Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Josh Casher gives verbal to Alabama

St. Paul’s High School (Mobile, AL) offensive lineman Josh Casher has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2014.
Casher, who stands 6-foot-1 and tops the scale at 300-pounds, selected the Crimson Tide over Florida State.

In April, the St. Paul’s standout gave his verbal pledge to Auburn, but eventually decommitted from the Tigers in late July and reopened his recruitment.

Currently attending the same high school that produced AJ McCarron, Casher is listed as a four-star prospect per Rivals.com.

With the inclusion of the 9th ranked prospect in the state of Alabama, the Crimson Tide have now solidified 22 verbal commitments in respect to the 2014 signing class.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Top-ranked Tide “smokes” overmatched Tennessee

Break out the cigars…Alabama has done it again. For the seventh consecutive season, the Alabama Crimson Tide owned the Tennessee Volunteers. In a contest that wasn’t unlike many since 2007, UA “smoked” the Vols by the score of 45-10.

Courtesy of 479 yards of total offense, and the “signature” Alabama defense, the Vols never found an answer for the top-ranked team in the nation.
Jumping out to a 21-0 lead by the conclusion of the initial quarter of play, Alabama dominated the contest from start to finish.

Needless to say, the “red team” had UT coach Butch Jones seeing “red” by the time the clock hit zero.

While Crimson Tide players and fans enjoy a nice victory cigar, per tradition, Tennessee will “huff and puff” over yet another beating at the hands of Alabama.

With the victory over Tennessee, 'Bama improves to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the SEC.

--Complete Stats--
Injury report/Cigar showcase

While Alabama sustained the “typical” bumps and bruises, overall, UA exited the contest with Tennessee in relatively good health.
As Cecil Hurt expressed in his commentary piece, the current status of the Alabama/Tennessee rivalry is "flimsy" at best. However, tradition is tradition, and the 45-10 victory over the Vols was celebrated with a smoke show.

Enjoy the photo gallery of ‘Bama players partaking in a time-honored tradition that is synonymous following a victory over the Vols.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Crimson Crossover: Confidence on Rocky Top

Tennessee - 2013

Record: 4-3
Conference Record: 1-2 (SEC - Eastern Division)
Last Game: Tennessee 23 South Carolina 21

Alabama - 2013

Record: 7-0
Conference Record: 4-0 (SEC - Western Division)
Last Game: Alabama 52 Arkansas 0

History lesson

Series: Alabama leads series 49-38-7 (First meeting in 1901)
Most Recent Meeting: Alabama 44 Tennessee 13 (2012)

Setting the scene

Tennessee vs. Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Betting Line: Alabama -28.5 (as of 10/22)

---Click Here To Track The Line---
Beat writer of the week

Evan Woodbery - Covers the University of Tennessee and college football for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Twitter: @TennesseeBeat

Follow Evan via Twitter to get the latest (breaking) news concerning the Tennessee Volunteers as they prepare for Alabama.

Tennessee on the wire

>>Tennessee's progress to be tested at No. 1 Alabama

>>FOOTBALL CENTRAL: #1/1 Alabama The Vols Travel To Tuscaloosa on Oct. 26 for a 3:30 p.m. ET SEC Rivalry on CBS

>>Butch Jones on Alabama: 'Their program is what we are building here at Tennessee' (Jones’ Monday press conference)

>>Justin Worley's development evident in Tennessee Vols' progress

The weekly quotable

While many fans and pundits have spent ample time discussing Tennessee's "upset victory" over South Carolina, UT head coach Butch Jones seems to have the ideal perspective.
The Crimson Elephant verdict

For the first time, in a very long time, Tennessee has a competent football coach and a bucket of confidence.

While still lacking depth at key positions, the Vols are a much improved football team, and are currently playing better than they ever played under Derek Dooley.
Although Georgia was/is hapless and injury plagued, Tennessee did manage to take the Bulldogs to overtime, and last week, as the nation witnessed, UT defeated South Carolina in grand fourth quarter fashion.

Tennessee, with a quality victory over a ranked opponent? Amazing! Quite amazing considering Vol fans, reasonable Vol fans, possibly wondered if a "big win" would ever happen again in the foreseeable future. Prior to Saturday, most college football fans, if asked, probably couldn't recall the last time Tennessee actually won a "meaningful" game.

Enter Alabama...

Cue the whole, "this will be a good litmus test" narrative. Cue it, because it is ever so true...

Tennessee is a much improved football team. Much improved from a garbage football team. If one is inclined to call a spade a spade, the 2013 edition of Tennessee/Alabama shouldn't be unlike the contests of the most recent years.

Alabama is almost a 30-point favorite over the Vols. The line is based on the fact Alabama is simply that good, and not so much on the fact that UT is an "improving" program.

Under the umbrella of fair assumption, the Vols will probably never beat Alabama as long as Nick Saban resides in Tuscaloosa. Having said that, Butch Jones will likely have the Vols "bowl bound" for the remainder of his tenure at Tennessee.

As for Saturday, Tide fans...don't forget the victory cigars!

Alabama 38
Tennessee 13

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Vinnie Sunseri to miss the remainder of 2013 season

Initially reported by Marquavius Burnett of The Anniston Star, Nick Saban has confirmed (Monday presser) that Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri will be lost for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL in his left knee.
Sunseri, one of the top contributors on the defensive side of the ball, was injured in Saturday’s game against Arkansas while working punt coverage for the special teams unit.

In Sunseri’s absence, expect the likes of Landon Collins and Jarrick Williams to take over the duties at strong safety.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pulled Pork: Alabama dismantles hapless Hogs

In a contest that could have very well been 70-0, Alabama gave Arkansas a taste of déjà vu. For the second straight season, the Crimson Tide drummed the Razorbacks by the score of 52-0.
Garnering a total of 532 yards of total offense, UA churned out 352 yards on the ground. The Arkansas defense had no answer for the Alabama onslaught, and it showed on both the stat sheet and the scoreboard.
Quite literally, the game was as cut-and-dry as it appears in the written word. The only potential “drama” of the entire night (excluding injury concerns) came when the Crimson Tide defense stymied Arkansas late in the contest to preserve the shutout.
Although the opposition entered Bryant-Denny Stadium with less than a full tank of gas, Alabama’s performance against the Razorbacks was, at least by visual means, the most “absolute” game of the 2013 season thus far.

--Complete Stats--

Injury report

S Vinnie Sunseri – knee
DB Bradley Sylve – high-ankle sprain (day-to-day)
RB Altee Tenpenny – toe (day-to-day)

In respect to the injuries, Vinnie Sunseri’s knee is of paramount concern, and for the obvious reasons. In his postgame press conference, Alabama head coach Nick Saban addressed Sunseri’s injury and noted, “it could be serious.”
Known as a “ball hawk” in the Crimson Tide secondary, Sunseri’s injury took place while fulfilling his duties on special teams.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Crimson Crossover: Foul stench in Hogville

Arkansas - 2013

Record: 3-4
Conference Record: 0-3 (SEC - Western Division)
Last Game: South Carolina 52 Arkansas 7

Alabama - 2013

Record: 6-0
Conference Record: 3-0 (SEC - Western Division)
Last Game: Alabama 48 Kentucky 7

History lesson

Series: Alabama leads series 13-8 *16-7 before forfeited /vacated games* (First meeting in 1962)
Most Recent Meeting: Alabama 52 Arkansas 0 (2012)

Setting the scene

Arkansas vs. Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Betting Line: Alabama -28 (as of 10/15)

Beat writers of the week

Bob Holt - Mr. Holt has covered the Razorbacks for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 1981.

Twitter: @BobHoltADG

Robbie Neiswanger - Sports writer covering the Razorbacks for the Arkansas News Bureau/Stephens Media.

Twitter: @NWARobbie

Follow Bob and Robbie via Twitter to get the latest (breaking) news concerning the Arkansas Razorbacks as they prepare for Alabama.

Arkansas on the wire

>>No. 1 Alabama a four-touchdown favorite over reeling Arkansas

>>Bielema Urging Team To Dig Out Of 'Doldrums'

>>FOUR DOWNS: Thomas Focuses On 'Positives' After Season-Ending Injury

>>Arkansas at Alabama – Game Week Chatter

>>Arkansas' Collins leaves strange signing day tale in the dust (Sept. 25 feature story)
The weekly quotable

In 2012, John L. Smith encouraged the Razorbacks to "smile" in the face of a 52-0 defeat at the hands of Alabama. One year later, new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, has taken a similar approach prior to the 'Bama game.
The Crimson Elephant verdict

Easy answer? Read the Alabama/Kentucky final verdict. The game should unfold in a very similar fashion.

Running back Alex Collins is a fine player, and is arguably the most talented player Arkansas has had in many years. However, a single talent, and a freshman at that, can only pick up so much slack.

Arkansas is a bad football team, make no mistake.

After starting the season 3-0, the Razorbacks have lost four straight games, three of which came against SEC foes.

While many pundits wait with bated breath for Alabama to falter, Oct. 19 won't be the date of implosion.

Alabama 38
Arkansas 6

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Alabama routs UK with record-setting performance

Alabama dealt with a mixed bag of fumbles and pass drops in the first quarter of play, but from the second stanza until the final whistle, the top-ranked Crimson Tide controlled the show. Courtesy of 668 yards of total offense, and a suffocating defense, Alabama defeated the Kentucky Wildcats by the score of 48-7.
In respect to gameplan objectives, the downfall of the Kentucky effort was thwarted early in the contest. UK starting quarterback Jalen Whitlow exited the game in the first quarter of play due to an ankle injury. Whitlow, a dual-threat quarterback, was replaced by pocket passer Maxwell Smith. In relief, Smith was only able to muster 76 yards through the air, 30 of which came on UK’s only score of the game.

Garnering only 170 yards as a unit, the Wildcats were never able to establish consistency on the offensive side of the football.

With the game in hand, Alabama cleared the bench during the latter portion of the contest. Freshman running back Altee Tenpenny closed the scoring effort with a touchdown run. The 7-yard scamper was Tenpenny’s first collegiate touchdown.

While the contest, visually, appeared to be yet another “cruise control” victory for the Crimson Tide, quietly, yet proficiently, Alabama inked a few pages in the program’s record book.

--Complete Stats--

Twitter Tide

Several Alabama receivers had a case of butterfingers against Kentucky, but that didn’t stop AJ McCarron from having a career night in the passing department.
With a nice mix of pass and run, the Crimson Tide garnered almost 700 yards of total offense against the UK defense.
McCarron’s 359 yards through the air, coupled with the rushing performances of Kenyan Drake (106) and T.J. Yeldon (124), allowed Alabama to write a unique page of history.
Alabama beat writer Andrew Gribble has all the ins and outs from Lexington. In the "rough and tumble" SEC, the Wildcats proved to be no match for the Crimson Tide.
McShay's comedy hour

During the latter stages of the UA/UK game, ESPN's Todd McShay was brought in to discuss all things AJ McCarron. While McShay was on the screen, McCarron led Alabama down the field for a touchdown, all the while showing off his arm, and doing so in stellar fashion.

While McShay discussed McCarron's draft status, and relegated the Tide quarterback to a "third tier" signal caller, McCarron promptly threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Norwood.
Quality television, Mr. McShay. McCarron wouldn't have set a new personal best in the passing department (359 yards) without the analysis of an expert.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Recruiting Trail: Potential 2014 Alabama signees

Alabama currently has a total of 21 (22 as of 10/30 update) verbal commitments in respect to the 2014 signing class, but who are the remaining targets for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide?

While obviously not limited or reduced to the list below, here are seven prospects Alabama will attempt to reel in as national signing day approaches.

Name: Leonard Fournette
Rating: 5-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: St. Augustine High School – New Orleans, Louisiana
Position: Running Back
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, LSU, Miami, USC (among others)

Name: Da’Shawn Hand
Rating: 5-star prospect – No. 1 player in the nation (Rivals)
School/City: Woodbridge High School – Woodbridge, Virginia
Position: Defensive End
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida, Michigan

Name: Marlon Humphrey
Rating: 5-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Hoover High School – Hoover, Alabama
Position: Defensive Back
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State

Name: Matt Elam
Rating: 4-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: John Hardin High School – Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Position: Defensive Tackle
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama and Kentucky

Name: C.J. Hampton
Rating: 4-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Meridian High School – Meridian, Mississippi
Position: Safety
Status: Verbal to Ole Miss
List: Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Ole Miss, Stanford

Name: Laurence “Hootie” Jones
Rating: 4-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Neville High School – Monroe, Louisiana
Position: Safety
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama and LSU

Name: Jarran Reed
Rating: 3-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: East Mississippi Community College – Scooba, Mississippi
Position: Defensive Tackle
Status: Undecided
-Recruited by Alabama for the class of 2013 out of East Mississippi C.C.
-Selected Florida over Alabama - Signed letter of intent to Florida in Feb. 2013
-Failed to meet credit requirements to enroll at Florida
-Returned to East Mississippi C.C.
-Has reopened recruitment
List: Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State

UPDATE – October 30

The update below "introduces" a total of six prospects that will serve as an extension to the list above.

As is always the case with a recruiting update, the names on this list, and the list above, are not designed to exclude other national prospects that are potentially being pursued by Alabama.

The next "update" in respect to Alabama recruiting 2014, will be presented by mid December.

Name: Andrew Brown
Rating: 5-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Oscar Smith High School – Chesapeake, Virginia
Position: Defensive Tackle
Status: Verbal to Virginia
List: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Virginia

Name: Tony Brown
Rating: 5-star prospect – No. 1 player in the state of Texas (Rivals)
School/City: Ozen High School – Beaumont, Texas
Position: Defensive Back
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Texas

Name: Lorenzo Carter
Rating: 5-star prospect – No. 1 player in the state of Georgia – No. 1 Defensive End in the nation (Rivals)
School/City: Norcross High School – Norcross, Georgia
Position: Defensive End
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oregon

Name: Jalen Tabor
Rating: 5-star prospect – No. 1 player in Washington, D.C. (Rivals)
School/City: Friendship Collegiate Academy – Washington, D.C.
Position: Defensive Back
Status: Undecided
List: Alabama, Florida, Maryland, Vanderbilt

Name: Davion Hall
Rating: 4-star prospect (Rivals)
School/City: Liberty-Eylau High School – Texarkana, Texas
Position: Safety/Wide Receiver (Athlete)
Status: Verbal to Baylor
List: Alabama, Baylor, Texas A&M

Name: Racean “Roc” Thomas
Rating: 4-star prospect
School/City: Oxford High School – Oxford, Alabama
Position: Running Back
Status: Verbal to Auburn
List: Alabama, Auburn

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Crimson Crossover: UK looks for winning recipe

Kentucky - 2013

Record: 1-4
Conference Record: 0-2 (SEC Eastern Division)
Last Game: South Carolina 35 Kentucky 28

Alabama - 2013

Record: 5-0
Conference Record: 2-0 (SEC – Western Division)
Last Game: Alabama 45 Georgia State 3

History lesson

Series: Alabama leads series 35-2-1 (First meeting in 1917)
Most Recent Meeting: Alabama 38 Kentucky 20 (2009)

Setting the scene

Alabama vs. Kentucky
Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, Kentucky
Betting Line: Alabama -27.5 (as of 10/8)
Beat writers of the week

Brett Dawson - Covering Kentucky basketball and football for Rivals.com and Yahoo! Sports as Publisher of Cats Illustrated.

Twitter: @BDawsonRivals

Kyle Tucker - The Courier-Journal's beat writer covering University of Kentucky athletics after almost eight years covering Virginia Tech for The Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KyleTucker_CJ

Follow Brett and Kyle via Twitter to get the latest (breaking) news concerning the Kentucky Wildcats as they prepare for Alabama.

Kentucky on the wire

>>Tide close out Kentucky football's tough stretch against four top-20 teams

>>Stoops Recaps South Carolina Game, Prepares for No. 1 Alabama

>>Horse racing vs. football: Alabama-Kentucky game not a sellout as Keeneland meet hits second weekend
The weekly quotable
Stoops goes on verbal tirade after practice

Prior to Kentucky's game at South Carolina, UK head coach Mark Stoops called a spade a spade. During a postpractice press conference, Stoops refused to pull any punches and gave his team "the business" in front of the media.

---STORY and VIDEO---

While the 'Cats did fall to South Carolina, Stoops' squad played inspired football. One can only imagine what Kentucky's new head coach has up his sleeve to motivate his players for the contest with Alabama.

The Crimson Elephant verdict

For yet another week, Alabama will be facing Alabama...for it is the Saban way. Play to the standard, play until the whistle blows, and play to win each and every down.

Will Kentucky be able to play to Alabama's standard? Yes. For a quarter...

Currently listed as a 27-point favorite, expect Alabama to simply grind the game away, and grind the Wildcats into the ground.

Mark Stoops is the best football coach Kentucky has had in many, many moons, but Rome wasn't built in a day. UK is no match for the Crimson Tide, but Stoops is probably the ideal match for the 'Cats in respect to building a solid foundation.

As far as Saturday's "final verdict" is concerned, Halloween is just weeks away, and nothing is scarier than Nick Saban after sunset.


Alabama 38
Kentucky 10

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Georgia State no match for top-ranked Alabama

Courtesy of four touchdown passes by AJ McCarron, coupled with a staunch defense, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Georgia State Panthers by the score of 45-3.

McCarron, who only played in the initial half, completed 15-of-16 passes for 166 yards and the aforementioned touchdowns. The Tide quarterback was one of many starters who saw limited action in what was essentially a glorified scrimmage.
On the defensive side of the ball, Alabama held GSU to 175 yards of total offense while limiting the Panthers to only 15 yards rushing. The Crimson Tide special teams unit also forced a fumble which led to an AJ McCarron touchdown pass to DeAndrew White.
--Complete Stats--

While a faction of Tide fans expressed displeasure (via social media) in the final score, the contest with Georgia State was never about trying to score 75 points, but rather a four quarter effort to work on basic fundamentals while also including the entire depth chart. The game, while lackluster at times, served as an ideal teaching tool for Nick Saban and staff.

Injury report

LB Denzel Devall: Sprained knee
CB Eddie Jackson: Sprained ankle
DE Jeoffrey Pagan: Did not play due to a sprained shoulder

Detailed injury account per Nick Saban’s postgame presser…

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ronnie Clark gives verbal to Alabama

Calera High School (Calera, AL) safety Ronnie Clark has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2014.
Clark, who stands 6-foot-3 and tops the scale at 205-pounds, selected the Crimson Tide over the likes of Auburn, Clemson, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

While Clark will most likely play safety for UA, the highly touted prospect has mastered the quarterback position in 2013. Calera High School is currently 5-0 with Clark leading the offense. When discussing Clark's attributes, the "athlete" tag certainly applies.

Listed as a four-star prospect per Rivals.com, Clark becomes the 21st verbal commitment in respect to Alabama's 2014 signing class.

Jeff Sentell, the Prep Sports Editor for The Birmingham News, has the story concerning Clark's decision to play for the Crimson Tide.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Strength/conditioning coach gave loan to Clinton-Dix

Alabama assistant strength and conditioning coach Corey Harris has been placed on administrative leave due to his financial relationship with Tide safety HaHa Clinton-Dix.

Per the Tuscaloosa News, UA compliance officials have discovered that Harris gave a loan of less than $500 to Clinton-Dix during the summer.

Clinton-Dix, who is currently suspended for violation of team rules and policy pertaining to the matter in question, has provided the Alabama compliance department with bank statements with a withdrawal amount, which per Clinton-Dix, was used to repay Harris.

For the full story...
In respect to the NCAA aspect of this issue, former compliance official John Infante provides his expert assessment of the Clinton-Dix/Harris situation.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Clinton-Dix suspended, freshmen change numbers

As Nick Saban noted during his late afternoon press conference, safety HaHa Clinton-Dix has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.

While Saban, per protocol, declined to expound on which rule(s) Clinton-Dix violated, news of the suspension became a "hot topic" on social media and various message boards. For a short time, "HaHa Clinton-Dix" was a worldwide trending topic on Twitter.

In respect to the fandom aspect of the equation, the "rumor mill" will most likely continue to turn until something concrete is revealed. As of now, details concerning the reason(s) for the suspension, and the future playing status of Clinton-Dix, are two of the most obvious aspects that have yet to be unearthed in the general media.

Alabama beat writer Andrew Gribble has the latest...
In other news, the Alabama "musical chairs" continue in respect to jersey numbers. As noted in the tweet below, three Tide true freshmen have changed numbers, one of which is highly touted running back Derrick Henry.
For Henry, the number flip marks the second such change in roughly 40 days. An early enrollee, Henry adorned No. 3 from spring practice until late August, and then, for special teams reasons, switched to No. 21. Based on the report from Saban's Wednesday presser, and the tweet embedded above, the number switch is once again related to special teams.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Crimson Crossover: GSU will play victim for cash

Georgia State - 2013

Record: 0-4
Conference Record: 0-0 (Sun Belt Conference)
Last Game: Jacksonville State 32 Georgia State 26 (OT)

Alabama - 2013

Record: 4-0
Conference Record: 2-0 (SEC – Western Division)
Last Game: Alabama 25 Ole Miss 0

History lesson

Series: Alabama leads series 1-0 (First meeting in 2010)
Most Recent Meeting: Alabama 63 Georgia State 7

Setting the scene

Georgia State vs. Alabama
Bryant-Denny Stadium – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Betting Line: Alabama -55.5 (as of 10/1)

The Crimson Elephant verdict

Given the opposition, and the obvious “purpose” of this contest, several segments that are usually included in the “Crimson Crossover” have been eliminated this week.

With the acceptance and understanding that both Alabama and Georgia State fans have about the upcoming (homecoming) game in Tuscaloosa, insulting the intelligence of the reader with “in-depth details” would simply be preposterous. The writing is on the wall…in rather big letters.
In respect to Saturday’s game, the verdict is quite obvious. Alabama will cruise to an easy victory, while the Georgia State Panthers will receive a nice check for their time and effort.

College football is a business, and right or wrong, games like these are simply part of the business. Every major program in the nation makes the "exchange" at least twice a season, and October 5 just happens to be one of those times for the Crimson Tide.

Alabama 56
*Georgia State 0

*Those who would like to know more about the GSU football program can visit GeorgiaStateSports.com for a plethora of information.