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August 26, 2010

Notebook: Camp speakers struck a chord

TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama coach Nick Saban is known for bringing in numerous speakers during fall camp, but even he gets taken aback every once in a while by something new.

This year, it was from Dr. Kevin Elko, a regular guest of the Crimson Tide, who asked the team a question to help provide a little perspective: "What do you play for? Do you play to be blessed or do you play to be a blessing?"

"That struck me more than anything anyone said," Saban said. "We would like to have a lot of people out there who are blessings because that means they're going help a lot of other people and do a lot of positive things to help not only themselves but people in society and a lot of other things."

Other guests this year included inspirational speaker Andy Andrews, Director of IMG Performance Institute Trevor Moawad, and former Tulane player Dennis O'Sullivan led a drug and alcohol discussion.

"We had some good ones," Saban said. "Most everyone comes down to the same thing, which kind of choices and decisions do you make?"

One watch list to go

Junior William Vlachos was named to the watch list for the Rimington Trophy for best center Thursday.

The final watch list for the 2010 season is expected to be announced Friday, the Rotary Lombardi Award for best lineman.

Here's the rundown:
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Julio Jones named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 15
Butkus Award (linebacker): Dont'a Hightower and Nico Johnson named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 21 (Rolando McClain reigning winner).
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
William Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): Semifinalists announced Sept. 30.
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 6 (Mark Ingram reigning winner).
Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Marcell Dareus was named to the watch list. Midseason list to be announced in November.
Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): Watch list announced Aug. 27.
Lott Trophy (defensive impact player): Mark Barron on watch list. Quarterfinalists expected to be announced in October.
Manning Award (quarterback, includes bowls): Greg McElroy on watch list. Finalists named Nov. 29.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 18.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 25.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): James Carpenter and Barrett Jones on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 22.
Rimington Trophy (center): William Vlachos on watch list. Finalists announced Dec. 6.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Mark Barron on watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 1.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists expected to be announced in November.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 11.
Burlsworth Trophy (walk-on): Nominees announced Nov. 17.

No one from Alabama on watch list
John Mackey Award (tight end): Semifinalists announced Nov. 15.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Semifinalists announced Oct. 29.
Ray Guy Award (punter): Semifinalists announced Nov. 12.
Paul Hornung Award (most versatile): Finalists announced in early December.

Conference calls continue

The dialogue about what to do with renegade agents and their runners has continued over the past month.

"We've had several conference calls and we've gotten really good cooperation from every group," Saban said. "I mean this may be a record."

Saban mentioned that the NFL, NCAA, NFL Players Association and the American Football Coaches Association are all showing interest in working together to find a solution.

"There have been and there will be more at some time in the future, meetings, with all these groups in the same room, which may not have ever happened before relative to try and solve this problem," he said. "I'm very pleased.

Tide-bits

Redshirt freshman safety Kendall Kelly was finally cleared medically and rejoined the team after sustaining heat-related problems on the first day of camp. However, he's at least three weeks behind teammates.

Because the freshmen punters already have enough to learn, backup quarterback A.J. McCarron will be Alabama's holder this season and backed up by senior Greg McElroy. As for the kickers and punters Saban half-joked, "I might make that decision in pregame, see who's hot."

Tickets returned by San Jose State and Georgia State are on sale at the Alabama ticket office, for $55 and $45, respectively, with a limit of two tickets per order for San Jose State. For more information visit the ticket office at Coleman Coliseum, call 205-348-BAMA or 1-877-TIDETIX, or order them at rolltide.com. Also available are individual seats located in the South End Zone Field Suite area for the Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Georgia State (Nov. 18) games. For information call 205-348-2262.

Alabama moved up to No. 2 from fifth in the annual list of top-selling institutions and manufactures in terms of royalties from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010, according to Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). Texas was No. 1 for the fifth-straight year, while Alabama was followed by 3. Florida, 4. LSU, 5. North Carolina, 6. Georgia, 7. Michigan, 8. Kentucky (the biggest mover, up from 20th), 9. Penn State and 10. Oklahoma.

Junior Brad Smelley may be the only H-back in the country who has Wildcat package. "I don't know if you're going to see it or not, and I'm not sure what other teams are doing," he said. "It's an exciting thing that we have."

Saban said there's nothing new regarding the status of junior defensive end Marcell Dareus: "I know nothing, have heard nothing and have been informed of nothing. So we'll just wait and see."

McElroy on taking the offensive linemen and tight ends out for dinner the night before camp opened: "I was real fortunate that (D.J.) Fluker had a tutor that night."

The temperature was 92 degrees at the start of practice, with a 92 heat index, 61 dew point and 36 percent humidity. The team will practice again Friday at 3:30 p.m. All practices are closed to the public.


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