Saban, Alabama going through December traditions


Saban, Alabama going through December traditions

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) It must be December because Alabama is preparing for a national title game and Nick Saban's future is a popular topic.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide started practicing Tuesday for the BCS championship game Jan. 7 against No. 1 Notre Dame with All-America center Barrett Jones on the mend and Saban laughing off rumors about returning to the NFL.

``We're really, really pleased and happy to be here,'' the former Miami Dolphins coach said Tuesday after the first bowl practice. ``We've been able to accomplish a lot. But like I've talked about before, this is a work in progress all the time. You've got to stay focused on the process to try to continue to make the next game the most important game, the next season the most important season, developing the team every year.

``We certainly look forward to those challenges. I'm not sure, regardless of what I say, that anybody believes what I say because I say it all the time. This is what we're happy doing. This is what we like to do. But nobody really believes that. So, you know, maybe it doesn't matter. I don't know what I have to say or do, but it's kind of funny to me,'' he said.

Saban and Alabama will try to capture their third national title in four years.

The Tide will practice five days before taking a three-day break for Christmas.

Jones won't practice until after the team returns after spraining his left foot in the first quarter of the Southeastern Conference championship game against Georgia, a 32-28 victory that ended with the Bulldogs on Alabama's 5-yard line.

``I will be playing in the game,'' said Jones, who won the Rimington Award as the nation's top center a year after claiming the Outland Trophy while playing left tackle.

Wide receiver Kenny Bell has been cleared to do some work after recovering from a broken leg. He was expected to be out 5-6 weeks after surgery to repair the injury sustained against Auburn on Nov. 24.

``How he does, how he manages, what his tolerance is to activity will be determined as we go,'' Saban said. ``I can't make a call as to whether he'll play in the game or not at this juncture.''

As usual, the Tide is applying Saban's back to basics philosophy for the first few days of practice before focusing heavily on Notre Dame.

Jones thinks the fact that most players went through the drill in 2011 and veterans like him were part of the 2009 championship team is ``overrated'' in getting ready for this one.

``The fact that Alabama has been in the national championship before, that's not going to help us once the ball is snapped,'' Jones said. ``It's not going to be who is the more experienced fighter. It's going to be who fights the better fight that night. Certainly, Coach has been through this and has a specific formula of how to handle long layoffs. As players, we trust that formula.''

It worked in a 37-21 win over Texas in Pasadena, Calif., and a 21-0 victory over LSU in New Orleans.

One NFL question was resolved even before Saban's dismissal of speculation that he might want to return. Quarterback AJ McCarron has said he'll return for his senior season instead of entering the draft.

The question hasn't been resolved for three All-Americans - linebacker C.J. Mosley, cornerback Dee Milliner and right tackle D.J. Fluker - or tailback Eddie Lacy.

Saban said that answer probably won't come before the title game.

``We always have that issue here with several guys,'' he said. ``We have several more guys that will have to make that decision. We don't press guys to make the decision. Some guys are more driven to do it than others.

``We're certainly pleased and happy to have AJ back. I think AJ's decision was based on the fact that with the quarterbacks, if you're not going to be one of the very, very top picks, one of the first few guys picked in the draft, where they're going to make an investment of you being the guy ... it's very difficult to develop because you don't get to play very much.''

Reports: Big Ten to cancel fall football season, hopes to play in spring

Reports: Big Ten to cancel fall football season, hopes to play in spring

The Big Ten is canceling the 2020 fall football season and will attempt to play in the spring, according to multiple reports. Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports was first to break the news.

The decision does not come as much of a surprise.

On Sunday, the commissioners of the Power Five conferences had an emergency meeting to discuss the outlook of playing this fall, and the large majority of Big Ten presidents want to postpone the season due to concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Ten is the first Power Five conference to postpone its season. The league had postponed padded practices earlier this week until more protocols were put in place. Earlier this month, the Big Ten announced it would conduct a revised, conference-only schedule in 2020.

Several college football stars, including Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields, have advocated for playing this fall. Players across the country have attempted to unionize in one last effort to save the season, too.

President Donald Trump has also sided with the players, saying the players have worked too hard for their season to be canceled.

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Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

Washington Football radio broadcast to feature DeAngelo Hall, Bram Weinstein

The revamped Washington Football Team radio broadcast will feature Julie Donaldson as the host and anchor working alongside DeAngelo Hall as analyst and Bram Weinstein working play-by-play, sources informed NBC Sports Washington and the team later announced.

Donaldson's role as the lead voice in the new broadcast had already been announced but there was some mystery regarding the play-by-play and analyst roles. The new crew replaces long-time voice of the team Larry Michael as well as analysts Chris Cooley and Rick "Doc" Walker from last season. Michael abruptly resigned last month amid allegations in a Washington Post story of inappropriate behavior

Hall played in Washington for 10 seasons from 2008 until he retired after the 2017 season. He made the Pro Bowl in 2010. For multiple seasons he served as defensive captain and was a fan favorite. Always a playmaker, he logged 23 career interceptions for the Burgundy and Gold and six defensive touchdowns. Hall has done television work with NBC Sports Washington and NFL Network since he retired from playing.

Weinstein is a long-time D.C.-area radio broadcaster who has previously worked at The Team 980 and currently hosts an afternoon show on ESPN630. Weinstein also served as a SportsCenter host at ESPN for a stint and has done local television work for Fox 5. 

Donaldson took over as the team's lead broadcaster and head of media last month. She will be the first woman to run an NFL radio broadcast this fall. Donaldson previously worked at NBC Sports Washington before taking the job with the Washington Football Team. 


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