Author: CW Sports Staff

Haylie McCleney returns to Rhoads Stadium in Team USA win

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Cody Estremera) Haylie McCleney’s last game at Rhoads stadium was a 5-2 win over Washington to send Alabama to the Women’s College World Series. She returned, once again on the home team, and helped Team USA defeat the Alabama Stars 9-1 and 7-0 in an exhibition double header. McCleney led off the bottom of the first for Team USA. She faced former teammate Alexis Osorio. McCleney won that matchup by singling up the middle. “That’s typical Haylie,” Alabama head coach Patrick Murphy said. “You leave it over the middle of the plate and she is going to get the barrel on the ball.” McCleney went 1-for-4 in her first game back at Rhoads Stadium. She was replaced in the top of the third inning with two outs. As she ran off the field, she received a standing ovation. “It was awesome,” McCleney said. “I didn’t know coach (Ken) Eriksen was going to do that. I didn’t know because there weren’t three outs, so I thought there was a miscommunication. I was just trying not to cry.” She left Alabama as the program leader in four categories (batting average, on base percentage, walks and triples). She also finished top five in five other categories. Power lead Team USA to a game one win. The national team sent three balls over the fence, which added up to five of...

Read More

Freshmen receivers impress veterans

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) It didn’t take freshman wide receiver Jerry Jeudy long to turn heads at Alabama. As an early enrollee, Jeudy put on a monster performance in Alabama’s A-Day game with five catches, 134 yards and two touchdowns. Jeudy, who happens to be the protege of junior standout Calvin Ridley, is one of the recruits Alabama fans are most excited about this season. Jeudy may have fans foaming at the mouth, but he isn’t the only freshman wide receiver who is impressing. This summer, the Crimson Tide added Henry Ruggs and DeVonta Smith. Both players have already posed a challenge in practice for Alabama defensive backs because of their speed. “Fast, both have been real fast,” said safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. “I cover them every day, and I think they pose a real challenge. They’re quick, they’re fast, explosive down the field and they come in and out of their breaks like lightning. So, just covering them is getting me a lot better.” Both players were four-star recruits coming out of high school, with Smith ranking as the No. 9 wide receiver in the class and Ruggs as the No. 11 wide receiver. Both have sleek frames and use their speed to their advantage. Smith stands at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, while Ruggs is 6-feet, 175 pounds. Ruggs has already impressed Ridley with his play since he joined the...

Read More

Minkah Fitzpatrick providing leadership for defense

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Cody Estremera) HOOVER– Alabama lost seven of its starting defensive players last year to the NFL draft, leaving a hole in the team. However, defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick isn’t too worried. “We just had the number one recruiting class, so we always have talent,” Fitzpatrick said at SEC Media Days last week. Fitzpatrick feels this is his time to be the leader. “Last year I had a leadership role, but I wasn’t the leader of the defense,” Fitzpatrick said. ”This year I feel like I have to be more vocal and step into that role.” Fitzpatrick is entering his junior season, and has been a starter all three years. Last season he finished fourth on the team with 66 tackles (41 solo, 25 assisted), was second on the team in pass breakups (8) and led the team with six interceptions. He scored two of Alabama’s 11 defensive touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was named a first team All-American last season by the Associated Press, and first team All-SEC. This year, he has already been named to eight preseason award watch lists, including the Maxwell Award, which is given to the best player in college that season, and the Jim Thorpe Award watch list, which is given to the defensive back of the year. He was also named the first team All-SEC team this year, which was voted on by the...

Read More

Youth is not an excuse for Bradley Bozeman

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Ehsan Kassim) HOOVER — Bradley Bozeman is looking to take a bigger leadership role as he enters his senior season at Alabama. The 6’5, 311-pound center will play an important role on a team that returns many offensive weapons around him, including quarterback Jalen Hurts. While the majority of the focus lies on what Hurts can (or can’t) do, Bozeman wants people to know that Alabama’s offense has never been about one player. “Our offense has come out clicking,” Bozeman said last week at SEC Media Days. “It’s not about just the quarterback, or just the running back, or just the line. It’s about the whole unit. It’s about the whole machine. If one part isn’t running right, the whole thing’s not running. It’s not just one aspect.” Bozeman will be tasked with becoming the leader of a young offense. He will be the only returning senior on the roster, with offensive lineman Cam Robinson and wide receiver Ardarius Stewart gone to the NFL. “We have to stay strong in our leadership,” Bozeman said. “Our leadership cannot waver. We have to stay the course.” The youth on the roster is not going to be used as an excuse by Bozeman or his teammates for the upcoming season. Alabama is not going to give any games away, or take any of it’s opponents lightly. “There’s a lot of...

Read More

Alabama hockey head coach John Bierchen accepts assistant coaching position with Indy Fuel

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) Alabama head coach John Bierchen will accept an assistant coaching position with the professional hockey team, the Indy Fuel of the ECHL. Bierchen coached Alabama for one season and led them to a 19-14-2 record while turning the team’s focus towards a professional style. The Indy Fuel are a part of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and play in the ECHL, which is two steps below the NHL. The Fuel joined the Blackhawks’ organization in 2014 as their official ECHL affiliate. Bierchen believes the move to this new program can help Alabama get more attention. “Certain people around here need to take a step back and say, ‘hey, it’s time to start investing a little bit more in this program,’” Bierchen said. “Look at how far it has gotten without too much of an investment. If we just invest a little more resources, this thing could blow up.” Bierchen had ties to the Chicago Blackhawks organization before accepting this job. His mentor and friend, Ted Dent, coached Chicago’s AHL affiliate, the Rockford Icehogs for 11 seasons. Dent helped players such as Niklas Hjalmarsson, Bryan Bickell, Corey Crawford and Andrew Shaw make the jump to the NHL. However, Dent was relieved of his duties in April. Even with this tie being cut off, the Fuel kept Bierchen on their radar. Bierchen met with Fuel head coach Bernie...

Read More