To the categories:
FUTURE TIDERS:Here's a look at how each UA signee did at Ladd-Peebles stadium. Take the amateur observations for what they're worth, but overall we were quite impressed.
Ken Darby: The only Bama signee not to start the contest, Ken wasted little time in making an impact. His first carry was for 15 yards on a play where the 5-11, 190-pounder showed not just second but third effort. Darby had four carries for 34 yards and a five-yard touchdown at the half, and finished with 60 yards on 13 totes to lead all rushers. Said one of Alabama's top high school head coaches: "If I was grading, and I gave Carnell (Williams) an 'A,' I'd give Darby a 'B plus.'"
Nic McKissick-Luke: Nic returned a few short kickoffs, caught a pass and picked up a key short yardage first down all before intermission. He can block, too, and the 6-1, 215-pounder will put on the extra muscle/weight required to help at the new "W" position in the Fran/Koenning offense.
Demeco Ryans: Some say Demeco will develop into a middle backer, and others project the 6-2, 215-pounder on the outside, but make no mistake: he will strike you if you have the pigskin. Ryans, a fine open field tackler, loves to hit and it shows.
Jeremy Clark: This 6-4, 270-pounder is somewhat of an enigma, with athleticism and size needed to play on the interior in the SEC. Some nights he seems to bring it and others, well... On this night in the Port City, he brought it. Clark spent much time in the Mississippi backfield, showing good penetration, the ability to stuff the run, his trademark backside lateral pursuit and the willingness to talk smack. One memorable exchange took place between Jeremy and future opponent Tee Milons, a Mississippi State signee who had just been stopped by Clark and teammates on a failed reverse.
Kyle Tatum: It's known that Kyle needs to add to the 265 pounds he carries on his 6-6 frame in order to play defensive tackle in the SEC. He will do that under the tutelage of UA weight-room staffers. Kyle is an effort player who never takes a play off. He may need a redshirt season, and most freshmen do, but he will help UA sooner or later.
Ramzee Robinson: Ramzee is listed at 5-11, 180 and can fly. He may be a shade shorter, but has a nose for the ball and blanketed Milons (Freddie's younger brother) on several occasions. It's a good sign when your coaches assign you to the other team's top receiver. Ramzee will make his mark in the UA secondary down the road.
Chris Browder: This recent qualifier has few peers when it comes to rushing the passer, but knows he must add weight to his 6-5, 205 frame to be an every down defensive end at the d-1 level. As many have noted, he'll help early on the pass rush on third down, and later on the other downs. We noticed his competitive nature during our regional basketball coverage. It carries over to the gridiron.
Greg McLain: The question on Greg is not if he can play, but where. On this night, he lined up at tight end and showed he can both block and catch the ball. But Greg (6-3, 235) could also be a fullback, defensive end or middle linebacker. Word is he'll begin his UA career at tight end, but he knows that could change and he'll get looks on both sides of the ball early until he settles at one slot. Nice problem to have.
MR. PRESIDENT: We liked an ad we saw in the game program. Provided by the Baldwin County Red Elephant Club, the ad showed a list of the booster club's officers. We knew longtime UA athletic trainer Sang Lyda had retired to the Gulf Shores/Orange Beach area. We did not know he was president of the prestigious club. Congrats, Sang!
PRETTY AS EVER: Few places are more beautiful than the sands and water on the beaches of Alabama's Gulf Coast. We were quite thankful to have been able to spend a half day in the sand, surf and sun. It never gets old.
HOW BOUT THEM SHRIMP? Months ago, we reviewed the seafood at Wintzell's Oyster House's new Airport Road location in Mobile. We're proud to report that the original location in downtown Mobile on Dauphin Street is as good as ever and has an atmosphere that's hard to describe if you've never been there. One could spend days reading the hundreds of funny sayings on the wall, like "She made him a millionaire. Of course, when they married, he was a multi-millionaire."
Oh, the fried shrimp, baked potato, Texas toast, salad and sweet tea were excellent, as always.