4/2: Nick Saban Press Conference

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama football head coach Nick Saban met with the media for a press conference via Zoom on Thursday morning.  Here is an audio clip from that meeting.

 

Alabama Announces the Hiring of David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced the hiring of David Ballou as the Crimson Tide’s Director of Sports Performance and Dr. Matt Rhea as the Director of Performance Science on Tuesday.

 

“Just as with any other area, we feel that it is imperative that we adopt and integrate advancements in the field of strength and conditioning that will provide elite training, while better protecting our players from injuries and helping them develop and perform at a higher level,” Saban said. “Our program has been working toward these type of advancements with the development and construction of our own sports science center, and with the addition of David and Matt, we believe our student-athletes will be better equipped to reach their goals for many years to come.”

 

Ballou and Dr. Rhea, who are both regarded among the best in their field, join the Alabama program after two years at Indiana where Ballou was the Director of Athletic Performance and Rhea was IU’s Football’s High Performance Coordinator.

 

During Ballou’s two seasons as the Director of Athletic Performance, 11 Hoosiers earned All-Big Ten honors while the team’s eight wins in 2019 were the most for the program since 1993. He helped four IU standouts move on to the NFL and has trained 31 NFL Draft picks in his career.

 

Before his time at Indiana, Dr. Rhea was the director of sport science at IMG Academy in 2016 and 2017. There, he contributed to the optimal development of athletes through innovative assessments and advanced strength and conditioning.

“The collaboration between strength and conditioning, sports medicine and nutrition are absolutely critical for the success of our program,” Alabama’s Associate AD and Director of Sports Medicine Jeff Allen said. “The addition of Coach Ballou and Dr. Rhea to our program will allow us to take full advantage of our sports science center. The data they will generate on our athletes, through their unique training methods, will allow us to know exactly how to manage our team to ensure we are performing at our best each Saturday and make sure we are doing all we can to prevent injuries.”

 

Ballou spent the 2017 season as Notre Dame’s co-director of football strength and conditioning after one year as the head strength and conditioning coach at IMG Academy. At IMG, he helped train 26 future NFL Draft picks in 2016 and 2017. Prior to IMG, he served as the head strength and conditioning coach at Avon (Ind.) High School for 14 years (2001-15) where he was a finalist for the 2014 NSCA National High School Strength Coach of the Year Award. He has held the credential as a certified strength and conditioning specialist (with distinction) since 2001.

 

“Player development is my passion” Ballou said. “We can’t wait to get to Tuscaloosa and begin working with some of the best athletes and football players in the nation. We will attack all avenues of performance to make sure we are optimizing the physical abilities of every player on the roster.”

 

Dr. Rhea was a full-time professor of kinesiology at A.T. Still University, where he taught courses in sports conditioning and exercise physiology. He has published nearly 100 studies in performance enhancement and lectured in seven different countries. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Southern Utah in 1998, a master’s in exercise science and physical education from Arizona State in 2001 and a master’s in sports management from American Public University in 2016. He earned his doctorate in philosophy at Arizona State in 2004 with an exercise and sport science academic focus and an athletic performance enhancement research focus.

 

“For the past 22 years, I have been studying how best to develop athletes, prevent injuries and prime for competition,” Rhea said. “Through research, I have found some innovative ways to target neuromuscular issues that are limiting performance and, by teaming up with one of best strength and conditioning coaches in the world, we can target those limiting factors during training.

 

“Everyone works hard in football these days, and our system involves a lot of hard work, but not just for the sake of causing pain and suffering. It involves hard work because getting improvements in very elite athletes is very challenging. We are combining hard work with very scientific methods in order to maximize development and preparation.”

Along with getting the Crimson Tide, bigger, faster and stronger, injury prevention will be a key focus for Ballou and Dr. Rhea and the Crimson Tide’s new sports science center will give them advantages not seen in college athletics. The sports science center, which will open this summer, will be a comprehensive facility that will feature assessment areas for all athletes, physical-evaluation areas, a behavioral health center, two athlete-recovery rooms that feature 15 specialized recovery chairs, three float beds and a multi-person, whole-body cryo chamber.

 

“The addition of Coach Ballou and Dr. Rhea shows the unsurpassed dedication to the student-athlete at The University of Alabama,” Andrews Sports Medicine Center orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said. “Their ability to develop football players while working in conjunction with athletic training and nutrition to help prevent injuries will be vital to the program’s success. With all these factors in place, Alabama will possess a one-of-a-kind program, not only in college, but in the NFL as well, that will focus on protecting its players and helping them reach their full potential.”

 

Ballou, who played fullback for the Hoosiers from 1997-99, graduated in 2001 from Indiana with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and earned his master’s degree in human movement from A.T. Still University in 2009. He is married to the former Leah Horn, who was a pole vaulter at Indiana and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten. The couple has two daughters, Mallory and Aubrey.

 

Dr. Rhea played college football for three years at UNLV and Southern Utah before entering the strength and conditioning field. In 2001, he launched a consulting company that provided direction in areas of athlete development, speed training, injury prevention and performance optimization to clients in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, International Olympic programs and top collegiate athletic departments

Coach Saban Statement on Scott Cochran

12/8/19 MFB Football Banquet Alabama Scott Cochran Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Photo by Kent Gidley

“We appreciate Scott’s contribution to our organization over the last 13 years. We can’t thank him enough for his service and dedication to our program, and his commitment to our players. He is taking his career in a new direction, and we wish Scott, Cissy and the kids the best. As we do with every position that opens here, we will go out and hire the best person to lead our strength and conditioning program and help our players maximize the resources available in our new sports science facility.”

Golden Flake A-Day Game Set for April 18 at 1 p.m

10/19/19 MFB vs Tennessee Bryant-Denny Lights Photo by Crimson Tide Photos 10/19/19 MFB vs Tennessee Bryant-Denny Lights Photo by Crimson Tide Photos

The 2020 game will be played inside Bryant-Denny Stadium, but with a limited capacity due to construction

 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The 2020 Alabama Golden Flake A-Day Game will be played on April 18 and is scheduled for a 1 p.m. (CT) kick inside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

 

Ongoing construction at Bryant-Denny Stadium will limit the stadium’s capacity for the 2020 A-Day Game to approximately 30,000-35,000. Seating will be available on the east and south sides in the lower and upper bowls. There will be limited concessions available at select stands and four water stations set up throughout the concourses.

 

Once capacity at Bryant-Denny Stadium is reached, Sewell-Thomas Stadium will be opened and fans can watch the game live on the video board while also being able to access restrooms and concessions.

 

The A-Day Game will serve as the 15th and final practice of the spring. Gates open at 10 a.m. and admission will once again be free to the public. It will be the program’s 14th A-Day Game under the direction of six-time national championship coach Nick Saban. Television details will be released at a later date.

 

The Alumni Flag Football Game begins at 10:30 a.m. inside Bryant-Denny Stadium and will feature former Alabama standouts. The game is slated for two 20-minute halves and should wrap up around 11:15 a.m.

 

One of the great traditions at The University of Alabama, which is always open to the public, is the annual Walk of Fame Ceremony at Denny Chimes. At approximately 11:15 a.m. on A-Day, head coach Nick Saban and 2019 captains Anfernee Jennings, Xavier McKinney, DeVonta Smith and Tua Tagovailoa will address the crowd. The captains will then leave prints of their hands and cleats in the concrete as they join a long list of Crimson Tide greats at Denny Chimes.

 

The Crimson Tide will then hold its Walk of Champions, scheduled for 11:50 a.m., when the team arrives at Bryant-Denny Stadium. At the conclusion of the game, Coach Saban will present the spring awards to the team at midfield.

 

Public parking for A-Day is free and first-come/first-serve with Crimson Ride shuttles beginning their game day routes at 7 a.m. For more parking, traffic and A-Day information go to UAGameday.com.

 

Once again, Alabama’s clear bag policy will be in effect during the 2020 season, beginning with the A-Day Game along with walk-through metal detectors. All current plans are subject to change leading up to A-Day pending construction plans.

 

Alabama Football’s Tua Tagovailoa Declares for 2020 NFL Draft

1/6/20 MFB vs Presser Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) Photo by Kent Gidley
1/6/20 MFB vs Presser
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13)
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban
Photo by Kent Gidley

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa announced at a press conference on Monday that he will forego his senior season to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.

 

Jerry Jeudy, Xavier McKinney and Jedrick Wills Jr. announced earlier on social media that they will also enter the Draft. Alex Leatherwood, Dylan Moses and DeVonta Smith have confirmed they will return to Alabama for their final year of eligibility.

No. 13 Alabama Football Beats No. 14 Michigan in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl, 35-16

With the win, the Crimson Tide has now tallied 39 bowl/postseason wins, the most in college football history

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 13 Alabama football beat No. 14 Michigan, 35-16, in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in the first game of the new year. With the win, the Crimson Tide climbs to 11-2 for the season, while the Wolverines fall to 9-4. The victory gave Alabama its ninth consecutive season with 11-or-more wins, the longest streak in the poll era (since 1936).

 

Junior wide receiver Jerry Jeudy used a career day to earn Citrus Bowl MVP honors, totaling a career-high 204 receiving yards on just six catches, averaging 34 yards per reception, including an 85-yard touchdown catch from redshirt sophomore quarterback Mac Jones on the Tide’s first offensive play of the game. Jones went 16-for-25 for 327 yards and three touchdowns through the air with completions to six different targets.

 

Junior defensive back Xavier McKinney and redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings had 10 total tackles apiece to lead the Crimson Tide defense. Freshman linebacker Shane Lee led UA with seven solo stops and had nine tackles overall. McKinney and Lee both came up with sacks while Jennings and senior defensive lineman Tevita Musika combined for a third sack. Senior defensive back Shyheim Carter and sophomore defensive back Josh Jobe came up with interceptions, both of which came in the second half.

 

How It Happened

  • Alabama opened the game and the second half with a pair of long touchdown catches, with Jones connecting with Jeudy for an 85-yard strike on the Tide’s first offensive play of the day before opening the second half with a 42-yard touchdown toss to junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith.
  • In between the Tide’s first two passing touchdowns, Najee Harris leapt into the endzone for a nine-yard touchdown in the second quarter, giving him a rushing touchdown for the seventh game in a row
  • Michigan scored four times in the first half, with a first-quarter touchdown and three field goals, including a 57-yarder to close the first half
  • In the fourth quarter, redshirt junior tight end Miller Forristall scored on a 20-yard reception from Jones in his first game back after missing the final four regular-season games
  • Harris iced the game by going up the middle to punch it in for a two-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make it 35-16, the final score

 

Players of the Game

  • Jeudy finished the game with six receptions for a career-best 204 yards, starting with an 85-yard touchdown grab on the Tide’s first offensive play of the game
  • Jeudy’s 85-yard reception from Jones was the second longest completion in Citrus Bowl history
  • Jeudy’s 204 receiving yards put him over 1,000 yards for a season for the second time in his Alabama career, giving him 1,163 yards in 2019
  • Jones threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns, spreading the ball to six different receivers, including three that scored touchdowns
  • Harris accounted for 24 of the Tides’ 30 rushes, rolling up 136 yards and two touchdowns, including 69 yards in the fourth quarter, giving him 1,262 rushing yards on the season

 

Key Stats

  • After allowing 286 yards of total offense and 16 points in the first half, Alabama’s defense held Michigan to just 109 yards and zero points in the second half
  • Alabama outgained the Wolverines, 480-395, in total offense, including a nearly 100-yard differential through the air, 327-233

 

The 2019 Season

  • Alabama finished the 2019 season with its NCAA-best 67th bowl trip and tallied its 39th bowl/postseason win, the most in college football history
  • The Crimson Tide has won 10-or-more games each of the last 12 years and totaled 11-or-more wins the last nine years in a row

 

Alabama Football’s Tua Tagovailoa Named Winner of the 2019 Bobby Bowden Award

01-02-19 MFB CFP Practice Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) Photo by Robert Sutton 01-02-19 MFB CFP Practice Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (13) Photo by Robert Sutton

Crimson Tide takes part in final practice Monday afternoon in preparation for Citrus Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. – Alabama football’s junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was named the winner of the 2019 Bobby Bowden Award on Monday.

 

The Bobby Bowden award recognizes the Division I player who epitomizes a student-athlete from a faith perspective. He must conduct himself as an exemplary model in the classroom, on the field, on the campus and in the community. The award is named after former Florida State University head football coach Bobby Bowden.

 

Monday morning began with the annual Vrbo Citrus Bowl Day for Kids event at Fun Spot America. The Day for Kids partners local children with players from both schools for a few hours of fun and games. The majority of the 200 kids in attendance live in the West Lakes communities surrounding Camping World Stadium.

 

Following the morning activity, the Crimson Tide boarded the bus and headed to Celebration High School for Alabama’s last of 12 total practices in preparation for the 2019 Vrbo Citrus Bowl. Alabama and Michigan will meet at Camping World Stadium on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, with a 12 p.m. CT kickoff. The game will air live on ABC.

 

Crimson Tide Football Prepares for Citrus Bowl Matchup with Michigan

12/28/19 MFB vs Practice Alabama wide receiver John Metchie (8) Photo by Kent Gidley
12/28/19 MFB vs Practice
Alabama quarterback Mac Jones (10)
Alabama defensive back Shyheim Carter (5)
Alabama defensive back Xavier McKinney (15)
Photo by Kent Gidley

Alabama practiced for two hours in full pads on UCF campus

 

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Alabama football team worked out for two hours in full pads at Nicholson Fieldhouse on the campus of UCF on Saturday afternoon.

 

Saturday’s session was Alabama’s 10th of 12 total practices leading up to the matchup with Michigan in the 2019 Vrbo Citrus Bowl. The Crimson Tide and Wolverines are set for a 12 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, with the game airing live on ABC.

 

After practice, student-athletes Mac Jones and Jedrick Wills Jr. spoke with the media briefly.

 

Alabama Football Continues Schedule for Citrus Bowl Matchup with Michigan

12/27/19 MFB vs Practice Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley
12/27/19 MFB vs Practice
Alabama linebacker Kevin Harris II (44)
Alabama Outside Linebackers Coach Sal Sunseri
Photo by Kent Gidley

Crimson Tide worked for two hours on Tuesday afternoon at Celebration High School

 ORLANDO, Fla. – The Alabama football team took part in its second practice in Orlando, Fla., on Friday afternoon, working two hours in full pads at Celebration High School.

 

Today’s session was Alabama’s ninth of 12 total practices leading up to the matchup with Michigan in the 2019 Vrbo Citrus Bowl. The Crimson Tide and Wolverines are set for a 12 p.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, with the game airing live on ABC.

 

After practice, head coach Nick Saban along with student-athletes Anfernee Jennings and Shyheim Carter took part in a quick press conference.

Citrus Bowl Preparations Continue on Saturday for Alabama Football

12/21/19 MFB vs Practice Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley 12/21/19 MFB vs Practice Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban Photo by Kent Gidley
12/21/19 MFB vs Practice
Alabama running back Brian Robinson Jr. (24)
Photo by Kent Gidley

The Crimson Tide will wrap up the on-campus portion of bowl prep on Sunday

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Crimson Tide put in another two hours of work on Saturday with a two-hour session in full pads at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.

 

Saturday’s session was the sixth of seven bowl practices in Tuscaloosa before the holiday break and 12 practices overall prior to Alabama’s matchup against No. 14 Michigan in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. The Crimson Tide will face the Wolverines on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, with the game airing live on ABC at 12 p.m. CT. Dave Pasch and Greg McElroy will call the matchup from the booth while Tom Luginbill will work the sidelines.

 

The Crimson Tide will wrap up the on-campus portion of its bowl preparations with a brief workout on Sunday.