North Alabama Meeting

Around 100 Tide fans in North Alabama gathered at the historic Old Greenbrier restaurant near Huntsville Monday night for food, fellowship and football talk. During and after enjoying a fine meal of barbeque, catfish, or both, staffer Cary Clark and longtime poster David Bittinger spoke to the crowd about a favorite topic of all present: Crimson Tide football.

Clark led off with a recruiting breakdown and a few predicitons of how the class of 2007 would finish up at the Capstone. Clark feels the Tide has a great shot at Louisiana star Joe McKnight, due to prior relationships Nick Saban has with both the player and his coach. Clark added that, in his opionion, UA actually has a better chance at landing McKnight than in-state star safety Michael McNeil of Mobile. He added not to count out Nick Saban and his staff of ace recuiters on anyone they put their mind to signing.

Clark spoke of several Tide commitments he'd seen play as part of's Friday Night Lights series, and went so far as to compare Prattville's Nick Gentry to former Tider and current NFL star Jarrett Johnson. Clark also reminded the crowd to watch out for a pair of Gentry's junior teammates, athlete Justin Albert and receiver De'Kendrick Moncrief. He also predicted about a half hour before it broke the hiring of Clemson running backs coach Burton Burns. A text message on an attendees phone confirmed the hiring as the meeting was still ongoing.

Next up was a break, during which an interesting chat with former staffer Freddie Kirby revealed strong rumors of an interest by Saban and staff on two current Buckhorn High seniors: receiver Lydarius Friend and defensive lineman Justin Sanders.

Next up was Bittinger, aka DBTide. The long-time coach and camp veteran compared the schemes on both lines of scrimmage that Saban will run to those run by the prior regime. Suffice it to say the differences are major. Both units will attempt to create new lines of scrimmage that Tide opponents won't like. One concern is finding a true nose guard on defense.

Offensively, Bittinger knows from clinics put on by Steve Marshall just what to expect: a more aggressive style of blocking by the front five. A key is finding a way to return Antoine Caldwell to his natural position, guard. Bittinger predicts a much-improved senior season by the much-maligned Chris Capps, who should get a good push from redshirt freshman Taylor Pharr. Like Clark, Bittinger likes what he's seen of commitment William Valchos, a true center from Mountain Brook, but also has high hopes for redshirt freshman snapper David Ross of Homewood.

The staff of Kirk McNair, Mitch Dobbs and possibly's Andrew Bone will speak at the next meeting of the North Alabama group. That get-together takes place Monday, Feb 12th, also at the Old Greenbrier, just five days after National Signing Day.

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