Sept. 12, 2015
Countless Benefits from a Big Win on a Big Stage
Our terrific football team earned another memorable intersectional victory last Saturday night in Texas with a dominant win over a very good Wisconsin team. The win marked our sixth consecutive victory in these season-opening neutral site games. Considering the quality of the competition we have faced in those six games, it’s an impressive achievement to have won every one of those matchups and is yet another example of the outstanding leadership Coach Saban provides to our program.
As usual, our fan presence for this game was impressive. We sold more than 21,000 tickets to our own fans. The crowd of more than 64,000 in a setting that was at least 10 hours from the campuses of both schools is a testament to the ardent support we get from all of you in our fan base. As you know, we have similar season-opening games locked up for the next three seasons. Next year we will return to Arlington to face the University of Southern California at AT&T Stadium. In 2017, we will face Florida State in Atlanta and in 2018 we will take on Louisville in Orlando, Florida.
These games give us tremendous national exposure, benefitting our program and the University in countless ways. Not only does it put our football program in the national mindset with the first prime-time matchup of the season pitting nationally-ranked opponents, it also gives our university a priceless recruiting presence at the site of the game and nationally.
The success of our university and our athletics program is intertwined. That’s something that is usually overlooked. The diverse geographical makeup of our current student body bears vivid testament to the power and presence of the brand that is The University of Alabama and Crimson Tide Athletics. We currently have students from every state in the Union and 77 countries around the globe. Our “brand” has never been stronger.
Class, Pride & Dignity
Coach Bryant once said that a winning attitude is the most important element of a successful team. He also said that, not only is it important for the players to have a winning attitude but also for the coaches and the student body to have it as well.
Of course, we all have our own concept of what is meant by having a “winning attitude”. Having been a player for Coach Bryant and spending most of my life in, or around, collegiate athletics, I think it is clear that having a winning attitude means that we support our team with a passionate intensity that enables us to create a definite home field advantage from start to finish, all the while doing so in a sportsmanlike spirit.
We have the best game day atmosphere in college football for many reasons, including our hospitality to visiting fans and the class we display as spectators throughout the game. Our students and fans have always taken very seriously their role in shaping our reputation as a university and an athletics powerhouse.
As the 2015 home season opener beckons, I hope we can all remember what built that reputation over the decades. We expect our teams to represent The University of Alabama with class, dignity and respect for our opponents. As such, we expect our fans and students to represent themselves, their respective campus organizations and the institution with that same class and pride. This has always been a key component of the Crimson Tide tradition.
Wesley Britt & Andrew Zow Return to Bryant-Denny Stadium This Saturday
Immediately prior to kickoff Saturday, I hope you will give an enthusiastic welcome back to our honorary captains for this week, former Tide offensive tackle Wesley Britt and former Tide quarterback Andrew Zow, who will be recognized prior to the pregame coin toss.
Andrew came to the Capstone from Lake Butler, Florida. He played on our 1998-2001 teams, was a member of our 1999 SEC championship team who led us to two wins over Florida in 1999, including completing 28 of 40 passes for more than 300 yards in a 40-39 overtime win at “The Swamp” in September of that year in a memorable classic. In 2001, he completed 22 of 29 passes in an upset 31-7 win at Auburn. Andrew is now passing on the lessons learned from a life in football as coach at Montevallo (Ala.) High School.
Wesley, of course, comes from one of the most prominent families in our football history as he is one of three brothers to have played football for us. Wesley was our starting left tackle from 2001-04. He started every game of his career except for the last four of the 2003 season after breaking a leg in the Tennessee game. A 2004 All-SEC selection when he was named second team All-American, Wesley played four years in the NFL with the New England Patriots, including their 2007 team that was unbeaten until losing in the Super Bowl to the Giants. He now works for Southern Company in Montgomery.
If you get a chance, please go say hello to Andrew and Wesley prior to Saturday’s kickoff. They will be signing autographs and greeting fans at the Bryant Museum from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then will be on live with Chris Stewart on the Crimson Tide Sports Network outside of Bryant-Denny Stadium at 1:30 p.m.
Things to Remember for Game Day at Bryant-Denny Stadium
If you are attending Saturday’s game, please be aware of game day traffic routes and stadium restrictions. Alternate routes to and from Bryant-Denny Stadium have been devised to alleviate potential problems caused by road construction in the Tuscaloosa area. For more details, please see the attached route charts and visit www.uagameday.com for all of the latest parking and traffic information.
Fans cannot bring the following items into Bryant-Denny Stadium:
- oversized bags (backpacks or purses larger than 8.5 inches x 11 inches)
- video recorders/camcorders
- outside food and drinks, including coolers
- firearms and weapons
- artificial noisemakers
- chair backs larger than 16 inches
- cameras and telephoto lenses larger than 6 inches
- flags or banners on poles; selfie sticks
Law enforcement officials have the right to inspect any item at any time to ensure spectator safety and prohibited items must be returned to cars or disposed of before entering the stadium. There are no provisions to check items at any gate of entry. Those looking to enter without any bag check items are encouraged to enter the stadium through the express lane gates located at gates 10, 18, 36 and 38.
Water Stations in the Stadium
Saturday’s forecast sounds like a great one with high temperatures expected in the mid-70s and clear skies. However, we will have eight water stations inside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the home opener, four stations on the mezzanine level and four in the upper deck. Each station is a 125-gallon tank that provides cold filtered water. You can bring in clear, empty bottles to fill, but there will also be cups provided at each station. The water stations are located in sections D, K, AA and NN on the mezzanine level and the top of each spiral ramp in the upper deck.
Smoke-Free Campus Initiative
Saturday’s football game will mark our first home game at Bryant-Denny Stadium since the implementation of a new campus-wide policy that went into effect last January 1, when The University of Alabama became a “smoke-free” campus, including all of our athletics facilities. This is just a reminder that the University instituted the policy 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, is prohibited in all facilities, grounds and parking areas on the UA campus.
Autonomy Process Begins to Bring Future into Focus
It was announced on Friday afternoon that a large set of preliminary concepts intended to enhance the student-athlete experience have been submitted into this year’s NCAA legislative cycle. The concepts are the result of several years of cooperative effort by the Southeastern Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference, The Big 12 Conference, The Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference. All of these efforts have been undertaken with the ultimate goal of creating a 21st Century experience for student-athletes.
The areas of reform encompass the gamut of issues related to student-athlete wellness, including liberalizing meal legislation and focusing on sport-related injuries. The five conferences adopted protections for athletic scholarships as well as increased the value of a full grant-in-aid to cover the full cost of attendance. Also, additional benefits that are an incidental part of participating in athletics have been made available to student-athletes and their families, which have been in addition to the millions of dollars in direct assistance provided each year through the Student Assistance Fund.
What’s next? The concepts will be reviewed, critiqued and refined. The completed proposals will then be voted on during the autonomy session at the NCAA Convention on January 15, 2016. I was very gratified to see that the commissioners of the five conferences involved jointly stated that their primary objective reflected our Mission at Alabama, noting they have focused on “the overall objective of preparing our student-athletes to succeed on and off the field – in college and in life.”
If that sounds familiar, it should. It’s what we live by here at Alabama.
Our 17th-ranked men’s golf team opened the 2015-16 season yesterday (Friday, Sept. 11) at the Carpet Capital Collegiate in Rocky Face, Ga., at the par-72, 7,012-yard Farm Golf Club. The tournament is slated for 54 holes in three days (Sept. 11-13) and boasts a strong field. The Tide scored a one-over par 289 on Friday afternoon and was in a tie for second place entering Saturday’s action. Senior captain Tom Lovelady and freshman Davis Riley both stepped up with matching scores of 3-under par 69 on the day and the tandem enters Saturday’s second round in a tie for second overall. Alabama is one of seven teams ranked in the top 25 of the Bushnell Golfweek Preseason Coaches Poll, as well as three other teams that received votes. Coach Jay Seawell’s team is playing this weekend without a major player in its lineup as two-time All-American Robby Shelton will represent the United States at the 2015 Walker Cup on this weekend in Lancashire, England. Robby is the sixth Crimson Tide golfer since 2009 and seventh overall in program history to be selected to represent his country at one of the most storied international events. This year’s Walker Cup will be held at the Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s Golf Club in Lancashire, England. The Tide returns every letterwinner from last spring. Senior Tom Lovelady is a two-time team captain, junior Dru Love burst onto the scene a year ago as he ranked third on the squad in scoring average, and sophomore Jonathan Hardee earned SEC All-Freshman honors.
Coach Mic Potter recently released the women’s golf team’s 2015-16 schedule which includes a pair of postseason events that we are very excited to host – the 2016 SEC Championships on April 15-17 and the NCAA Birmingham Regional on May 5-7. The Crimson Tide will play events in Tennessee, North Carolina, California, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Arizona. The NCAA Championships will be played in Eugene, Ore., in late May. The Tide begins the fall season at the site of its 2012 NCAA Championship victory, when it competes at the Mason Rudolph Championship on Sept. 18-20. The Crimson Tide starts the spring campaign with its second straight trip to the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge hosted by Ohio State at the Palos Verdes Golf Club in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., on Feb. 7-9. Postseason play begins on April 15-17 with the SEC Championships at the Greystone Golf and Country Club’s Legacy Course in Birmingham. We will then host the NCAA Birmingham Regional on May 5-7, at the Shoal Creek Country Club. The golf season will conclude May 20-25 at the NCAA Championships, held in Eugene, Ore. The Golf Channel will broadcast the final three days of the NCAA tournament.
Coach Larry Davis and the Tide rowing team has begun team workouts and are finalizing the 2015-16 roster as the fall season beckons, slated to begin on Saturday, October 10, with the Chattanooga Head Race in Chattanooga, Tenn. The team will head to Boston the following weekend for the Head of the Charles on Oct. 17-18 and will wrap up the fall back in Chattanooga on Nov. 7-8 for the Head of the Hooch Regatta. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Alabama rowing program’s ascension to scholarship status. In the fall of 2005, rowing was announced as the 21st varsity sport at Alabama and the program competed in its first Division I season in 2006-07. Since then, the program has made huge strides by transitioning to Conference USA in its fourth season and then to the newly-formed Big XII rowing conference last season. The addition of new facilities along the banks of the Black Warrior River shows an investment in the program’s success. You can meet members of our 2015-16 team next weekend when they will be signing autographs prior to the Ole Miss football game on Saturday, September 19, in Tuscaloosa. Check Facebook and Twitter for updates on a time and location.
After playing four of its first six matches to begin the 2015 season away from home, the Crimson Tide (2-3-2) returned to Tuscaloosa for four consecutive home matches at the Alabama Soccer Complex beginning last night vs. LSU. Coach Wes Hart’s team achieved a milestone victory in double overtime on Friday, taking a 3-2 victory over the previously unbeaten Tigers as Celia Jimenez headed in a corner kick from Emma Welch to win it in thrilling style. The Tide will conclude this weekend’s action vs. Southern Miss on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT in a game that can be seen live on SEC Network +. We have had great support at home this season with crowds consistently exceeding 1,000 fans. The 1,575 fans at the home opener on August 23 represented the second-largest crowd in the program history.
This upcoming season will mark the 20th anniversary for Alabama softball. Mark your calendar for the April 22-24 series against Kentucky when we will host Alumni Weekend, welcoming back a large contingent of alumni from the softball program’s 20-year history. The 2016 team is starting to take shape as individual workouts are underway with the first official team practice scheduled for Sept. 20. Coach Murphy expects to return 13 players from last year while welcoming seven newcomers. Recently the team hosted the Speaking Specialists in an effort to brush up on interviewing techniques and social media etiquette. With increased exposure, such as the SEC Network, giving Alabama softball unprecedented national attention, it’s always important to keep your social media presence in mind and to be as effective as possible when giving interviews. We announced our 2015-16 fall and spring softball schedules. Fall dates include an Oct. 4 trip to Middle Tennessee State and home dates on Oct. 17, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25. The spring home schedule includes SEC series against Missouri, Mississippi State, Kentucky and Georgia as well as two tournaments, the Bama Bash on Feb. 26-28 and the Crimson Classic on March 4-6. Visiting teams in the tournaments include Arizona, Tennessee, Marshall, Louisiana-Monroe, DePaul and North Dakota State. Head to the softball page at rolltide.com for full fall and spring schedules.
The Alabama swimming and diving team opened the 2015-16 slate on Friday afternoon with the first dual meets in the nation this season, coming away with a pair of wins at Delta State. The Crimson Tide won all 30 races contested yesterday, with 13 different swimmers taking first in individual events. Alabama returns to action on Friday, October 9 in the home opener against Auburn at 2 p.m.
Track & Field & Cross Country
Our women’s team began the season ranked second in the NCAA South Region and receiving votes in the USTFCCCA preseason coaches poll. Last Saturday, Sept. 5, our men’s and women’s teams swept team titles at the Brooks Twilight Classic in Memphis, Tenn. Junior Antibahs Kosgei, in his first race at the NCAA Division I level, won the men’s 4-mile individual title with a time of 19:49.75 while being the only runner in the field of 258 competitors to finish in under 20 minutes. Redshirt freshman Rachael Reddy won the women’s 5k race in her Crimson Tide debut in 17:06.26. On Tuesday, the SEC Office named Antibahs the Co-Men’s Runner of the Week while Rachael was chosen as both the Women’s Runner and Freshman Runner of the Week. Antibahs also earned USTFCCCA Division I Men’s National Athlete of the Week honors, the first Alabama cross country athlete to do so in the Dan Waters era. The Tide cross country teams will be back in action on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Cowboy Jamboree in Stillwater, Okla. The men’s track program was represented recently at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. Current senior sprinter Ahmed Ali, running for Sudan, competed in the 200 meters while former Tide sprinter and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James ran in the 400 meters, claiming bronze for his native country of Grenada.
Our men’s tennis team spent the first weekend of September volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, taking time of out their academic and athletic schedules to lend a helping hand to the Tuscaloosa community. Throughout the course of the 2014-15 academic year, Crimson Tide student-athletes gave almost 3,000 hours toward community service. We are three weeks away from the men’s team beginning its 2015 fall season with the Crimson Tide Four-In-The-Fall team event scheduled for September 25. The Tide will welcome Notre Dame, South Florida and Columbia to Tuscaloosa.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, Maya Jansen and Erin Routliffe continued to make headlines for the UA women’s tennis program, as our two-time national champion doubles team recently qualified for and appeared in a match at the 2015 US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. After winning their first qualifying event in Atlanta, Maya and Erin outlasted the draw of 16 at the national playoffs in New Haven, Conn., defeating Yale’s Carol Finke/ReeRee Li (6-0, 7-5), Liga Dekmeijere/Karina Traxler (7-5, 6-2), Alexandra Anghelescu/Caroline Price (6-2, 6-2) and Yasmin Schnack/Katsiaryna Zheltova (6-4, 7-5) to earn a wild card into the main draw of the Open. Coach Jenny Mainz and the women’s tennis team begins their season on Friday, September 18, at the Baylor Invitational in Waco, Texas.
Coach Ed Allen’s volleyball team is hosting its second home tournament of the season this weekend, welcoming Troy, Saint Louis and Virginia to the Crimson White Tournament in Foster Auditorium, concluding the tournament with a 7 p.m. match on Saturday night. The Tide split two matches on Friday, winning 3-0 over Troy before falling 3-2 to Saint Louis in an evening match to drop to 3-6 so far this season. The Tide concludes the non-conference portion of its schedule next week with a trip to DeKalb, Ill., for the Huskie Invitational hosted by Northern Illinois on Sept. 18-19. There, Alabama will face Northern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Northern Iowa.
Here’s a summary of athletic events over the next several days (times listed are for the location of the event: CT is Central Time, ET is Eastern Time, MT is Mountain Time, PT is Pacific Time).
Friday, September 11
|3 p.m. CT||Swimming & Diving||vs. Delta State||Cleveland, Miss.|
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||vs. LSU||UA Soccer Complex|
|7 p.m. CT||Volleyball||vs. St. Louis||Foster Auditorium|
|All Day||Men’s Golf||Carpet Capital Collegiate||Dalton, Ga.|
Saturday, September 12
|3 p.m. CT||Football||vs. Middle Tennessee State||Bryant-Denny Stadium|
|7 p.m. CT||Volleyball||vs. Virginia||Foster Auditorium|
|All Day||Men’s Golf||at Carpet Capital Collegiate||Dalton, Ga.|
Sunday, September 13
|7 p.m. CT||Soccer||vs. Southern Mississippi||UA Soccer Complex|
|All Day||Men’s Golf||Carpet Capital Collegiate||Dalton, Ga.|
Where to See, Listen and Follow Alabama Sports
Here’s how to follow Crimson Tide teams via TV, radio, rolltide.com, Twitter and Facebook:
Live Stats: www.rolltide.com
TV: SEC Network
Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network (Sirius 115/XM 191) (check local listings)
Live Stats: www.rolltide.com
Watch: SEC Network +
Radio: Friday – Unavailable | Sunday – 90.7 (WVUA-FM)
Live Stats: Gametracker via www.rolltide.com
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, September 11
|11 a.m.||Volleyball vs. Troy||SEC Network +|
|12 p.m.||REPLAY: 1989 Football at Auburn||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||Soccer vs. LSU||SEC Network +|
|7 p.m.||Volleyball vs. St. Louis||SEC Network +|
Saturday, September 12
|3 p.m.||Football vs. Middle Tennessee State||SEC Network|
|7 p.m.||Volleyball vs. Virginia||SEC Network +|
Sunday, September 13
|7 p.m.||Soccer vs. Southern Mississippi||SEC Network +|
Monday, September 14
|12 p.m.||Alabama Football Press Conference||SEC Network|
Our teams need your support, so please plan to attend to do your part! A rising tide lifts all boats and it takes all of us to Keep the Tide Rising!