Michigan Wolverines: Alabama football

Da’Shawn Hand recently narrowed his focus of top schools, and two programs still very much in the mix are Alabama and Michigan.

Da'Shawn Hand
Scott Fink for ESPNDE Da'Shawn Hand will be a big asset to whichever school he ends up at.
The five-star is a talented and promising defender who would be a great addition to either defense, but let’s take a quick look at how he may fit each team.

First thing to consider is that he brings certain attributes that would be coveted by either team regardless of scheme or need. Hand is an intelligent and measured young man who not only puts a premium on education in the classroom, but he can also be a knowledgeable and disciplined player on the field and potentially grow into a strong leader for either unit.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- It’s never a surprise to see Alabama football near the top of any ratings. Nick Saban has a proven track record on the field. That has translated to the recruiting trail as he has pulled in top classes year in and year out, finishing in the top three in recruiting in each of the past five years. He's had the top class for the past two seasons.


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Watch: Alabama-Michigan preview

September, 1, 2012
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Previewing the big showdown between Alabama and Michigan at Cowboys Stadium.

Watch: Tide offense vs. U-M defense

August, 31, 2012
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Michael Rothstein from WolverineNation and Alex Scarborough from TideNation breakdown what Michigan’s defense will try and do to stop AJ McCarron, Eddie Lacy, and the Alabama offense.
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University of Alabama coach Nick Saban took to the SEC teleconference on Wednesday morning and spoke about his team heading into Saturday's showdown against No. 8 Michigan. Here's some of what the sixth-year coach had to say:
  • Opening statement: "First games are always really exciting for everyone. Everybody is certainly tired of practicing against each other. We're really looking forward to the opportunity we have to play a really good, well-coached Michigan team. They have a fantastic player playing quarterback and it will be very challenging for us to contain him. ... In first games you like to see where you are. … It's always exciting for us to have a challenging game in the home opener. That really excited the players throughout the year and not just this week."
  • On Michigan coach Brady Hoke: "Their staff does a great job, he's obviously done a great job. He was a great coach when he was an assistant at Michigan, which is when I knew him. He did a really good job at San Diego State. Their team is fundamentally sound in everything they do. They have a really good scheme defensively in terms of the things they do. Offensively, they have a really good scheme that features the players they have. They do a great job on special teams. They do an outstanding job and that's got to be, to some degree, a reflection of his leadership."
  • On focusing on the process, not the result: "We're process-oriented in what we do. We're trying to make this team as good as we can make this team. When you lose 25 percent of your team every year in college football so you have a whole different team, a whole different mindset, a whole different chemistry, character, strengths, weaknesses, things that you have to do to work hard to try to get young players to have the maturity they need to have to play winning football."
  • Finding leaders on defense: "The important thing for leadership is how they do it in a game. Coaches can always affect practice, in my opinion, the tempo of practice, the energy, the enthusiasm. Leadership can help that. We have had a few guys on defense step up and show some leadership. Them continuing to do that in game-like situations is going to be critical."
  • Different identity on defense: "The biggest thing about this defense … is when you have a lot of new starters is the experience they have we had last year that we don't have this year. How these guys mature, how they focus -- when you lack college experience sometimes you make more mental errors. What's the consequence of that going to be? To me, that's the biggest thing I worry about when you have a lot of inexperienced players, you don't have a lot of starters coming back. It doesn't mean they're not capable, it just takes a little time for them to develop. Sometimes make the mistakes in practice and you correct them, but they always seems to have a greater impact when they make them in the game. Hopefully we'll be able to minimize that and play well as a unit."

Video: Tide vs. U-M biggest early game

August, 26, 2012
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Kirk Herbstreit, Todd Blackledge and Scott Van Pelt look at some big early season match ups in college football.
Derrick Green is weighing his options -- all of his options. The ESPN 150 running back has already visited nine schools this summer, and he made a trip south over the weekend to check out three more.

The trip began with a stop in Tuscaloosa to visit the University of Alabama. It was the first time the Richmond, Va., resident had been on the Crimson Tide’s campus.

“It was really nice,” Green said. “I got there, spoke to my position coach, spoke to Coach [Nick] Saban, toured the campus. I had a good time seeing the facilities. I got to speak with the strength and conditioning coach. I really like him a lot. It was overall a good trip.”

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Even as the Crimson Tide practiced in shells and shorts this April, coach Nick Saban had opening day on his mind.

[+] EnlargeNick Saban
Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesNick Saban is already preparing for Michigan.
While the rest of the country waited on a groundhog to usher in the start of spring, the University of Alabama coaching staff prepared for a pack of wolverines.

The colossal Alabama-Michigan matchup at Jerry Jones’ equally enormous Cowboys Stadium won’t be left wanting for anticipation or, as it turns out, preparation. Tickets for the 80,000-seat venue are nearly sold out (a handful of $30,000 suites remain if you’re into that sort of thing), hotels are slammed and travel routes are already being arranged as two of the country’s most storied programs go head-to-head for the first time in more than a decade.

Saban, who has ties to the Great Lakes where he spent 10 years as both an assistant and head coach at Michigan State, isn’t doing anything to stall the hype machine. Several times during spring practice he said he’d begin introducing next year’s opponents, specifically citing the Michigan game.

In fact, following Alabama’s A-Day scrimmage, the fiery coach let it be known just how serious he’s taking the season opener. If anyone expected a glimpse of the game plan that day, they were wrong.

(Read full post)

Michigan won't face Alabama for almost seven months, but good luck trying to find a ticket for the game through Michigan.

The school announced Tuesday morning all of its tickets are sold out.

"We have received unprecedented interest in tickets for the Cowboys Classic game with Alabama," Michigan chief marketing officer Hunter Lochmann said in a statement. "The demand is on par or greater than our athletic department has ever seen."

Michigan said it received just under 25,000 tickets for the game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sept. 1. The tickets were sold out before a public sale could take place.

The school also announced Tuesday it won't know about standing room only ticket availability until April.

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