Alabama Football: Best and Worst of the Crimson Tide's Offseason
With SEC Media Days currently going on in Hoover, AL, college football fans stuck in offseason doldrums are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
While Alabama fans are eagerly anticipating their opening weekend showdown against Michigan, many Crimson Tide supporters are still reveling in the glow of last season’s national title—the 14th championship in school history.
The offseason has been a relativity peaceful one for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, with most of the news surrounding the happenings in Tuscaloosa being positive in nature.
However, a few headlines have been generated that caused Crimson Tide fans to cringe.
Here is the breakdown of the best and worst happenings in Alabama’s offseason.
Best: Nick Saban Contract Extension
Ever since he arrived in Tuscaloosa back in 2007, Nick Saban has been questioned by most observers whether Alabama would be his final stop in his coaching career.
Given his unceremonious departures from his previous two employers, the speculation seemed relevant.
Shortly after capturing his second national title in three years at the Capstone, Saban reached an agreement to extend his contract for two additional years that will keep him in Tuscaloosa until 2020.
The deal mutually secures the long-term future for Alabama and the 60-year-old Saban—and makes him the highest-paid coach in college football.
Worst: DeAndrew White Hospitalized
In what may have been the most serious scare to Crimson Tide fans thus far in 2012, sophomore wide receiver DeAndrew White was hospitalized after an early morning fight on the Tuscaloosa strip just days before the team was scheduled to visit the White House in celebration of their 2011 national title.
White—who suffered a concussion in the incident—was released from the hospital a few days later.
Thankfully, White avoided serious injury—but Saban hopes the circumstances surrounding his involvement in the fracas served as a wake-up call to the rest of the team going forward.
Best: Trip to the White House
The 2011 Crimson Tide squad gathered in late April to make its celebratory trip to the White House to meet with President Obama.
In addition to commemorating Alabama’s accomplishments on the gridiron, the President hailed the team for its efforts in helping Tuscaloosa recover from a deadly tornado outbreak that devastated the city last April.
Worst: Phillip Sims Transfers
With A.J. McCarron firmly entrenched as Alabama’s starting quarterback, the future of backup Phillip Sims had been a hot topic of discussion amongst Crimson Tide fans.
Sims made his plans to transfer two weeks after a strong performance in the A-Day game, and he’s headed back to his home state to play at the University of Virginia—where he will play this fall thanks to being granted a waiver by the NCAA.
His departure leaves the Crimson Tide in a precarious position should anything cause McCarron to miss any action this season.
Best: Quiet on Injuries, Suspensions Front
Aside from running back Eddie Lacy missing the spring to recover from offseason toe surgery, Nick Saban’s squad looks to enter fall camp at full strength.
Since Saban suspended a trio of reserve wide receivers before the start of spring practice, there have been no additional incidents related to discipline issues—which is music to the ears of Crimson Tide supporters.
Worst: Twitter Spat Between A.J. McCarron and the "Honey Badger"
The summer months for college football fans are usually good for a few stories to pop up that generate controversy for no particularly good reason.
The Twitter spat involving A.J. McCarron and LSU corner Tyrann Mathieu, while mildly entertaining, will mean nothing when the two SEC West rivals line up on Nov. 3.
Even though a little good-natured trash talk never hurt anyone, most fans on both sides would prefer that their stars do their talking on the field.
Best: Trent Richardson Goes to Prom
In the middle of April, former Crimson Tide running back Trent Richardson was busy preparing for the NFL draft held at the end of the month.
Just as he was a few weeks away from making his dream of being a pro football player a reality, he put that aside to help 17-year-old Courtney Alvis achieve her dream by becoming her date to her senior prom.
Alvis, who missed her junior prom due to her battle with leukemia, conquered her disease, but she was unable to attend the dance because no one had asked her.
Upon hearing of the story from a family friend, Richardson—whose mother is currently fighting lupus—stepped up to the plate and escorted Alvis, who was named prom queen.
The story warmed hearts across the nation, and gave Crimson Tide fans another reason to take pride in an outstanding representative of the school.