Night of Champions revisited

Having staged the event for 15 years in a row now, Dennis Franchione intends the Night of Champions to showcase the hard work and progress made by his athletes in the weight room.

As much as any other athlete out there, fullback/W-Back Nick Signaigo benefitted from the adrenaline rush provided by the crowd. Working on the incline bench press, Signaigo lifted 415 pounds, a new record for his position.

Besides planning and organizing the event and playing traffic cop among the players and various lifting stations, Tide Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Pollard got to play Master of Ceremonies, explaining to the crowd what was happening while also providing commentary.

His quiet personality means that Marico Portis doesn't receive that much publicity, but the senior guard is easily one of the strongest members of the Bama offensive line. Having held off a challenge from Alonzo Ephraim on the incline bench, Portis currently holds both bench press records for his position.

Having set the mark for the hang clean earlier in the weight room, senior Theo Sanders concentrated on the squat at the Night of Champions. He finished with 550 pounds, 25 pounds greater than his previous mark. Afterwards, he was one of four athletes honored as "Iron Men" by Coach Pollard.

Due to injuries of one sort or another, several Tide athletes were forced to watch the action Tuesday night. Here, Offensive Coordinator Les Koenning speaks with Antonio Carter. AC is still on crutches, following recent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his leg. But the senior receiver is expected to be fine in about a month.

As Coach Franchione commented afterwards, the Night of Champions has become an event which the Tide athletes really enjoy. In the picture, Marico Portis (left) jokes with Kenny King (middle right) and Alonzo Ephraim (far right). Looking on are Matt Parker and Steve Martin, Strength Coaches who helped run the event. Parker handled the incline bench press and Martin took care of the squat. That's redshirt freshman Mark Sanders in the background on his cell phone.

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