Alabama football: Sound bites are coming
Welcome to The Rammer Jammer, SEC Country’s daily Alabama athletics recap. Today, we look at the history and near future of SEC Media Days.
Alabama, like the rest of the SEC, named its roster for the coming media bacchanal in Hoover, Ala., on Wednesday. Bradley Bozeman will take the traditional center’s spot at SEC Media Days, following in the footsteps of Ryan Kelly and Barrett Jones once again. Calvin Ridley is the offensive skill position player, with impressive fashionable footsteps to follow in. Minkah Fitzpatrick will represent the secondary. All three are fine choices, guaranteed to give decent quotes and no bulletin-board material or controversial takes.
Just under half the teams in the conference will bring their quarterback, but, as is tradition, Alabama won’t. The Crimson Tide rarely bring their signal caller to Hoover, even when he’s as good of a face for the program as Jalen Hurts. Coach Nick Saban dislikes the media circus intensely and despises no storyline more than his supposed quarterback battles.
- Paul Myerberg of USA Today ranked the best teams of the Saban era. A defensive juggernaut placed first. I know that doesn’t really narrow it down.
- AL.com’s countdown to football paid tribute to former Alabama center Antoine Caldwell as the best No. 59 in SEC history.
- RollBamaRoll’s ongoing history lesson of a countdown remembers Robert Stewart, the running back turned nose guard, which makes him the platonic ideal of an Alabama football player.
- Travis Reier has five questions for the Alabama receivers.
- What Tennessee’s coaches and players are saying ahead of their season, from an Alabama perspective.
- From Charlie Potter, Alabama’s 18th-most important player is one of its 45 running backs.
- Marq Burnett’s third-most important player is the most experienced player in the secondary.
Built by Bama
• Ryan Anderson is drawing praise as a locker room “alpha male” in Washington’s camp. My favorite quote from the story is: “He don’t smile much,” which is one of the understatements of the century. Anderson is one of the most intense, aggressive and passionate players I’ve ever seen, while still retaining an old-school streak. He’s the modern version of Mean Joe Greene.
• Dru Love continues to draw attention as he grows into the PGA Tour. For the first time on the tour, he’ll be playing against his dad, Davis Love III, who was his caddy at the U.S. Open. By some reckoning, Love’s appearance is overdue: Jordan Spieth and Love’s former teammate, Justin Thomas, have been flourishing for years, but Love has been waylaid by injury.
• At the World Cup of Softball, program great Haylie McCleney went 1 for 2 with a single, a stolen base, a walk and 2 runs scored. McCleney is one of few consistent fixtures on the national team, and one of the great defensive outfielders in modern softball memory.
• In the majors:
- Alex Avila went 0 for 2 as Detroit fell to San Francisco, 5-4.
- Adam Morgan pitched three innings, giving up 1 run on 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2. His Phillies lost to Pittsburgh, 5-2.
AL.com published this excellent slide show last year, providing a glimpse into the Birmingham News archives from the earliest SEC Media Days. The event, then called the much-less-catchy-and-daunting SEC Media Function, wasn’t the behemoth it is now, taking up one conference room instead of an entire floor that is somehow the coldest point in North America. Remarkably, the slide show proves that Paul Finebaum has not aged since the mid-1980s.
The Alabama Media Group declined to touch on the first incarnation of the event, the SEC Skywriters Tour. The Skywriters tour, which began in 1965, now seems like a relic of a bygone era, when a battalion of some of the best sportswriters in newspaper history boarded a DC-3 to fly from school to school. That was an era of hard-won reporting, unmitigated access and old-school war stories. Give that Times-Picayune story a read before the hermetically-sealed feeding of the masses begins.
Around the Capstone
Alabama will host an ITA Summer Circuit tournament, part of a months-long contest that leads up to the national finals at TCU.
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