters (including two hurdlers), four jumpers, and one thrower. Signees come from 10 states (Alabama – 5, Tennessee – 3, Texas – 2, Florida – 1, Georgia – 1, Illinois – 1, Maryland – 1, Michigan -1, New York – 1, and Ohio – 1) and two foreign countries (Belgium – 1, Germany – 1).

This year’s class provides exceptional depth to the distance portion of the roster, including eight-time AHSAA 3A state champion and Tuscaloosa native Kaitlin York, who ran for American Christian Academy. Also adding to the distance corps is University of Texas transfer Rachael Reddy, who redshirted in her one season with the Longhorns, but won the 5,000 meters at the 2015 USATF Junior Championships to qualify for the 2015 Junior Pan American Games, where she won gold in the event. The remaining distance signees are Calli Coggins (Thompson’s Station, Tenn.), Ashlin Conroy (Muttontown, N.Y.), Ebie Douglas (Mobile, Ala.), Nicole Gardner (Murfreesboro, Tenn.), Brianna Koshy (Sandersville, Ga.), Sarah Mohan (Huntsville, Ala.), and Abby Rentschler (Saline, Mich.).

Stacey Destin (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and Kiara Williams (Homewood, Ala.) own multiple state titles in the jumps, while Claire Orcel (Brussels, Belgium) brings in a wealth of experience from international competition. Freshman Randi Blackmon (League City, Texas) and Portland will also be jumping for the Crimson Tide this season.

Alabama continues to add to its group of talented sprinters as well. Diamond Gause (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) won multiple state titles in high school before competing for South Plains College, where she ran sprints and relays for the NJCAA champions, including claiming national titles in the 60-meter dash and 4×400 relay. Katie Funcheon (Bamberg, Germany) and Kristyn Williams (Richmond, Texas) both capped off their prep campaigns with state titles, while Jada Jackson (Waldorf, Md.) and Janel Pate (Nashville, Tenn.) were versatile, dynamic competitors for their high school squads. The lone thrower in the class, Holly Julifs (Aurora, Ill.), consistently improved over the course of her varsity career, winning a state title in the discus as a senior. She had the best mark in the state in each of the past two years, while also ranking in the top 10 in the U.S. among junior in 2015.

A look at the entire class of signees:

Randi Blackmon
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 17-1 ¼ (5.21 meters) in the long Jump and 37-6 ½ (11.44 meters) in the triple jump
  • Finished second in the triple jump at the TAPPS Class 3A State Track & Field Championships as both a junior and senior
  • Named an all-state honoree for Class 3A a total five times in her career

Calli Coggins
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 2:21.00 in the 800 meters, 5:17.00 in the 1,600 meters, and 19:15.00 in the 5,000 meters
  • Won the indoor 800m state title as a senior, becoming the first state champion in Independence High School program history
  • Received the Willco Award for cross country as a senior along with the Student-Athlete Award for all of Williamson County

Ashlin Conroy
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 19:39.69 in the 5,000 meters and 25:10.00 in the 6,000 meters
  • Spent three seasons at St. John’s University, competing in both the Big East Championships and NCAA Northeast Regional in cross country
  • Guided Kellenberg Memorial High School to the 2012 league championship by winning the 2,000-meter steeplechase, 3,000 meters and 4×800 relay in one day
  • Claimed the 2012 New York Relays Steeple title

Stacey Destin
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 6-0 (1.83 meters) in the high jump, 18-10 3/8 (5.75m) in the long jump, and 37-7 ½ (11.46m) in the triple jump
  • Named the 2014 Florida Class 4A-3A Track Athlete of the Year as a junior
  • Won 2014 FHSAA Class 4A state titles in the high jump (5-8) and long jump (18-10 ¾)
  • Owns the Palm Beach County high jump record

Ebie Douglas
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 5:20.56 in the 1,600 meters, 11:45.28 in the 3,200 meters, and 19:04.40 in the 5,000 meters
  • Awarded Mobile County’s 6A Cross Country runner of the year in 2013
  • Earned cross country All-State honors in 2013

Katie Funcheon
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 12.09 in the 100 meters and 24.51 in the 200 meters
  • Swept the 100 and 200-meter dash in the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity European Championships as a sophomore and junior
  • Competed for Moanalua (Honolulu, Hawaii) her senior season, where she was named Gatorade State Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year
  • Won both the 100 meters and 200 meters at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association (HHSAA) State Championship meet, posting the fastest times in Hawaii prep history in both events

Nicole Gardner
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 10:48.33 in the 3,200 meters and 18:11.01 in the 5k
  • Won the 2012 TSSAA State Cross Country Championship (18:44.13 – 5k)
  • Claimed the 2014 Class 3A Region 4 cross country title (18:15.26 – 5k)

Diamond Gause
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 6.92 in the 55 meters, 7.35 in the 60 meters, 11.33 in the 100 meters, 23.51 in the 200 meters
  • Competed for South Plains College for two seasons, helping the team to three national titles
  • The 2015 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) indoor national champion in the 60-meter dash (7.35)
  • Ran the second leg of South Plains’ national champion 4×400-meter relay (3:36.64) at the 2014 NJCAA Outdoor Championships

Jada Jackson
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 8.74 in the 55m hurdles, 15.32 in the 100m hurdles, and 45.46 in the 300m hurdles
  • Finish third in the 300m hurdles at the 2015 MPSSAA 3A State Championships
  • Posted top-ten finishes in both the 100m and 300m Hurdles at the 2014 MPSSAA 3A State Championships

Holly Julifs
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 154-0 (46.94 meters) in the discus and 40-10 (12.45 meters) in the shot put
  • Won the 2015 Class 3A state discus title with a throw of 142-7
  • Holds the Metea Valley High School discus record at 154-0, set at the 2014 Metea Valley Invite

Brianna Koshy
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 11:31.00 in the 3,200 meters and 19:14.00 in the 5,000 meters
  • Earned all-Midstate honors in 2013 and 2014
  • Participated in the 2014 Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional

Sarah Mohan
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 2:18.95 in the 800 meters and 5:12.19 in the 1,600 meters
  • Ran 5:12.19 in the 1,600 indoors, the No. 5 time in Alabama in 2015
  • Member of the 4×800 relay team that won the 2014 AHSAA title and the sprint medley relay team that won the 2013 AHSAA title

Claire Orcel
Career Highlights

  • Has a personal best of 5-11 ½ (1.82 meters) in the high jump
  • Represented her native Belgium as a member of several national teams competing in international events
  • Consistently clears heights that would rank her among the SEC leaders

Janel Pate
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 7.14 in the 55 meters, 7.56 in the 60 meters, 11.70 in the 100 meters, 24.26 in the 200 meters, and 54.29 in the 400 meters
  • Won the 55-meter dash (7.14) and the 200 meters (24.96) at the 2015 USATF National Junior Indoor Championships
  • 2012 and 2015 Tennessee Division I AAA 100 and 200 meter champion
  • Ran 24.26 in the 200 meters to place 12th overall at the 2014 New Balance Outdoor Nationals

Rachael Reddy
Career Highlights

  • Has a personal best of 16:23.35 in the 5,000 meters
  • Won the 5,000 meters at the 2015 USATF Junior Championships with a time of 16:28.04
  • 2015 Junior Pan Am Champion in the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:23.35
  • Won the Emerging Elite Two Mile event at the 2014 New Balance Nationals

Abby Rentschler
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 18:13.00 in the 5,000 meters, 5:01.00 in the 1,600 meters, and 10:42.00 in the 3,200 meters
  • A four-time cross country all-conference and all-region performer for Saline High
  • Two-time all-state performer in the 3,200 meters
  • Earned All-America status at the New Balance Indoor Track Nationals in the 4xmile in 2012, 2014, and 2015

Kiara Williams
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 14.29 in the 100m hurdles, 25.41 in the 200m hurdles, 43.94 in the 300m hurdles, 20-5 ¼ (6.23 meters) in the long jump, and 41-9 ¾ (12.74 meters) in the triple jump
  • Holds the Alabama state record in the long jump at 20-5 ¼ (6.23 meters)
  • Won the 2015 Class 6A state titles in the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, long jump, and triple jump
  • Also won the 2015 AHSAA heptathlon title with a score of 4,745 points
  • Named Alabama’s Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for 2015

Kristyn Williams
Career Highlights

  • Has personal bests of 57.87 in the 400 meters and 2:10.01 in the 800 meters
  • Won the 800 meters at the 2015 Texas 5A State Championships
  • Won the 400 and 800 meters at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympic District Gulf Meet
  • 800 meter Champion at the 2015 AAU Junior Olympics National Championships

 

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W. Tennis. Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe of Alabama Women’s Tennis Win First Match at US Open National Playoffs http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-tennis-maya-jansen-and-erin-routliffe-of-alabama-womens-tennis-win-first-match-at-us-open-national-playoffs-80175/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-tennis-maya-jansen-and-erin-routliffe-of-alabama-womens-tennis-win-first-match-at-us-open-national-playoffs-80175/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 22:07:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/w-tennis/spec-rel/082515aaa.html
Aug. 25, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe defeated Yale’s Carol Finke and ReeRee Li in their first match at the US Open National Playoffs on Tuesday and are now just three victories shy of earning a wild card spot in the 2015 US Open.

Jansen and Routliffe took the opening set in dominant fashion, defeating Finke/Li, 6-0 to build an early cushion. In the second set, Finke/Li owned the momentum early, but Jansen and Routliffe battled back to erase deficits of 1-4 and 2-5 to claim the 6-0, 7-5 victory.

“They key for us was staying agressive,” said Routliffe. “We dictated the outcome in the first set but played a little passive in the early stages of the second. Once we settled in and played our style of tennis we able to get the outcome we wanted.”

The Alabama duo will now await their competitors in tomorrow afternoon’s match, as just eight teams remain with a spot in the US Open on the line. Matches will be played on consecutive days this week until the US Open berth is won on Friday.

“We are just taking it one match at a time,” said Jansen. “That’s our motto no matter what’s on the line. We did that throughout the regular season and during the NCAA doubles tournament – this is no different. The amount of support we have received from our fans back in Tuscaloosa has been amazing. We are honored to represent them and Alabama tennis on this stage.”

The sixth annual US Open National Playoffs has narrowed the field from thousands of competitors to just 32 singles players and 16 men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles teams. All participants are at various stages of their playing careers, but all face an equal opportunity at a spot in the US Open.

The winner of the Women’s Doubles Championships at the US Open National Playoffs advances to the main draw of the US Open Women’s Doubles Championship, held Aug. 31-Sept. 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Jansen and Routliffe are coming off of their second consecutive NCAA Doubles Championship in 2015, as the duo became just the third doubles team in the history of NCAA women’s tennis to win back-to-back national titles. The All-American duo turned in an overall record of 32-4 in 2014-15, the most wins by a doubles pairing in the history of the Alabama women’s tennis program. Jansen and Routliffe own a two-year record of 57-8, already the third-best mark in UA women’s tennis history.

Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaWTN on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook

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Football Returns to Practice after Two-Day Break http://www.crimsontidezone.com/football-returns-to-practice-after-two-day-break-80140/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/football-returns-to-practice-after-two-day-break-80140/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:45:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/082515aac.html Aug. 25, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The University of Alabama football team resumed action after a two-day break from drills, practicing outdoors on Tuesday afternoon for two hours in shells (helmet, shoulder pads, shorts) on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.

Alabama's 20th session of Fall Camp kicked off at 3:30 p.m. with the team continuing to work on fundamentals. The Tide resumed preparations for the season-opening contest against Wisconsin in the AdvoCare Classic inside AT&T Stadium on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide and Badgers are scheduled for a 7 p.m. CT start on ABC with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox on the call.

In all, the Tide is scheduled for 28 total practices during Fall Camp and will take part in five practices this week before taking Sunday off. Following Sunday's break, the team will enter game-week preparations for the season opener.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.


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Aug. 25, 2015

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team resumed action after a two-day break from drills, practicing outdoors on Tuesday afternoon for two hours in shells (helmet, shoulder pads, shorts) on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.

Alabama’s 20th session of Fall Camp kicked off at 3:30 p.m. with the team continuing to work on fundamentals. The Tide resumed preparations for the season-opening contest against Wisconsin in the AdvoCare Classic inside AT&T Stadium on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide and Badgers are scheduled for a 7 p.m. CT start on ABC with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox on the call.

In all, the Tide is scheduled for 28 total practices during Fall Camp and will take part in five practices this week before taking Sunday off. Following Sunday’s break, the team will enter game-week preparations for the season opener.

Get all the latest information on the team by following @AlabamaFTBL on Twitter and Facebook and AlabamaFBL on Instagram. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.

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W. Volleyball. 2015 Alabama Volleyball Season Preview http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-volleyball-2015-alabama-volleyball-season-preview-80178/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-volleyball-2015-alabama-volleyball-season-preview-80178/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 21:17:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/w-volley/spec-rel/082515aaa.html
Aug. 25, 2015

Head Coach Ed Allen, now entering his fifth season at the helm of the program, has seen Alabama rise from the bottom of the Southeastern Conference to an SEC and even a national contender. After finishing with a losing record in 2011, his first season at Alabama, he led the team to an 18-14 finish in 2012, its first winning season since 2008. The turnaround continued quickly over the next two years, as the team tied a program record for wins in 2013 (24) and set a new record for wins in 2014 (26), including the team’s first ever win at the NCAA Tournament in a five-set thriller over Samford. Alabama will look to continue the upward trend in 2015, returning every regular starter from last season while adding even more depth and talent alongside them.

The rest of the league’s coaches have certainly noticed Alabama’s quick rise to success, as the Tide were picked second in the 2015 preseason SEC coaches’ poll. With three All-Americans in the starting lineup and a year of experience as a unit, the Crimson Tide are poised to continue its upward trend.

“Three years ago we were picked dead last in the league and ended up there,” says Allen. “Three years later, here we are picked to finish second. We’ve seen the talent escalate every year. We’re maybe even a little bit ahead of schedule from where we thought we’d be but I think that one of our best seasons is still ahead of us.”

Allen has the luxury of returning every starter from last season’s team while adding even more talent around them to push for playing time and provide depth. Redshirt junior Krystal Rivers earned Third Team All-America and All-SEC honors last year, leading the team in kills (557), points (656) and aces (48). This season, she will make the move back to middle blocker after playing that position her first season before a move to right-side hitter last year. Flanking her on the outside will be sophomore Kat Hutson, who was named honorable mention All-America, All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman in 2014. Hutson finished second on the team and fifth in the SEC with 475 kills (3.71/set) last season and was the fifth player in program history to be named All-SEC as a freshman. Junior outside hitter Brittany Thomas (338 kills) and sophomore middle blocker Leah Lawrence (114 blocks) were regular starters last season and will look to anchor a talented front line along with sophomore Emily Stebbins and seniors Bruna Evangelista and Laura Steiner.

“All of our players are continuing to develop and get better,” says Allen. “Krystal will make the transition back to middle blocker where she played her first year. We expect her to bring more athleticism into that position and to hit for a higher percentage throughout the course of the year. The nice thing offensively is that Krystal won’t have to carry the load that she has the past two years. We’ve added quality players the last two years to help and we expect players like Kat, Tabitha [Brown], Brittany and Leah to all contribute significantly on offense.”

Pacing the high-powered offense will be senior setter Sierra Wilson, who is within striking distance of the Alabama career assists record. She currently sits in third place with 4,272, just 62 shy of Jennifer Miller (4,333) and 1,307 shy of current leader Brigitte Slack (5,578). Last season, Wilson set a single-season school record with 1,529 assists which led the SEC and ranked second nationally. Her assist totals over the previous two seasons as the regular starter are both among the top four in program history.

Defensively, sophomore Natalie Murison returns after serving as the primary libero in 2014, finishing with 403 digs (3.03/set) and 29 service aces. Senior Kryssi Daniels saw time in 31 matches last season as a defensive specialist while sophomore Brooke Feld made 14 appearances, including three starts. The pair combined for 266 digs and will be looked at to play significant minutes along with freshman Quincey Gary.

Gary, Tabitha Brown and Shannon Mikesky are the team’s three newcomers this season and will each provide depth at different positions. Gary played as an outside hitter during her prep and club career in Alexandria, Ind., but will making the shift to defensive specialist at Alabama. Brown, a native of Spring, Texas, brings a powerful swing and good jumping ability to the outside and will challenge for playing time in the front row. Mikesky, a setter from Schulenburg, Texas, will likely have a year to redshirt and learn under Wilson before taking over as the primary setter after Wilson graduates.

“We return every starter from last year’s team but have also added three quality players that help us in three different positions,” says Allen. “Tabitha is a complete player that has the ability to defend, attack, serve and pass. She will make us a lot better in that position and will likely carry quite a bit of the offensive load. Quincey will provide more assistance in the back row and will challenge for playing time there. Her strongest suit is her ability to ball control and to defend and she will continue to improve her service moving forward. Shannon is someone we’ll hope to redshirt this season and give her a year to learn and develop even more under Sierra. Shannon will be able to provide a level of physicality to the position that we haven’t had in the past. I think she can be a great defender at the net and apply pressure by being aggressive with a second ball.”

The 2015 season begins with a west coast trip against three different teams in three different venues on Aug. 28-29 at Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton and Pepperdine. The Tide then return home for consecutive weekends, hosting the Hampton Inn Bama Bash (Sept. 4-5) and the Crimson-White Tournament (Sept. 11-12). Teams competing in Tuscaloosa include Northwestern State, Tulsa, Southern Miss, College of Charleston, Troy, Saint Louis and Virginia. The preseason wraps up with a trip to DeKalb, Ill., and the campus of Northern Illinois as they host the Huskie Invitational on Sept. 18-19. Competing alongside the Tide will be Western Kentucky and Northern Iowa.

“Our preseason schedule is going to prepare us well for conference play,” says Allen. “It’s a very high-level schedule RPI-wise. These are teams that we expect to push for 20-plus win seasons. We open up in Long Beach and we’ll see a team right away that won the Big West and finished with a 27-5 record. Completing that weekend as well as our two home tournaments and our weekend in DeKalb will really prepare us for SEC play. I think we’re probably playing as difficult of an SEC schedule as anyone has.”

Southeastern Conference play includes nine home matches while a total of nine matches (six home, three away) will be broadcast live on the SEC Network. Last season, Alabama only lost one match at home all year and set attendance records twice, packing 1,749 fans into Foster Auditorium for the Sept. 28 win over LSU before besting that mark with 2,169 on Nov. 21 against Auburn.

For all the latest information on the team, follow AlabamaVBall on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can be found @UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and Alabama Athletics on Facebook.

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Alabama Football: Depth Chart Analysis, Complete 2015 Preview and Predictions http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-football-depth-chart-analysis-complete-2015-preview-and-predictions-80154/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-football-depth-chart-analysis-complete-2015-preview-and-predictions-80154/#comments Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:01:30 +0000 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2554390-alabama-football-depth-chart-analysis-complete-2015-preview-and-predictions TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football program won a title last season, two actually.

You wouldn’t know it by the way everyone has talked about the Crimson Tide since—media, fans, even students. If it was another sport, Alabama could raise banners for the Southeastern Conference’s West Division and the league championship, yet most consider 2014 to have been a down year due to the way it ended in the inaugural playoffs.

“I look at the ring every now and then, but it doesn’t feel like we even won,” senior center Ryan Kelly said. “It doesn’t. At the time it was an awesome feeling. We get the chance to play Ohio State.

“After we lost to Ohio State, I just, all that season was for nothing.”

That was rallying point throughout the offseason, with constant reminders that last year’s defense wasn’t good enough, nor the team’s finish, at least by Alabama’s standards under Nick Saban.

“We’re not allowed to have a bad season, because the fans will let you know when you’re playing badly,” senior linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We have to have the right mindset at all times because the players that came before us instilled something that we have to keep finishing and keep going on.”

Alabama certainly has the talent to do so. Among the 85 scholarship players this summer, 18 had been rated by 247Sports to be 5-star prospects as recruits, with 47 4-star players. Combined, that’s 76 percent of the roster, meaning this team is arguably as talented and loaded as any Saban’s ever had.

 

Coaches

2015 Alabama Coaching Staff
Name Position Years on staff
Nick Saban Head Coach 9
Lane Kiffin Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 2
Kibry Smart Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers 9
Burton Burns Associate Head Coach/Running Back 9
Mario Cristobal Offensive Line 3
Bo Davis Defensive Line 6*
Tosh Lupoi Outside Linebackers 1
Billy Napier Wide Receivers 3
Mel Tucker Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs 1
Bobby Williams Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator 8
Scott Cochran Director of Strength and Conditioning 9

Rolltide.com

Saban is back for his ninth season at Alabama, which is nearly twice as long as anywhere else he’s coached, and he’ll turn 64 this fall, specifically on Halloween when the team is enjoying its bye.

Due to make more than $7 million this year, Saban’s the highest-paid coach in college football, and for once there appears to be no one looming to trying and pry him away or talk of a potential return to the National Football League.

Also back are both coordinators. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is looking for a bounce-back season while Lane Kiffin returned for what he called his “sophomore” year under Saban.

“There’s still so many things to learn from Coach,” the offensive coordinator said.

While Alabama can no longer claim to have five coaches on the staff with head coaching experience, as linebackers coach Kevin Steele left to be LSU’s defensive coordinator, it instead added a big-time NFL presence with Mel Tucker overseeing the defensive backs.

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

After 10 years in the NFL, Mel Tucker is back working with Nick Saban as Alabama's secondary coach.

He spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and before that had the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12) and Cleveland Browns (2008). Saban gave him his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Michigan State (1997-98), and Tucker was his secondary coach at LSU (2000).

“Mel does a great job with the kids. He has a great demeanor. Kids really respect him. They know he’s got a lot of NFL experience,” Smart said. “When you turn on a clip of an NFL drill, eyes pop open a little more.”

Alabama’s other coaching move was to promote Tosh Lupoi to outside linebackers coach, a position he had previously held at California and Washington.

"Coach Tosh, he's energetic every day,” senior linebacker Denzel Devall said. “There's not a dull moment. He preaches on doing the right thing every play, looking at the right stuff, eyes at the right thing. Great hand placement. He's a technician. Effort, energetic guy, you know. I don't think I've ever seen him down. Just a great coach."

What to watch for on offense

Alabama 2015 Offensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
QB Jake Coker Alex Morris Cooper Bateman
RB Derrick Henry Kenyan Drake Damien Harris
WR (X) ArDarius Stewart Parker Barrineau Daylon Charlot
WR (Z) Robert Foster Derek Kief Calvin Ridley
WR (H) Chris Black Richard Mullaney N/A
TE O.J. Howard TY Flournoy-Smith Dakota Ball
LT Cam Robinson Korren Kirven Lester Cotton
LG Ross Pierschbacher Isaac Luatua Richie Petitbon
C Ryan Kelly Bradley Bozeman J.C. Hassenauer
RG Alphonse Taylor Bradley Bozeman Brandon Greene
RT Dominick Jackson Brandon Greene Matt Womack
K Adam Griffith JK Scott Gunnar Raborn
KR/PR Cyrus Jones Chris Black Richard Mullaney

Compiled by the author

Note: Alabama’s official offensive depth chart won’t be released until next week

Losing nine starters would mean disaster for most offenses, but Alabama’s style of play will likely lead to a bigger decrease in its statistics than the turnover in personnel.

With the quarterback competition possibly continuing into the regular season and the offensive line looking like it could be Alabama’s best in years, a bigger emphasis on ball control and the running game is expected.

“Obviously we want to be tough and physical and run the ball,” Kiffin said.

That begins with junior running back Derrick Henry, who ended up leading the Crimson Tide in rushing last season despite not being the starter.

Stacy Revere/Getty Images

For two years Alabama fans have eagerly watched Derrick Henry's rise up the depth chart to starter.

Listed as 6’3”, 242 pounds, he’s physically similar to Eddie George when he played at Ohio State. At Yulee High School in Florida, he broke Ken Hall's 51-year-old national rushing record with 12,124 yards after rushing for 4,261 as a senior in 2012.

He’s gone from being a monster of a prospect to playing in 26 career games, for 1,372 career rushing yards (6.6 average per carry) and 17 touchdowns, with six receptions for 194 yards and three more scores.

Complementing him is senior Kenyan Drake, whom Kiffin has described as a Reggie Bush-type player. Alabama will line him up at running back and out wide to exploit mismatches in coverage.

“He has so many things that he does well,” Saban said. “He has great speed. He has very good running skills and running instincts, but he's a fantastic receiver.”

Although there’s obviously no replacing a wide receiver like Amari Cooper, who set numerous school records last season, ArDarius Stewart will be the primary wide receiver. Coaches hope that sophomore Robert Foster and junior tight end O.J. Howard have breakout seasons, but fans should also keep an eye out for promising true freshman receiver Calvin Ridley.

What to watch for on defense

2013 Alabama Defensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
DE Jonathan Allen Dalvin Tomlinson Da'Shawn Hand
NG Jarran Reed Darren Lake Joshua Frazier/O.J. Smith
DE D'Shawn Robinson D.J. Pettway Daron Payne
SLB Denzel Devall Rashaan Evans Christian Miller
MLB Reuben Foster Shaun Dion Hamilton Walker Jones
WLB Reggie Ragland Dillon Lee Keith Holcombe
Jack Ryan Anderson Tim Williams Adonis Thomas/Joshua McMillon
CB Marlon Humphrey Tony Brown Anthony Averett
SS Eddie Jackson Hootie Jones Deionte Thompson
FS Geno Smith Ronnie Harrison Shawn Burgess-Becker
CB Cyrus Jones Minkah Fitzpatrick Kendall Sheffield
Star Maurice Smith Bradley Sylve Jabriel Washington
P JK Scott Alec Morris N/A

Compiled by the author

Note: Alabama’s official defensive depth chart won’t be released until next week 

Led by its front seven, which returned nearly intact, Alabama’s defense hopes to draw comparison to the 2011 unit that led the nation in all four major statistical categories (total, scoring, rushing and pass-efficiency defense).

"That defensive line is a beast," Henry said. "You've got four or five big guys who dominate every play and give it their all every play, and that's all you can ask from the defensive line.”

Last season, Jarran Reed led the line with 55 tackles, which was the second most by a lineman during the Saban era (Wallace Gilberry in 2007). Thanks to a 15-tackle tally against LSU, which tied former middle linebacker Rolando McClain (vs. Auburn 2007 and Tulane 2008), for the most by an Alabama player under Saban, he edged out A’Shawn Robinson’s 49.

A preseason All-SEC selection, Robinson was once described by Senior Bowl director Phil Savage as a “man-child.” At the other end spot, Jonathan Allen has 49 career tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. An All-SEC selection by media last season, he’s already made 25 starts heading into his junior season. In 2014, he was second in team sacks with 5.5 and had seven hurries.

Meanwhile, Ragland might be the favorite for the Butkus Award after being a semifinalist last season.

“He's been one of our best playmakers on defense and been one of our most productive players,” Saban said of the unit’s anticipated leader—not just for the linebackers, but the entire defense.

Adding to Alabama’s optimism is that after having issues at cornerback during the past couple of seasons, not only does the Crimson Tide have quality starters there but depth.

Senior Cyrus Jones was named preseason All-SEC while Marlon Humphrey, Tony Brown and Minkah Fitzpatrick hope to start Alabama’s next wave of first-round draft picks among defensive backs similar to Mark Barron, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kareem Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dee Milliner.

With coaches using converted cornerbacks Eddie Jackson and Geno Smith at safety, they figure to get a little more help on the edges as well. If so, Alabama should meet its targeted areas for improvement: turnovers, big plays and third-down defense.

Injury news

Alabama Injuries
Player Injury Expected return
Raheem Falkins Leg Unknown
Bo Scarbrough Knee October
Cam Sims Knee Unknown

Compiled by the author

For the most part, Alabama emerged from training camp relatively unscathed in terms of major injuries.

Most notable were a toe injury that cost Coker three days during the heart of camp and a sprained knee to sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson.

“The injury wasn’t serious,” Robinson said. “It just scared me. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Although coming out of the spring the biggest concern was the health and depth of the running backs, that changed during training camp to the wide receivers. Junior Chris Black (ankle) and sophomore Robert Foster (sprained knee) both suffered camp injuries, sophomore Cam Sims (ACL) has only recently started practicing and junior Raheem Falkins (leg) is still out.

At running back, senior Kenyan Drake was already coming off last season’s fractured leg and dislocated ankle only to be limited by a hamstring issue during camp. Freshman Bo Scarbrough is coming off a spring knee injury but will be out four games anyway while serving an eligibility suspension in September.

Otherwise, coaches have been cautious with the running backs to try to keep them as fresh as possible entering the season.

At cornerback, Brown (shoulder) and Humphrey (pulled muscle) have been playing through injuries, while offensive tackles Dominick Jackson (shoulder) and Korren Kirven (sprained knee) are expected to be out a few days this week.

X-factor

Alabama’s pack mentality with the defense goes far beyond the players who will be listed as starters, especially with the pass rush. The Crimson Tide have 14 players who were in on a sack in 2014 and all but one of them is back looking for more.

“We have a lot of guys who can contribute,” Ragland said.

While Devall, Ryan Anderson and versatile Dillon Lee figure to be Alabama’s primary outside linebackers, behind them is a bunch of young fast “quick-twitch” players, including sophomore Rashaan Evans, redshirt freshman Christian Miller and junior Tim Williams. All could be poised for a breakout season.

“They always go out there and are always doing 110 percent, flying around, doing everything they can,” Lee said about his talented understudies. “We have people breaking on the ball really fast and are disruptive.”

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama's ability to pressure the quarterback will likely cause a lot of problems for opponents in 2015.

Ragland believes Williams has the speed and size to top Xzavier Dickson’s nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss last season and maybe even lead the nation in sacks if he’s hungry enough.

Although fans shouldn’t expect Alabama to match the numbers that Saban’s teams posted at Michigan State (for example, the 1999 team notched 60 sacks and 119 tackles for a loss), getting more pressure on the quarterback has been a priority and reflected in the latest staff additions of defensive line coach Bo Davis, Tucker and Lupoi.

Before serving as an Alabama analyst last season Lupoi was at Washington, which ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.15) in 2013. One of his former players, outside linebacker Hauoli Kikaha, led college football with 19 sacks in 2014. 

“What he brings to pass rushing and disrupting the pocket is really unbelievable,” Lee said. “Always aggressive.” 

2015 schedule 

Make-or-break games

Alabama 2015 Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 5 Wisconsin Arlington, Texas
Sept. 12 Middle Tennessee Tuscaloosa
Sept. 19 Ole Miss Tuscaloosa
Sept. 26 Louisiana-Monroe Tuscaloosa
Oct. 3 Georgia Athens, Ga.
Oct. 10 Arkansas Tuscaloosa
Oct. 17 Texas A&M College State, Texas
Oct. 24 Tennessee Tuscaloosa
Oct. 31 Bye
Nov. 7 LSU Tuscaloosa
Nov. 14 Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.
Nov. 21 Charleston Southern Tuscaloosa
Nov. 28 Auburn Auburn, Ala.

Rolltide.com

There are two necessary elements in order to have what’s called a “trap” game: an overlooked opponent aided by timing.

Alabama doesn’t have to worry about that this season because there really aren’t any opponents to overlook. The schedule is that difficult and widely called the toughest in college football.

Going by the preseason Associated Press Poll, the Crimson Tide are slated to face seven different teams that were in the Top 25, in addition to the top two vote-getters among teams not ranked, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Should they move up, Alabama could be looking at facing nine ranked teams plus potentially playing another in the SEC Championship Game.

Last year, Ohio State faced one ranked opponent during the regular season followed by three more at the end—in the Big Ten title game, the Sugar Bowl and the national championship. The total of four marked the fewest ranked teams a national champion had faced since Texas in 2005.

The record for most ranked opponents faced by a national champion is eight, LSU in 2007. So for Alabama to win the crown this season, it might have to accomplish something that’s never been done in the history of college football.

Nevertheless, Alabama’s schedule is so brutal that no one has to hear a player say they’re going to take it one game at a time because there’s really no other way to approach it.

Alabama opens in the marquee game of Week 1 against Wisconsin in the 2015 AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and two weeks later gets a rematch with the only team that defeated it during the 2014 regular season, Ole Miss.

Things get tougher in October when the Crimson Tide could face four straight ranked opponents: at Georgia, Arkansas, at Texas A&M and Tennessee. November features the usual onslaught of LSU, at Mississippi State (which Alabama knocked from No. 1 last year) and finally at Auburn, which could again determine the division title.

As Saban would say, “It is what it is,” but there’s no doubt that the Crimson Tide will be tested.

Prediction

Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Alabama wants more than another SEC title in 2015.

If Alabama doesn’t have its toughest schedule in program history, it’s definitely on the short list. If it makes the SEC Championship Game, it will probably have played 10 teams that were ranked at some point.

Saban has only had one undefeated team, the 2009 national champions, and the turnover on offense paired with the uncertainly at quarterback makes another unlikely. Yet a strong defense and running game alone make Alabama a strong contender assuming it can avoid key injuries.

If Alabama can get through the regular season with just one loss, it’ll be a shoe-in for the playoffs. The guess here is that it’ll lose two but still represent the West Division in Atlanta, where a win would earn a spot in football’s version of the Final Four.

Overall record: 10-2

League record: 6-2

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

]]>
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football program won a title last season, two actually.

You wouldn’t know it by the way everyone has talked about the Crimson Tide since—media, fans, even students. If it was another sport, Alabama could raise banners for the Southeastern Conference’s West Division and the league championship, yet most consider 2014 to have been a down year due to the way it ended in the inaugural playoffs.

“I look at the ring every now and then, but it doesn’t feel like we even won,” senior center Ryan Kelly said. “It doesn’t. At the time it was an awesome feeling. We get the chance to play Ohio State.

“After we lost to Ohio State, I just, all that season was for nothing.”

That was rallying point throughout the offseason, with constant reminders that last year’s defense wasn’t good enough, nor the team’s finish, at least by Alabama’s standards under Nick Saban.

“We’re not allowed to have a bad season, because the fans will let you know when you’re playing badly,” senior linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “We have to have the right mindset at all times because the players that came before us instilled something that we have to keep finishing and keep going on.”

Alabama certainly has the talent to do so. Among the 85 scholarship players this summer, 18 had been rated by 247Sports to be 5-star prospects as recruits, with 47 4-star players. Combined, that’s 76 percent of the roster, meaning this team is arguably as talented and loaded as any Saban’s ever had.

 

Coaches

2015 Alabama Coaching Staff
Name Position Years on staff
Nick Saban Head Coach 9
Lane Kiffin Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks 2
Kibry Smart Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers 9
Burton Burns Associate Head Coach/Running Back 9
Mario Cristobal Offensive Line 3
Bo Davis Defensive Line 6*
Tosh Lupoi Outside Linebackers 1
Billy Napier Wide Receivers 3
Mel Tucker Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs 1
Bobby Williams Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator 8
Scott Cochran Director of Strength and Conditioning 9

Rolltide.com

Saban is back for his ninth season at Alabama, which is nearly twice as long as anywhere else he’s coached, and he’ll turn 64 this fall, specifically on Halloween when the team is enjoying its bye.

Due to make more than $7 million this year, Saban’s the highest-paid coach in college football, and for once there appears to be no one looming to trying and pry him away or talk of a potential return to the National Football League.

Also back are both coordinators. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is looking for a bounce-back season while Lane Kiffin returned for what he called his “sophomore” year under Saban.

“There’s still so many things to learn from Coach,” the offensive coordinator said.

While Alabama can no longer claim to have five coaches on the staff with head coaching experience, as linebackers coach Kevin Steele left to be LSU’s defensive coordinator, it instead added a big-time NFL presence with Mel Tucker overseeing the defensive backs.


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

After 10 years in the NFL, Mel Tucker is back working with Nick Saban as Alabama’s secondary coach.

He spent the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears and before that had the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-12) and Cleveland Browns (2008). Saban gave him his coaching start as a graduate assistant at Michigan State (1997-98), and Tucker was his secondary coach at LSU (2000).

“Mel does a great job with the kids. He has a great demeanor. Kids really respect him. They know he’s got a lot of NFL experience,” Smart said. “When you turn on a clip of an NFL drill, eyes pop open a little more.”

Alabama’s other coaching move was to promote Tosh Lupoi to outside linebackers coach, a position he had previously held at California and Washington.

“Coach Tosh, he’s energetic every day,” senior linebacker Denzel Devall said. “There’s not a dull moment. He preaches on doing the right thing every play, looking at the right stuff, eyes at the right thing. Great hand placement. He’s a technician. Effort, energetic guy, you know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him down. Just a great coach.”

What to watch for on offense

Alabama 2015 Offensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
QB Jake Coker Alex Morris Cooper Bateman
RB Derrick Henry Kenyan Drake Damien Harris
WR (X) ArDarius Stewart Parker Barrineau Daylon Charlot
WR (Z) Robert Foster Derek Kief Calvin Ridley
WR (H) Chris Black Richard Mullaney N/A
TE O.J. Howard TY Flournoy-Smith Dakota Ball
LT Cam Robinson Korren Kirven Lester Cotton
LG Ross Pierschbacher Isaac Luatua Richie Petitbon
C Ryan Kelly Bradley Bozeman J.C. Hassenauer
RG Alphonse Taylor Bradley Bozeman Brandon Greene
RT Dominick Jackson Brandon Greene Matt Womack
K Adam Griffith JK Scott Gunnar Raborn
KR/PR Cyrus Jones Chris Black Richard Mullaney

Compiled by the author

Note: Alabama’s official offensive depth chart won’t be released until next week

Losing nine starters would mean disaster for most offenses, but Alabama’s style of play will likely lead to a bigger decrease in its statistics than the turnover in personnel.

With the quarterback competition possibly continuing into the regular season and the offensive line looking like it could be Alabama’s best in years, a bigger emphasis on ball control and the running game is expected.

“Obviously we want to be tough and physical and run the ball,” Kiffin said.

That begins with junior running back Derrick Henry, who ended up leading the Crimson Tide in rushing last season despite not being the starter.


Stacy Revere/Getty Images

For two years Alabama fans have eagerly watched Derrick Henry’s rise up the depth chart to starter.

Listed as 6’3”, 242 pounds, he’s physically similar to Eddie George when he played at Ohio State. At Yulee High School in Florida, he broke Ken Hall’s 51-year-old national rushing record with 12,124 yards after rushing for 4,261 as a senior in 2012.

He’s gone from being a monster of a prospect to playing in 26 career games, for 1,372 career rushing yards (6.6 average per carry) and 17 touchdowns, with six receptions for 194 yards and three more scores.

Complementing him is senior Kenyan Drake, whom Kiffin has described as a Reggie Bush-type player. Alabama will line him up at running back and out wide to exploit mismatches in coverage.

“He has so many things that he does well,” Saban said. “He has great speed. He has very good running skills and running instincts, but he’s a fantastic receiver.”

Although there’s obviously no replacing a wide receiver like Amari Cooper, who set numerous school records last season, ArDarius Stewart will be the primary wide receiver. Coaches hope that sophomore Robert Foster and junior tight end O.J. Howard have breakout seasons, but fans should also keep an eye out for promising true freshman receiver Calvin Ridley.

What to watch for on defense

2013 Alabama Defensive Depth Chart
Position 1st String 2nd String 3rd String
DE Jonathan Allen Dalvin Tomlinson Da’Shawn Hand
NG Jarran Reed Darren Lake Joshua Frazier/O.J. Smith
DE D’Shawn Robinson D.J. Pettway Daron Payne
SLB Denzel Devall Rashaan Evans Christian Miller
MLB Reuben Foster Shaun Dion Hamilton Walker Jones
WLB Reggie Ragland Dillon Lee Keith Holcombe
Jack Ryan Anderson Tim Williams Adonis Thomas/Joshua McMillon
CB Marlon Humphrey Tony Brown Anthony Averett
SS Eddie Jackson Hootie Jones Deionte Thompson
FS Geno Smith Ronnie Harrison Shawn Burgess-Becker
CB Cyrus Jones Minkah Fitzpatrick Kendall Sheffield
Star Maurice Smith Bradley Sylve Jabriel Washington
P JK Scott Alec Morris N/A

Compiled by the author

Note: Alabama’s official defensive depth chart won’t be released until next week 

Led by its front seven, which returned nearly intact, Alabama’s defense hopes to draw comparison to the 2011 unit that led the nation in all four major statistical categories (total, scoring, rushing and pass-efficiency defense).

“That defensive line is a beast,” Henry said. “You’ve got four or five big guys who dominate every play and give it their all every play, and that’s all you can ask from the defensive line.”

Last season, Jarran Reed led the line with 55 tackles, which was the second most by a lineman during the Saban era (Wallace Gilberry in 2007). Thanks to a 15-tackle tally against LSU, which tied former middle linebacker Rolando McClain (vs. Auburn 2007 and Tulane 2008), for the most by an Alabama player under Saban, he edged out A’Shawn Robinson’s 49.

A preseason All-SEC selection, Robinson was once described by Senior Bowl director Phil Savage as a “man-child.” At the other end spot, Jonathan Allen has 49 career tackles with 14.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. An All-SEC selection by media last season, he’s already made 25 starts heading into his junior season. In 2014, he was second in team sacks with 5.5 and had seven hurries.

Meanwhile, Ragland might be the favorite for the Butkus Award after being a semifinalist last season.

“He’s been one of our best playmakers on defense and been one of our most productive players,” Saban said of the unit’s anticipated leader—not just for the linebackers, but the entire defense.

Adding to Alabama’s optimism is that after having issues at cornerback during the past couple of seasons, not only does the Crimson Tide have quality starters there but depth.

Senior Cyrus Jones was named preseason All-SEC while Marlon Humphrey, Tony Brown and Minkah Fitzpatrick hope to start Alabama’s next wave of first-round draft picks among defensive backs similar to Mark Barron, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Kareem Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Dee Milliner.

With coaches using converted cornerbacks Eddie Jackson and Geno Smith at safety, they figure to get a little more help on the edges as well. If so, Alabama should meet its targeted areas for improvement: turnovers, big plays and third-down defense.

Injury news

Alabama Injuries
Player Injury Expected return
Raheem Falkins Leg Unknown
Bo Scarbrough Knee October
Cam Sims Knee Unknown

Compiled by the author

For the most part, Alabama emerged from training camp relatively unscathed in terms of major injuries.

Most notable were a toe injury that cost Coker three days during the heart of camp and a sprained knee to sophomore left tackle Cam Robinson.

“The injury wasn’t serious,” Robinson said. “It just scared me. It wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Although coming out of the spring the biggest concern was the health and depth of the running backs, that changed during training camp to the wide receivers. Junior Chris Black (ankle) and sophomore Robert Foster (sprained knee) both suffered camp injuries, sophomore Cam Sims (ACL) has only recently started practicing and junior Raheem Falkins (leg) is still out.

At running back, senior Kenyan Drake was already coming off last season’s fractured leg and dislocated ankle only to be limited by a hamstring issue during camp. Freshman Bo Scarbrough is coming off a spring knee injury but will be out four games anyway while serving an eligibility suspension in September.

Otherwise, coaches have been cautious with the running backs to try to keep them as fresh as possible entering the season.

At cornerback, Brown (shoulder) and Humphrey (pulled muscle) have been playing through injuries, while offensive tackles Dominick Jackson (shoulder) and Korren Kirven (sprained knee) are expected to be out a few days this week.

X-factor

Alabama’s pack mentality with the defense goes far beyond the players who will be listed as starters, especially with the pass rush. The Crimson Tide have 14 players who were in on a sack in 2014 and all but one of them is back looking for more.

“We have a lot of guys who can contribute,” Ragland said.

While Devall, Ryan Anderson and versatile Dillon Lee figure to be Alabama’s primary outside linebackers, behind them is a bunch of young fast “quick-twitch” players, including sophomore Rashaan Evans, redshirt freshman Christian Miller and junior Tim Williams. All could be poised for a breakout season.

“They always go out there and are always doing 110 percent, flying around, doing everything they can,” Lee said about his talented understudies. “We have people breaking on the ball really fast and are disruptive.”


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama’s ability to pressure the quarterback will likely cause a lot of problems for opponents in 2015.

Ragland believes Williams has the speed and size to top Xzavier Dickson’s nine sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss last season and maybe even lead the nation in sacks if he’s hungry enough.

Although fans shouldn’t expect Alabama to match the numbers that Saban’s teams posted at Michigan State (for example, the 1999 team notched 60 sacks and 119 tackles for a loss), getting more pressure on the quarterback has been a priority and reflected in the latest staff additions of defensive line coach Bo Davis, Tucker and Lupoi.

Before serving as an Alabama analyst last season Lupoi was at Washington, which ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.15) in 2013. One of his former players, outside linebacker Hauoli Kikaha, led college football with 19 sacks in 2014. 

“What he brings to pass rushing and disrupting the pocket is really unbelievable,” Lee said. “Always aggressive.” 

2015 schedule 

Make-or-break games

Alabama 2015 Schedule
Date Opponent Location
Sept. 5 Wisconsin Arlington, Texas
Sept. 12 Middle Tennessee Tuscaloosa
Sept. 19 Ole Miss Tuscaloosa
Sept. 26 Louisiana-Monroe Tuscaloosa
Oct. 3 Georgia Athens, Ga.
Oct. 10 Arkansas Tuscaloosa
Oct. 17 Texas A&M College State, Texas
Oct. 24 Tennessee Tuscaloosa
Oct. 31 Bye
Nov. 7 LSU Tuscaloosa
Nov. 14 Mississippi State Starkville, Miss.
Nov. 21 Charleston Southern Tuscaloosa
Nov. 28 Auburn Auburn, Ala.

Rolltide.com

There are two necessary elements in order to have what’s called a “trap” game: an overlooked opponent aided by timing.

Alabama doesn’t have to worry about that this season because there really aren’t any opponents to overlook. The schedule is that difficult and widely called the toughest in college football.

Going by the preseason Associated Press Poll, the Crimson Tide are slated to face seven different teams that were in the Top 25, in addition to the top two vote-getters among teams not ranked, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. Should they move up, Alabama could be looking at facing nine ranked teams plus potentially playing another in the SEC Championship Game.

Last year, Ohio State faced one ranked opponent during the regular season followed by three more at the end—in the Big Ten title game, the Sugar Bowl and the national championship. The total of four marked the fewest ranked teams a national champion had faced since Texas in 2005.

The record for most ranked opponents faced by a national champion is eight, LSU in 2007. So for Alabama to win the crown this season, it might have to accomplish something that’s never been done in the history of college football.

Nevertheless, Alabama’s schedule is so brutal that no one has to hear a player say they’re going to take it one game at a time because there’s really no other way to approach it.

Alabama opens in the marquee game of Week 1 against Wisconsin in the 2015 AdvoCare Classic at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and two weeks later gets a rematch with the only team that defeated it during the 2014 regular season, Ole Miss.

Things get tougher in October when the Crimson Tide could face four straight ranked opponents: at Georgia, Arkansas, at Texas A&M and Tennessee. November features the usual onslaught of LSU, at Mississippi State (which Alabama knocked from No. 1 last year) and finally at Auburn, which could again determine the division title.

As Saban would say, “It is what it is,” but there’s no doubt that the Crimson Tide will be tested.

Prediction


Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Alabama wants more than another SEC title in 2015.

If Alabama doesn’t have its toughest schedule in program history, it’s definitely on the short list. If it makes the SEC Championship Game, it will probably have played 10 teams that were ranked at some point.

Saban has only had one undefeated team, the 2009 national champions, and the turnover on offense paired with the uncertainly at quarterback makes another unlikely. Yet a strong defense and running game alone make Alabama a strong contender assuming it can avoid key injuries.

If Alabama can get through the regular season with just one loss, it’ll be a shoe-in for the playoffs. The guess here is that it’ll lose two but still represent the West Division in Atlanta, where a win would earn a spot in football’s version of the Final Four.

Overall record: 10-2

League record: 6-2

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

]]>
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