Alabama Crimson Tide: lsu football

Nick SabanMarvin Gentry/USA TODAY SportsNick Saban isn't apologizing for a schedule that appears easier for Alabama in 2013. There's plenty of difficulty at the beginning with matchups against Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Les Miles is right. So is Steve Spurrier, Butch Jones and every other SEC coach who looks at his schedule and wonders why it's not as easy as the one the defending champions will play.

Nick Saban knows Alabama caught a break. He might not say it directly, but when he told reporters at SEC Media Days that "there can never be an equal path to the championship," he was acknowledging that his team won't face the stiffest of competition this season, and in his mind that's OK. He coached at LSU. He knows what facing Florida every year is like.

It might not be fair, but it is what it is. The Tide avoid the big three in the SEC East -- Florida, Georgia and South Carolina -- while facing nonconference cupcakes such as Georgia State and Chattanooga. The bye weeks set up perfectly, and if you throw in the fact that Ole Miss has to come back to Tuscaloosa for a second consecutive season, its easy to see why some are pointing fingers.

But don't blame Saban, and don't blame his players. And while you're at it, give Alabama a little bit of credit. While you might not like its schedule top to bottom, the beginning is nothing to sneeze at. If Alabama is going to win a third consecutive national championship, it has no time to waste as three of its most important games come in the first five weeks of the season.

"Obviously we start out with a very difficult opening schedule," Saban said. "Virginia Tech has been a 10win team almost every year. ... And then to go play the team that beat us last year, Texas A&M, on the road in the second game of the season, obviously is going to be very challenging.

"That's what we're sort of focusing on, what we're looking forward to."

Anthony Steen is on the same page. Alabama's veteran right guard was asked what he thought of the busy start to the season, and all he could say was, "I know we play Virginia Tech; I know it's not going to be one of those easy games." As part of an offensive line replacing three starters, he ought to be circling the Hokies defense and its 35 sacks from a season ago.

While everyone might be focusing on the next game on the schedule, the season opener won't be a walk in the park as the Hokies undoubtedly will be a measuring stick for just how prepared Alabama is to stop a mobile quarterback in an uptempo style of offense. Logan Thomas, a 6-foot-6 senior with NFL potential, has run for more than 1,000 yards and passed for more than 6,000 in his career under coach Frank Beamer. Despite a disappointing 2012, he finished in the top 40 nationally in total offense with 3,500 yards and 27 touchdowns.

But to be fair, the second game on Alabama's schedule is easily the biggest of the season. Texas A&M was the only team to beat the Tide a year ago, and it's safe to say revenge will be on the mind of players this time around. A camera recently captured an image of the loss playing on TVs in Alabama's weight room, and though players are saying all the right things, there's no underplaying the magnitude of the matchup.

AJ McCarron gave the best coach-speak a few weeks ago, saying, "Me, personally, I take every week the same way."

"Just a normal week, nothing greater," he added. "It's going to be fun playing in College Station, and I'm looking forward to it."

Steen tried his best to keep the focus on the Hokies, but even he couldn't downplay the matchup.

"We want to beat them by 50," he said. "Obviously we see it on TV every day that they beat us. Like I said, Virginia Tech comes first. Once that switch comes on for A&M, I promise you we're going to be pumped."

Johnny Manziel had his Heisman Trophy moment against the Tide in 2012, leading his team to a thrilling, 29-24 victory. He exposed the defense early with his feet and finished them off late with his arm. And throughout the offseason, players and coaches have been asked how they'll stop him a second time around.

The bye week that comes before the game might be viewed as a positive in that respect, but not necessarily to players. Steen said he'd rather not have the break and that the time off will only make him more nervous. C.J. Mosley, Alabama's leader at inside linebacker, was more even-keeled in his assessment, saying they'll take the extra week to prepare, even though it's not ideal.

"It kind of slows things down," Mosley said. "When the season starts, you just want to keep it going."

Leaving College Station might provide a bit of a breather, but not for long, as Alabama returns home to host an up-and-coming Ole Miss squad two weeks later. Outside of LSU, Texas A&M and Georgia, the Rebels gave the Tide their toughest game last season. The defense held McCarron and company to a season-low 305 yards, while the offense proved dangerous at times, pushing the pace and creating confusion as they went no-huddle. With Bo Wallace, Jeff Scott and Donte Moncrief all a year more familiar with the scheme, Hugh Freeze could increase the tempo even further this time around.

Keeping up won't be easy, especially after going through the wringer against Virginia Tech and Texas A&M in previous weeks. The decidedly weak schedule that follows against rebuilding programs such as Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee will be key in regrouping for late games against LSU and Mississippi State.

Even though Alabama might not have the top-to-bottom schedule of its somewhat perturbed SEC brethren, its road to the championship nonetheless presents its own set of challenges. A fast start to the season means a fast start to fall camp and a sense of urgency. As Mosley explained, a team finds its identity in the beginning of the season, "so we have to make sure we're doing a great job during fall camp to have that step ahead."

How to win Alabama-LSU rivalry over time 

July, 19, 2013
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The Alabama-LSU rivalry admittedly is a young one. While the schools have played one another a lot in their history -- 77 times, to be exact -- the real antagonism didn't come until 2007, when former LSU coach Nick Saban left the Miami Dolphins for the University of Alabama. Ever since, it is prime-time viewing when the Tide and the Tigers meet.

Saban and LSU coach Les Miles have won four of the past six SEC titles and four of the last six BCS national championships. They've pushed each program to greater heights and established themselves as two of the top coaches in the game, all the while competing against one another on and off the field.

So far, Alabama holds the slight edge over LSU in terms of head-to-head wins and national championships, but will that last? Who will own the rivalry in the years to come? That's what we asked of TideNation writer Alex Scarborough and GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney. Each looked into their crystal ball to come up with three things each school must do to win the rivalry moving into 2014 and beyond.

What LSU must do to own the rivalry

1. Win the home front: Alabama is trying to go toe-to-toe with LSU for most of Louisiana's top recruits. If LSU is to hold its own or win the long-term rivalry with Alabama, it's essential for the Tigers to not only win this war, but in a rout. We all know about the 2014 class in Louisiana, featuring a handful of the nation's best players, most of whom have LSU and Alabama as their top two contenders (see Leonard Fournette, Cameron Robinson and Laurence "Hootie" Jones). This might repeat itself in what's shaping up to be a similar 2016 class in Louisiana. Given Alabama's current status as college football's back-to-back champion, it's hard to imagine LSU being able to match the Tide's recruiting without dominating its own state.

2. A transformed offense: LSU looks like it can be a defensive juggernaut for years to come. Not only does LSU have a great defensive coordinator in John Chavis, Louisiana yields Chavis an ample quantity of athletes capable of thriving in his system. That has not been the case on offense, where the Tigers have played musical coordinators and have struggled to find their stride since they last won a national championship in 2007. That's in contrast to Alabama, which a year ago had a dominant running game and an efficient passing game. LSU can't be a one-dimensional team while Alabama is a complete team.

3. A thriving state: An underrated part of LSU's success, and struggles, is the fate of the state of Louisiana itself. We saw LSU take a hit when Hurricane Katrina displaced much of metro New Orleans, which represents close to a quarter of the state's population. New Orleans has recovered and the state is at a point where, if the right buttons are pushed, it can move past recovery to experiencing real growth. We've seen in neighboring Texas, a huge growth state, that transplants have assimilated into Texas' rabid football culture and football prospect production has been incredibly strong. If Louisiana, annually the nation's leader in per capita NFL player production, experiences significant population growth with LSU remaining its sole BCS football power, matching the Tigers' recruiting base would be enormously difficult for any rival, Alabama included.

What Alabama must do to own the rivalry

1. Find a quarterback to replace McCarron: It doesn't matter how stellar the defense or how spectacular the running game: Without a solid starting quarterback, Alabama won't be going anywhere against LSU or any other team in the SEC when AJ McCarron leaves after this season. If you're not balanced in this league, you're not going to win, and you need a capable quarterback to make that possible. The difficulty of finding that man might be taken for granted, considering the consistent play the Tide has had with McCarron and Greg McElroy before him, but much of this season will be devoted toward that process. Alec Morris has nice potential and so do the trio of freshman quarterbacks Alabama welcomed onto campus this spring. UA commitment David Cornwell is a guy that can come in and compete for the job in 2014 as well. But whoever wins the gig will have his hands full.

2. Continue drawing from the Louisiana pipeline: Saban left LSU nine years ago, but he never left the state behind entirely. The relationships he maintained there have paid dividends since he came to Alabama in 2007. Since then, Saban has signed nine recruits from Louisiana, including 2012's top prospect, safety Landon Collins. Alabama is in the hunt for 2014's No. 1 overall prospect, running back Fournette and No. 1 offensive tackle Robinson, and the Tide will no doubt continue to mine the area for talent in the years to come. With each recruit signed out of Louisiana, Alabama fills its own coffers while simultaneously emptying LSU's -- a win-win scenario in any rivalry.

3. Keep Saban and his "process" in Tuscaloosa: It's an obvious thing to say, but the vast majority of Alabama's success comes from its head coach and the program he has installed in Tuscaloosa. While it's true that Saban has built a machine -- also known as "The Process" -- that seemingly operates on its own, he's nonetheless the man with his hand on the lever making sure it's working at maximum capacity. Without him, who knows how far Alabama would fall? Kirby Smart or some other coaching candidate may be the perfect man for the job when Saban leaves, but following up what Saban has done in establishing a dynasty would border on the impossible. The pressure would be incredible. The best-case scenario for Tide fans is that Saban stays head coach for as long as he wants before handing over the reigns to a successor who he could watch develop from an advisory role within the athletic department, whether that's as the school's athletic director or in some other responsibility.

Early preview: Balance key to UA, LSU

July, 18, 2013
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Editor's note: This week, GeauxTigerNation and TideNation will examine all aspects of the LSU-Alabama rivalry during the Nick Saban-Les Miles era. Today we turn to this season's game and what each team must do to come out victorious.

It's never too early to look forward to a good old-fashioned rivalry game. So with more than 100 days remaining between now and the Alabama-LSU regular-season matchup in Tuscaloosa, Ala., we asked TideNation writer Alex Scarborough and GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney to break down three keys for each school to come out on top.

A lot can happen between now and Nov. 9, but its safe to say the plans laid out by each writer will be as true today as they are four months from now when Nick Saban and Les Miles meet at midfield in Bryant-Denny Stadium to renew a rivalry that's been boiling intensely in recent years.

How LSU wins in 2013

[+] EnlargeZach Mettenberger
Derick E. HingleAlabama's defense has to find a way to put pressure on Zach Mettenberger in its matchup with LSU on Nov. 9.
1. Offensive balance: On a spreadsheet, LSU did not have a team that should have been able to beat Alabama in 2012. The Tigers were too one-dimensional on offense without a consistent passing game and, if the 2011 meetings showed anything, Nick Saban-coached teams will eat one-dimensional offenses for lunch. But for one night in Tiger Stadium, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger was brilliant, throwing for a season's-best 298 yards to bring balance to the usual productive running game, led by Jeremy Hill, and the Tigers nearly pulled off an upset, losing 21-17. This year, Mettenberger will have to be as good -- probably better -- and LSU will need its usual running threat, whether it's Hill or somebody elese. Of course, that is the whole reason why LSU has a new offensive coordinator in Cam Cameron.

2. Pressure points: Alabama has some work to do on its offensive line, and LSU has some holes to fill on its defensive line. This should not be a huge issue for the Tigers' run defense -- defensive coordinator John Chavis is a master of scheming extra men in the box to negate the run -- but if a now well-seasoned A.J. McCarron has time to sit back and go through his progressions in the passing game, even "DBU" won't be able to cover. Don't believe it? Look at the winning drive last season. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson should be a pass-rushing force this season. But if the Tigers enter the LSU game still waiting for one of the young ends to emerge as a consistent sack threat, they could be in for a world of hurt.

3. Kicking it around: The last time the Tigers beat Alabama, Drew Alleman gave LSU all of its points with three field goals. Under Les Miles, LSU always seems to enjoy a special teams edge. That's especially important against this team because it will take a mighty effort to just be close to the Tide, based on what they have coming back with offensive skill players and defensive talent. That might be a problem for LSU, which is breaking in a new starting punter in Jamie Keehn and is entering August camp still searching for Alleman's replacement at kicker.

How Alabama wins in 2013

1. Pressure Mettenberger: It's odd that the silver lining in Mettenberger's otherwise lackluster 2012 campaign was a defeat, but such was the case for the rising senior quarterback who threw for a season-high 298 yards against Alabama in early November. Give him credit for making all the throws, but a fair share of the blame lies with the Tide defense, which had three sacks and no quarterback hurries in Baton Rouge. Allowing a big, strong-armed quarterback such as Mettenberger to set his feet like that was just asking for trouble. Combined with a season-low two pass breakups, it's a wonder he didn't throw for more than one touchdown. For Alabama to survive LSU in Tuscaloosa this season, the defense can't afford Mettenberger another career-making day where he has the time to sit back and pick the secondary apart.

2. Stay with the running game: There were times last season when the Alabama offense got too far ahead of its skis and lost balance -- twice to be exact. The LSU game was the first such instance when offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier called more passes than runs, and the lack of continuity showed in the second half, when McCarron and Co. went three-and-out on four of six drives. Alabama, of course, survived that bit of unbalance, but the next week it did not as the Tide threw the ball more than it ran and lost in heartbreaking fashion to Texas A&M. While the temptation to pass will be even greater with McCarron a year wiser and with more weapons at wide receiver, the fact remains that the Alabama offense is based on running the football and controlling the line of scrimmage. Handing the ball off to T.J. Yeldon and the rest of the stable of running backs might not be sexy, but it gets the job done.

3. Stay special: A bad kicking game doomed Alabama the last time LSU came to Tuscaloosa as the Tide missed four-of-six field goal attempts in its only loss of the 2011 season. And while Cade Foster appears to have gotten over the hiccup of that game, he comes into the 2013 season with even greater expectations now that short-range specialist Jeremy Shelley is gone. Making the most of every opportunity will be important for whoever handles field goals for the Tide this go-around, whether it's Foster or redshirt freshman Adam Griffith, who could take over for Shelley as the short- to intermediate-range kicker. Getting the ball through the uprights won't be the only thing that's important, though. The Tide must do well in coverage and take care of the ball in the return game, as five of the past seven meetings between the schools have been decided by a touchdown or less.

The stars of the Alabama-LSU rivalry 

July, 17, 2013
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There have been dozens of All-Americans and first-round picks to come out Alabama and LSU in recent years, talented guys like Courtney Upshaw, Barkevious Mingo, Trent Richardson and Tyrann Mathieu. All told, there have been more than 30 NFL draft picks from both programs since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007.

But with so many players to choose from, how do you determine the best athletes to compete in the rivalry, the ones who have shown up and played their best when the two schools met on the football field each year?

TideNation writer Alex Scarborough and GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney did their best to answer that difficult question.

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Ranking best games in Bama-LSU rivalry 

July, 17, 2013
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The Alabama-LSU rivalry began heating up the minute Nick Saban left the Miami Dolphins in an attempt to resurrect a sleeping giant in Tuscaloosa, and it hasn't slowed down since. Alabama has flourished into a dynasty with three rings and counting, while LSU continues to battle for national championships year in and year out under the sometimes-eccentric leadership of Les Miles.

Head to head, the Crimson Tide and Tigers have had some of the most thrilling games in recent memory, often propelling one team or another on to the SEC championship and beyond. Each matchup has had its defining play or its defining performance, whether it was T.J. Yeldon's last-second touchdown in 2012 or Eric Reid's acrobatic interception the year before.

Breaking down each game was no easy matter. In fact, when TideNation writer Alex Scarborough and GeauxTigerNation writer Gary Laney sat down to make up a top 10 list of the best games since 2007, determining No. 1 was so difficult they had to split the difference and stop just short of calling it a tie.

Looking at numbers three through seven wasn't much simpler. But they persevered and ranked the games from best to worst, and here's the order they came up with:


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Editor's note: This week, GeauxTigerNation and TideNation will examine all aspects of the LSU-Alabama rivalry during the Nick Saban-Les Miles era. Up first, a look at how Saban's departure from LSU and eventual hiring at Alabama affected the rivalry.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It must irk the LSU faithful to see Nick Saban so comfortable at the University of Alabama. For years, it seemed as if the unforgivingly ambitious coach would never be content in one place for so long. Alabama was the 13th coaching stop of his career in 2007, and none of the dozen before had kept him for more than four years. There always would be the next job that would take him away, leaving Tuscaloosa feeling the same emptiness Baton Rouge experienced on Christmas Day 2004 when Saban left a lump of coal on his way to the NFL.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesNick Saban left LSU behind -- and the Tigers' fans have not forgotten that fact.
But after more than six years of waiting, moving day hasn't come. There have been offers, but Saban hasn't left Alabama. Now approaching his 62nd birthday, it appears as if the nomad has set down permanent roots.

“I really enjoy what I'm doing here right now," Saban told "The Dan LeBatard Show" in December. "I'm getting old now. I don't think we've got too many moves left in us. You develop a lot of relationships and loyalties to the players you recruit and the players you have on the team and the people you have in the organization. I don't think it's really fair to leave. I regretted when I left LSU because I left a lot of relationships there. Hopefully I'll be able to stay here for a long, long time."

Admitting regret won't do anything to quell the profanity-laden chants toward Saban every time he enters Tigers Stadium. Him admitting regret might as well be adding salt to the wounds of those LSU fans who were just now getting around to the idea of letting his unceremonious departure go.

If it weren't for where he ended up after leaving LSU, there might be no ill will toward him at all. He just had to go to Alabama: the one spot no LSU fan could stomach.

It really was a double whammy when Saban bolted Miami after two seasons with the Dolphins. It wasn't that he wanted back in college football. That was understandable. It was that he was coming back to the SEC and going to the one school in the conference that could stop the Tigers' ascension.

Instead, under Saban, Alabama has become the program to beat in college football, and LSU has been forced to settle for the still-desirable title of "championship contender" year in and year out. It's not that LSU hasn't been one of the best teams in the game, it's that it isn't the best. Sure, Les Miles has held his own in head-to-head meetings, taking three of seven games against Saban's Alabama teams, but that's not what's most important in fans' eyes. Rather, fans see Alabama's three national championships to LSU's one. The Tigers haven't won a title since 2007, and the Crimson Tide have a chance to win their third in a row and fourth in five seasons this year.

[+] EnlargeLandon Collins
Davide De Pas for ESPN.comIn 2012, Louisiana native Landon Collins picked Alabama and coach Nick Saban over LSU, disappointing his mother, April Justin.
Even off the field, Saban has found a way to hit close to home with LSU. In what has become a yearly ritual, Saban and his staff have crossed borders into Louisiana and stolen some of the state's top prospects. He has signed nine Louisiana natives since 2008, many of whom had their decisions come down to LSU or Alabama. The biggest and most high-profile coup came in 2012, when top-rated safety Landon Collins committed to the Tide against his mother's wishes on national television.

This year won't get any easier, as two of the top 10 prospects in the country are from Louisiana. The No. 1 player in the ESPN 300, running back Leonard Fournette, is high on Alabama and LSU, and the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country, Cameron Robinson, says he's down to the Tide and the Tigers, as well. Should both prospects choose Alabama, it could prove to be a backbreaker to Miles' tenure in Baton Rouge, especially if LSU finishes down in a strong SEC West this season.

With every win on the football field and on the recruiting trail, Saban is delivering the not-so-friendly reminder to LSU fans of what might have been had he stayed in Baton Rouge. Had he put aside his restless ways earlier in life, it might be LSU atop the college football world and not Alabama. And no amount of personal regret can change that.

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

Alabama Crimson Tide


It's hard to imagine that the Alabama secondary in 2011 yielded five NFL prospects. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick and De'Quan Menzie were all drafted a year ago. Dee Milliner and Robert Lester stuck around and won one more ring before hanging it up in 2013.

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SEC's DLs, LBs strong at combine

February, 21, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Defensive linemen and linebackers.

Alabama Crimson Tide


Alabama's front seven was rock solid and had a distinctive rock-n-roll flair in nose guard Jesse Williams. Though the Crimson Tide defense lacked a true superstar, Williams' Mohawk haircut, countless tattoos and colorful face paint made the unit stand out.
  • DT Jesse Williams (Position rank: No. 8)
    Strengths: Like his counterpart on the middle of the Alabama offensive line, Barrett Jones, Williams is nothing if not versatile. He played both defensive end and nose guard at UA and possesses the type of strength and quickness that would allow him to do the same at the next level.
    Weaknesses: While Williams is above average in defending the run and the pass, he's not superb at either. His production at Alabama was less than ideal, which can be attributed to the scheme on defense, but a lack of sacks and tackles for loss highlight an inability to consistently rush the passer.
    Comparable: In terms of versatility and athleticism, he is similar to Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
  • ILB Nico Johnson (Position rank: No. 8)
    Strengths: Johnson -- who no longer is scheduled to attend the combine -- has the look of an NFL linebacker at 6-foot-2 and 249 pounds. He is a solid wrap-up tackler with good instincts. The fact that he has had no off-field trouble or injury concerns will only help his draft stock.
    Weaknesses: The emergence of C.J. Mosley hurt Johnson in 2012. When Alabama had to defend multiple-receiver looks, Johnson often came off the field in favor of Mosley. Johnson is built for run support, but his lack of athleticism hurts in terms of being an every-down linebacker.
    Comparable: Johnson looks and plays like New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton. Both are sure tacklers with good instincts getting between the tackles and getting to the ball carrier.
  • DE Quinton Dial (Position rank: No. 27)
    Strengths: Every so often an Alabama player doesn't hit his potential until he has left college. Dial might be one of those guys. The big, thick defensive end has the raw size (6-foot-5, 307 pounds) and skill to play at the next level and will likely do well in team workouts leading up to the draft.
    Weaknesses: A lack of production at Alabama will create a glass ceiling for Dial. While scouts can fall in love with measurables, they still want to see the talent on tape.
    Comparable: Dial could learn a thing or two from Baltimore Ravens defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, who didn't blow away anyone at Georgia, but after being selected late in the seventh round has become a solid contributor. In terms of size, the two compare favorably, as Tyson comes in at 6-foot-2, 315 pounds.
  • Damion Square (Position rank: No. 29)
    Strengths: Square isn't going to light up the scoreboard with sacks or tackles for loss, but he's consistent. Under coach Nick Saban's watchful eye, Square developed into a solid defender against the run and pass, and understands the idea of gap-assignment football.
    Weaknesses: Simply put, Square doesn't possess the necessary athleticism to get drafted. If there is a player hurt most by missing out on the Senior Bowl, it's him.
    Comparable: N/A

Florida Gators


The heart of the Gators’ 2012 defense will participate in the combine today. DT Sharrif Floyd, whose stock is rising rapidly as he is projected to be taken as high as No. 3, had a fantastic season and anchored UF’s front. He dominated Florida State’s front, and his mixture of size, strength and quickness has scouts drooling. ILB Jon Bostic started every game the past two seasons and was UF’s leader on defense. Nobody was more dependable than Bostic. OLB Jelani Jenkins was limited in 2012 because of a broken finger, a strained hamstring and a broken foot, but when healthy he’s a solid player. OLB Lerentee McCray was forced into action at the buck position (hybrid end/linebacker) because of the injury to Ronald Powell. He didn’t produce big numbers but was a high-effort, high-motor guy.

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OLs from SEC can thrive at combine

February, 20, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Today: Offensive linemen.

Alabama Crimson Tide


It's only fitting that the best offensive line in college football would produce some of the most intriguing prospects in the NFL draft. Alabama will likely have three offensive linemen taken in the first few rounds in April, further proof of the talent that resided in Tuscaloosa this past season.

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SEC sends several RBs to NFL combine

February, 19, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites will look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins Friday in Indianapolis. Today: Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

LSU Tigers


Perhaps it says something about LSU's offense in 2012 that among a record 13 players invited to the NFL combine from the Tigers, only two are offensive skill players who are generally considered, at this point, marginal talents. Running backs Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are the only skill players invited to Indianapolis, which is understandable when one considers LSU was 10th in the SEC in total offense. It's also a sign of youth. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger, fullback J.C. Copeland, running back Jeremy Hill and all of LSU's primary threats at wide receiver will return in 2013.

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4-star Eddie Jackson picks Bama

January, 30, 2013
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Eddie Jackson has come a long way. The four-star athlete was an unknown until late in the recruiting cycle. On Wednesday, he gave a verbal commitment to the University of Alabama, the reigning national champions.

“I like how the program is run,” Jackson said. “It’s just everything that they stand for. I can be that guy from Fort Lauderdale, the first guy to come up there and have a chance, a chance to go up there and play.”

The Florida native had a number of other offers to choose from including Florida State, LSU and Tennessee, but ultimately, he couldn’t turn down a chance to play for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

During his official visit to Tuscaloosa earlier this month, Jackson sat down with the Alabama head coach, and Saban told the No. 54-ranked wide receiver that he has a chance to compete for a spot at cornerback as a freshman.

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The University of Alabama was the first school to start showing interest in ESPN 150 defensive end Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab) back when he was a freshman. Now, three years later, the Crimson Tide hosted Williams on his first official visit over the weekend.


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Ole Miss leads for Robert Nkemdiche 

January, 2, 2013
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. –- On Day 3 of practice for the Under Armour All-America Game at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports, No. 1 prospect Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) finally confirmed what has been speculated around the recruiting world for months.


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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As ESPN 150 defensive end Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, La./ University Lab) nears national signing day, all that remains between him and choosing a school is a few official visits.


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TE McNeil ready to let Tide roll away 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– ESPN 150 prospect Josh McNeil (Durham, N.C./Milford Academy) admits it was a difficult situation when the tight end parted ways with Alabama. However it looks like another SEC program will be there to pick up the pieces.


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