SEC: Carson Tinker

TideNation links: Vols a true test

October, 16, 2012
Alex Scarborough writes: Alabama has been able to avoid big tests of its passing defense in its 6-0 start. It won't be able to this week, as the Crimson Tide face Tyler Bray and the high-flying Tennessee offense.

Scarborough: Nick Saban said Monday afternoon that D-lineman LaMichael Fanning’s hit on Missouri RB Russell Hansbrough was excessive, and he had the player write the player and Missouri coach Gary Pinkel a letter of apology.

Greg Ostendorf writes Insider: Alabama versus Tennessee recruiting battles.

Scarborough: Alabama awards tracker.
Alabama long-snapper Carson Tinker will play his senior year for the Crimson Tide on a full scholarship, Saban announced Tuesday. This was monumental for someone who has been through so much during his Alabama career.

When tornados ravaged parts of Alabama, including Tuscaloosa, in April 2011, Tinker lost his longtime girlfriend, Ashley Harrison, putting him front and center of the horrific events for not just Alabama's football team but the city of Tuscaloosa.

Tinker has come a long way since the storm and has become one of the true faces of Alabama football.

"We're very excited that we're able to award a guy that has been such a positive influence in so many ways: personally, academically and athletically in our program," Saban said.

Added cornerback Dee Milliner: "I was very happy, with him going through the things he's gone through with the tornado and him just coming out every day and being a vocal leader on the team. For him to get offered a scholarship, it was very important to our team."
ATLANTA -- Don't be fooled by Alabama coach Nick Saban's love for pounding opposing defenses with a powerful running game. The man would like to air it out a little more.

But when you have bruising running backs like Glen Coffee, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, it's tough not to just hand them the rock and watch them hurt people.

[+] EnlargeAJ McCarron
Spruce Derden/US PresswireAlabama coach Nick Saban said he's still preaching patience to QB AJ McCarron.
However, those backs are gone, and while heir to the running back throne Eddie Lacy appears more than capable of running down defenders' throats, Saban now has more of the pieces in place to get a little more vertical in his attack on defenses.

"I feel like you gotta do on offense what you have the players to do," Saban said in Atlanta Thursday during his second stop on the Crimson Caravan. "Now … we have a quarterback that I think is very capable, as long as he makes good decisions and judgments in terms of how he distributes the ball and doesn't turn it over."

That quarterback is redshirt junior AJ McCarron, who was named offensive MVP of the Allstate BCS National Championship Game and finished the 2011 season ranking third in the SEC in passing.

McCarron has all the tools to be a real star in the SEC, but he rarely looked flashy in his first year as a starter. He managed the game like his coach asked him to. There were times where he let it rip (the national title game rings a bell and so does the second half of the Tennessee game), but for the most part his job was to limit mistakes and lead the offense.

But with a year under his belt and a little more maturity (on and off the field), McCarron could be in store for a much more pass-friendly fall. Still, Saban wants his talented signal caller to refrain from trying to be a hero; something that hurt him at times last season.

"I still think that AJ has got to stay in the structure of the offense in terms of taking what the defense gives," Saban said. "You can't force plays. You can't try to make plays that aren't there. You gotta have patience and I think that's going to be the key to him being successful.

"He can make throws, it's just continuing to make the right ones."

Yeldon's broken hand
Many were impressed by true freshman running back T.J. Yeldon after he totaled 179 yards (88 rushing, 91 receiving), including a 50-yard touchdown reception, in Alabama's spring game.

What might be more impressive is that he did that with a broken hand, an injury he suffered after falling early in spring practice.

"He practiced all spring with that cast on," Saban said.

Saban added that the injury was "very similar" to the one receiver Julio Jones suffered two years ago.

Duron Carter update
Nothing has really changed for the enigmatic wide receiver who transferred to Alabama last April. He was suspended for all of spring practice and Saban said Thursday that Carter has done nothing to get out of his coach's doghouse.

Saban wasn't sure if Carter would return to the team this fall or anytime soon.

"That's up to Duron Carter," he said. "It's really not up to me. If he does what he's supposed to do, he may have an opportunity to get back out there. If he doesn't, he won't. I guess you need to ask him that."

Saban visits DeAndrew White
Before Saban hopped on a plane to see President Obama at the White House, he visited wide receiver DeAndrew White, who was hospitalized after an altercation early Thursday.

Saban wasn't sure how White was involved in the fight, but said that he didn't expect any "long-term issues" from White's injury.

He also said that more players were out when Carter was, but added that the players didn't break rules because Alabama doesn't have a curfew for its players. He was, however, upset that they were out late.

"I'm always disappointed when anything happens to a player after 12 o'clock," he said. "And the players know that."

Trophy case solved
The culprit behind Alabama's shattered 2011 BCS Championship trophy has come clean. Carson Tinker's father, Carleton Tinker, was the last person to touch the Waterford crystal football before it fell to the floor.

"I'm not really sure how the thing fell off," Carleton Tinker told ESPN's Ivan Maisel.

For more on Carleton Tinker's tragic trophy story, read here.
NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome!

If you're looking for a confident bunch Monday night, look no further than Alabama's kickers. Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley took the field by storm. Along with punter Cody Mandell and snapper Caron Tinker, Alabama's specialists rushed out on the field, taunted some LSU players and were chest bumping all the way to their side of the field.

All the confidence this group lost in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Nov. 5, must have been found on the bus ride in tonight. These two are looking to make up for the awful showing they had the last time these two teams met. You know all those kicks have been running through their brains all week, so it's time to come out strong for these guys.

Both have been nailing kicks, so far, but there aren't any Tigers in their faces this time ...

There are also a few celebrities in the house. Cedric the Entertainer rode with me on the elevator up to his seat. No word from him on which team he's rooting for.

So far, it's hard to tell which side has more fans, but this place exploded when the Alabama kickers ran out onto the field. It got even louder when Alabama's skill players ran out onto the field. We'll see what it looks like come kickoff.

This place is going to be electric come kickoff. It helps that music from the movie "Inception" is blaring through the stadium loudspeakers.

Did you just get goosebumps? I know I did.

Lunchtime links

December, 9, 2011
Making the final SEC rounds of the week.

SEC takes home seven awards Thursday

December, 9, 2011
The SEC made out like a fat rat at "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" Thursday night.

LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu got things started for the conference by taking home the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is given to the nation's best defensive player.

It's hard to argue against Mathieu winning. He was arguably the most exciting player to watch this season, regardless of position. He flew around the field, picking up tackles, stripping balls, batting balls away and genuinely frustrating just about every offensive player he came in contact with.

Quarterbacks had to shift things around in order to direct passes away from him, but that rarely worked. The Honey Badger led LSU with 70 tackles, forced six fumbles, recovered five fumbles and had four non-offensive touchdowns.

He took what he wanted all year, took the Bednarik and is hoping the take the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night.

Joining his partner in crime was fellow cornerback Morris Claiborne, who won the Jim Thorpe Award, given to the country's top defensive back. Claiborne led LSU and was second in the SEC with six interceptions and also defended 12 passes. Claiborne might be the best cover corner in the country. A lot was made about Patrick Peterson leaving LSU, but Claiborne made it seem like Peterson never left. It's no surprise that Claiborne is projected to be the top cornerback taken in next year's NFL draft.

Alabama running back Trent Richardson was named the top running back in the country, winning the Doak Walker Award. Richardson led the SEC with 1,583 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. He averaged 137 yards in SEC play and ran for 100-plus yards in nine games this season. He was easily the most valuable player for Alabama this season, and the offense really did go through him.

Like Mathieu, he's headed to New York as a finalist for the Heisman. Can Richardson follow in the footsteps of close friend and former Bama back Mark Ingram?

There was also a very special moment Thursday night when Alabama was awarded the Disney Spirit Award, which is given to the most inspirational team or player. Alabama players received a tremendously loud ovation as they went to receive their award. This team stood as a symbol of hope for the city of Tuscaloosa, Ala., after devastating tornadoes swept through the state of the Alabama and decimated parts of Tuscaloosa.

Long snapper Carson Tinker, who lost his girlfriend during the storm, was interviewed on stage, making for a very powerful moment. Tinker showed such composure and strength as he recounted the months after those devastating storms. The moment touched a lot of people, including LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard, who sent a very supportive tweet for the Alabama program, from his account @LSUShep10.

Here's what Shepard tweeted:

"Watching this segment I look at Bama in a different light.. I'm proud of you boys lets make this game Historic ... Geaux Tigers. #RollTide."

Here are the rest of the SEC award winners:

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman): Barrett Jones, Alabama

The Home Depot Award (Coach of the Year):
Les Miles, LSU

Frank Broyles Award (Assistant Coach of the Year): John Chavis, LSU

SEC lunch links

April, 29, 2011
Hope everyone had a happy NFL draft day. We get another one today and then another one on Saturday:

Video: Alabama starts recovery

April, 28, 2011

Nick Saban discusses the devastating tornado in Alabama and injured player Carson Tinker.