Weathering two storms

As focused as the Alabama players are for their season opener against Michigan Saturday, some, who have families living along the Gulf Coast, are also concerned about Hurricane Isaac this week.

Kevin Norwood has been waiting for this weekend all summer. The chance to begin the 2012 season, kickoff against a name opponent in Michigan and play under Jerry Jones' gargantuan scoreboard at Cowboy Stadium.

And the time has finally come.

"To tell you the truth, I have [a picture of] that stadium on my phone," the junior wide receiver said. "I've been looking at that stadium for like, months now. It's something we've been preparing for."

Like the national championship game or the annual matchup against Auburn, players' families and friends try to request as many tickets as they can.

But unfortunately for some Alabama players whose families live off of the Gulf Coast, they aren't asking for extra tickets because they won't be able to make it to Dallas due to the threats of Hurricane Isaac.

"I don't think a lot of people are going to make it there like they want to, my family at least," said Norwood, who grew up in D'Iberville, Miss., which lies right along the coast. "I know a couple other players' families might not be able to make it, either. They have to prepare for the storm."

Norwood has been in touch with his family every day since he heard about Isaac moving west.

"It's real scary," he said. "I've been keeping an eye on it."

Norwood, who came in for an injured Marquis Maze in last year's national championship game and caught four passes for 78 yards, including an impressive leaping grab over former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu for 26 yards, has received several compliments from Alabama coach Nick Saban during fall camp. He's expected to be one of the Crimson Tide's top receivers this season.

However, with the storm threatening his family, it's been a little hard for Norwood to remain 100 percent focused on Michigan.

"But then again at the same time, I know what I gotta do to go out and prepare for this game," he said. "But like I said, it is kinda scary because it's falling on Aug. 29, the same day Katrina hit the coast [seven years ago]…I just gotta focus and play this game and I know my team needs me so I'm gong to give them everything I got."

Several other Alabama players have families in Isaac's path, too, like quarterback A.J. McCarron, who is from Mobile, Ala.

"I have been watching [the storm]," he said. "I've just been talking to my mom and family members back home, trying to make sure everyone is safe."

Running back Eddie Lacy is from Geismar, La., which is about an hour west of New Orleans. He said he's talked to his parents.

"They seem to be OK," he said. "I don't think they're going to leave."

But despite the hurricane hurling westward, the players are doing the best they can to keep their families in the prayers and stay as focused as they can on Michigan.


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