Bama football took to the practice fields yesterday as spring practice began. The 2013 season kicks off against the Hokies in 157 days.
There were storylines introduced all over the field, including some experimentation of moving a few offensive players to the defensive side of the ball (Christion Jones got a look at cornerback, for example). And the quarterback drills were as full of bodies as Bob Baumhower’s after a home game.
But the biggest take away I took away was the size of Alabama freshman runningback Derrick Henry. At 6’3″, 242 pounds, Henry is a beast. And to make matters worse, he was wearing #3.
“We were talking about it on the sideline, me and a couple of the players, how Henry looked like a bigger version of Trent Richardson.”
A bigger version of Trent Richardson? Goodness gracious. And when Henry is flanked by Altee Tenpenny, Tyren Jones and Alvin Kamara, fellow highly touted newcomers at runningback, it’s possible Bama’s greatest back in the Nick Saban era may have yet to take his first snap.
Bama Basketball as we reported yesterday appears headed back to the NIT. And it’s funny when you talk to Tide fans about the basketball program. They are as polarized about the subject as you can be.
Some are tired of underachieving and squeaking by all season to have to sit on pins and needles come selection time. Others are confident that Anthony Grant has things headed in the right direction, and that four years hasn’t been enough to turn the Tide.
One thing is for sure, when this guy was in control of the program, the NIT wasn’t good enough:
I’m just not sure why it’s okay now. I fall into the camp of people who think Bama basketball could and should be doing more. Will we be Kentucky? Heck no. Never. But show me the person who in the 1990’s ever predicted Florida to be a consistent force that they’ve been?
All it takes is the right coach, some say. Others say all it takes is a commitment from the University for excellence. At the moment, I’m not sure the basketball program at Alabama has either.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and as I write this I’ve just poured my first bowl of Lucky Charms (a St. Patty’s Day tradition in my house) and have my green shirt on. Later I plan on watching the game film of the total beatdown the Tide put on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
By now I’m sure you’ve seen this, but for some reason I’ve been in a hole and hadn’t:
Some day we’ll reflect on this era of college football, our grandkids on our knees. We’ll tell stories of how Bama dismantled undefeated opponents in back-to-back seasons, in back-to-back championship games for back-to-back National Championships. Teams in LSU and Notre Dame that strutted in with a combined 25-0 record.
If there is one joy our rivals have over us it’s that we can’t possibly be enjoying this stretch as much as they are hating it, especially with no end in sight. But for one afternoon, I plan on kicking back and enjoying #15 one more time.
Other Bama sports of note:
The Gymnastics Team closed out its regular season with a win over Oklahoma…its 34th home victory in a row, a feat that stretches 4+ years. Bama averaged 13,422 fans per meet this season, the 2nd highest average ever at UA. For those crying for a new baseball stadium, or bemoaning basketball attendance, winning puts butts in the seats. Period.
Bama is currently ranked #4 nationally. The Southeastern Conference Championships begin next week in Little Rock, AR.
Bama Softball picked up its first series win of the young SEC season this weekend in Columbia, SC. The Tide stands at 25-3 overall, 3-2 in the SEC. Bama goes for the series sweep at noon.
Then there’s baseball. Almost 20 games into the season, Bama is 10-9 overall, 1-1 in the SEC. The Tide is in the middle of its first SEC series of the season, losing a 7-6 decision last night. If you think our basketball team can’t get it done, go on out to The Joe for an afternoon of baseball. There just isn’t enough batting on this team to be competitive.
However, college baseball is a wierd animal. The really good players never don a college uni. They go straight to the pros where a paycheck is waiting. Basketball is almost to that point, but I can’t imagine what it’d be like to recruit in baseball. Your wish list of needs at each position would have to be 30 deep, waiting to see who the Braves or Dodgers picked up before you can make the call.
I miss Alabama baseball being good. It’s a fun afternoon to watch them play.
Finally, our prayers continue to be with Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore who at this hour is still said “to be resting comfortably” at Duke University Medical Center. Moore was transported on Wednesday of last week, being treated for pulmonary issues.
Not making light, but “resting comfortably” is usually a description associated with a person for whom they’ve done everything they can. At this point there is no word on his longterm diagnosis. Moore has experienced other health problems in recent years. You just wonder if this is the end (at the helm, not life) for Moore.
I will say this, Moore is a living legend, and a gentleman’s gentleman. It’s astonishing to think about the plethora of links Mal Moore has to the history of Alabama football. He is really a living, breathing monument to Crimson Tide gridiron success. What we are enjoying now in football dominance can be directly attributed to Mal’s fundraising, guts, persistence and patience in cutting a favorite son loose and going after the best of the best.
I’m sure you join me in praying for Mal. Not for him to remain as AD. Alabama’s next AD will be stellar (and I’m hoping his name is Ozzie). But I pray for Mal to return to health so he can enjoy his final years living in peace, enjoying life without the stresses he’s endured at Bama in the last decade. Goodness knows he’s earned it.