Touchdown Alabama https://tdalabamamag.com Alabama's Premier Football Website Tue, 26 Mar 2019 03:56:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 PODCAST: Will Alabama ever make Scott Cochran a $1 million man? https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/25/podcast-will-alabama-ever-make-scott-cochran-a-1-million-man/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 02:30:51 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58114 The University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees approved the contracts of eight assistant coaches on Nick Saban’s staff football staff last week. While it was reported via USA TODAY that the institution paid the coaches over $7.5 million, $565,000 were used to cover those under buyouts.  When it comes to Scott Cochran, Alabama’s Director of Strength and […]]]>

The University of Alabama’s Board of Trustees approved the contracts of eight assistant coaches on Nick Saban’s staff football staff last week. While it was reported via USA TODAY that the institution paid the coaches over $7.5 million, $565,000 were used to cover those under buyouts. 

When it comes to Scott Cochran, Alabama’s Director of Strength and Conditioning, he was approved for $595,000. Despite him being the heartbeat behind a program that has won five national championships under Saban, his salary is not the top one for strength coaches. 

RELATED: Alabama freshman OLB is preparing to be huge contributor in 2019

Both Joey Batson of Clemson ($600,000) and Chris Doyle of Iowa ($725,000) make more than Cochran.

With all he has done, which includes transforming the bodies of players, preparing guys for the National Football League and being the longest-tenured assistant coach, one would think he should be at $1 million by now.  

In Monday’s airing of In My Own Words, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine goes inside Cochran’s loyalty to the Crimson Tide and why the school needs to value him. 

You can also listen to the audio version of the podcast on SoundCloud.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Alabama freshman OLB is preparing to be huge contributor in 2019 https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/25/alabama-freshman-olb-is-preparing-to-be-huge-contributor-in-2019/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 01:46:39 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58110 Nothing is wrong with student-athletes having the power to write their own narrative when it comes to attending a school; however, the willingness to remain with a program or stick to a commitment as a recruit is rare nowadays with players jumping from place to place.  His pain was understood in the 2017 recruiting cycle […]]]>

Nothing is wrong with student-athletes having the power to write their own narrative when it comes to attending a school; however, the willingness to remain with a program or stick to a commitment as a recruit is rare nowadays with players jumping from place to place. 

His pain was understood in the 2017 recruiting cycle when the University of Alabama did not have enough room to sign him, but there was something different about Jarez Parks.  

RELATED: Alabama’s OL flows through Matt Womack next season

A consensus four-star, the Crimson Tide stocked up on outside linebackers/weakside defensive ends prior to gaining interest in Parks.

He was No. 115 on the ESPN 300 and one of the top defensive end prospects nationally from Sebastian River High School in Fellsmere, Fla., but was faced with a tough decision.

Parks could have gone anywhere in the college football landscape as a sought-after talent, yet he chose to grayshirt and wanted to give Nick Saban every opportunity. 

With tears in his eyes, he watched from home as his class was instrumental in delivering Alabama a College Football Playoff National Championship in 2017.  

After redshirting last season and the Tide hiring Sal Sunseri for outside linebackers, Parks looks to turn his tears to triumph and become a marquee contributor in the fall.

He came in at 265 pounds, but Scott Cochran — UA’s Director of Strength and Conditioning – has him slim down and chiseled up at 6-foot-5 and 239 pounds.

While he did not start playing football until his sophomore year of high school, Parks is getting reps at second-team jack linebacker in spring practice behind Christopher Allen.

The tough coaching from Sunseri is getting Parks ready for next season, especially with Saban not putting much on Terrell Lewis this offseason and Cameron Latu moving to offense at tight end in helping the Tide create depth at that spot. 

Counting its session on Tuesday, the Tide has nine more practices (scrimmages included) before it takes to Bryant-Denny Stadium for its annual A-Day Game on Saturday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m. 

He was a superstar at track and field upon coming to Alabama, but Parks is gearing up to be a household name on the gridiron. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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WATCH: Alabama commit, Javier Morton, interview at the Nike Opening https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/25/watch-alabama-commit-javier-morton-interview-at-the-nike-opening/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 18:02:15 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58099 Alabama DB commit, Javier Morton was a standout all day at the Nike Opening yesterday. He took some time to speak with Touchdown Alabama Magazine about the event and his commitment to the Tide. Check out the interview below. *Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to […]]]>

Alabama DB commit, Javier Morton was a standout all day at the Nike Opening yesterday. He took some time to speak with Touchdown Alabama Magazine about the event and his commitment to the Tide.

Check out the interview below.

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*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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Alabama lands 6-7 2019 Tight End, Richard Hunt https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/25/alabama-land-6-7-2019-tight-end-richard-hunt/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 17:41:18 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58087 Alabama added a late member to its 2019 class by extending an preferred walk-on offer to Richard Hunt on Sunday. Extremely excited to say that I am continuing my athletic and academic career at the University of Alabama 🐘🐘#RTR @AlabamaFTBL @CoachJeffBanks @Football_BCS pic.twitter.com/4h3ZXFAk8H — Richard Hunt (@Richardhunt87) March 25, 2019 Hunt is a 6-7 tight […]]]>

Alabama added a late member to its 2019 class by extending an preferred walk-on offer to Richard Hunt on Sunday.

Hunt is a 6-7 tight end out of Briarcrest Christian High School in Eads, Tennessee,. He took a visit to Tuscaloosa on Sunday, where Nick Saban told him about his offer and the coaches plans for him. Richard said he feels their conversation made his decision easier.

“The talk with Coach Saban really convinced me,” Richard said. “The coaches told me that they are a little deficient at the tight end  position and that i can work my way up.”

Alabama landed one tight end in the 2019 recruiting class. After losing Irv Smith to the NFL, the Tide could use Hunt to add some depth to the position. The Tide have shown they wanted to do this on the recruiting trail and on the field as they are trying linebacker, Cameron Latu, at tight end during spring practice.

Hunt has great admiration for the dynasty that Saban has built at Alabama and feels he is one of the best college coaches.

“He is hands down the best college coach ever and I can’t wait to play for him,” Hunt said.

At 6-7, Hunt has the perfect size for a tight end. He has a track record of being a great blocker in the run game and a mismatch in the passing game.

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Alabama lands Seth McLaughlin https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/alabama-lands-seth-mclaughlin/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 03:16:53 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58080 Seth McLaughlin announced his verbal commitment to Alabama on Sunday, giving the Tide its first 2020 offensive lineman commit. 110% Committed!!! #RTR🐘🔴 pic.twitter.com/Pk3d0epCyh — Seth McLaughlin (@Seth_Mc24) March 24, 2019 McLaughlin is a product of Buford High School in Buford, Georgia. He is the Tide’s 13th 2020 commit. Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, […]]]>

Seth McLaughlin announced his verbal commitment to Alabama on Sunday, giving the Tide its first 2020 offensive lineman commit.

McLaughlin is a product of Buford High School in Buford, Georgia. He is the Tide’s 13th 2020 commit.

Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content

Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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Rob Grownkowski retires from NFL, keep eyes on Irv Smith and Patriots https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/rob-grownkowski-retires-from-nfl-keep-eyes-on-irv-smith-and-patriots/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 01:46:01 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58074 As he does each year, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots makes it a priority to visit his student in Nick Saban at the University of Alabama on Pro Day to scout out potentially players he feels would fit the Patriots’ system.  Belichick has had the liberty of drafting Dont’a Hightower – a three-time Super Bowl […]]]>

As he does each year, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots makes it a priority to visit his student in Nick Saban at the University of Alabama on Pro Day to scout out potentially players he feels would fit the Patriots’ system. 

Belichick has had the liberty of drafting Dont’a Hightower – a three-time Super Bowl champion – and Cyrus Jones (later cut and signed to Ravens). He also had DeAndrew White signed to New England’s practice squad in 2016 and the native Texan earned a Super Bowl ring versus the Atlanta Falcons.

This time around, the National Football League will have its annual draft in Nashville, Tenn., and Belichick’s team has the final pick of the first round. For the defending NFL champions, it received news on Sunday via social media on its superstar tight end – Rob Gronkowksi, 29 — announcing his retirement from the league after nine seasons. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

After the man who earned the nickname “Gronk” shared his decision on Instagram, Adam Schefter of ESPN crafted a report. Following his two seasons at University of Arizona, Gronkowski turned in an incredible pro career. A former second-round pick of the 2010 NFL Draft, he tallied four 1,000-yard seasons – including a career-high 1,327 yards with 17 touchdowns on 90 catches in 2011.

Gronkowski led the NFL in touchdown receptions that season, while averaging 14.7 yards per catch. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion, five-time Pro Bowl selection, four-time NFL All-Pro first team, and was the league’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2014; as he brought in 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 scores.

Despite the gaudy career stats that include 7,861 yards receiving and 79 touchdown catches, Gronk’s body took a beating in the last few years. He had sustained injuries to his left arm, right knee, back and ankle. The 2013 season was troubling for him as he had surgery on his forearm, knee (ACL and MCL) and back, which caused him to miss nine games.

With him bowing out gracefully, the Patriots are in the market for a tight end to work with Tom Brady for at least the next four years.

Brady, 41, has stated multiple times that he wants to play until he’s 45. 

Upon seeing Irv Smith Jr., at pro day and studying film on him, Belichick is impressed with the former Alabama football star. While Smith is smaller than Gronk at 6-foot-2 and 242 pounds, his ability to be a matchup nightmare, run precise routes and provide Brady a dependable target lines up with the big personality in Gronkowski.

Smith turned in a smooth performance at the NFL Combine, clocking a 40-time of 4.63 seconds and went through the gauntlet drill with ease. He was one of the reasons why Tua Tagovailoa had a Heisman-like sophomore season, seeing how Smith totaled 44 receptions for 710 yards and seven touchdowns. His output in scores set a single-season school record for tight ends.

Ten NFL franchises will be looking for a game-changing weapon to flex out wide. Keep all eyes on the possibly of Smith to the Patriots. 

The NFL Draft will start on Thursday, April 25.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Alabama’s offensive line flows through Matt Womack next season https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/alabamas-offensive-line-flows-through-matt-womack-next-season/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 00:34:01 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58069 He missed the first four games of last season and lost his starting job at right tackle to Jedrick Wills; however, Matt Womack has returned and is working at right guard for the first unit.  The senior and former three-star from Mississippi learned from Ryan Kelly, Cam Robinson, Bradley Bozeman and Jonah Williams on how to relate […]]]>

He missed the first four games of last season and lost his starting job at right tackle to Jedrick Wills; however, Matt Womack has returned and is working at right guard for the first unit. 

The senior and former three-star from Mississippi learned from Ryan Kelly, Cam Robinson, Bradley Bozeman and Jonah Williams on how to relate calls and control things up front, and now he gets the opportunity to teach younger players and become an anchor for this group. 

Prior to a foot injury he suffered in 2018, Womack had a strong junior year in 2017 and one where he graded out at 90 percent or better on assignments versus Fresno State, Vanderbilt and Clemson in the Sugar Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal in New Orleans, La. 

RELATED: Tua Working Under the Impression His Job is Up For Grabs

Listed at 6-foot-7 and 325 pounds, he assisted running back Damien Harris to 1,000 yards rushing with 11 touchdowns and helped the University of Alabama secure a 26-23 win over Georgia in the CFP National Championship matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 

His size and knowledge on offense at a guard position will be critical to the Crimson Tide’s success in not only creating balance, but also making sure quarterback Tua Tagovailoa stays upright in the pocket. According to Wills in player interviews on last week, he said Womack “knows everything that’s going on” in terms of happenings inside the program. 

“He’s seen all the changes made around here,” Wills said of Womack. “He’s been through multiple coaching staffs and multiple offensive lines. For him to share his knowledge is helpful to not only me but the younger guys.” 

Womack has been one of few players that Nick Saban has complimented in spring. 

With first-year coach Kyle Flood bringing in experience from the National Football League, it will be interesting to see how his personality looks to mesh with Womack’s and the rest of the group.

This offensive unit has the potential to be best one since UA’s 2012 and 2013 bunch. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Tua Working Under the Impression His Job is Up For Grabs https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/tua-working-under-the-impression-his-job-is-up-for-grabs/ https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/tua-working-under-the-impression-his-job-is-up-for-grabs/#respond Mon, 25 Mar 2019 00:05:51 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57928 Tua Tagovailoa may be a Heisman front runner and the all but sure starter this season at Alabama, but he's preparing like his job is on the line. Read why he better and why that's good for Bama.]]>

Tua Working Under the Impression His Job is Up For Grabs

By: Larry Burton

While Tua is a leading candidate for the Heisman, Tua remembers a time when Jalen Hurts was too before losing his job permanently to Tua. He knows it can happen again, especially with at least two eager beavers nipping at his heels.

Mack Jones is practicing like a starter, taking spring break to polish his skills, not tan his body and Tua’s own brother has skills that are going to turn heads too. Even if you’re one of the most talked about quarterbacks in college football, that’s something that you have to have in the back of your head.

And if you’re thinking Nick Saban would never pull a proven starter, have you already forgotten about Jalen Hurts?

You know that has to be in the back of Tua’s mind when he sees Mack Jones thread the needle and sees his own brother Taulia scramble away from pressure and throw a frozen rope for a great completion.

And what if he is injured and his replacement shines beyond belief? Is his job secure when he heals?

If you thought that Jalen Hurts leaving the program to play for Oklahoma in his senior season took all the pressure off Tua to do his best, you don’t have a grasp of the talent level that remains on campus.

Anyone can be beaten out for their job is they don’t perform. These are things that are in the back of not just Tua’s mind, but any starter. The good news is that they are in the back of his mind where they should be. In the forefront of all his thoughts is that he is the man, the guy who is going to go out and win every game he starts. After all, that is the mindset of a true champion and no one can deny that Tua is certainly that.

Tua said after the SEC Championship Game that he didn’t doubt that Jalen Hurts could finish and win that game. He said that there is a mentality at Alabama that truly personifies the “Next man up”, mentality. And certainly Alabama is blessed with capable next men up.

Jones has been in the program for two years now and knows the offense well. But beyond the knowledge factor, Jones has a great arm and reads coverages well. Taulia rewrote the record book for Alabama high school quarterbacks, including being the first the throw for 400 yards four different times and over 500 yards in one game. Yes, the talent is there if the next man has to step up.

So while Tua may not be publicly worried, while he practices like the starter he is, he also knows that it’s possible that his job is up for grabs, so he sure isn’t slacking off in any area.

For the Tide, it is better that he feels that way, in the end it will only make him even better.

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Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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Nike Opening Regional live updates from Atlanta https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/24/nike-opening-regional-live-updates-from-atlanta/ Sun, 24 Mar 2019 15:54:19 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58052 Several Alabama commits and targets are competing at the Nike Opening Regional in Atlanta today. Live updates and videos will be posted here: Really impressed with 2021 DL, @tim_keenan3. Kid is a problem. @TDAlabamaMag. pic.twitter.com/WM9i8dzFCp — Justin Smith (@Jdsmith31Smith) March 24, 2019 Alabama 2020 DT commit, @TheJaysonJones, with the good hand movement. @TDAlabamaMag. pic.twitter.com/fJ3DAqeCYI — […]]]>

Several Alabama commits and targets are competing at the Nike Opening Regional in Atlanta today. Live updates and videos will be posted here:

Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber-only content

Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

 

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Top recruits set to compete at the Nike Opening Regional in Atlanta https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/23/top-recruits-set-to-compete-at-the-opening-atlanta-regional/ Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:40:51 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58013 The Opening Regional will make Atlanta its home this weekend and several Alabama commits and targets will be featured. Five of Alabama’s 2020 commits are expected to be in action on Sunday. Malachi Moore, Javon Baker, Javier Morton, Jah-Marien Latham and Jayson Elijah Jones will represent Alabama’s 2020 class. More than 25 recruits, who hold […]]]>

The Opening Regional will make Atlanta its home this weekend and several Alabama commits and targets will be featured.

Five of Alabama’s 2020 commits are expected to be in action on Sunday. Malachi Moore, Javon Baker, Javier Morton, Jah-Marien Latham and Jayson Elijah Jones will represent Alabama’s 2020 class. More than 25 recruits, who hold offers from Alabama, will also put their talents on display.

5-Star 2020 recruit, Arik Gilbert, of Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia, will be one of the top-ranked recruits at the Nike Opening Regional in Atlanta. He is listed at tight end on the Opening’s roster but has the potential to play multiple positions at the next level. The Tide is considered one of the top teams in the hunt for his commitment.

The Tide will have two of their 2020 defensive back commits, Moore and Morton, in Atlanta, while plenty of their other defensive back targets will be on display. One of them is Kristian Story out of Lanett High School, who was once committed to Tennessee. Trenton Yowe, who has visited Alabama a couple of times, but does not have an offer, will be in attendance as well with his teammate and Alabama commit, Jones.

Jones and fellow Alabama commit, Latham, will attempt to leave their mark on the event along with some other big names among the defensive line group. Tim Keenan, Jamil Burroughs, Andy Boykin and Myles Murphy are other names to watch out for. They will face some stiff competition on the offensive side of the ball.

Alabama made the offensive line position a priority in the 2019 class and landed five guys. Although the Tide have no offensive line commit in the 2020 class, three of there targets will go through drills on Sunday. 3-Star offensive lineman, Javion Cohen, will represent the state of Alabama in this group. He released a top 7 this week and included the Tide.

Tate Rutledge and Paul Tchio will also compete on Sunday.

The offensive skill positions will also include their fair share of talent. Tide wide receiver commit, Javon Baker, will compete to be one of the wide receivers to advance to the finals. Eddie Williams and Kobe Hudson will join him. Throwing the ball to them with be Alabama quarterback target, CJ Dixon, out of Grayson High School and a handful of other great southeastern quarterbacks.

Alabama’s 2020  commit, Roydell Williams, is not listed on the Opening’s roster, but some of the Tide’s RB targets are. Tank Bigsby, Jaquavious Marks and Deondre Jackson will compete on Sunday. Javonta Leatherwood, of Central High School in Tuscaloosa, is another name to watch for.

The linebacker group is sure to be deep with talent as well. Alabama targets, Quandarius Robertson, Phillip Webb and Jeremiah Alexander, are included in this loaded pool.

Touchdown Alabama Magazine will be on sight to cover all the action from the Nike Opening Regional in Atlanta. Stay tune for all the latest updates.

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Justin Smith is a Scouting/Recruiting analyst for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via @Jdsmith31Smith

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Alabama’s Sal Sunseri pushing for perfect with each practice https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/23/alabamas-sal-sunseri-pushing-for-perfect-with-each-practice/ Sat, 23 Mar 2019 23:12:33 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58033 In sunny weather conditions with a temperature of 75 degrees on Saturday, the University of Alabama football team hit the practice field for its fourth session.  According to a statement from Nick Saban in his presser on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide decided to rest a few players throughout spring as they heal from certain injuries.  RELATED: Who […]]]>

In sunny weather conditions with a temperature of 75 degrees on Saturday, the University of Alabama football team hit the practice field for its fourth session. 

According to a statement from Nick Saban in his presser on Wednesday, the Crimson Tide decided to rest a few players throughout spring as they heal from certain injuries. 

RELATED: Who rises to help Xavier McKinney at safety for UA next season?

With the spring game three weeks away, listed below are the notes from practice. 

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-Alabama will have Monday off, but is set to return to practice on Tuesday, March 26.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Who rises to help Xavier McKinney at safety for UA next season? https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/22/who-rises-to-help-xavier-mckinney-at-safety-for-ua-next-season/ Sat, 23 Mar 2019 01:08:00 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58025 We are three practices into the spring semester for Alabama football and Nick Saban has already handed out compliments to a few players. He has been pleased with the focus and intensity thus far, but the Crimson Tide is also trying to develop depth at certain positions.  After a monster sophomore year, Xavier McKinney is the program’s […]]]>

We are three practices into the spring semester for Alabama football and Nick Saban has already handed out compliments to a few players. He has been pleased with the focus and intensity thus far, but the Crimson Tide is also trying to develop depth at certain positions. 

After a monster sophomore year, Xavier McKinney is the program’s leader in the secondary at strong safety. As a first-year starter in 2018, he compiled 74 tackles – including six for loss and three sacks. The native Georgian and former four-star turned in 10 pass breakups, two interceptions, two quarterback pressures and two forced fumbles through 15 games. 

He helped Alabama earn a Southeastern Conference Championship; however, McKinney had Deionte Thompson next to him at free safety to assist him. With Thompson headed to the National Football League, Saban wants to locate the next alpha personality in the back five. 

“Depth at safety is an issue,” Saban said on Wednesday. 

“We got some young guys coming in next year and they are going to have an opportunity to contribute and we got to get the guys that we have here now playing better with more consistency.” 

The trio of guys Saban referred to in the latter portion of his statement were Jared MaydenDaniel Wright and Eddie Smith. Mayden totaled 18 tackles as a junior and he has the ideal size at 6-1/197 pounds, but has to make that turn in becoming an elite coverage defender.  

For Wright, all the tools to be special are there.  

He’s a natural headhunter with long arms to defend talented wide receivers. Staying healthy and being in compliance with Saban are both aspects of Wright that he must excel at. When it comes to Smith, the three-star from Louisiana in the 2018 class has a chance to surprise people.  

The 6-foot, 190-pounder has strong tackling skills and explosive ball skills.  

Should it come to younger players, freshmen DeMarcco Hellams and Jordan Battle have a great chance to come in and steal a spot. Battle, a four-star from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida, has the range at 6-foot-1 and 187 pounds that rivals Thompson at safety for Alabama. 

Regardless of who wins out, the individual has to match McKinney’s intensity. 

“Xavier has done a great job,” Saban said.

“He’s had a great offseason. I think he was one of the best performers each week that we did the offseason program for four weeks. You couldn’t ask for a guy to set a better example. His practice habits have been phenomenal. He’s doing everything he can to set a good example and be the leader for other players.” 

Alabama will have its fourth practice on Saturday and with the A-Day Game in three weeks, we shall continue to see who will step up and develop at safety.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Practice Report: Pete Golding Stresses the Little Things https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/22/practice-report-pete-golding-stresses-the-little-things/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 23:55:39 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58016 With just over three weeks until A-Day, the Crimson Tide took to the practice field on Friday to sharpen their technique and get new players familiar with bigger roles. New defensive coordinator, Pete Golding was also right in the middle of things as he shows why Nick Saban gave him the position. Listed below are […]]]>

With just over three weeks until A-Day, the Crimson Tide took to the practice field on Friday to sharpen their technique and get new players familiar with bigger roles. New defensive coordinator, Pete Golding was also right in the middle of things as he shows why Nick Saban gave him the position.

Listed below are notes from practice.

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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77

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Breaking: Alabama vs. Duke Tickets Go on Sale https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/22/breaking-alabama-vs-duke-tickets-go-on-sale/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 18:27:08 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=58010 In a press release sent out earlier today, tickets for the Chick-fil-A Kick off Game between Alabama and Duke have officially gone on sale through the Alabama athletics ticket office. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga. Tickets in the Alabama seating areas are broken up between two different […]]]>

In a press release sent out earlier today, tickets for the Chick-fil-A Kick off Game between Alabama and Duke have officially gone on sale through the Alabama athletics ticket office. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga.

Tickets in the Alabama seating areas are broken up between two different prices. The lower level and mezzanine seats are set at $200 while the upper-level seats are $125. Orders for the seating are currently being accepted now, but exact seat locations will be assigned at a later date.

Orders will be allocated based on Tide Totals priority points and then by order date after the season ticket renewal deadline has passed.

This will be Alabama’s first meeting against Duke since 2010 where the crimson tide defeated the blue devils 62-13.

 

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Where does the Birmingham Iron rank in the AAF? https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/22/where-does-birmingham-iron-rank-aaf/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:30:18 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57997 The Alliance of American Football league is now six weeks into its inaugural season. While there’s been a lot of ups and downs for a lot of teams, the division leaders should continue to shake out as things progress. The Birmingham Iron is a perfect examples of those ups and downs. The team started the […]]]>

The Alliance of American Football league is now six weeks into its inaugural season. While there’s been a lot of ups and downs for a lot of teams, the division leaders should continue to shake out as things progress.

The Birmingham Iron is a perfect examples of those ups and downs. The team started the season 3-0 before dropping two consecutive games. Then, an exciting 32-29 win over the San Diego Fleet last week helped right what seemed like a sinking ship.

Where do they stand as far as power rankings, though? Here’s how things are shaking out in both divisions.

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Chris Owens looks to solidify Alabama’s OL at center this spring https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/21/chris-owens-looks-to-solidify-alabamas-ol-at-center-this-spring/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 02:48:48 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57994 With the return of Tua Tagovailoa as its starting quarterback, the University of Alabama’s coaching staff for football have the intentions of not seeing him injured next season.  Alabama seems to have three of its five offensive line positions in order; however, left guard and center are areas of concern. Deonte Brown, a redshirt junior, played in […]]]>

With the return of Tua Tagovailoa as its starting quarterback, the University of Alabama’s coaching staff for football have the intentions of not seeing him injured next season. 

Alabama seems to have three of its five offensive line positions in order; however, left guard and center are areas of concern. Deonte Brown, a redshirt junior, played in 12 games last season – including five starts at left guard. He was the spark that got the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack producing strong numbers and was one of the reasons behind Tagovailoa’s big year. 

RELATED: Tracking best performances from Alabama’s Pro Day

The 6-foot-4, 342-pounder was present for the first two sessions of spring practice, but he was also one of three players that did not travel to the College Football Playoff (NCAA issue).

A four-game suspension would be the penalty for him; nevertheless, the punishment may be reduced or even dropped if Brown continues to see more action with the first-team throughout practice. Should he serve the suspension, look for redshirt freshman Emil Ekiyor (one of top center recruits in 2018 class) to start at left guard in the fall.

As the Tide graduates Ross Pierschbacher to the NFL, an opening has emerged at center.  

Redshirt junior Chris Owens is taking reps at the position and also served as Pierschbacher’s backup through 13 games in 2018. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, the former four-star from Texas was one of the nation’s best offensive guard prospects in 2016 from Lamar High School. 

He has a ton of athleticism and per sources, Owens may remind fans of Antoine Caldwell – a former All-American center at Alabama in 2008.

Behind Caldwell, the Tide had a 1,000-yard running back in Glenn Coffee (1,383) and it earned an undefeated regular season at 12-0. 

Regardless of it having strong play at center in the past, Nick Saban is concerned with getting the spot solidified this time around. 

“Chris Owens has done a good job there so far, but that’s the thing… we have to make sure we are developing depth and consistency at the position,” Saban said Wednesday on the center role. 

The trio of Caldwell, Barrett Jones and Ryan Kelly all were All-Americans at center, while Williams Vlachos and Bradley Bozeman anchored their teams to national championships. 

In the same way he’s competing against Brown, Emil Ekiyor is battling Owens for a chance to start at center.

The decision to hire Kyle Flood from the Atlanta Falcons was made to ensure that he will get the best five players on the field to power this offense. 

Owens is set to be in the five and we will be watching his progress. 

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Birmingham Iron: Injury report update for Week 7 https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/21/birmingham-iron-injury-report-update-week-7/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 02:39:16 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57993 The Birmingham Iron (4-2) will be heading to the state of Tennessee to take on the Memphis Express (1-5) on Sunday. As much as injuries have taken their toll on the Iron, Memphis also has a long list of players who could miss the game. Below is a collective list of both team’s injury report […]]]>

The Birmingham Iron (4-2) will be heading to the state of Tennessee to take on the Memphis Express (1-5) on Sunday. As much as injuries have taken their toll on the Iron, Memphis also has a long list of players who could miss the game.

Below is a collective list of both team’s injury report — as of Thursday:

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Tracking best performances from Alabama’s Pro Day https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/21/tracking-best-performances-from-alabamas-pro-day/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 00:43:53 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57988 As always, the University of Alabama drew a massive crowd of National Football League personnel for its Pro Day on Tuesday. While some players were pleased with their results from the NFL Scouting Combine, others took to the indoor practice facility with a sense of urgency.  Alabama head coach Nick Saban intends on placing five guys as […]]]>

As always, the University of Alabama drew a massive crowd of National Football League personnel for its Pro Day on Tuesday. While some players were pleased with their results from the NFL Scouting Combine, others took to the indoor practice facility with a sense of urgency. 

Alabama head coach Nick Saban intends on placing five guys as first-rounders next month for the NFL Draft; however, he also wants to see a lot of his players make a professional roster in general.

During Tuesday’s event, there were a few individuals that stood out and took it upon themselves to command the attention of NFL dignitaries. 

RELATED: UA’s Board of Trustees approved contracts for seven assistant coaches

 In Thursday’s airing of In My Own Words, Stephen Smith of Touchdown Alabama Magazine breaks down five players he saw that made a huge impression.  

You can also catch the audio version of the podcast on SoundCloud.  

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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UA’s Board of Trustees approved contracts for seven assistant coaches https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/21/uas-board-of-trustees-approved-contracts-for-seven-assistant-coaches/ Fri, 22 Mar 2019 00:18:04 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57985 Income tax time is about to come for most people, but the University of Alabama Board of Trustees decided to take care of its football staff on Tuesday.  RELATED: Alabama football working Chadarius Townsend at RB to create depth While former players took the field for Pro Day, seven assistant coaches had their contracts approved […]]]>

Income tax time is about to come for most people, but the University of Alabama Board of Trustees decided to take care of its football staff on Tuesday. 

RELATED: Alabama football working Chadarius Townsend at RB to create depth

While former players took the field for Pro Day, seven assistant coaches had their contracts approved as the Crimson Tide prepares for next season. According to an article from USA TODAY Sports, Alabama is paying its assistants over $7 million for 2019 and handling $565,000 in buyouts for the coaches that were hired over from different schools. 

The new assistants for the Tide include Steve Sarkisian, Charles Kelly, Charles Huff, Brian Baker, Sal Sunseri and Holmon Wiggins (contract not disclosed). Listed below are the numbers from the approved deals for each coach. 

Contracts on UA assistant coaches for 2019  

Steve Sarkisian, OC/QB coach – $1.55 million 

Pete Golding, DC/ILB coach – $1.1 million 

Charles Kelly, Associate DC/Safeties coach – $800,000 ($110, 000 buyout from Tennessee) 

Brian Baker, DL coach – $750,000 ($200,000 buyout from Mississippi State) 

Kyle Flood, OL coach – $650,000 

Sal Sunseri, OLB coach – $650,000 ($120,000 buyout from Florida) 

Charles Huff, RB coach – $525,000 ($140,000 buyout from Mississippi State) 

Cochran’s contract is the most puzzling of the group, especially when one factors his impact on the program year-round and how he still has not been made a $1 million man yet. 

 His intensity in making gladiators out of young men has guided Alabama to winning five national championships under Nick Saban, including two in the College Football Playoff era. 

Cochran falls second to Clemson’s Joey Batson in terms of finances, as the Tigers’ strength coach pockets $600,000.  

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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Alabama football working Chadarius Townsend at RB to create depth https://tdalabamamag.com/2019/03/20/alabama-football-working-chadarius-townsend-at-rb-to-create-depth/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 01:52:35 +0000 https://tdalabamamag.com/?p=57978 Could the program have its second ultimate guinea pig?  It is starting to look that way after Nick Saban spoke to the media, following Wednesday’s practice on the team trying to create depth at various spots. He mentioned safety and running back as the two positions where some young players – freshmen included – will be called […]]]>

Could the program have its second ultimate guinea pig? 

It is starting to look that way after Nick Saban spoke to the media, following Wednesday’s practice on the team trying to create depth at various spots. He mentioned safety and running back as the two positions where some young players – freshmen included – will be called on. 

With it losing Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs to the National Football League, Saban looks to find guys that will help Najee Harris and Brian Robinson Jr. in the rushing attack. 

“These guys have been good,” Saban said of Harris and Robinson. 

“They have had great offseason programs. They have practiced really well. They have enough playing experience to have what it takes to be successful in terms of being responsible and accountable.” 

Despite signing Trey Sanders and Keilan Robinson, the Crimson Tide also expects for sophomore Jerome Ford to step up next season. Another name stated in the conversation was sophomore, Chadarius Townsend.

RELATED: New York Jets need to heed all signs and draft Quinnen Williams

The four-star athlete in the 2017 class was an explosive standout at Tanner (Ala.) High School, as he totaled more than 2,700 yards offensively and posted 35 touchdowns in his senior year.

Listed at 6-feet and 194 pounds, Townsend has seen work at running back, wide receiver, defensive back and special teams. He took reps with the backs in the Tide’s third practice of the spring semester and Saban “sees promise” in him. 

Prior to Townsend, Blake Sims was someone that did everything to help Alabama win. 

The former signee of the 2010 recruiting class stepped in at running back, wide receiver, defensive back and backup quarterback. He even worked on special teams prior to earning the starting quarterback job in 2014, where he recorded 3,487 passing yards and 35 total scores. 

As a receiver, Townsend caught a pass from Mac Jones and turned it into a 65-yard touchdown in last year’s A-Day Game. He was No. 199 on the ESPN 300 when he arrived on campus and it will be interesting to document his progress as move through spring ball.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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