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Which Alabama player in 2018 draft class has potential for best NFL career?

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A-Day and spring practice are behind us, but there are still plenty of questions to answer about Alabama football. The players are away from the team to focus on finishing classes, recovering and personal development before summer workouts begin. Here we’ll take a look at a question each day. Check out our archives here.

Which Alabama player in the 2018 draft class has the potential to have the best NFL career?

No disrespect to any of the other guys, but it’s Minkah Fitzpatrick all the way here.

Fitzpatrick seems to have the lowest bust potential of any player of the Nick Saban era in Tuscaloosa.

He’s the type of player who’ll change an organization both on and off the field from Day 1. He’s extremely talented and will be a great ambassador for any NFL franchise.

And there’s not really anything he can’t do on a football field.

Fitzpatrick won the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik awards in 2017. The Old Bridge, N.J., native ends his career as the Alabama career leader in interception returns for touchdowns with 4, including a school-record 2 in one game against Texas A&M in 2015. He finished last season as the Tide’s fourth-leading tackler with 60 stops and added 8 tackles for loss (-31 yards), 1.5 sacks (-15 yards), 8 pass breakups, 3 quarterback hurries, 1 interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

He’s going to make an NFL team very proud each and every Sunday for the duration of his career.

For more answers to prior Questions of the Day, we have you covered.

The post Which Alabama player in 2018 draft class has potential for best NFL career? appeared first on SEC Country.

Marq Burnett – SEC Country

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Alabama women’s golf team will play for the national championship

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Alabama women’s golf coach Mic Potter didn’t mess around with his lineup Tuesday afternoon.

With the Crimson Tide playing for a spot in the national championship, he put his three All-Americans in the top three spots and dared Southern California to try to beat one of them in their semifinal in the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship.

It couldn’t.

Alabama will play Arizona, which it barely avoided in the quarterfinals because of a tiebreaker, in a winner-takes-all match Wednesday at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

The Wildcats defeated Stanford 4-1, and fellow Pac-12 rival UCLA in the quarterfinals, 3-2.

Golf Channel will broadcast the title match starting at 4 p.m. ET. The first players will tee off at 3:25 ET.

“We got off to a good start today and just let it ride,” Potter said in a release. “It’s a national championship, it’s not hard to stay motivated. We try to match our best player against their best player and match everyone in a way that gives them a chance to win. I don’t believe in sacrificing anyone. I want everyone to have a chance to win.”

The Trojans went down in order, with Alabama junior Lauren Stephenson winning her match against Jennifer Chang, 2&1, followed by sophomore Kristen Gillman defeating Amelia Garvey, 3&1. Junior Cheyenne Knight closed out the match with a 2&1 victory against Allisen Corpuz.

All three Crimson Tide golfers were named first-team All-Americans by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association on Tuesday morning.

Alabama defeated Kent State in the quarterfinals 4-1. The semifinal was scored 3-1-1 as senior Lakareber Abe was trailing by one hole in her match and freshman Angelica Moresco was tied. USC’s lineup featured four freshmen and a sophomore.

Both teams have won the national championship before, but not with this tournament format. Alabama won the 2012 national championship, while Arizona captured the 2000 and 1996 titles.

Alabama-USC Results

  1. Lauren Stephenson (Alabama) d. Jennifer Chang (USC), 2-and-1
  2. Kristen Gillman (Alabama) d. Amelia Garvey (USC), 3-and-1
  3. Cheyenne Knight (Alabama) d. Allisen Corpuz (USC), 3-and-1
  4. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC) d. Lakareber Abe (Alabama), 1 up
  5. Angelica Moresco (Alabama) vs. Gabriela Ruffels (USC), all square

The post Alabama women’s golf team will play for the national championship appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Fan Sound Off: Texas A&M fans liking what they see but wary of Alabama next week

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Texas A&M got the job done for a fourth consecutive week Saturday at home against South Carolina. The Aggies rallied from 10 points down and scored the final 17 points of the game for a 24-17 victory.

Kellen Mond threw for 159 yards and ran for 95, while Keith Ford added 70 on the ground and 2 touchdowns and Trayeon Williams ran for 56 and a score.

All comments are taken from Texas A&M Aggies – SEC Country. You can join the conversation here.

Editor’s note: All comments are taken verbatim and only edited for spelling. 

Wade Dane: Not bad especially considering how many true freshman are on the field for the Aggies offense, defense and special teams. This is the best defense against the run we have seen in a while. The future looks brighter with all these true freshmen playing regardless how the rest of the year goes.

Joel Santamaria: Whoop!!!! Let’s hope this team can keep Alabama’s slaughter to a minimum.

Troy Baxter: Front 4 was on point this week. 7 sacks is great against anyone.

James Blackwell: This team is learning to win.

Gerry Heck: Next week is the real test. Just FIGHT for 4 quarters that’s all I hope for.

Rodney Nemer: Gig em! Need to run Keith Ford more in short yardage/red zone opps!

David Ward: Good win with bama coming in next weekend

Jeff Kuykendall: Any win in SEC play is a good win.

Barry Tims: Ford is a freight train, and defense heavily improved and answered.

Chaz Goodwin: Wasn’t the prettiest, but so much fight way to get the W. GiG Em Aggies!!!

Martha Clark Weynand: GIG ‘EM AGGIES! They really had me worried for a while!

Carol Gary Clark: Kirk as decoy … well OK, but cripes we need him!

The post Fan Sound Off: Texas A&M fans liking what they see but wary of Alabama next week appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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Alabama women’s golf vs. Arizona for the national championship: Preview, TV info

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Wednesday should be an interesting day for University of Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne.

When the Crimson Tide women’s golf team plays for the national championship, it’ll be facing his former school and the coach he hired in 2010.

Laura Ianello, then known as Laura Myerscough, played for the Wildcats from 1998-2003 and was part of the Wildcats’ 2000 national championship. She spent five seasons playing professionally, but went back to Arizona to finish up her degree and became an assistant coach.

Ianello was the first of Byrne’s nine coaching hires at Arizona. Football’s Rich Rodriguez was his third in November 2011, and baseball’s Jay Johnson was his last in 2015. During his first season, Johnson led the Wildcats to the College World Series Finals.

Tournament details

  • What: NCAA Women’s Match Play Championship
  • When: 3:25 ET Wednesday.
  • Where: Karsten Creek, Stillwater, Okla.
  • Par: 72; Yardage: 6328
  • Weather forecast: The Weather Channel forecast is for partly cloudy skies, high of 87 degrees, winds SSE 9 mph. There’s a 25 percent chance of rain.

The pairings

Alabama players are listed first, along with individual pre-tournament rankings.

  1. Lauren Stephenson (3) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (31)
  2. Kristen Gillman (6) vs. Gigi Stoll (75)
  3. Cheyenne Knight (19) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (67)
  4. Angelica Moresco (91) vs. Sandra Nordaas (NR)
  5. Lakareber Abe (54) vs. Haley Moore (28)
Alabama golf-Crimson Tide golf-Lakareber Abe-NCAA Championships
Senior Lakareber Abe will be playing her final collegiate match when Alabama faces Arizona for the national title. Photo by UA Athletics/courtesy.

What’s the best way to keep up with the match

Fans have numerous options:

TV: The Golf Channel will show the match beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Live updates: Will be posted on SEC Country

Live stats: Will be available on golfstat.com

Twitter updates: @AlabamaWGolf

What you should know

  • The SEC hasn’t won the national title since the championships went to the same format as the men, with four days of stroke play followed by the match-play playoffs, in 2015. The winners have all been from the Pac-12, with Stanford, Washington and Arizona State. The last SEC team to win the title was Alabama in 2012.
  • The Wildcats shot +17 on the final day of stroke play and needed an eagle on the par-5 18thhole by Bianca Pagdangdanan to force a playoff with Baylor for the last spot in the quarterfinals. She also made a birdie on 18 in the quarterbacks to top UCLA’s Patty Tavatanakit as Arizona won the match 3-2.
  • Alabama came into the tournament as the top-seeded team and finished the stroke-play portion tied for first. Had the tiebreaker gone the other way, with UCLA places first in the match-ply bracket, Alabama and Arizona would have played in the quarterfinals.
  • Arizona is looking for its first national championship in women’s golf since 2000.It also won the title in 1996. Alabama is aiming to win its second national title.
  • The Alabama men’s players and coaches will arrive early to cheer on the women’s team and check out the course. After a practice round on Thursday, their version of the NCAA Championships will begin on Friday.

The post Alabama women’s golf vs. Arizona for the national championship: Preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Fan Sound Off: Getting kept ‘on your toes’ is welcomed sight for Alabama fans

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No. 1 Alabama was in control Saturday night in College Station, Texas, but Texas A&M hung around longer than any team since Florida State in Week 1. The result: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 19.

The Alabama offense totaled 355 yards and the defense allowed 308, including 237 through the air from freshman quarterback Kellen Mond.

What did Alabama fans think about the result? Let’s take a look.

All comments are taken from Alabama Crimson Tide – SEC Country. You can join the conversation here.

Editor’s note: All comments are taken verbatim and only edited for spelling. 

Eric Mills Sims: There were some seriously questionable calls by refs.

Al LaBarge: Terrible calls and boy they had some Cinderella plays. Bama’s offense looked sluggish. What happened to the passing game?

April Baker: Pathetic. O line couldn’t protect. Hurts played distracted, receivers dropping passes, punter was off. I sure hope we can correct these things before we play bigger and better opponents.

Lindsey Frederick: Let’s be honest… Jalen can’t throw the ball down field. Missed several open reads not to mention the dropped passes. If you stop the run, it’s tough for us to score.

Chris McIntire: Wasn’t our best by any stretch but I’ll take the win. Got a few things to work on. Either we gotta make the sack or we can’t give up on coverage and allow those big plays. O line did not play well tonight.

Billy Combs: Had me worried for the first time. Saban has a lot to cover with the players. Turnover, missed catches, too many penalties. Unable to convert many times on third down. The list goes on.

Teresa Murner: A “W” is a “W”. It wasn’t pretty but it’s a win!! Roll Tide!!! Too many penalties this game but we are still Bama strong!!!

Adrain Wilson: We got the win sometimes tough ones on the road build character of a team we will build off this win and get ready for the next one roll tide

Joseph Courtland: A win is a win that’s all that matters in my book. Don’t care what anyone else think. RTR! #1 baby! Going all the way.

Evelyn Brasfield Smith: Texas A&M gave us a run for the money!

Earline Daniels: Finally a game that kept you on your toes from start to finish

Chris Dobbs: Every great team has a game like tonight and they showed their toughness and pulled out the Win

The post Fan Sound Off: Getting kept ‘on your toes’ is welcomed sight for Alabama fans appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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Fan Sound Off: Alabama fans looking ahead to who’s next in line to receive an ‘L’

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The numbers are disturbing, but expected when you look at an Alabama football box score. First, there’s the lopsided score: Alabama 41, Arkansas 9. Then come all the stats that show why things played out that way and the score turned that one-sided. Here are a few from Saturday in Tuscaloosa:

  • Total yards: Alabama totaled 483 yards and held the Razorbacks to 192. Yet somehow Arkansas ran 8 more plays than Alabama did Saturday night.
  • Alabama averaged 7.2 yards per rushing attempt and Arkansas a mere 0.9. Alabama’s Damien Harris ran 9 times for 125 rushing yards.
  • Third down conversions: Alabama converted 5 of 11 and Arkansas was 5 for 18.
  • In addition to Harris’ big rushing day, Jalen Hurts completed 12-of-19 passes for 155 yards with a TD pass to Henry Ruggs. Hurts also ran for 41 yards and a touchdown. Bo Scarbrough ran 7 times for 65 yards.

All comments are taken from Alabama Crimson Tide – SEC Country. You can join the conversation here.

Editor’s note: All comments are taken verbatim and only edited for spelling. 

Elaine Perry: Bama was Bama and played like a true champion. Roll Tide Roll.

April Williams: The Tide special teamers are in for a long week. 🤕😬

Judy Etheredge: The TIDE was rocking tonight. Tennessee you are next

Jim Mixon: The Tide was Making Bacon in Alabama tonight!!! ROLL TIDE keep up the good work!!!

Larry Williams: Does Auburn want Bama?

Darlynn Brown: Keep Rolling all the way to another National Championship!! Roll Tide!

Mike Stearnes: Roll Tide Roll another great game!

Bill Mielniczuk: Made pork rinds out of Razorbacks!

Kathy Prevatt Crowell: RTR!! We didn’t just have barbecue we had burnt barbecue lol

Dean Mitchell: Plenty of teachable moments…even with a 32 point win

Pat Wilson Norman: Awesome win! Roll Tide Roll!

The post Fan Sound Off: Alabama fans looking ahead to who’s next in line to receive an ‘L’ appeared first on SEC Country.

Ken Bradley – SEC Country

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Live updates: Alabama vs. Arizona for women’s golf national championship

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9:10 p.m. ET — Abe almost chipped in. Very makable putt. Moore gets just as close. Abe putts first, barely misses birdie attempt. Moore from about 5 feet for the national championship … makes it. Arizona wins 3-2.

9 p.m. ET — The playoff is on the par-5 18th hole. Moore puts second shot on green and it rolls off. Abe pulls out a wood on the edge of the fairway, puts it in the bunker before the green. She had room to chip and it’s uphill, which works in her favor.

8:45 p.m. ET Abe went for it and knocked her second shot on to the green on the par-5 18th hole. She’ll be putting to tie her match back up and send it to a playoff. … She two-putts to win the hole. We’re going to extra holes.

8:35 p.m. ET — Moresco has about a 6-foot birdie putt on 18, one that’s tougher than it looks, and can’t get it to drop. It was both downhill and with a left-to-right slope on a fast surface. Nordaas has a par-putt to win her match and makes it. It’s 2-2 on the scoreboard and Arizona has a one-hole lead in the final match, here on 18. Abe hit a good drive, though.

8:25 p.m. ET — Abe shanked her second shot on 17 and is in serious trouble. Like knee-high rough kind of trouble behind a tree. She’s opting to take a drop. Moore had an golden opportunity despite hitting out of the rough and hit a pretty bad shot, but still won the hole. Moore leads by one hole heading to 18. … Meanwhile, on 18 Moresco might have a chance to win the hole despite being in the bunker near the green. Nordaas is in the really thick stuff.

8:20 p.m. ET — Moresco birdies 17 to win the hole. She’s down one heading to 18. To summarize, Alabama is up 2-1, is losing one match and the last one is tied. Just the national championship on the line.

8:15 p.m. ET Arizona’s Moore with yet another birdie attempt on 16, and not only missed it but sent it well beyond the hole. As Moresco found out the hard way the green is really fast and Moore ended up with the bogey. But Abe missed the par putt, so they’re still all square heading to 17.

8 p.m. ET — Moresco just missed a good opportunity to get down to 1-down, but had her putt go off the green on 16. The freshman recovered well to get a bogey, but Nordaas was able to maintain a two-hole lead heading to 17.

7:48 p.m. ET — Arizona’s Moore misses another birdie putt to win the 15th hole, they’re still even. Everyone’s following that match on the course. Knight closes out her match 4&2, Alabama up 2-1 on the scoreboard.

7:38 p.m. ET — Arizona’s Moore misses a birdie putt to win the 14th hole. Still all even. All we’ve heard all tournament is she’s an emotional player and it carries over into her game.

7:20 p.m. ET — Abe with a bad shank on a chip-shot on 13, and she came back to make a nice putt for bogey. But it cost her the hole. We’re back to being all tied up. It’s coming down to this fifth match. Whichever golfer makes the fewest mistakes will decide the national championship.

7:05 p.m. ET — Talk about a momentum change, Abe just won her third straight hole to go one up after 12 holes. Alabama is back in the lead.

6:55 p.m. ET — Gillman clinches her match, 4&3. So the score is 1-1.

6:50 p.m. ET  — First match is over, Stephenson lost 4&3 as Arizona goes ahead 1-0. However, Abe has come back to tie to her match through 11 holes, so right now it’s looking 2-2-1 and it’ll come down to that fifth match.

6:20 p.m. ET Knight has taken the lead against Pagdanganan, making the score 3-2, but everyone else is really struggling. Hou just went up four through 13, Morseco is down three and looks really lost on the greens and Abe is down two through nine. Someone needs to get hot very quickly (or yes, I’ll make the obvious joke that Alabama needs Tua to come into the game. Does he play golf?).

6:10 p.m. ET — Arizona is beginning to pull away, as it leads three of the matches by more than one hole. The surprising score is in the first match, where Stephenson is suddenly down three after Hou made a big birdie putt on 12. Abe on the eighth hole kind of told the story. When her tee-shot sailed into the woods, microphones picked up her saying a bad word. Wildcats lead 4-1.

5:45 p.m. ET — The teams are basically on the turn and things haven’t improved for the Crimson Tide. Down 4-1, Gillman is up three in her match, and everyone else is down  a hole. Arizona’s Hou just birdied the 10th to retake the lead against Stephenson … Alabama isn’t taking advantages of its opportunities when it has them.

5 p.m. ET — Stephenson isn’t putting well, but she’s still come back and tied her match. Gillman is up two on her opponent, but that’s the end of the good news. Alabama trails in matches 3-5, although is down just a hole in each. Arizona leads 3-1-1.

4:20 ET — Not only has Alabama’s lead vanished, but Arizona has taken the lead as Nordaas makes a birdie to go up in her match against Moresco, and Stephenson has lost the last two holes and is 1 down through four. The ebb and flow has begun.

4 p.m. ET — The Golf Channel starts its official broadcast with Knight also having won the first hole, having made a long birdie putt (the kind that she struggled with Tuesday). Alabama leading 1 up in the top three matches, with the last pairing just teeing off.

3:55 p.m. ET — Gillman also wins the first hole. Alabama leads the first two matches 1 up and the other three haven’t even played a hole yet.

3:45 p.m. ET — Stephenson wins her opening hole to set the tone for the day. This is exactly why Mic Potter has had her leading off. Stephenson hasn’t trailed in any match in this tournament while Hou, a freshman, struggled and basically gave the hole away.

The first players are on the course in Stillwater, Okla., and we’ll have live updates throughout the day. For a preview of Alabama vs. Arizona and  TV information check out our story from this morning.

The lineup (with pre-tournament rankings):

  1. Lauren Stephenson (3) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (31)
  2. Kristen Gillman (6) vs. Gigi Stoll (75)
  3. Cheyenne Knight (19) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (67)
  4. Angelica Moresco (91) vs. Sandra Nordaas (NR)
  5. Lakareber Abe (54) vs. Haley Moore (28)

A quick bit of new here, Stephenson was named the winner of the 2017-18 Golfstat Cup, as the collegiate golfer with the best scoring average in relation to par for the season, by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) on Wednesday.

She celebrated by hitting her first drive down the fairway on hole No. 1.

The post Live updates: Alabama vs. Arizona for women’s golf national championship appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama softball has to go through Washington to reach WCWS: Preview, TV info

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Although the University of Alabama softball team would probably never admit it, this was the scenario it was trying to avoid.

When the brackets were announced for the 2018 NCAA Softball Tournament, the Crimson Tide were hoping for two things:

1) To host a regional (which it did);

2) Have a favorable path to the College World Series.

This was anything but that.

Granted, any opponent would be tough at this point, but Alabama knows how tough Washington can be. The Crimson Tide visited Seattle early in the season when the Huskies were atop both major polls at No. 1.

They lost the first meeting 8-0 in five innings and the second 4-1.

No. 12 Alabama isn’t quite the same team and might be the healthiest it has been all season, but beating the Huskies twice in their own stadium is a daunting task. No. 5 Washington is 15-3 at home this season, and all three losses were to Oregon, the tournament’s top-seeded team.

Super Regional details

  • Format: Best-of-three.
  • When: The games are scheduled for 9 p.m. ET Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.
  • Where: Husky Softball Stadium.
  • Weather forecast: Although it could get a little chilly, The Weather Channel forecast is otherwise ideal with no rain expected.

What’s the best way to keep up with the game

Fans have numerous options:

TV: Game 1 is scheduled for ESPNU, Game 2 is scheduled for ESPN2, and Game 3, if necessary, will be back on ESPNU.

Radio: 93.3 FM in Tuscaloosa.

Live video will be available (Game 1, Game 2 and Game 3)

Live stats will be available.

Twitter updates: @AlabamaSB

What you should know

  • Alabama (36-18) is coming off an impressive showing at the Tuscaloosa Regional, during which it gave up one run against Middle Tennessee, Wisconsin and Oregon State. The Crimson Tide is the only team to play in a Super Regional every year since the format was introduced in 2005.
  • Sophomore center fielder Elissa Brown has moved into the team lead with a .357 batting average. She went 4-for-7 (.571) last weekend. She has stolen 30 bases. Coming off a foot injury, sophomore first baseman Bailey Hemphill hit her 13thhome run and is batting .350 (41 for 117). She leads the Tide in RBI (48) and walks (39).
  • Alabama will see a lot of freshman Gabbie Plain (19-4, 1.03 ERA) and junior Taran Alvelo (21-4, 1.16), as the Washington staff has an ERA of 1.13. The Crimson Tide will counter with senior Alexis Osorio (15-9, 2.10) and junior Courtney Gettins (14-4, 2.37).
  • Washington (47-8) swept Boise State, Texas and Minnesota in its regional and allowed three runs.
  • This will be the fourth postseason meeting between the programs. Washington lost to Alabama in the 2015 Regionals and 2016 Super Regionals, but defeated the Crimson Tide in Super Regionals in 2007 in Seattle.
  • The winner of the Seattle Super Regional will advance to play in the double-elimination Women’s College World Series, beginning May 31 in Oklahoma City. With the brackets fixed, the next opponent will be either No. 4 Oklahoma or No. 13 Arkansas. Overall, nine of the 16 remaining teams are from the SEC.

The post Alabama softball has to go through Washington to reach WCWS: Preview, TV info appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country

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Alabama star Glen Coffee talks NFL comeback, joining Army and ‘general’ Nick Saban

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The thought struck Glen Coffee where big ideas are so often forged: At a bar.

This happened almost two years ago in his hometown of Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Coffee, then stationed at nearby Camp Rudder with the 6th Ranger Training Battalion, was on leave and decided to hang out with some friends at a local watering hole. His old NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, was playing on TV. Carlos Hyde was having a great game.

In that moment, as Coffee watched this younger version of himself muscle past defenders and through tacklers, the former Alabama running back got that itch again. He couldn’t shake it. He wanted to be back on that field.

“I was just like, ‘Man, I really want to play football.’ It just hit me out of nowhere,” Coffee told SEC Country. “I just all of a sudden missed it. I just felt I needed to at least try to play before I got too old.”

You heard him right: Glen Coffee, 30 years old and out of the league since 2009, is attempting an NFL comeback. He knows that might sound funny to some folks. After all, most players don’t voluntarily walk away from the game only to reverse course seven years later.

Then again, Coffee isn’t most players. The introspective former SEC star never has been. But his decision quickly begs the question: Why now? Why, almost a decade later, is football calling Coffee’s name again?

Call it the wisdom that comes with age.

“I was blessed with athletic ability. I never really appreciated that before,” he said. “Football just came so naturally and so easily I never really thought about it. I got to an age where I just really appreciated the fact that I could play professional football.”

‘A while in the making’

To really understand Coffee’s story, you should first rewind to 2008, his last and biggest season at Alabama.

Nick Saban, still in Year 2 of building his Crimson Tide dynasty, had hired Jim McElwain as his new offensive coordinator, hoping to get that unit playing as well as his defense. With game manager John Parker Wilson still under center, however, the Alabama offense ran the ball an SEC-high 40.5 times per game.

Coffee became the focal point of that attack, carrying the ball 233 times for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns. His yardage mark tied Shaun Alexander for fifth-place on Alabama’s single-season rushing leaderboard, and his 218-yard romp against Kentucky still ranks ninth in school history among single-game efforts.

After the season, Coffee surprisingly declared for the NFL draft, despite receiving a middle-round projection from the league’s advisory board. Outsiders thought the prospect of an NFL paycheck was too good for the 22-year-old to pass up.

But, deep down, Coffee was growing tired of football. The feeling had been building for some time. He needed a break, and not even the money could ultimately change that.

“Looking back, I would’ve stayed (at Alabama),” he said. “Just to be with my friends. Enjoy college and not necessarily worry about the NFL and the money, stuff like that. I definitely don’t regret it. You make decisions in life and you learn from those decisions.”

Former Alabama RB Glen Coffee runs during a preseason game with the San Francisco 49ers (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images).

The 49ers made Coffee their third-round draft pick the following April and signed him to a 4-year deal. He tallied 302 total yards in limited action as Frank Gore’s backup, and then abruptly retired from football in August 2010.

“I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate him not coming out here and going through the motions,” ex-49ers coach Mike Singletary said at the time. “He said his heart isn’t in it. It’s his decision.”

Coffee, who had no concrete plan for life after football, called the decision “a while in the making.”

“Football’s just something people always expected me to do,” he said. “I just wanted to make a decision on my own, walk away from the sport and pursue other things.”

This we’ll defend

As it turned out for Coffee, “other things” included the armed forces. He spent months pondering whether he should join, weighing the massive commitment the military requires against a desire to serve his country.

Finally, on Feb. 4, 2013, he enlisted in the Army.

“If you’re able-bodied and you don’t really have anything holding you back from service, why not?” Coffee said. “Another part of it was I didn’t want to be still. I didn’t want to have your normal 9-5 job, per say. I wanted to be moving, doing something that would enable me to use my body. I didn’t want to be stationary.

“It was a little patriotism, and it was also about not wanting the average job.”

Coffee graduated from Airborne School at Fort Benning (Ga.) — where soldiers earn their “Jump Wings” by completing five parachute plane jumps — and then joined a training regiment that helped “facilitate” Ranger School, achieving the rank of specialist within his battalion.

The ex-football star, listed at an even 6-foot and 209 pounds when he left the NFL, has never lacked for strength or quick-twitch speed. But the military requires a completely different skill set and stamina level when it comes to meeting its intense physical demands.

As a result, Coffee believes his time in the army made him tougher.

“It’s shown me how to push my body in a different way. A lot of stuff is based on endurance. You might not get to eat at a time you choose. You might be stuck in the elements. You can’t simply go inside,” he said. “I think it helped me more in the social aspect. It helped me to be less of a selfish person. In the military, you really do got to put others before yourself. It really helped me as a person more than anything.”

The other experience that really hardened the former soldier, unsurprisingly, was playing for the notoriously demanding Saban, whom Coffee likened to a general. After three years at Alabama, the ultra-structured Army environment felt familiar.

“His tactics and the way he approaches the game of football, and the things that he tells the players — the reason why it works so well is you believe everything that he says,” Coffee said. “You feel like Saban would suit up with you if he could. I always likened him to an army general. He would lead by example if he could.”

On the comeback trail

Coffee officially became free to sign with any NFL team last month, when the 49ers reinstated him from the reserved/retired list and waived him.

In the two years leading up to that moment, he says he’s been doing everything possible to get his body back into football shape. That means getting up at 8 a.m. and training at the gym for about four hours a day.

Coffee’s day is capped off by two hours of yoga every night, which he says helps improve balance, agility and body awareness, among other things.

“I felt like I needed to bring something else to the table,” he said. “I’m getting older and I knew I’d have to help myself bring more ammunition to the fight. When I take the field, people are really going to be like, ‘Who is this guy?’”

Coffee’s long football layoff might cause some to raise an eyebrow. But he does have experience with an NFL playbook. He knows what to expect in a position group meeting, and knows all about the requisite work ethic that comes with pro football. Playing running back, a slightly less technical role than other skill positions, also works in his favor.

On top of that, Coffee has considerably less wear-and-tear than perhaps any other 30-year-old running back out there. He’s mentally refreshed, and it’s not like he was eating potato chips on the couch in the interim. He was an active member of the military.

“I feel like it would be a smooth transition for me going back into the league,” he said.

All Coffee needs now is for one NFL team to agree. He didn’t want to say which teams have contacted him, but suffice it to say more than one NFL team has approached him since reinstatement.

So what can fans expect if and when Coffee rejoins the league’s ranks? The ex-Crimson Tide star sees big things in his future — Pro Bowl big, in fact, which would certainly put him in some rare company.

But again, Coffee is a special person. It only makes sense that his football journey would match that.

“I can’t just settle. I’m going to try to do everything I can do get on the field and actually carry the rock and eventually be a Pro Bowl running back,” Coffee said. “That might sound funny to some people. When I tell you I can do things now that I couldn’t when I was 23, 22, I’m being for real. I just need the opportunity to get on the field and show what I can do.”

The post Alabama star Glen Coffee talks NFL comeback, joining Army and ‘general’ Nick Saban appeared first on SEC Country.

Alec Shirkey – SEC Country

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Delays, weather plague Alabama men’s golf at NCAA Championships

Alabama golf-Crimson Tide golf-NCAA Championships

The University of Alabama men’s golf team got off to a sluggish start at the NCAA Championships when inclement weather delayed the start of the first round Friday, and 16 teams were still on the course when play was suspended at 9:38 p.m. ET.

After teeing off approximately 4 hours after their scheduled times, the Crimson Tide were among them with everyone between the 13th and 17th holes. Overall, Alabama was at +3, tied for 11th place.

“We just tried to keep our guys focused and create a plan during the delay,” coach Jay Seawell said in a release. “We went out and ate some lunch then came to the course early and allowed them to chip and putt a little bit before warm-ups just to get them out of the hotel.

“I thought our guys did a really good job. The greens were really chewed up at the end with all the players that came before us and the rain we had. There are some things we have to do better — make a few more putts and get some birdies — but I’m fairly proud of how they did considering the conditions.”

Senior Jonathan Hardee was the lone Alabama golfer below par at 1-under through the 15th hole, and tied for 24th on the individual leaderboard. Senior Lee Hodges and junior Davis Riley were both +1, with freshman Wilson Furr was +2 and freshman Davis Shore +3.

Northwestern shot an 8-under 280 at Karsten Creek Golf Club (par 72, 7,460 yards) to set the course’s single-round record. The No. 33 Wildcats led No. 29 Kent State (288) by 8 strokes and No. 48 Iowa State (290) by 10.

Alabama was No. 6 in the pre-tournament rankings. The only SEC team ahead of it is No. 4 Vanderbilt at -1.

The teams are scheduled to finish the first round and subsequently play the second round on Saturday. After three rounds of stroke play, the field will be cut to 15 teams after 54 holes, and eight following the fourth round, to set up the quarterfinals for match play.

The first round will resume at 8 a.m. ET.

 

The post Delays, weather plague Alabama men’s golf at NCAA Championships appeared first on SEC Country.

Christopher Walsh – SEC Country