Greatest Games in Saban-Era Crimson Tide History That Alabama Didn’t Play In

“...I get by with a little help from my friends.”

~ Sir Ringo Starr

Telling the history of Alabama Crimson Tide football would take years. To tell the tale of the Nick Saban era would take a substantial time in itself, and the story continues. Unless you just came out of a ten-year coma, you know that the Tide has won five National Championships in the last nine years. There are many stories that have been regaled regarding this epoch. The players, the coaches, and the big plays are held in such high regards to Tide fans, like it is almost as if they are a part of the family photo album. But Bama didn’t always pull off these championships without a little help from their friends.

November 18, 2011: FREAKY FRIDAY!Iowa State 37 Oklahoma State 31 (2 OT)

The 10-0 Cowboys sauntered their way into Ames, Iowa for a Friday night spotlight game and slinked away with crushed dreams. The Cyclones would lose the rest of their games and finish the season 6-7.

Key Play: Although they were a bit sloppy, the Cowpokes held a 24-7 lead in the 3rd quarter. Ahhh, time to relax and put it in cruise control... After the Cyclones scored a touchdown, OSU would turn the ball over two times and have two three-and-outs on their next five possessions. Meanwhile, ISU chipped away at the lead and tied it up. Late in the game, Iowa State would throw an interception in their own territory. With the addition of a 15 yard personal foul penalty, the Cowboys took the ball at the 29 yard line. After some sad attempts to gain yardage, OSU would miss a 37-yard field goal to send the game into OT where the Cyclones would prevail.

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Insider Puts In Notable Prediction For No. 1 Recruit In 2019

Steve Wiltfong, the Director of Recruiting, put in a crystal ball for the No. 1 prospect in the country – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. As you can see below, Wiltfong has the Thousands Oak, California native leaning towards the Crimson Tide:

Thibodeaux recently shared that he is down to Alabama, Florida, Oregon, USC and Florida State.

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Alabama Football: Get acquainted with the new-look Tide secondary

Alabama football will have new starters and mostly new backups throughout the 2018 defensive backfield. Check out the top 10 players for the new-look secondary. Alabama football will depend on less experienced players in the 2018 secondary. Of the 14 defensive backs on the 2018 roster, only two of them saw significant 2017 action beyond special teams. […]Alabama Football: Get acquainted with the new-look Tide secondary - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Lunch With Greg Byrne

The first thing you notice about Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne is his height. At 6’6” he towers over most people. Byrne is young (47), energetic, tech savvy, and in tune with today’s generation. He and wife Regina have two grown sons, and the oldest, Nick, graduated from Arizona and now works with the University of Florida athletic department.

Byrne was born for the job he has, his dad Bill was an athletic director for many years at Nebraska, Oregon, and Texas A&M. To my knowledge Byrne is the first athletic director at Alabama not to be a former player or coach. In this day and time the position requires more of an administrative lean than in the past. Negotiation and fundraising have become a major part of the job, and Byrne is well versed in both areas.

This lunch meeting came about from Byrne tweeting a picture of he and five athletic department employees dining in his office with a caption, “had five employees in for lunch today, we are going to do this once a week.” Fans that saw the tweet responded with the suggestion to do the same with fans. Byrne liked the idea and put out a contest for fans to tweet in why they should be chosen. I was one of 15 selected, and was picked to come in the first group of five, on Tuesday, July 10th.

An informal gathering in Byrne’s office, with Full Moon brought in, was held at noon on July 10th. We began with each giving a condensed bio of ourselves, and transitioned into questions for the AD. Byrne candidly answered all, with the caveat on a couple of things that they not leave the room, so some things will not be told here, yet.

Byrne said he has known Nick Saban’s agent, Jimmy Sexton, for years, and that they have a good relationship. Sexton vouched for his character with Saban, and the relationship has been great. Byrne went on to say that he “hopes Nick is here for a long time, and he will be extremely hard to replace.”Byrne feels Brad Bohannon, his first hire, was absolutely a home run. He mentioned what a great recruiter Coach Bo is, and that they were actually at Kentucky together for a short period of time. Byrne went on to say from his office he has watched Bohannon personally take more recruits through the weight room than another coach on campus. Byrne thinks that the baseball roster should be divided about 50-50 between instate and out of state players.Byrne is an avid golfer and has played two rounds at Augusta National this year, shooting 82 and 92 in his two trips.Byrne was very proud of the University finishing 13th in the Capital One Cup this past year. The ranking was the highest that Alabama has ever finished. With 21 programs on campus Byrne isn't looking to expand anytime soon. A mention of hockey, water skiing, lacrosse, and mens soccer were quickly shot down. Byrne wants to “put as much of our resources and effort into giving the student athletes we have every opportunity to compete for championships.” Twenty one sports teams at Alabama is more than most SEC schools field.Byrne said that there will be metal detectors at every SEC stadium for the 2019 season. He wasn't sure if the staff would continue to check the clear bags in addition to patrons going through the detectors.Byrne said the cell service for BDS and Coleman should be significantly improved. The WiFi will be addressed when a decision is made on what to do next with Bryant-Denny, and will be an extremely expensive undertaking.Byrne said although he likes white helmets, he doesn't believe that coach Saban is very keen on them.Byrne said he was very proud of the coaching staff and players for the way they handled the White House visit this year. He said Saban told the players that they have gone with Democratic Presidents and Republican Presidents, and the trip is to honor the team, the office, and the sitting President at the time. Byrne was very complimentary of the behavior of the players and staff.Byrne mentioned that his office had formally been the head football coach’s office before becoming home base for Mal Moore and Bill Battle. He said that he recently told Gene Stallings “thanks for letting me use your office, coach.”Byrne said that you can't get complacent and continue to do the same thing just because “its always been done that way.” He wants to continue to seek out ways to enhance the game day experience for all the fans, both in premium and regular seating.Fighting TV for butts in the seats is a problem for all programs, Byrne feels.Byrne reiterated that he and Regina were extremely happy in Tuscaloosa, and he “hopes to be here a long time, and retire from this job.”

Several other things that were discussed should be able to be released at a later date. After lunch and conversation Byrne was gracious enough to have a picture taking session, and offer a quick tour of the weight room, which is just steps from his office. Each of the five guests were given a gift of a Nike Thermal hoody and pants set. All in all a extremely good time spent with a personable, affable, smart, man that I feel will be a great steward of the Alabama athletic department for years to come.

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Alabama Football: First bad injury news for 2018 with Terrell Lewis ACL

For Terrell Lewis and Alabama football, bad news came early as Lewis suffered an ACL injury. Check out how the Tide will adjust without its best edge rusher. Alabama football lost one of its top players this week. Terrell Lewis had surgery on Monday to repair an ACL injury suffered last week. Lewis was expected to be […]Alabama Football: First bad injury news for 2018 with Terrell Lewis ACL - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Alabama LB Terrell Lewis suffers torn ACL

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

One of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft has suffered a serious injury. Alabama linebacker Terrell Lewis has been diagnosed with a torn right ACL, according to an announcement from the school. Although “a timeframe for his return is unknown at this time,” it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to take the field this season.

Early projections had Lewis (f.k.a. Terrell Hall) in the mix to be a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. That is now very much in jeopardy, though he might be able to recover in time for team workouts in the winter.

Unfortunately, injuries have plagued Lewis throughout his collegiate career. In 2017, he suffered an injury in the season opener which cost him the bulk of the year. Hopes were high after he excelled in spring football practices, but scouts will have to wait a while before seeing the 6-foot-5, 247-pound linebacker on the field again.

In the wake of this news, it’s quite possible that Lewis will stay in school for 2019 rather than going pro. He’ll have ample time to assess his decision, however, and the counsel of the College Advisory Committee (CAC) may play a role in his determination next year.

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Alabama Linebacking Corps Takes Another Hit to the Injury Bug

By CB969 Jul 10, 2018, 12:12pm CDT

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Loki must be back from vacation because he is all up in the Crimson Tide’s business this week.

One day after the announcement that LB VanDarius Cowan had been dismissed from team, comes news that fellow linebacker Terrell Lewis suffered a torn ACL “while training”.

The silver lining is that the injury did not occur while the rising junior was doing some outside activity and was immediately diagnosed and treated. There used to be a time when ACL tears meant the end of a playing career. With any luck, perhaps Lewis can return by December and maybe log a redshirt season. But that is not likely.

Lewis was injured last September during the Florida State game, tearing a ligament in his elbow. He sat out most of the season but was able to return for the Iron Bowl and finish out the postseason. This injury is a bit more severe.

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Nick Saban confirms torn ACL for Alabama LB Terrell Lewis

At least financially, USC is basking in the glow of its first huge win of 2018.

In December of 2015, it was confirmed that Steve Sarkisian had filed a lawsuit against USC in which he claimed that the university illegally fired him because, in part, they did not accommodate his disability. Specifically, the coach, who had recently finished a stint in rehab, acknowledged at the time that he was an alcoholic and claimed his firing violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The lawsuit, the claims in which the university at the time described as “patently untrue,” was seeking up to $30 million in damages, including $12.6 million from the remainder of his contract as well as nearly $18 million in unspecified damages.

Monday, as TMZ.com reported, “an arbitrator… denied every single one of Sark’s claims — explaining the coach was ‘not terminated on the basis of any disability,’ but rather for misconduct in breach of his contract.” The arbitrator, in denying Sarkisian any type of monetary damages from the university, further stated that California’s disability laws do “not insulate the failure to control a controllable disability nor afford an employee a second chance to control a disability in the future.”

After being placed on an indefinite leave of absence Oct. 11 of 2015, Sarkisian was fired a day later as the Trojans’ head football coach.  Sarkisian, who reportedly had a troubling past involving alcohol, checked himself into rehab shortly thereafter, and reportedly learned of his fate with the Trojans via text messages and emails on his way to a treatment center.

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Jumbo Package: Alabama alumni in the pros

Aside from VanDarius Cowan being kicked off the team (which Josh wrote about yesterday), there is absolutely nothing happening in the world of Alabama— and really all sports in general, aside from the World Cup. It’s just that horrible part of the year.

However, the NFL is getting ready to start opening up training camps and preparing their rosters for the preseason. As such, we’re starting to get a lot of pieces on individual players across the league, many of whom are Alabama alumni (read: if you want to be in the pros, come to Alabama).

In the NFL, despite his injuries, Yeldon led the Jaguars in rushing in 2015 and 2016. Last year, a hamstring injury had Yeldon on the bench to open the season as did the presence of LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who’d been the fourth player picked in the 2017 NFL Draft.

When he finally got his first chance to carry the ball in the seventh game of the season with Fournette out with an ankle injury, Yeldon ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on nine carries in a 27-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 22.

Yeldon played in every game after that, finishing the regular season with 253 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries (averaging 5.2 yards per carry) and 39 receptions for 224 yards. Yeldon had 10 carries for 45 yards and one touchdown and five receptions for 63 yards in the playoffs as the Jaguars reached the postseason for the first time since 2007.

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Alabama football at wide receiver is loaded with youth and talent

The young Alabama football wide receiver group is loaded with talent. Check out the top six at wideout, plus a couple more who could surprise. Unlike concerns about depth on the Alabama football defense, particularly at inside linebacker, the Tide had depth at wide receiver. Most of that depth is young but it is not all […]Alabama football at wide receiver is loaded with youth and talent - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Alabama tops Phil Steele’s preseason Top 25

Phil Steele’s College Football Preview Magazine is among the most anticipated annual publications for college fans, simultaneously serving as a bellwether for fall camp and a thirst quencher for fans longing for precious college football coverage. His predictions are hot off the presses and, as expected, he has the Tide atop the rankings. On Alabama:

“The Tide had yet to win a national title when preseason No. 1 under Nick Saban and while they barely got into the Playoff, they finally accomplished that. Alabama has two solid QBs, my No. 2 RBs, No. 3 OL, No. 4 DL, No. 1 LBs and No. 8 DBs in the country. They are once again the deepest team in the country and unlike 2015 and 2016 when they were No. 124 and No. 116 on my experience chart, Bama is No. 50 on the exp. chart this year. Saban recruits the best talent and develops it and the competition at each position makes everyone better. Bama will be favored by double digits in every game on the schedule and the SEC Title Game could be a national title rematch, but even if they’re 12-1, they’ll probably still make the Playoff.”

We will have plenty of time to debate that last sentence, as being heavily favored in every game says as much about the schedule as it does the Tide. According to Steele, Alabama will face only three ranked foes this season, and one of those is #25 Arkansas State.

“Arkansas State is just No. 73 in my Power Poll, but was arguably the best team in the Sun Belt last year and returns QB Justice Hansen. They do face Alabama on the road, but they could end up being favored in 11 games this season.”

Steele is quite bearish on the SEC as a whole. After the Tide, he has the Georgia Bulldogs at #5, but you then have to go all the way to #17 to find the Florida Gators, which seems generous for a team coming off a 4-7 season. Auburn and Mississippi State check in at #19 and #21, respectively, and that’s it. Five out of 14 SEC teams ranked, only two in the top 15.

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Alabama football depth at ILB takes big hit with Cowan dismissal

VanDarius Cowan spent much of his Alabama football career in trouble. His dismissal from the team leaves thin depth at inside linebacker even thinner. “Savages want to play with savages” is a well-known tweet from VanDarius Cowan during his Alabama football recruitment. It appears Cowan was unable to make the distinction being a savage on the […]Alabama football depth at ILB takes big hit with Cowan dismissal - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Alabama Recruiting Catch-Up: Three New Football Commits

While most of America was spending Independence Day week at the lake or beach or maybe grilling out in the backyard, Nick Saban was probably in a dark room somewhere watching game film.

Saban was not the only person with Alabama football on his mind. The Tide picked up verbal commitments from three 4-star players for the Class of 2019.

Byron Young DE Laurel, MS 6’4”/279

The Fourth of July began with a bang for the Crimson Tide with the midnight commitment from this 4-star strongside defensive end. There are reports that say the Mississippi native made his pledge earlier than expected. [IMHO: I get the feeling this move was influenced by Saban. As we have reported, the Alabama coach is not messing around this year. It makes one wonder if Saban said something along the lines of commit or we are moving on to the next guy.]

247Sports Comp ranks Young as the No. 121 recruit in the nation. Rivals has him in the same ballpark at 129. Young chose the Tide over UGA and Missy State. Credit Pete Golding’s Magnolia State roots and position coach Craig Kuligowski for this get.

John Metchie WR Hagerstown, MD 6’0”/195

On Friday, the Crimson Tide finally nabbed their first pass-catcher for the Class of 2019. Metchie was born in Taiwan and has lived in Nigeria and Ghana before the family settled in the Toronto area. He enrolled in boarding school in Maryland in order to follow his dream of playing football, spending four years at that school. While still only 17 years old, the family felt another year would do him good. He will spend one post-graduate year at The Peddie School in Hightstown, NJ before moving on to Tuscaloosa next year.

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Alabama Football: Returning starters and game experience tell two stories

The presumed weakest link for Alabama football is few returning starters on defense. Game experience by non-starters is a more accurate measurement. Identifying Alabama football weaknesses in 2018 focuses on the defense. In terms of players who started at least half the 2017 games, there are only two: Isaiah Buggs with 13 starts and Anfernee Jennings with 11 […]Alabama Football: Returning starters and game experience tell two stories - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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TUA | Homecoming - Part 4: Tua Tagovailoa and teammates take over Oahu's Polynesian Cultural Center

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Who besides Alabama football is hot in preseason Top 25 rankings

Check out this compilation of 14 preseason CFB Top 25 rankings to see where Alabama football and other top teams rate as the nation’s top teams. A compilation of 14 preseason Top 25 rankings gives few surprises about Alabama football. The Alabama Crimson Tide was ranked No. 1 in 11 of the 14 rankings. Clemson […]Who besides Alabama football is hot in preseason Top 25 rankings - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Get familiar with college football's new and revamped rivalries

Corey Perrine/Getty Images

With the 2017-18-college football season almost upon us, it’s time to re-examine one of the best parts of any sport: the rivalries. In doing so, we must set aside all preconceived notions and welcome in the new order — enemies forged in the Twitter fires, divided by conference realignments and created by the coveted College Football Playoff spots.

Here are your new, revamped college football rivalries heading into the 2018 season.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Auburn vs. Georgia 

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Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t the only five-star freshman who considered transferring from Alabama last year

Tua Tagovailoa isn’t the only five-star freshman in Alabama’s backfield who considered a transfer out of Tuscaloosa prior to a starring role in the team’s national championship run last season.

Sitting down with his hometown newspaper The San Fransisco Chronicle this summer, Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris revealed that he too thought about transferring from the school in search of more playing time after an up-and-down campaign as a true freshman. Ultimately though, will return to the program after talking with several key people close to him because he thinks the school gives him the best spot to play in the NFL.

“The only thing I can tell you is, I hope I’m on the field more,” Harris said of the upcoming 2018 campaign before discussing his first season with the team. “Last year was the worst feeling. That whole season was mentally challenging.”

Harris signed with the Tide as the No. 1 player in the country according to most recruiting services and was expected to push for carries early despite a crowded running backs room. Things didn’t quite play out that way however, as he saw some success early during a few blowouts but was relatively unused until busting out 64 yards on the ground against Georgia in the title game to help spark the team’s comeback. It seems that kind of effort on the big stage led to a meeting with Nick Saban that helped keep him in the fold at Alabama, per the Chronicle: 

Harris met with then-running backs coach Burton Burns after the season and had two one-on-one meetings with Saban in the spring. Saban reminded Harris he needs to polish his pass-blocking skills, he said, though Saban also acknowledged Harris’ frustration and told him, “You’re going to play a lot this year.”

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Alabama Basketball: Avery adds one to ’19 class, as Lewis and Watford wait

Alabama basketball coach, Avery Johnson got its first ’19 commit in SF, Diante Smith. While Avery waits on Kira Lewis and Trendon Watford, he has other options. Alabama basketball will have at least four roster slots available in the ’19 signing class. It could be more. Nationally the massive, annual exodus of basketball players via […]Alabama Basketball: Avery adds one to ’19 class, as Lewis and Watford wait - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Report: Najee Harris Nearly Transferred From Alabama After Last Year

Najee Harris, the No. 1 recruit in the 2017 class (who picked Alabama over Michigan), shared with the SF Chronicles that he nearly transferred out of Tuscaloosa after his freshman season:

That’s why he contemplated leaving Alabama after his freshman season, frustrated by sparse playing time. And that’s also why he ultimately stayed, figuring Alabama still offers the best path to the NFL.

“The only thing I can tell you is, I hope I’m on the field more,” Harris said. “Last year was the worst feeling. That whole season was mentally challenging.”

Harris, who had d 61 carries last season for 370 yards and three touchdowns, got plenty of action during the Crimson Tide’s run to a championship last year. With Damien Harris and Joshua Jacobs also on the team, Harris will be fighting for carries once again.

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