Author: CW Sports Staff

Senior class breaks down their favorite Nick Saban moments

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) Alabama head coach Nick Saban is seen as the most influential figure in college football. His influence stretches beyond just Alabama. Many programs in the SEC try, and usually fail, to play keep-up with Alabama due to Saban. Even though he is seen as an intimidating figure, Saban still builds personal relationships with the players. Many players who play under Saban have at least one story they could tell you about the five-time national championship-winning coach. Kicker Andy Pappanastos’ moment came at the beginning of this season. He had to change his number from 92 to 12 due to a special teams change. Saban wore No. 12 in college and let Pappanastos know what he thought of him donning Saban’s number. “He came up to me at practice, and he just gave me a hard time,” Pappanastos said. “That was the number he wore in college. And he’s like, ‘I’m a lot better athlete than you.’ That was funny.” Some stories are like this. Saban jokes with his players from time to time. For every laughing moment however, there is an equal one where players get chewed out. Cornerback Anthony Averett’s was not a laughing moment. It showed him just how much Saban strives for perfection and demands it from his players. “I got an interception at practice and, I mean, I thought it was...

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Women’s basketball holds annual fifth grade fastbreak event

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (James Ogletree) Over 2,000 local fifth grade students will get the chance to watch the Alabama women’s basketball team up-close on Thursday when it hosts the Jacksonville Dolphins in its annual Fifth Grade Fastbreak game. Throughout the school year, teachers have been incorporating basketball-related concepts into their lesson plans in math, geography and other subjects. Players on the team have also visited the schools to meet and interact with the students. “[There are] a lot of ways for teachers to incorporate our team into their curriculum and [it’s] a chance for our players to get out and give back,” head coach Kristy Curry said. “I told our team a while ago, ‘Those little eyes are going to be on you tomorrow… It’s important that we’re great role models in how we handle our energy on the floor.'” The team enters the game with a 2-0 record after a comeback win over Utah on Monday night. With the Crimson Tide leading 60-58 in the waning seconds, senior guard Hannah Cook and senior forward NeNe Bolton combined to make five of six free throws to seal the win. Curry and her staff heavily emphasized free throw shooting all offseason and continue to do so in-season. Each day of practice ends with a drill called “climbing the ladder,” in which each of the team’s 14 players shoots two free throws....

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Behind Enemy Lines: The Mercer Cluster’s Hayes Rule talks Alabama

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) Alabama is coming off of a dramatic win against Mississippi State. On the horizon is a winner-take-all Iron Bowl. Before that happens, Alabama has to play Mercer. Earlier in the year, Mercer faced off against Auburn in a sluggish 24-10 loss. Still, Mercer was able to force five turnovers and give the Tigers a scare. To get more insight on Mercer, we talked to Hayes Rule of the Mercer Cluster, the Bears’ student newspaper. Here is what he had to say: Q: What do you make of Mercer scheduling two big-time programs in Alabama and Auburn this season? A: It’s bold, but necessary. Mercer, in only its fifth season since re-establishment, is trying to do its best to get its name out there on a bigger stage. What better way to do that than play two of the best teams in the SEC? Mercer usually tries to schedule only one money game each season, but when Alabama offered a contract for 2017 and 2021, Mercer couldn’t turn that down. I think it’s a great thing for the program. It brings in $600,000 for the athletics program, exposes Mercer’s name on a bigger stage and is a great recruiting tool. Q: Are the players confident that they can compete with Alabama considering the way they played against Auburn? A: I think it’s fair to say everyone...

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Senior class ready to get recognized during final home game

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) Every year, Alabama reloads and rebuilds. The team is designed to have no drop-off from year to year. It has maintained a level of dominance that has been unparalleled in college football. Lost in all of that is the dedication the players put in to make sure the team stays the course. In some cases, players dedicate four years of their lives to Alabama. Some get noticed with awards, but some fly under the radar. For those players, senior day marks a special time. The players get recognized on the field with their family in front of fans who have supported them for most of their careers. For defensive back Anthony Averett, having his parents with him will be a full-circle moment. “My emotions are going to be very high,” Averett said. I’ve been here for a while, my fifth year. I remember my first time I came here [to] Bryant-Denny, I think it was recruiting, think it was in 2012 or 2013 spring game. That was my first time here and that was really blessful. Now my family is going to be here for this last game so it’s going to be fun.” This senior class has gone 50-4 over its four years so far. The class was instrumental in Alabama making the College Football Playoff every year since its inception in 2014. This...

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Raekwon Davis has become Alabama’s ‘ferocious’ defensive end

By outreach@cw.ua.edu (Matthew Speakman) Even in a crowd of giants, Alabama defensive lineman Raekwon Davis would stand out. Sure, Alabama has had a lot of physical freaks over the years, but purely in stature, Davis is second to none. Standing at 6-foot-7, 306 pounds, he towers above most of his teammates on the sideline. His size makes him a nightmare for opposing offensive lineman. He’s fast, big and can shuck off anyone who attempts to get in his way. Just ask center Bradley Bozeman, who gets to face Davis most days in practice. “He’s an animal,” Bozeman said. “He’s a physical beast. He’s long, he’s strong, he’s really everything you don’t want to go against as an offensive lineman.” With the departures of Jonathan Allen and Dalvin Tomlinson to the NFL, it has been Davis who has filled the role as Alabama’s dominant defensive end. This season, he has 49 tackles from that spot. That’s not even the most impressive stat. He currently leads the team with 6.5 sacks on the year. That’s 3.5 more than Tomlinson had in an impressive season, and only four shy of Allen’s total a year ago. Davis has been one of Alabama’s best pass rushers all season. Getting to the quarterback is important, but his mere presence also frees up rush lanes for other players. “Raekwon is a ferocious player, man,” linebacker Rashaan...

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