Tide Players Have Swanky New Digs

As reporters were escorted through the remodeled lower level of the Mal Moore Athletics Building to see how 30,000 square feet can be dedicated to winning and recruiting, the thought occurred that the project probably came in under budget. There was no disclosure of the cost, but it would seem there was no budget. Surely, no possible dime was left unspent.

The new Alabama players' area is fantastic. Breathtaking. In the arm's race that Alabama has been leading for awhile, the Crimson Tide may have just lapped the field.

The situation before this year was that Alabama had a very very fine weight room on the North end of the lower level of the Mal Moore building. On the second floor was a large room for team meetings and smaller rooms for offensive and defensive position meetings. The problem was the team meeting room. Anytime the entire team, coaching staff, graduate assistants, etc. met in there, the room could not accommodate everyone. A few people had to stand along the wall.

With the extraordinary new weight room having been constructed between the Southwest corner of the Mal Moore Building and the Hank Crisp Indoor Football Facility, there was a large area available at the site of the old weight room.

And thus it began. The renovation was begun in February and completed in mid-July.

It is a players' area.

Players come from their parking lot into the building on the lower level. First stop is the Players' Lounge. (This is completely different than the players' lounge in the newly remodeled and expanded locker room, which is later in this word tour.)

The Players' Lounge is filled with leather covered sofas and chairs and also has areas of table and chairs. There is a study area. There is also an arcade with electronie games, a half dozen television monitors for use with X-Box and Play Station and the like, as well as normal – well, about 90-inch normal – flat-screen high def TVs. There is a nutrition bar and (something that is repeated at numerous stops) a drink dispenser that provides Gatorade.

On to the new team meeting room. It looks like an elaborate movie theater with over-sized leather chairs. There are 212 of them, all assigned, and no one will have to stand along the wall in a team meeting. A huge viewing screen covers one wall. Head Coach Nick Saban's second floor office looks down into this area.

From there it is down a long hallway on the wall which hang the jerseys of the 15 NFL first round draft picks from Alabama since 2008. That hallway takes the players to the position rooms, which are miniatures of the team room with the same oversized theater seats.

Next is the locker room with a small lounge, television monitors that can be seen from every locker. The oversized lockers have every amenity. There are no fewer than 137 lockers.

After that it is on to the beginning of the sports medicine area. Most well chronicled is the hydrotherapy room, better known in recent weeks as the Waterfall Room. It is astounding. The room is 40 feet long and has two pools, eight feet wide by three feet deep (No Diving!). The pool with the waterfall is the hot pool (102-106 degrees) for pre-practice, the cold pool (60-65 degrees) is for recovery. Another large flatscreen entertains players while they cool down.

Among the interesting items in the training room is an Alter Gravity machine which enables players with lower extremity rehabilitation to run on a treadmill with their bodies in reduced gravity so it is as if they are running on the moon, reducing stress to the lower body. There are also new devices used in diagnosis of concussions and recovery.

From there the players head out to the practice fields. Alongside the fields are various recovery areas (not to mention a shoe-drying station for after practice). Players can take advantage of Cool Seats – air conditioned benches that send cool air all over the player. These benches will also be used at games in hot weather. There is also a post-practice cool down tent with misting fans and cold water tubs (40-45 degrees) and Gatorade. Another large cool down tent area is for practice breaks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Photos were taken with a cell phone. However, they cannot be located, therefore cannot be retrieved, therefore cannot be included with this story. Our apologies.

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