Crimson Tide Zone http://www.crimsontidezone.com Get the Latest News From the University of Alabama Sports Program Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:21:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 M. Basketball. Men’s Basketball Begins Five-Game Homestand Against Stillman on Friday http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-mens-basketball-begins-five-game-homestand-against-stillman-on-friday-79297/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-mens-basketball-begins-five-game-homestand-against-stillman-on-friday-79297/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:21:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/121814aab.html Dec. 18, 2014

                                                                       

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will begin a season-long five-game homestand when the Tide welcomes the Stillman Tigers to Coleman Coliseum on Friday night at 6 p.m. CT.

                               

Friday night's contest will be televised on SECN+, with Jim Dunaway (play-by-play) and Blake Thrasher (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. There will be live updates throughout the game available on Twitter @AlabamaMBB.

                                                               

PROMOTIONS

Christmas Toy Drive: Any fan who brings a new or unwrapped toy to donate will receive free admission to the game. For more information, CLICK HERE.

                         

THE coaches

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is in his sixth season at the helm of the men's basketball program. He owns a record of 105-74 (.587) during his time at the Capstone and is 181-99 (.646) now in his in ninth season as a head coach. Stillman head coach Donte Jackson, who came to the university from Central State University, is in his first season with the Tigers. Now in his fifth season as a head coach, Jackson owns a career record of 72-45 (.615).

 

THE SERIES

Friday night's contest will mark the second game in series history between Stillman and Alabama, both coming in each of the last two seasons. The Tide and Tigers met a year ago in the opening round of the 2013 NIT Season Tipoff, with Alabama taking a 102-65 victory. 

 

MORE ABOUT FRIDAY'S MATCH-UP

Alabama (6-3) and Stillman (4-3) will actually be meeting for the third consecutive year on the hardwood, as the squads met in an exhibition game prior to the start of the 2012-13 season ... Alabama captured a 76-68 victory in Coleman Coliseum in that contest ... Stillman University is located in Tuscaloosa, exactly 3.3 miles (10 minutes) from The University of Alabama ... Stillman is a Division II school and a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) ... the Tigers' Markeith Madison was named the SIAC Preseason Player of the Year,  while Maurice Crenshaw was named to the preseason all-conference team ... the contest will count as an exhibition game for the Tigers.

UP NEXT

Alabama will play its second game in three days when it welcomes Appalachian State on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network. It will be the second contest ever played between the two teams, with the first game coming on Dec. 20, 1986. It will also mark the Tide's final game before Christmas break.

COACH GRANT ON THE STILLMAN GAME

"We're looking forward to getting back onto the court Friday against Stillman. We get to play against a school located within our city and, for us, it's an opportunity to get on the court and compete again. We are looking forward to that challenge.

"Coming off our last game, obviously, we weren't pleased with the outcome. As a team, it's a game that made us better. Going into that environment (and) against that caliber of opponent, we felt like we did a lot of good things. We're not happy with how we finished the game, but our team is certainly beginning to realize what they're capable of.

"You look at the things we're trying to emphasize. It's getting better every day. We feel like we're making strives to do that. From a defensive standpoint, I think we're beginning to understand what we're capable of. Going into (Wichita State) and holding them to 53 points, (which is) 25 below their season average. The things we've talked about from defending, rebounding and a ball security standpoint, we want to continue to improve in those areas.

"At the end of the day, we don't believe in moral victories. Our guys play to win. We're very disappointed that we didn't get the win. I think that we realized that we're nine games in and we want to continue to get better. This next game is an opportunity for us to do that. We're going to take that approach, as we move forward with practice today and preparations for tomorrow."

               

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama (6-3) begins a five-game homestand this weekend with a Friday, Sunday tilt vs. Stillman and Appalachian State, respectively. It will be the longest homestand since playing eight consecutive games at home during the 2008-09 campaign.

• Senior guard Levi Randolph leads Alabama in scoring (17.2 ppg), assists (2.9 apg), steals (1.7) and minutes (34.2 mpg) through the Tide's nine contests. He enters the Stillman game ranking second in the SEC in scoring average and is fifth in free throw shooting (87.3 percent).

• Two other Crimson Tide players average double figures. Junior guard Ricky Tarrant ranks second on the team with 12.7 points per game, while also leading the squad in threes made (15) and attempted (45). Senior guard Rodney Cooper is third on this year's squad with 12.4 ppg this season. He also ranks second on the team in three-point shooting (42.4 percent).

• Sophomore forward Shannon Hale contributes 9.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a contest, while sophomore forward Jimmie Taylor leads the team with 1.6 blocks and 5.3 rebounds per game, while also chipping in with 4.6 points per contest.

• As a team, the Tide is outscoring the opposition by 5.8 points per game (75.1-69.3) through its nine games. Alabama leads the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.777), while also averaging 12.4 assists, 12.0 turnovers and 7.2 steals per game.

 

NOTES FROM ALABAMA-WICHITA STATE GAME

• Alabama led the nation's 11th-ranked team, 51-40, with 6:01 left to play. However, Wichita State, which extended its home winning streak to 23 games - fifth-longest in the country, ended the game on a 13-1 run to pull out an improbable 53-52 victory.

• Sophomore center Jimmie Taylor arguably played the best game of his season, finishing the contest with six points, five rebounds and four blocks. When looking deeper into those numbers, Taylor led the Tide with a +13 in plus/minus statistics as the Tide outscored Wichita State 36-23 when he was in the game. Unfortunately for UA, Taylor was not on the floor during the final four minutes, as he fouled out at the 4:29 mark.

• During the final six minutes, Alabama made four turnovers and went 0-of-4 from the floor. In comparison, Wichita State went 6-of-9 from the field over the same stretch.

• Hale had 13 points off the bench to tie Levi Randolph for the team scoring leaders on the night. It was the first time this season Hale has led the Tide in scoring in a game, while it marked Randolph's fourth time this season he's led UA in that category.

• Alabama's 52 points were a season low, however, the Tide shot 46.5 percent from the floor despite the low scoring output. The Tide also had season lows in free throws made (7) and attempted (12), free throw percentage (.587) and steals (4).

• The Tide had a 25-24 lead at halftime and did not give up the lead until Wichita State's Darius Carter's game-winning dunk with 11 seconds left in the game. In all, the contest featured three lead changes and five ties. In all, Alabama led for 21:53, while Wichita State led for just 14:03 (game was tied for 4:03).

• Wichita State, one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country, outrebounded the Tide on the offensive glass, 12-6. However, the Shockers only had an 8-7 edge on second chance points in the game.

• Alabama held Wichita State, which was averaging 78.1 ppg entering Tuesday's contest, to a season-low 53 points in the losing effort. Prior to the game, the Shockers' season low for points was 68 which they scored in a loss at Utah.

WHO'S HOT?

• Senior guard Rodney Cooper has three 20-point games over the Tide's last six contests. During that span, Cooper is averaging 14.3 points per game, while shooting 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the floor and 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from three-point range.

• Over the last four games, sophomore forward Michael Kessens is collecting 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He also has connected on 13-of-19 (.684) shots from the floor during the three-game stretch.

• Senior guard Levi Randolph is the only Alabama player to score in double figures in all nine contests. In addition, the Madison, Ala., product has recorded five or more rebounds in all but three games this season.

• Shannon Hale came off the bench at Wichita State to account for 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.

VAST IMPROVEMENT ON DEFENSE

• Alabama has tightened up its defense over the last couple of games, allowing 53 points to both Tennessee Tech and Wichita State. Those point totals equal the fewest points the Tide has given up in any game this season.

• During the two-game stretch, Alabama has held the opposition to just 37.6 field goal percentage and 30.3 three-point field goal percentage.

• In comparison, the Tide allowed opponents to average 80.8 points per game in the four games prior to this most recent two-game stretch. Below is a breakdown between the Tide's last two games compared to the four previous (Iowa State, Arizona State, South Florida, Xavier).

Defense In...                       FG% Def.             3FG% Def.           Scoring Defense

Last Two Games               .376                        .303                        53.0

Previous Four Games     .516                        .429                        80.8

 

SECOND HALF TEAM

• Alabama has proven it gets stronger as the game wears on.

• When looking further into the numbers, the Tide's shooting percentages and scoring output gets better as the game progresses, while the opposition's numbers decrease.

• Below is a breakdown of UA's first and second half numbers compared to opponents through the first nine games of the season.

                                                OPP                       OPP                       OPP                                       OPP

                                FG%       FG%       3FG%    3FG%    Reb.       Reb.       Diff.       Points   Points   Diff.

1st Half .423        .441        .315        .408        16.2        16.9        -0.7        35.2        33.2        +2.0

2nd Half               .496        .455        .383        .300        15.8        15.4        +0.4       39.9        36.1        +3.8

 

ANOTHER STRONG NON-CONFERENCE SLATE

• Alabama has opened the season with a 6-3 record while playing against quality competition.

• Alabama has only played one team that currently has a record under .500 (Western Carolina), with five opponents boasting of three or fewer losses on the year.

• Alabama's competition for the year has a combined record of 56-29 (.659).

• Last season, the Tide's non-conference schedule was rated No. 9 in the nation, according to ESPN.com. Alabama has already played the likes of Iowa State (Nov. 24), Arizona State (Nov. 25), South Florida (Dec. 2), Xavier (Dec. 6) and Wichita State (Dec. 16), and a date against UCLA (Dec. 28) looms later this month.

BACKCOURT THREAT

• The backcourt trio of Levi Randolph, Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper is establishing itself as one of the top trips in the SEC.

• Together, Randolph (17.2 ppg), Tarrant (12.7 ppg) and Cooper (12.3) are combining to average 42.2 points per game - approximately 56 percent of the team's 75.1 points per game average.

• The three-headed monster of Randolph, Tarrant and Cooper currently rank as the second-best scoring trio in the SEC (through games of Dec. 17). Below are the top five scoring trios in the SEC.

Trio                                                                                                   Team                     Combined PPG

1. Jordan Mickey (16.3)/Jarell Martin (15.9)/Keith Hornsby (12.7)              LSU                        44.9 ppg

2. Levi Randolph (17.2)/Ricky Tarrant (12.7)/Rodney Cooper (12.3)           Alabama             42.2 ppg

3. Bobby Portis (15.8) /Michael Qualls (14.3)/Anthlon Bell (11.4)                 Arkansas              41.5 ppg

4. Damian Jones (17.2)/Riley Chance (13.6)/Luke Kornet (10.7)                   Vanderbilt           41.5 ppg

5. KT Harrell (17.6)/Cinmeon Bowers (13.0)/Shamsid-Deen (7.4)                 Auburn                 38.0 ppg

 

HOME SWEET HOME

• Now in his sixth seasons at UA, Grant has a record of 77-17 (.819) on Alabama's home floor. During the 2013-14 season, the Tide finished 13-4 at home and outscored teams by an average of 9.5 points a game (73.4-63.8). This year, Alabama is 5-0 in home games and is outscoring the competition by 14.2 points per game (81.2-66.5).

• Dating back to the end of the 2013-14 campaign, the Crimson Tide has won nine straight games at Coleman Coliseum.

• Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 66 of the last 77 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (66-11; .857).

• Overall, Alabama owns a record of 535-120 (.815) in the facility's 47th season of use.

• Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.


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Dec. 18, 2014

                                                                       

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama will begin a season-long five-game homestand when the Tide welcomes the Stillman Tigers to Coleman Coliseum on Friday night at 6 p.m. CT.

                               

Friday night’s contest will be televised on SECN+, with Jim Dunaway (play-by-play) and Blake Thrasher (analyst) on the call. The game can also be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, with Chris Stewart (play-by-play) and Bryan Passink (analyst) calling all the action. There will be live updates throughout the game available on Twitter @AlabamaMBB.

                                                               

PROMOTIONS

Christmas Toy Drive: Any fan who brings a new or unwrapped toy to donate will receive free admission to the game. For more information, CLICK HERE.

                         

THE coaches

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant is in his sixth season at the helm of the men’s basketball program. He owns a record of 105-74 (.587) during his time at the Capstone and is 181-99 (.646) now in his in ninth season as a head coach. Stillman head coach Donte Jackson, who came to the university from Central State University, is in his first season with the Tigers. Now in his fifth season as a head coach, Jackson owns a career record of 72-45 (.615).

 

THE SERIES

Friday night’s contest will mark the second game in series history between Stillman and Alabama, both coming in each of the last two seasons. The Tide and Tigers met a year ago in the opening round of the 2013 NIT Season Tipoff, with Alabama taking a 102-65 victory. 

 

MORE ABOUT FRIDAY’S MATCH-UP

Alabama (6-3) and Stillman (4-3) will actually be meeting for the third consecutive year on the hardwood, as the squads met in an exhibition game prior to the start of the 2012-13 season … Alabama captured a 76-68 victory in Coleman Coliseum in that contest … Stillman University is located in Tuscaloosa, exactly 3.3 miles (10 minutes) from The University of Alabama … Stillman is a Division II school and a member of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) … the Tigers’ Markeith Madison was named the SIAC Preseason Player of the Year,  while Maurice Crenshaw was named to the preseason all-conference team … the contest will count as an exhibition game for the Tigers.

UP NEXT

Alabama will play its second game in three days when it welcomes Appalachian State on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network. It will be the second contest ever played between the two teams, with the first game coming on Dec. 20, 1986. It will also mark the Tide’s final game before Christmas break.

COACH GRANT ON THE STILLMAN GAME

“We’re looking forward to getting back onto the court Friday against Stillman. We get to play against a school located within our city and, for us, it’s an opportunity to get on the court and compete again. We are looking forward to that challenge.

“Coming off our last game, obviously, we weren’t pleased with the outcome. As a team, it’s a game that made us better. Going into that environment (and) against that caliber of opponent, we felt like we did a lot of good things. We’re not happy with how we finished the game, but our team is certainly beginning to realize what they’re capable of.

“You look at the things we’re trying to emphasize. It’s getting better every day. We feel like we’re making strives to do that. From a defensive standpoint, I think we’re beginning to understand what we’re capable of. Going into (Wichita State) and holding them to 53 points, (which is) 25 below their season average. The things we’ve talked about from defending, rebounding and a ball security standpoint, we want to continue to improve in those areas.

“At the end of the day, we don’t believe in moral victories. Our guys play to win. We’re very disappointed that we didn’t get the win. I think that we realized that we’re nine games in and we want to continue to get better. This next game is an opportunity for us to do that. We’re going to take that approach, as we move forward with practice today and preparations for tomorrow.”

               

SCOUTING ALABAMA

• Alabama (6-3) begins a five-game homestand this weekend with a Friday, Sunday tilt vs. Stillman and Appalachian State, respectively. It will be the longest homestand since playing eight consecutive games at home during the 2008-09 campaign.

• Senior guard Levi Randolph leads Alabama in scoring (17.2 ppg), assists (2.9 apg), steals (1.7) and minutes (34.2 mpg) through the Tide’s nine contests. He enters the Stillman game ranking second in the SEC in scoring average and is fifth in free throw shooting (87.3 percent).

• Two other Crimson Tide players average double figures. Junior guard Ricky Tarrant ranks second on the team with 12.7 points per game, while also leading the squad in threes made (15) and attempted (45). Senior guard Rodney Cooper is third on this year’s squad with 12.4 ppg this season. He also ranks second on the team in three-point shooting (42.4 percent).

• Sophomore forward Shannon Hale contributes 9.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a contest, while sophomore forward Jimmie Taylor leads the team with 1.6 blocks and 5.3 rebounds per game, while also chipping in with 4.6 points per contest.

• As a team, the Tide is outscoring the opposition by 5.8 points per game (75.1-69.3) through its nine games. Alabama leads the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.777), while also averaging 12.4 assists, 12.0 turnovers and 7.2 steals per game.

 

NOTES FROM ALABAMA-WICHITA STATE GAME

• Alabama led the nation’s 11th-ranked team, 51-40, with 6:01 left to play. However, Wichita State, which extended its home winning streak to 23 games – fifth-longest in the country, ended the game on a 13-1 run to pull out an improbable 53-52 victory.

• Sophomore center Jimmie Taylor arguably played the best game of his season, finishing the contest with six points, five rebounds and four blocks. When looking deeper into those numbers, Taylor led the Tide with a +13 in plus/minus statistics as the Tide outscored Wichita State 36-23 when he was in the game. Unfortunately for UA, Taylor was not on the floor during the final four minutes, as he fouled out at the 4:29 mark.

• During the final six minutes, Alabama made four turnovers and went 0-of-4 from the floor. In comparison, Wichita State went 6-of-9 from the field over the same stretch.

• Hale had 13 points off the bench to tie Levi Randolph for the team scoring leaders on the night. It was the first time this season Hale has led the Tide in scoring in a game, while it marked Randolph’s fourth time this season he’s led UA in that category.

• Alabama’s 52 points were a season low, however, the Tide shot 46.5 percent from the floor despite the low scoring output. The Tide also had season lows in free throws made (7) and attempted (12), free throw percentage (.587) and steals (4).

• The Tide had a 25-24 lead at halftime and did not give up the lead until Wichita State’s Darius Carter’s game-winning dunk with 11 seconds left in the game. In all, the contest featured three lead changes and five ties. In all, Alabama led for 21:53, while Wichita State led for just 14:03 (game was tied for 4:03).

• Wichita State, one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country, outrebounded the Tide on the offensive glass, 12-6. However, the Shockers only had an 8-7 edge on second chance points in the game.

• Alabama held Wichita State, which was averaging 78.1 ppg entering Tuesday’s contest, to a season-low 53 points in the losing effort. Prior to the game, the Shockers’ season low for points was 68 which they scored in a loss at Utah.

WHO’S HOT?

• Senior guard Rodney Cooper has three 20-point games over the Tide’s last six contests. During that span, Cooper is averaging 14.3 points per game, while shooting 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the floor and 45.8 percent (11-of-24) from three-point range.

• Over the last four games, sophomore forward Michael Kessens is collecting 7.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He also has connected on 13-of-19 (.684) shots from the floor during the three-game stretch.

• Senior guard Levi Randolph is the only Alabama player to score in double figures in all nine contests. In addition, the Madison, Ala., product has recorded five or more rebounds in all but three games this season.

• Shannon Hale came off the bench at Wichita State to account for 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.

VAST IMPROVEMENT ON DEFENSE

• Alabama has tightened up its defense over the last couple of games, allowing 53 points to both Tennessee Tech and Wichita State. Those point totals equal the fewest points the Tide has given up in any game this season.

• During the two-game stretch, Alabama has held the opposition to just 37.6 field goal percentage and 30.3 three-point field goal percentage.

• In comparison, the Tide allowed opponents to average 80.8 points per game in the four games prior to this most recent two-game stretch. Below is a breakdown between the Tide’s last two games compared to the four previous (Iowa State, Arizona State, South Florida, Xavier).

Defense In…                       FG% Def.             3FG% Def.           Scoring Defense

Last Two Games               .376                        .303                        53.0

Previous Four Games     .516                        .429                        80.8

 

SECOND HALF TEAM

• Alabama has proven it gets stronger as the game wears on.

• When looking further into the numbers, the Tide’s shooting percentages and scoring output gets better as the game progresses, while the opposition’s numbers decrease.

• Below is a breakdown of UA’s first and second half numbers compared to opponents through the first nine games of the season.

                                                OPP                       OPP                       OPP                                       OPP

                                FG%       FG%       3FG%    3FG%    Reb.       Reb.       Diff.       Points   Points   Diff.

1st Half .423        .441        .315        .408        16.2        16.9        -0.7        35.2        33.2        +2.0

2nd Half               .496        .455        .383        .300        15.8        15.4        +0.4       39.9        36.1        +3.8

 

ANOTHER STRONG NON-CONFERENCE SLATE

• Alabama has opened the season with a 6-3 record while playing against quality competition.

• Alabama has only played one team that currently has a record under .500 (Western Carolina), with five opponents boasting of three or fewer losses on the year.

• Alabama’s competition for the year has a combined record of 56-29 (.659).

• Last season, the Tide’s non-conference schedule was rated No. 9 in the nation, according to ESPN.com. Alabama has already played the likes of Iowa State (Nov. 24), Arizona State (Nov. 25), South Florida (Dec. 2), Xavier (Dec. 6) and Wichita State (Dec. 16), and a date against UCLA (Dec. 28) looms later this month.

BACKCOURT THREAT

• The backcourt trio of Levi Randolph, Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper is establishing itself as one of the top trips in the SEC.

• Together, Randolph (17.2 ppg), Tarrant (12.7 ppg) and Cooper (12.3) are combining to average 42.2 points per game – approximately 56 percent of the team’s 75.1 points per game average.

• The three-headed monster of Randolph, Tarrant and Cooper currently rank as the second-best scoring trio in the SEC (through games of Dec. 17). Below are the top five scoring trios in the SEC.

Trio                                                                                                   Team                     Combined PPG

1. Jordan Mickey (16.3)/Jarell Martin (15.9)/Keith Hornsby (12.7)              LSU                        44.9 ppg

2. Levi Randolph (17.2)/Ricky Tarrant (12.7)/Rodney Cooper (12.3)           Alabama             42.2 ppg

3. Bobby Portis (15.8) /Michael Qualls (14.3)/Anthlon Bell (11.4)                 Arkansas              41.5 ppg

4. Damian Jones (17.2)/Riley Chance (13.6)/Luke Kornet (10.7)                   Vanderbilt           41.5 ppg

5. KT Harrell (17.6)/Cinmeon Bowers (13.0)/Shamsid-Deen (7.4)                 Auburn                 38.0 ppg

 

HOME SWEET HOME

• Now in his sixth seasons at UA, Grant has a record of 77-17 (.819) on Alabama’s home floor. During the 2013-14 season, the Tide finished 13-4 at home and outscored teams by an average of 9.5 points a game (73.4-63.8). This year, Alabama is 5-0 in home games and is outscoring the competition by 14.2 points per game (81.2-66.5).

• Dating back to the end of the 2013-14 campaign, the Crimson Tide has won nine straight games at Coleman Coliseum.

• Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Grant has won 66 of the last 77 games played under the arched roof of Coleman Coliseum (66-11; .857).

• Overall, Alabama owns a record of 535-120 (.815) in the facility’s 47th season of use.

• Grant also led UA to 24 straight home victories that spanned the final home game of the 2009-10 season through the beginning of the 2011-12 season.


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Alabama Football: Jalston Fowler the Ultimate Unsung Hero During Tide Career http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-football-jalston-fowler-the-ultimate-unsung-hero-during-tide-career-79279/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-football-jalston-fowler-the-ultimate-unsung-hero-during-tide-career-79279/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:09:34 +0000 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2304256-alabama-football-jalston-fowler-the-ultimate-unsung-hero-during-tide-career
Alabama Football: Jalston Fowler the Ultimate Unsung Hero During Tide Career

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There was a time when Jalston Fowler thought none of this would be possible.

After sustaining a knee injury against Western Kentucky in the second game of the 2012 season, Alabama’s big, bruising running back considered leaving football altogether, with a painful rehab in front of him.

“I mean, back when I was in a relationship with my girlfriend, she had to just keep me going, keep me positive through the whole thing,” Fowler remembers over two years later. “Family and friends, too. Now that I look back on it, I'm happy that I didn't.”

Butch Dill/Associated Press

Now, Fowler—or “Nudie,” as Alabama coach Nick Saban and his teammates call him—is one of the most versatile players on the Alabama offense. The ever-smiling Fowler is a fan favorite who was voted a team captain by his teammates. The Prichard, Alabama, native earned his master’s degree over the weekend.

He’s been the unsung hero for Alabama during his career, and his story is one that has even made Saban reflect on his famous “process.”

“When I see guys like Jalston Fowler who have matured and progressed here from sort of being a young guy coming in that had a lot of ability but now has matured into a fine young man who has graduated, has goals and aspirations for himself, does things the right way, affects other people in the right way, that’s what makes me believe the process works,” Saban said before the 2014 season.

“When you have guys that haven’t been in the program that make some mistakes, do the wrong thing, you get frustrated. But when you see the guys that have been here and gone through it, you see how they’ve matured through the years and what they’ve become, it really makes me feel like, ‘Hey, the process works.’”

Fowler was recruited to Alabama as a running back, but carrying the ball won’t be what he’s remembered for.

In 2013, his first season back from his knee injury, then-offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier used him primarily as a fullback and an H-back. He was a lead blocker for T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake but was at his most effective as a receiver.

Eric Gay/Associated Press

His signature play was a play-action swing pass on the goal line that he executed to perfection. He caught a touchdown against Texas A&M in 2013 that sealed the win in one of the biggest games of that college football season.

Fowler’s stat line from that year reads seven catches for 15 yards...and five touchdowns.

When Lane Kiffin was hired, he—like he has for so many players on this roster—found even more creative ways to use the 6’1”, 248-pound Fowler’s talents.

Fowler has lined up just about everywhere on the field except under center.

He’s carried the ball a handful of times. He’s played the fullback/H-back role, lead-blocking again for Alabama’s stable of running backs. His signature play hasn’t gone anywhere, catching two scores on the goal line.

But Fowler has been split out wide on a number of occasions. It’s mostly been as a decoy or as a blocker on screens for faster players like Amari Cooper or DeAndrew White.

Take this stat from TideSports.com’s D.C. Reeves from the SEC Championship Game:

Jalston Fowler lined up wide or in the slot 8 times in the first quarter. Just waiting for that vertical TD bomb in the national title game.

— D.C. Reeves (@_DCReeves) December 8, 2014

So it’s clear that Kiffin has found a multitude of uses for Fowler. In the spirit of Christmas, Kiffin, as Fowler explains, is “just having a little bit of fun with the offense, with all his toys.”

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So which toy is Fowler?

“I'm the big dump truck,” he says, once again flashing that contagious smile.

Fowler hasn’t made the eye-opening plays that Cooper or Yeldon routinely make, but he’s beloved by his teammates all the same.

He’s played a small role for a big guy but a role that has been critical nonetheless. And he’s earned recognition from his teammates because of it.

Jalston's a great teammate, great leader,” Derrick Henry said. “When we get in the game, it's easy for him. It's nothing he can't do. That's what we expect out of him.”

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Alabama Football: Jalston Fowler the Ultimate Unsung Hero During Tide Career

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — There was a time when Jalston Fowler thought none of this would be possible.

After sustaining a knee injury against Western Kentucky in the second game of the 2012 season, Alabama’s big, bruising running back considered leaving football altogether, with a painful rehab in front of him.

“I mean, back when I was in a relationship with my girlfriend, she had to just keep me going, keep me positive through the whole thing,” Fowler remembers over two years later. “Family and friends, too. Now that I look back on it, I’m happy that I didn’t.”


Butch Dill/Associated Press

Now, Fowler—or “Nudie,” as Alabama coach Nick Saban and his teammates call him—is one of the most versatile players on the Alabama offense. The ever-smiling Fowler is a fan favorite who was voted a team captain by his teammates. The Prichard, Alabama, native earned his master’s degree over the weekend.

He’s been the unsung hero for Alabama during his career, and his story is one that has even made Saban reflect on his famous “process.”

“When I see guys like Jalston Fowler who have matured and progressed here from sort of being a young guy coming in that had a lot of ability but now has matured into a fine young man who has graduated, has goals and aspirations for himself, does things the right way, affects other people in the right way, that’s what makes me believe the process works,” Saban said before the 2014 season.

“When you have guys that haven’t been in the program that make some mistakes, do the wrong thing, you get frustrated. But when you see the guys that have been here and gone through it, you see how they’ve matured through the years and what they’ve become, it really makes me feel like, ‘Hey, the process works.’”

Fowler was recruited to Alabama as a running back, but carrying the ball won’t be what he’s remembered for.

In 2013, his first season back from his knee injury, then-offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier used him primarily as a fullback and an H-back. He was a lead blocker for T.J. Yeldon and Kenyan Drake but was at his most effective as a receiver.


Eric Gay/Associated Press

His signature play was a play-action swing pass on the goal line that he executed to perfection. He caught a touchdown against Texas A&M in 2013 that sealed the win in one of the biggest games of that college football season.

Fowler’s stat line from that year reads seven catches for 15 yards…and five touchdowns.

When Lane Kiffin was hired, he—like he has for so many players on this roster—found even more creative ways to use the 6’1”, 248-pound Fowler’s talents.

Fowler has lined up just about everywhere on the field except under center.

He’s carried the ball a handful of times. He’s played the fullback/H-back role, lead-blocking again for Alabama’s stable of running backs. His signature play hasn’t gone anywhere, catching two scores on the goal line.

But Fowler has been split out wide on a number of occasions. It’s mostly been as a decoy or as a blocker on screens for faster players like Amari Cooper or DeAndrew White.

Take this stat from TideSports.com’s D.C. Reeves from the SEC Championship Game:

So it’s clear that Kiffin has found a multitude of uses for Fowler. In the spirit of Christmas, Kiffin, as Fowler explains, is “just having a little bit of fun with the offense, with all his toys.”


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So which toy is Fowler?

“I’m the big dump truck,” he says, once again flashing that contagious smile.

Fowler hasn’t made the eye-opening plays that Cooper or Yeldon routinely make, but he’s beloved by his teammates all the same.

He’s played a small role for a big guy but a role that has been critical nonetheless. And he’s earned recognition from his teammates because of it.

Jalston‘s a great teammate, great leader,” Derrick Henry said. “When we get in the game, it’s easy for him. It’s nothing he can’t do. That’s what we expect out of him.”

 

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Baseball. 9 Innings with Coach Gaspard http://www.crimsontidezone.com/baseball-9-innings-with-coach-gaspard-79299/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/baseball-9-innings-with-coach-gaspard-79299/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 15:52:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/121814aaa.html
Dec. 18, 2014

This is the second inning of my blog, “9 Innings”, which will be featured on RollTide.com. My purpose for writing this is to allow fans an inside look into the Alabama baseball program. When I thought of putting this blog out, I wanted to be sure that each installment would cover a wide range of topics, giving fans an inside look at things that only people close to the program can personally provide. I feel responsible for making sure that people involved with the program, past and present, are well-represented as we move forward together and continue to grow the Alabama baseball tradition.

The weather is changing, the semester has ended and the holiday season is nearing. As we move towards time with our family members and loved ones, I wanted to let you in on what family means to me, including my immediate family but also the Alabama baseball family. This program has a storied past with a bright future ahead, but I feel like our history and those that are a part of it mean just as much to Alabama baseball as those that will come along in the years ahead.

Crimson Tide Pros

I am so proud of the past players from this program who spent time in the majors this past year. It’s always great to see our former players succeed on the biggest stage, and it means a lot to me knowing that they represent this program at the highest level. Guys like Tommy Hunter, Jimmy Nelson and Wade LeBlanc all saw time with Major League Baseball teams that were in playoff contention during the 2014 season. Many of our other former players had success in the minors as they work their way up to the big show. For example, Taylor Dugas, who played at Alabama from 2009-12, had an excellent season in the minors for the Yankees. Dugas began 2014 in Double-A but eventually made his way to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he hit a solid .305 (53-174) with 17 RBI, 17 runs scored and 24 total walks over 57 contests for the Rail Riders.

One of the things I’m most proud of are the men who work their way to the MLB and then cement themselves in the starting lineup day in and day out. Guys like Alex Avila, Josh Rutledge and David Robertson are perfect examples of what I mean – players who can really get after it to put in the hard work, show what they’re worth to a club and make themselves valuable to a big league team. All three of them have been pretty active this offseason.

Avila finished 2014 with the Detroit Tigers, completing his sixth season the team’s primary backstop. The Tigers held a club option on Alex to keep him in Detroit for one more season, and they exercised that option on November 17, ensuring that the former All-Star and Silver Slugger would remain in Motown.

Rutledge proved his worth to clubs last season after he helped stabilize the Colorado Rockies’ infield following a season-ending injury to perennial All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Although Josh had huge shoes to fill, he made sure to help out wherever he could, playing second, short and third, as needed, across 105 games. His versatility and exceptional defensive skills made him a hot commodity at this season’s Winter Meetings, where he was eventually traded for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and will likely get a chance to start for the Halos come spring training.

Robertson has made a name for himself after taking on one of the hardest challenges in all of baseball: replacing a New York Yankee legend. David came on as the Yankees’ primary closer last season following the departure of all-time great Mariano Rivera, and established himself as one of the game’s top closers. Throughout the 2014 season, he maintained a 3.08 ERA and collected 39 saves. Known for his ability to hold a lead, Robertson decided to try his hand at free agency and that move paid off for him. The Chicago White Sox took note of David’s efforts during his time in the Bronx and signed the righty to a four-year, $46 million contract, which is the highest-paying deal an Alabama baseball alum has ever signed.

Regardless of the level of play or the amount of success guys have, anyone who came from this program represents us in a class way once they leave Tuscaloosa and I’m proud of that. The Alabama way and tradition that is a part of this program is something that means a lot to me, and I know this city, University and team mean a lot to our former guys. Many of them continue to come back regularly each year.

Former Players Return to the Capstone

Just as recently as November, those same guys who were a part of major off-seasons were right back here in Tuscaloosa. Robertson came back on November 21 to help give some hope to a veteran in Tuscaloosa. Through High Socks for Hope – a charity that he created to help with tornado relief efforts following the devastating storm that ripped through Tuscaloosa on April 27, 2011 – David helped furnish an apartment at Valor Grove, a new transitional housing complex for homeless military veterans. With his donation, he helped change the life of someone who served our country, and it’s acts of kindness like this that make me proud to call David a member of the Alabama baseball family.

Following David’s visit, Avila and Rutledge returned to Tuscaloosa for the Iron Bowl. While here, both guys took some time out of their busy weekend to film a few quick videos to help sell tickets for this year’s 2015 team. Both were kind enough to find a couple of minutes to help out this year’s squad, a bunch of players they have never met, just because they know how much it means to the success of the program going forward. Helping out the whole program no matter the circumstances is what family is all about. Having that Alabama spirit and heart that has been preached over the years is what makes this program so great.

I’ve been lucky enough to partner up these past few years with former Alabama players in my offices and in the dugout, alumni who get what that “Alabama” across the jersey truly means. These coaches and personnel are the people who I consider my “family” that I get to come and work with each day. There is no one person or era that represents Alabama baseball; it’s a community of all the players from all eras that make up this great program.

My Baseball Family

Our entire baseball staff have very close ties to one another. As an assistant coach at the Capstone from 1995-2001, I was able to coach Dax Norris (1995-1996) and Andy Phillips (1996-1999), two guys who were All-American, standout players. That group of players we had here in the `90s had a lot of success and led us to three College World Series appearances. I saw the pride and passion those two had for the University, and when I returned in 2008 and became the head coach in 2009, having Dax and Andy alongside as assistants was a key to making sure we continued to preach the Alabama way. The other day, Dax told me that playing at Alabama was a dream come true for him as a player, and now we as coaches have the opportunity to show our players what it means to represent Alabama baseball. I know Andy feels the same way. Even after all his accomplishments as a professional, he still talks about how the great pride he took in representing Alabama as a player.

With some recent vacancies, I decided that I wanted to bring on more former Crimson Tide players who had a passion for the University and Alabama baseball. Nathan Kilcrease (2008-11) and David Kindred (2010-11) are just two more extensions of this Alabama staff that I am comfortable with because I know what their time here meant to them. In my first year as a head coach at Alabama, I had the opportunity to coach Nathan and David as players. Nathan was a standout pitcher who now serves as our volunteer assistant coach, and David was a key positional player in the lineup who is currently our director of baseball operations. Each day, both guys came to practice and put in the work that we expect while doing everything we asked of them. Their attitude and motivation is what made me want to bring them back to be a part of this family, and all of these coaches and staff are guys I am proud to work with.

The attitude and work ethic we bring to the office and field each day is something that we try to instill in our players. We want to build a culture with the new guys that helps them to not only recognize this program’s past, but also to create their own future. We’re always trying to build this team and help the guys mesh into one big family. From our yearly Christmas party to all the charity work we do in the offseason, each thing we do, we do as a unit. To me, building a belief in one another can create a strong bond within the team and help us to mold ourselves into a product anyone would be proud of. This whole staff understands that moving forward, the expectations and legacy of former players means a lot to this program, and continuing to stay connected with them is key. I believe we are all a part of this family, and I want our current guys to take ownership of this opportunity that they have to make their mark in Alabama baseball history.

Progress on the New Stadium

As we move forward with the development of the new baseball facilities, my staff and I hope that we can find ways to include anyone and everyone in the future that lies ahead. The construction outside continues each day, and the progress has become obvious. Moving into the winter break, our brand new hitting facility looks near complete. January 15, 2015, is our target date for the building’s completion. It is on that date that we should be ready as a team for indoor activities. The new facility will provide us with four lanes – one for pitching and three for hitting – while also giving us a game day workout area and new team offices. The multi-functional facility will feature retractable netting to allow for team gatherings and other functions to be hosted inside the structure, and we know that this new piece of the campus will only add to the beauty of Tuscaloosa and The University of Alabama.

The hitting facility is something that is not commonly seen at other college baseball stadiums. It is something that will provide us an edge in recruiting, in ticket sales and most of all in preparation to become the best possible team we can be. Our preparation is key and this hitting facility will give us a head start on the season as the weather gets colder. I have seen what these guys can do, and I can only hope that fans will get to witness those special things as well. I want you, the fans, to become a part of this Alabama baseball family. Although we will be in Hoover, nothing will change about the way our players play the game and the energy we bring to the field. This team will provide entertainment, playing each night with a passion and determination that is unparalleled. I ask that the fans come be a part of this team and help in creating an atmosphere around Alabama baseball that makes a special experience for the players, while also demanding respect from the other teams each time they come to visit Alabama.

Happy Holidays!

Now that the fall semester has finally come to a close, the baseball season seems right around the corner. Before things get too wild with the new baseball year, I am most looking forward to taking some time off and spending this holiday season with my family at home. My wife Kim, along with my two daughters Brae and Paeton, mean the world to me. Although the Alabama baseball family is close to my heart, nothing can ever take the place of the ones I love the most. I hope that you, too, share these same feelings about your family, and get to have a joy filled holiday. Please take advantage of your time with loved ones this holiday season, and be sure to remember how blessed you are to have all those people in your life. I am thankful each and every day for the people that have come into my life, and I hope that you are too.

Please be safe as we move into the New Year. Nothing is more exciting than the new era of Alabama baseball that is upon us. This next season and following year will be nothing short of amazing, and I cannot wait to share it all with you. From my family at Alabama baseball as well as the Gaspard’s, happy holidays and Roll Tide!


GaspSig


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M. Basketball. Men’s Basketball Toy Drive Set For Friday vs. Stillman http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-mens-basketball-toy-drive-set-for-friday-vs-stillman-79301/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/m-basketball-mens-basketball-toy-drive-set-for-friday-vs-stillman-79301/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:46:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/121714aab.html Dec. 17, 2014

                                                                                                                

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama men's basketball team will have a Christmas Toy Drive for Friday's contest against Stillman. Friday's contest is set to tipoff at 6 p.m. CT at Coleman Coliseum.

                                                                  

Any fan who brings a new or unwrapped toy to donate will receive free admission to the game. Fans can drop the donation off at the Coleman Coliseum box office any time between 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 and will receive a ticket for the game in return. Fans can also bring a donation to Friday's game and enter through the North entrance where they will be given a redeemable ticket.

In addition to Friday's Christmas Toy Drive, Sunday's game vs. Appalachian State will also serve as Youth Night. All youth (ages 18 and under) will be charged just $1 tickets. Fans can access this by using the promo code MBBYOU.

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

                                                                                                               


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Dec. 17, 2014

                                                                                                                

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team will have a Christmas Toy Drive for Friday’s contest against Stillman. Friday’s contest is set to tipoff at 6 p.m. CT at Coleman Coliseum.

                                                                  

Any fan who brings a new or unwrapped toy to donate will receive free admission to the game. Fans can drop the donation off at the Coleman Coliseum box office any time between 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 and will receive a ticket for the game in return. Fans can also bring a donation to Friday’s game and enter through the North entrance where they will be given a redeemable ticket.

In addition to Friday’s Christmas Toy Drive, Sunday’s game vs. Appalachian State will also serve as Youth Night. All youth (ages 18 and under) will be charged just $1 tickets. Fans can access this by using the promo code MBBYOU.

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

                                                                                                               


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The Battle Plan http://www.crimsontidezone.com/the-battle-plan-11-79273/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/the-battle-plan-11-79273/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:26:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/genrel/121714aaa.html Dec. 17, 2014

A Salute to Dr. Bonner

As many of you are likely aware, I heard the news on Wednesday afternoon that University of Alabama President Dr. Judy Bonner has decided to step down from her post by September of 2015. In Dr. Bonner, the University of Alabama has a rare person - a strong leader who also has the heart of a servant. I have been extremely fortunate to work for her as Director of Athletics these past 21 months. She is a woman who commands respect, not by the mere force of her personality, but by the dignity, class and thoughtfulness that she brings to any conversation. While I will miss having her as my President, I am glad to see that she plans to remain at the Capstone in the coming years. Her advice, counsel and support has been infinitely vital to our continued success in fulfilling our mission.

Taking Student-Athlete Wellness to New Levels

I was very pleased and proud to learn recently that the NCAA's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, has selected our athletic department's Behavioral Medicine/Mental Health program as one of three model programs in the nation that are administered by universities to be used as an example and standard for best practices in these areas. Dr. Hainline has visited numerous campuses and has deemed our athletic department as one of three in the nation to have what he describes as "exceptional mental health programs for student-athletes."

As you've no doubt been aware in recent months, the subject of student-athlete wellness is a hot-button issue in all levels of athletics. All of us here at the University of Alabama are aware of the many challenges that are prevalent in the lives of the modern-day student-athlete. Behavioral medicine is one of the chief areas of care in which we have devoted staffing and emphasis over the last several years. In our Department of Athletics, behavioral medicine encompasses areas of student-athlete mental health, substance abuse, crisis intervention, domestic violence, and other behaviors that may cause harm to self or others.

Headed by our Director of Behavioral Medicine, Ginger Gilmore, we are fortunate to have a Behavioral Medicine Team that includes Director of Sports Medicine Jeff Allen; Head Team Physician Dr. James Robinson; two psychiatrists (Dr. Stephen Bonner and Dr. Alicia Austin); a psychologist (Dr. Bhrett McCabe); three family counselors (Suzette Smaller, Susan Goertz and Greg Evans); and five addiction therapists (Chuck Wint, Erin Hinz, Hilary Weaver Beatty, Hannah Williams and Randall Campbell).

Our athletic department operates "in house" by way of Ginger Gilmore, who serves as the conduit for informational input from self-referrals of student-athletes in need or distress, or input from awareness by teammates, coaches and staff members. The goal of our program is for each student-athlete to create an awareness of behavioral health concerns in the athletic environment. Awareness leads to identification of sub-clinical or clinical issues. Identification then becomes intervention in a way that is confidential and highly sensitive for the individual who is struggling. Intervention then moves into treatment involving our team of behavioral medicine professionals.

Last week, Dr. Hainline initiated a conference call with Ginger and behavioral medicine directors from the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. He feels that there is a need to share these best practices with every school in the NCAA to develop more insight into the area of behavioral medicine and mental health programming, thus building a bridge for mutual support among all institutions in collegiate athletics.

Our Behavioral Medicine Team is pioneering this process by developing programming, individual treatment plans, and daily care of our student-athletes. Ginger hopes to continue to refine processes and learn as new challenges develop with student-athletes. She and her team are working with the best professionals in the areas of psychiatry, psychology, counseling, testing and substance abuse to work with our student-athletes. We are blessed to have such people available to care for them.

In discussing this programming with Ginger and Jeff, it is clear to me just how vital it is that we continue to bring an awareness of behavioral and mental health concerns to our athletic department. Initiating an awareness of behavioral and mental health opens the door for athlete self-referral, as well as facilitating the recognition of red flags when a teammate is in distress. Once awareness is fully established, our department can work together with teammates, coaches, and support staff to offer help to those who are struggling.

We are fortunate and blessed to have developed the program that currently is in place for our student-athletes, and I am extremely proud of Ginger, Jeff and our entire team in this effort. They are making a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes well beyond the classroom and the competitive arena. In doing so, they are bringing further distinction to our University through their innovative approach to this growing area of concern.

Campus Smoke-Free Policy Takes Effect on January 1

As we approach the start of a new year, I want to make you aware of a new campus-wide policy that could affect and, hopefully, enhance your experience at our athletics events. Beginning January 1, the University of Alabama will become a "smoke-free" campus, including all of our athletic facilities. The University is instituting this as part of an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, will be prohibited in all facilities, grounds and parking areas on the UA campus.

This is the latest step in a long-standing policy prohibiting smoking inside University buildings and limiting smoking areas outside buildings. The Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, the Office, Clerical and Technical Assembly, the Black Faculty/Staff Association and the UA Association of Residential Communities have passed resolutions in support of a smoke-free campus. The policy is designed to protect the UA community from the dangers of second-hand smoke, promote a healthier environment and reduce the problem of littering and the risk of accidental fires due to discarded cigarettes.

The University is confident that both smokers and non-smokers will be cooperative, responsible and understanding during this time of transition as the campus-wide policy takes effect. By instituting this policy, our University joins more than 1,400 colleges and universities across the country that have become smoke-free.

22 Student-Athletes Receive Diplomas at Winter Commencement

Twenty-two Crimson Tide student-athletes received their degrees last Saturday at winter commencement in Coleman Coliseum, including 14 members of the Crimson Tide's 2014 Southeastern Conference champion football team. Seven football student-athletes (All-SEC linebacker Trey Depriest, Christion Jones, D.J. Pettway, Malcolm Faciane, Isaac Luatua, Leon Brown and Josh Dickerson) earned bachelor's degrees. Seven others (All-SEC offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio, Jalston Fowler, All-SEC offensive lineman Austin Shepherd, Brian Vogler, Nick Perry, Daniel Geddes and MK Taylor) earned their master's degrees.

Arie Kouandjio, who was named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American earlier this month, leads the list of 22 Crimson Tide players who will have their degrees in hand when Alabama takes the field against Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Seven-time All-America gymnast Diandra Milliner, a member of our 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship squads, the 2013 NCAA vault champion and seven-time All-American, received her degree, as did All-American swimmer Vlad Caciuc. Swimmers Hunter Hinson, Stephanie Kinsey and George Wong, Hannah Merrill (rowing), Caitlin Bernardin (volleyball) and Claire Turner (track and field) also received their diplomas.

That's an impressive group of student-athletes, young men and women who have applied themselves in the classroom and in competition. They have made the most of the opportunities that college athletics provides while giving us all plenty to be proud. I want to pass along my personal congratulations to each one of them, as well as to their parents and families.

Amazing Amari Earns a National Honor

Our incredible junior wide receiver, Amari Cooper, is the winner of the 2014 Biletnikoff Award as the outstanding receiver in college football regardless of position. That honor is richly deserved and comes as no surprise to any of us who have watched him wear the Alabama uniform over the last three seasons. Last weekend, Amari was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, finishing third in the voting and representing our University and our football team in a classy and dignified manner throughout the week.

Amari has handled himself with dignity, class, and humility throughout his career at Alabama. I have been especially impressed with how he has handled success all season and especially during the recent Biletnikoff and Heisman Award ceremonies. We are grateful for his contributions to Alabama on and off the field.

Sports Updates

• Coach Anthony Grant's MEN'S BASKETBALL team is 6-3 on the season after a win over Tennessee Tech (recap here) last Saturday night in Coleman Coliseum and a tough loss at 11th-ranked Wichita State (recap here) on Tuesday night. Our team this year is very different from last year's team. I was impressed with our effort and ability in an extremely difficult environment at Wichita State, and believe that experience will make us better in the future. The Tide hosts two games this weekend - on Friday against Stillman (6 p.m. tipoff) and on Sunday against Appalachian State (6:30 p.m. tipoff) - before taking a week off for the holidays and hosting UCLA on Sunday, Dec. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

• Coach Kristy Curry's WOMEN'S BASKETBALL team stands 9-4 this season after a disappointing loss to Mercer (recap here) on Sunday at Foster Auditorium and a win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (recap here) on Tuesday in Coleman Coliseum. More than 4,200 attended Tuesday's game against UAPB, many of them very excited fifth graders from around Tuscaloosa who came to lend their very vocal support to our team as part of our annual Fifth Grade Fastbreak game.

• Two members of Coach Ed Allen's VOLLEYBALL team - junior setter Sierra Wilson and redshirt sophomore right side hitter Krystal Rivers - have been named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, with Sierra named to the First Team and Krystal named to the Third Team (read more here). This is the first time in the program's history to have multiple Academic All-Americans and these two outstanding young ladies are our first volleyball honorees since 2001. This season, Alabama is the only SEC school to produce volleyball Academic All-Americans, and just one of two schools in the `Power Five' conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to place a student-athlete on the first team, along with Washington's Krista Vansant, who was named the Academic All-American of the Year. Sierra has a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) as an english and political science major and is the only junior on the first team and one of just four Academic All-Americans who are not seniors. Krystal has a 3.98 GPA as a biology major.

Upcoming Events

Here's a summary of athletics events over the next several days (times listed are for the location of the event):

Wednesday, December 17

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
All Day Diving at LSU Diving Invitational Baton Rouge, La.

Thursday, December 18

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
All Day Diving at LSU Diving Invitational Baton Rouge, La.

Friday, December 19

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
6 p.m. CT Men's Basketball Stillman Coleman Coliseum

Sunday, December 21

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
2 p.m. CT Women's Basketball New Orleans Foster Auditorium
6:30 p.m. CT Men's Basketball Appalachian State Coleman Coliseum

Sunday, December 28

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
2 p.m. CT Women's Basketball Mississippi Valley State Foster Auditorium
5:30 p.m. CT Men's Basketball UCLA Coleman Coliseum

Catch Alabama Athletics on The SEC Network

Here's a summary of our athletic events to be televised over the next week on The SEC Network and its platforms. Read this schedule closely as some events can be seen via SEC Network +, which is available online via ESPN3 here. If you can't make it to our games in person, catch us on radio or TV.

(All times listed are Central Time)

Friday, December 19

Time Event Network
6 p.m. Men's Basketball vs. Stillman SEC Network +

Saturday, December 20

Time Event Network
2 p.m. SEC IN 60: Alabama SEC Network

Sunday, December 21

Time Event Network
2 p.m. Women's Basketball vs. New Orleans SEC Network +
5:30 p.m. Men's Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network

Monday, December 22

Time Event Network
2 a.m. REPLAY: Men's Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network
11 a.m. REPLAY: Men's Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network

Wednesday, December 24

Time Event Network
11:30 p.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football at Ole Miss SEC Network

Friday, December 26

Time Event Network
11:30 p.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Auburn SEC Network

Saturday, December 27

Time Event Network
1 a.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Auburn SEC Network

Sunday, December 28

Time Event Network
11 p.m. TAPE DELAY: Men's Basketball vs. UCLA SEC Network

Monday, December 29

Time Event Network
11 a.m. REPLAY: Men's Basketball vs. UCLA SEC Network

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the entire department, I extend to you my best wishes to you and your families during this meaningful part of the year. Thanks for all you do for our great University. It takes all of us to Keep the Tide Rising.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Roll Tide!

Bill Battle signature

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Dec. 17, 2014

A Salute to Dr. Bonner

As many of you are likely aware, I heard the news on Wednesday afternoon that University of Alabama President Dr. Judy Bonner has decided to step down from her post by September of 2015. In Dr. Bonner, the University of Alabama has a rare person – a strong leader who also has the heart of a servant. I have been extremely fortunate to work for her as Director of Athletics these past 21 months. She is a woman who commands respect, not by the mere force of her personality, but by the dignity, class and thoughtfulness that she brings to any conversation. While I will miss having her as my President, I am glad to see that she plans to remain at the Capstone in the coming years. Her advice, counsel and support has been infinitely vital to our continued success in fulfilling our mission.

Taking Student-Athlete Wellness to New Levels

I was very pleased and proud to learn recently that the NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, has selected our athletic department’s Behavioral Medicine/Mental Health program as one of three model programs in the nation that are administered by universities to be used as an example and standard for best practices in these areas. Dr. Hainline has visited numerous campuses and has deemed our athletic department as one of three in the nation to have what he describes as “exceptional mental health programs for student-athletes.”

As you’ve no doubt been aware in recent months, the subject of student-athlete wellness is a hot-button issue in all levels of athletics. All of us here at the University of Alabama are aware of the many challenges that are prevalent in the lives of the modern-day student-athlete. Behavioral medicine is one of the chief areas of care in which we have devoted staffing and emphasis over the last several years. In our Department of Athletics, behavioral medicine encompasses areas of student-athlete mental health, substance abuse, crisis intervention, domestic violence, and other behaviors that may cause harm to self or others.

Headed by our Director of Behavioral Medicine, Ginger Gilmore, we are fortunate to have a Behavioral Medicine Team that includes Director of Sports Medicine Jeff Allen; Head Team Physician Dr. James Robinson; two psychiatrists (Dr. Stephen Bonner and Dr. Alicia Austin); a psychologist (Dr. Bhrett McCabe); three family counselors (Suzette Smaller, Susan Goertz and Greg Evans); and five addiction therapists (Chuck Wint, Erin Hinz, Hilary Weaver Beatty, Hannah Williams and Randall Campbell).

Our athletic department operates “in house” by way of Ginger Gilmore, who serves as the conduit for informational input from self-referrals of student-athletes in need or distress, or input from awareness by teammates, coaches and staff members. The goal of our program is for each student-athlete to create an awareness of behavioral health concerns in the athletic environment. Awareness leads to identification of sub-clinical or clinical issues. Identification then becomes intervention in a way that is confidential and highly sensitive for the individual who is struggling. Intervention then moves into treatment involving our team of behavioral medicine professionals.

Last week, Dr. Hainline initiated a conference call with Ginger and behavioral medicine directors from the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma. He feels that there is a need to share these best practices with every school in the NCAA to develop more insight into the area of behavioral medicine and mental health programming, thus building a bridge for mutual support among all institutions in collegiate athletics.

Our Behavioral Medicine Team is pioneering this process by developing programming, individual treatment plans, and daily care of our student-athletes. Ginger hopes to continue to refine processes and learn as new challenges develop with student-athletes. She and her team are working with the best professionals in the areas of psychiatry, psychology, counseling, testing and substance abuse to work with our student-athletes. We are blessed to have such people available to care for them.

In discussing this programming with Ginger and Jeff, it is clear to me just how vital it is that we continue to bring an awareness of behavioral and mental health concerns to our athletic department. Initiating an awareness of behavioral and mental health opens the door for athlete self-referral, as well as facilitating the recognition of red flags when a teammate is in distress. Once awareness is fully established, our department can work together with teammates, coaches, and support staff to offer help to those who are struggling.

We are fortunate and blessed to have developed the program that currently is in place for our student-athletes, and I am extremely proud of Ginger, Jeff and our entire team in this effort. They are making a positive impact on the lives of our student-athletes well beyond the classroom and the competitive arena. In doing so, they are bringing further distinction to our University through their innovative approach to this growing area of concern.

Campus Smoke-Free Policy Takes Effect on January 1

As we approach the start of a new year, I want to make you aware of a new campus-wide policy that could affect and, hopefully, enhance your experience at our athletics events. Beginning January 1, the University of Alabama will become a “smoke-free” campus, including all of our athletic facilities. The University is instituting this as part of an effort to ensure the health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff and visitors. Smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, will be prohibited in all facilities, grounds and parking areas on the UA campus.

This is the latest step in a long-standing policy prohibiting smoking inside University buildings and limiting smoking areas outside buildings. The Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, the Office, Clerical and Technical Assembly, the Black Faculty/Staff Association and the UA Association of Residential Communities have passed resolutions in support of a smoke-free campus. The policy is designed to protect the UA community from the dangers of second-hand smoke, promote a healthier environment and reduce the problem of littering and the risk of accidental fires due to discarded cigarettes.

The University is confident that both smokers and non-smokers will be cooperative, responsible and understanding during this time of transition as the campus-wide policy takes effect. By instituting this policy, our University joins more than 1,400 colleges and universities across the country that have become smoke-free.

22 Student-Athletes Receive Diplomas at Winter Commencement

Twenty-two Crimson Tide student-athletes received their degrees last Saturday at winter commencement in Coleman Coliseum, including 14 members of the Crimson Tide’s 2014 Southeastern Conference champion football team. Seven football student-athletes (All-SEC linebacker Trey Depriest, Christion Jones, D.J. Pettway, Malcolm Faciane, Isaac Luatua, Leon Brown and Josh Dickerson) earned bachelor’s degrees. Seven others (All-SEC offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio, Jalston Fowler, All-SEC offensive lineman Austin Shepherd, Brian Vogler, Nick Perry, Daniel Geddes and MK Taylor) earned their master’s degrees.

Arie Kouandjio, who was named a Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-American earlier this month, leads the list of 22 Crimson Tide players who will have their degrees in hand when Alabama takes the field against Ohio State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1. Seven-time All-America gymnast Diandra Milliner, a member of our 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championship squads, the 2013 NCAA vault champion and seven-time All-American, received her degree, as did All-American swimmer Vlad Caciuc. Swimmers Hunter Hinson, Stephanie Kinsey and George Wong, Hannah Merrill (rowing), Caitlin Bernardin (volleyball) and Claire Turner (track and field) also received their diplomas.

That’s an impressive group of student-athletes, young men and women who have applied themselves in the classroom and in competition. They have made the most of the opportunities that college athletics provides while giving us all plenty to be proud. I want to pass along my personal congratulations to each one of them, as well as to their parents and families.

Amazing Amari Earns a National Honor

Our incredible junior wide receiver, Amari Cooper, is the winner of the 2014 Biletnikoff Award as the outstanding receiver in college football regardless of position. That honor is richly deserved and comes as no surprise to any of us who have watched him wear the Alabama uniform over the last three seasons. Last weekend, Amari was one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, finishing third in the voting and representing our University and our football team in a classy and dignified manner throughout the week.

Amari has handled himself with dignity, class, and humility throughout his career at Alabama. I have been especially impressed with how he has handled success all season and especially during the recent Biletnikoff and Heisman Award ceremonies. We are grateful for his contributions to Alabama on and off the field.

Sports Updates

• Coach Anthony Grant’s MEN’S BASKETBALL team is 6-3 on the season after a win over Tennessee Tech (recap here) last Saturday night in Coleman Coliseum and a tough loss at 11th-ranked Wichita State (recap here) on Tuesday night. Our team this year is very different from last year’s team. I was impressed with our effort and ability in an extremely difficult environment at Wichita State, and believe that experience will make us better in the future. The Tide hosts two games this weekend – on Friday against Stillman (6 p.m. tipoff) and on Sunday against Appalachian State (6:30 p.m. tipoff) – before taking a week off for the holidays and hosting UCLA on Sunday, Dec. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

• Coach Kristy Curry’s WOMEN’S BASKETBALL team stands 9-4 this season after a disappointing loss to Mercer (recap here) on Sunday at Foster Auditorium and a win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (recap here) on Tuesday in Coleman Coliseum. More than 4,200 attended Tuesday’s game against UAPB, many of them very excited fifth graders from around Tuscaloosa who came to lend their very vocal support to our team as part of our annual Fifth Grade Fastbreak game.

• Two members of Coach Ed Allen’s VOLLEYBALL team – junior setter Sierra Wilson and redshirt sophomore right side hitter Krystal Rivers – have been named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, with Sierra named to the First Team and Krystal named to the Third Team (read more here). This is the first time in the program’s history to have multiple Academic All-Americans and these two outstanding young ladies are our first volleyball honorees since 2001. This season, Alabama is the only SEC school to produce volleyball Academic All-Americans, and just one of two schools in the `Power Five’ conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) to place a student-athlete on the first team, along with Washington’s Krista Vansant, who was named the Academic All-American of the Year. Sierra has a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) as an english and political science major and is the only junior on the first team and one of just four Academic All-Americans who are not seniors. Krystal has a 3.98 GPA as a biology major.

Upcoming Events

Here’s a summary of athletics events over the next several days (times listed are for the location of the event):

Wednesday, December 17

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
All Day Diving at LSU Diving Invitational Baton Rouge, La.

Thursday, December 18

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
All Day Diving at LSU Diving Invitational Baton Rouge, La.

Friday, December 19

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
6 p.m. CT Men’s Basketball Stillman Coleman Coliseum

Sunday, December 21

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
2 p.m. CT Women’s Basketball New Orleans Foster Auditorium
6:30 p.m. CT Men’s Basketball Appalachian State Coleman Coliseum

Sunday, December 28

Time Sport Opponent/Event Location
2 p.m. CT Women’s Basketball Mississippi Valley State Foster Auditorium
5:30 p.m. CT Men’s Basketball UCLA Coleman Coliseum

Catch Alabama Athletics on The SEC Network

Here’s a summary of our athletic events to be televised over the next week on The SEC Network and its platforms. Read this schedule closely as some events can be seen via SEC Network +, which is available online via ESPN3 here. If you can’t make it to our games in person, catch us on radio or TV.

(All times listed are Central Time)

Friday, December 19

Time Event Network
6 p.m. Men’s Basketball vs. Stillman SEC Network +

Saturday, December 20

Time Event Network
2 p.m. SEC IN 60: Alabama SEC Network

Sunday, December 21

Time Event Network
2 p.m. Women’s Basketball vs. New Orleans SEC Network +
5:30 p.m. Men’s Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network

Monday, December 22

Time Event Network
2 a.m. REPLAY: Men’s Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network
11 a.m. REPLAY: Men’s Basketball vs. Appalachian State SEC Network

Wednesday, December 24

Time Event Network
11:30 p.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football at Ole Miss SEC Network

Friday, December 26

Time Event Network
11:30 p.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Auburn SEC Network

Saturday, December 27

Time Event Network
1 a.m. REPLAY: 2014 Football vs. Auburn SEC Network

Sunday, December 28

Time Event Network
11 p.m. TAPE DELAY: Men’s Basketball vs. UCLA SEC Network

Monday, December 29

Time Event Network
11 a.m. REPLAY: Men’s Basketball vs. UCLA SEC Network

Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the entire department, I extend to you my best wishes to you and your families during this meaningful part of the year. Thanks for all you do for our great University. It takes all of us to Keep the Tide Rising.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Roll Tide!

Bill Battle signature

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Photo: Former Alabama Player Trolls Urban Meyer, Tim Tebow With Crying Picture From ’09 SEC Championship http://www.crimsontidezone.com/photo-former-alabama-player-trolls-urban-meyer-tim-tebow-with-crying-picture-from-09-sec-championship-79236/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/photo-former-alabama-player-trolls-urban-meyer-tim-tebow-with-crying-picture-from-09-sec-championship-79236/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 02:24:42 +0000 http://network.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/photo_former_alabama_player_trolls_urban_meyer_tim_tebow_with_crying_picture_from_09_sec_championship/17930111

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Alabama Works in Full Pads; All-America Honors Continue to Roll in for Tide http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-works-in-full-pads-all-america-honors-continue-to-roll-in-for-tide-79256/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabama-works-in-full-pads-all-america-honors-continue-to-roll-in-for-tide-79256/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:22:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/121714aad.html
Dec. 17, 2014

Alabama, the top-seeded team in the College Football Playoff, put on full pads for the first time during bowl preparations on Wednesday during in a two-hour practice inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility. It was the second of seven bowl practices before Christmas and 13 prior to the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans in the first College Football Playoff. The game against No. 4 Ohio State will be broadcast on ESPN with Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe calling the action.

Three more All-America teams were released on Wednesday – Sporting News, FWAA and AFCA – all naming Amari Cooper and Landon Collins, signifying them as unanimous first-team honorees in 2014. Three more players garnered first-team honors on Wednesday as the American Football Coaches Association selected linebacker Trey Depriest and offensive guard Arie Kouandjio to the first team, while Sporting News tabbed freshman punter JK Scott.

Today’s announcements gives Alabama five first team All-Americans among the five teams (Walter Camp, AP, Sporting News, AFCA and FWAA) officially designated as All-America selectors by the NCAA. That raises Alabama’s all-time total to 115 All-Americans who have garnered 135 All-America honors. Since 2008, the Crimson Tide has had 27 different players earn 31 first team All-America honors.

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. Basketball. Women’s Basketball Hosts PARA Youth Clinic on Wednesday http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-basketball-womens-basketball-hosts-para-youth-clinic-on-wednesday-79305/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/w-basketball-womens-basketball-hosts-para-youth-clinic-on-wednesday-79305/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:04:00 +0000 http://onlyfans.cstv.com/schools/alab/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/121714aaa.html
Dec. 17, 2014

Members of the women’s basketball team hosted a clinic for the Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority youth league on Wednesday night at the Belk Center. Nearly 100 children attended the two-hour session that featured several stations focused on fundamental. In addition, attendees were given the opportunity to hear from head coach Kristy Curry.

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



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Alabama’s Permanent Captains Perfectly Define 2014 Season http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabamas-permanent-captains-perfectly-define-2014-season-79281/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/alabamas-permanent-captains-perfectly-define-2014-season-79281/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:16:14 +0000 http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2303441-alabamas-permanent-captains-perfectly-define-2014-season TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Before the A-Day spring game—some time in late April 2015—four Alabama players will return to campus to literally leave their mark on campus.

Blake Sims, Landon Collins, Amari Cooper and Jalston Fowler were named permanent captains for the 2014 Alabama football team by a player vote and will get a hand and footprint made in cement in front of Denny Chimesas is tradition for each year's permanent captains.

No matter what happens in the College Football Playoff, those four will be remembered as the leaders of this year’s team that already has defied so many expectations.

USA TODAY Sports

In a way, the quartet is a perfect representation of this year’s team and everything it's been through.

Collins and Cooper are two uber-talented, consensus All-Americansand two three-and-outs about to get a big payday at the next level. While Sims and Fowler are two fifth-year seniors, they are fan favorites who stuck it out and are beloved by their teammates.

It’s the perfect mix of players for a team that has the perfect mix of personalities to make this playoff run possible.

“All four of those guys have had great careers at Alabama,” junior center Ryan Kelly, a candidate for the honor next season, said. “Those guys are always there when we needed them the most. They’re guys that we can count on. I don’t think there’s any greater award than to be a team captain. I’m proud of those guys.”

Captaincy honors are generally reserved for seniors or players who have graduated, so Cooper and Collins are interesting choices in that regard. Still, it’s hard to pretend like either will opt to play for free for another season when their talents will be in such high demand in the NFL next year.

Bleacher Report’s draft expert, Matt Miller, has Cooper and Collins as top-10 picks in his latest mock draft, the only Alabama players in the first-round mock.

USA TODAY Sports

Even Cooper himself said, “I have two more years here” during 2013's spring practice when answering a question about complacency after a big freshman year.

But Cooper and Collins are both the stars of the show on both sides of the ball—incredibly gifted playmakers who came through in the clutch.

Collins’ interception against Arkansas is widely considered the play of the year among the team, the play that sparked Alabama’s run through the last half of the season.

Cooper made too many plays to count, winning the Biletnikoff Award and earning himself a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Beyond the talent, head coach Nick Saban has reiterated that this has been his favorite team to coach because of the players.

Here's what he said one week on his radio show (h/t Andrew Gribble of AL.com):

There's a lot of really good players on our team that are really good people and good guys. And this team, regardless of whether we win another game, this is a really fun team to coach because we don't have a lot of energy vampires on this team. I've talked about that before, you spend all your time and energy because you've got four or five guys that won't ever do things the right way. You're always spending your time trying to get them to do it right. The other 95 guys that are doing right, you don't have any time to spend with them over the four or five. We don't really have players like that on our team this year.

USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to see why with players like Sims and Fowler.

Sims’ story is well-known at this point: a career backup who almost didn’t get his chance when Jake Coker transferred in, but ended up winning the job and leading Alabama on this run.

For his efforts, he was named Most Inspiring Player by his teammates. His attitude sets a standard and gives other players something to look up to.

“I think that’s one of the things that carries Blake so far on and off the field is just the presence he has, the positive mindset he brings everyday,” Kelly said. “I think when you’re around people like that it brings you up as a person as well.”

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

And you won’t find a more likeable guy on the team than Fowler, who overcame a knee injury in 2012 and has become a versatile weapon in Kiffin’s offense as a lead blocker, ball-carrier and receiver.

“Talk about a guy who couldn’t be more positive, just like Blake,” Kelly said of Fowler. “A lot of us come from different backgrounds, and I think what makes him so special is he’s always so open to anyone who comes in. Just a great guy to be around and I call him my dear friend. That vote was, again, voted on by players. I couldn’t be happier for Jalston.”

The four of them have been major contributors to an Alabama football team that still has plenty of goals ahead of it left to accomplish.

They perfectly represent what has made this iteration of Crimson Tide football so successful on the field and likeable off it.

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Before the A-Day spring game—some time in late April 2015—four Alabama players will return to campus to literally leave their mark on campus.

Blake Sims, Landon Collins, Amari Cooper and Jalston Fowler were named permanent captains for the 2014 Alabama football team by a player vote and will get a hand and footprint made in cement in front of Denny Chimesas is tradition for each year’s permanent captains.

No matter what happens in the College Football Playoff, those four will be remembered as the leaders of this year’s team that already has defied so many expectations.


USA TODAY Sports

In a way, the quartet is a perfect representation of this year’s team and everything it’s been through.

Collins and Cooper are two uber-talented, consensus All-Americansand two three-and-outs about to get a big payday at the next level. While Sims and Fowler are two fifth-year seniors, they are fan favorites who stuck it out and are beloved by their teammates.

It’s the perfect mix of players for a team that has the perfect mix of personalities to make this playoff run possible.

“All four of those guys have had great careers at Alabama,” junior center Ryan Kelly, a candidate for the honor next season, said. “Those guys are always there when we needed them the most. They’re guys that we can count on. I don’t think there’s any greater award than to be a team captain. I’m proud of those guys.”

Captaincy honors are generally reserved for seniors or players who have graduated, so Cooper and Collins are interesting choices in that regard. Still, it’s hard to pretend like either will opt to play for free for another season when their talents will be in such high demand in the NFL next year.

Bleacher Report’s draft expert, Matt Miller, has Cooper and Collins as top-10 picks in his latest mock draft, the only Alabama players in the first-round mock.


USA TODAY Sports

Even Cooper himself said, “I have two more years here” during 2013’s spring practice when answering a question about complacency after a big freshman year.

But Cooper and Collins are both the stars of the show on both sides of the ball—incredibly gifted playmakers who came through in the clutch.

Collins’ interception against Arkansas is widely considered the play of the year among the team, the play that sparked Alabama’s run through the last half of the season.

Cooper made too many plays to count, winning the Biletnikoff Award and earning himself a trip to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Beyond the talent, head coach Nick Saban has reiterated that this has been his favorite team to coach because of the players.

Here’s what he said one week on his radio show (h/t Andrew Gribble of AL.com):

There’s a lot of really good players on our team that are really good people and good guys. And this team, regardless of whether we win another game, this is a really fun team to coach because we don’t have a lot of energy vampires on this team. I’ve talked about that before, you spend all your time and energy because you’ve got four or five guys that won’t ever do things the right way. You’re always spending your time trying to get them to do it right. The other 95 guys that are doing right, you don’t have any time to spend with them over the four or five. We don’t really have players like that on our team this year.


USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to see why with players like Sims and Fowler.

Sims’ story is well-known at this point: a career backup who almost didn’t get his chance when Jake Coker transferred in, but ended up winning the job and leading Alabama on this run.

For his efforts, he was named Most Inspiring Player by his teammates. His attitude sets a standard and gives other players something to look up to.

“I think that’s one of the things that carries Blake so far on and off the field is just the presence he has, the positive mindset he brings everyday,” Kelly said. “I think when you’re around people like that it brings you up as a person as well.”


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

And you won’t find a more likeable guy on the team than Fowler, who overcame a knee injury in 2012 and has become a versatile weapon in Kiffin’s offense as a lead blocker, ball-carrier and receiver.

“Talk about a guy who couldn’t be more positive, just like Blake,” Kelly said of Fowler. “A lot of us come from different backgrounds, and I think what makes him so special is he’s always so open to anyone who comes in. Just a great guy to be around and I call him my dear friend. That vote was, again, voted on by players. I couldn’t be happier for Jalston.”

The four of them have been major contributors to an Alabama football team that still has plenty of goals ahead of it left to accomplish.

They perfectly represent what has made this iteration of Crimson Tide football so successful on the field and likeable off it.

Marc Torrence is the Alabama lead writer for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Follow on Twitter @marctorrence.

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Video: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State And Oregon Fans Will Love This College Football Playoff Hype Video http://www.crimsontidezone.com/video-alabama-florida-state-ohio-state-and-oregon-fans-will-love-this-college-football-playoff-hype-video-79238/ http://www.crimsontidezone.com/video-alabama-florida-state-ohio-state-and-oregon-fans-will-love-this-college-football-playoff-hype-video-79238/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:52:16 +0000 http://network.yardbarker.com/all_sports/article_external/video_alabama_florida_state_ohio_state_and_oregon_fans_will_love_this_college_football_playoff_hype_video/17926808 [unable to retrieve full-text content]
We’re just over two weeks away from the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinal games in Pasadena and New Orleans. Florida State and Oregon will square off in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, and later that day, Alabama will take on Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl. Eleven days later on Jan. 12, the winners of those two games will square off and play for the inaugural College Football Playoff Trophy.
If you’re a fan of the Crimson Tide, Seminoles, Buckeyes or Ducks, odds are you’re already fired up, because your team is one of the four squads in the country who have a chance at being called the national champion at the end of the year. However, if you need something to get you jacked up, we recommend checking out this excellent fan-made CFB Playoff hype video. We guarantee that it will get you counting down the seconds until your team plays for a spot in the National Championship Game. Check it out:

Oregon and Florida State’s Rose Bowl showdown will kick off at 5:00 P.M. EST, while …

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