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By Stan J. Griffin: October 6, 2016

As the No. 1 Alabama football team has rolled to a 5-0 record thus far in the 2016 season, Nick Saban's team would probably still merit an incomplete grade at this point.
Although there have been some definite positives, such as finding a talented young leader at quarterback, continuing to develop along areas such as the offensive line and perfecting the art of the non-offensive touchdown, items such as turnovers, a general lack of fundamental execution at times and inconsistency and nagging injuries have perhaps prevented this team from being all it could be.
If there one certainty about this Crimson Tide team, however, it is that Alabama's true identity should be revealed during the course of the next four games, a stretch of grueling Southeastern Conference games that will no doubt be the defining one of the 2016 season.
It includes road games against No. 9 Tennessee and LSU and a home tilt against No. 8 Texas A&M.
And it begins Saturday with a trip to Fayetteville to battle Bret Bielema's No. 16 Arkansas Razorbacks.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, OCT. 8, 2016:   

Auburn (3-2, 1-1 SEC) at Mississippi State (2-2, 1-1 SEC), Series: AU leads, 61-26-2, 11 a.m. CT • SEC Network, Starkville, Miss. • Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field (61,337)                   

LSU (3-2, 2-1 SEC) at Florida (4-1, 2-1 SEC),  Series: UF leads, 31-28-3, 11 a.m. CT,  ESPN,   Gainesville, Fla. • Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field (88,548)            

Tennessee (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at Texas A&M (5-0, 3-0 SEC), Series: UT leads, 2-0,  2:30 p.m. CT • CBS, College Station, Texas • Kyle Field (102,512)                        

Vanderbilt (2-3, 0-2 SEC) at Kentucky (2-3, 1-2 SEC), Series: Tied, 42-42-4, 3 p.m. CT • SEC Network, Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (61,000)                                       

Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at Arkansas (4-1, 0-1 SEC), Series: UA leads, 18-8, 6 p.m. CT • ESPN, Fayetteville, Ark. • Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (72,000)

Georgia (3-2, 1-2 SEC) at South Carolina (2-3, 1-3 SEC), Series: UGA leads, 48-18-2, 6:30 p.m. CT •  SEC Network,  Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)                                         .

OPEN: Ole Miss (3-2, 1-1 SEC); Missouri (2-3, 0-2 SEC).

As a parent, you want to ensure the best for your children.  You take them to the most trusted doctors and pediatricians, you send them to reputable schools, and you protect their physical well-being.  However, many parents are not aware of one of the most common difficulties facing children and adolescents; Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).

Can you feel it? That slight dip in temperatures and the deepening of the blue skies that signals the official arrival of fall in Alabama? It’s a feeling that’s indescribable, and positively exhilarating. And it moves many of us to fling open our doors, lace up some hiking boots and set off into the great outdoors, in search of adventure (or just beautiful scenery).

Southeastern Outings, a non-profit organization which sponsors outdoor outings, has a lot lined up this month. All of these activities are open to the public. The events include easy day hikes, bicycle rides, and more – exploring some of the most scenic spots in Alabama.

Here is this month’s Southeastern Outings Calendar of Events. For more information, visit seoutings.org. Have fun!

By Stan J. Griffin: October 3, 2016

After evaluating the film of Saturday's 34-6 homecoming win by the No. 1 Alabama football team over Kentucky, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Monday that he saw his team execute much better in the second half after a somewhat sloppy first half where it stopped itself on numerous occasions with items such as dropped balls, missed assignments and general gaffes in terms of execution.
Saban said the overall good news for his 5-0 team, however, is that he is continuing to see steady improvement from it.
"We need to play better over and over and over again, especially when you play better teams," he said. "I think we had some outstanding performances in (Saturday's) game and I think our team is making progress, but I think we need to continue to do that, continue to work as every week in the SEC, you've got a real challenge and a real test."
Continuing to polish its overall game, while also continuing to trim its number of mistakes, will no doubt be crucial as Alabama enters into what will likely be a defining stretch of league games that includes showdowns with No. 9 Tennessee, No. 8 Texas A&M and LSU.
That grueling road begins this week with a road game against the No. 16/18 Arkansas Razorbacks (6 p.m., ESPN), and Saban said he feels Bret Bielema's squad is a "really, really good team."
The Razorbacks are 4-1 overall and 0-1 in Southeastern Conference play, with their only loss to No. 8 Texas A&M.

By Stan J. Griffin: October 1, 2016

After a week of having to cope with a great deal of outside noise, the No. 1 Alabama football team was no doubt hoping the magic and charm of Homecoming would be just the elixir it would need to get back on positive footing as it faced off against Mark Stoops' Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
And thanks to the offensive trio of Jalen Hurts, Calvin Ridley and Joshua Jacobs, all freshmen and sophomores by the way, and another smothering effort by the UA defense, Alabama shook off a slow and sloppy start to roll 34-6 in front of a capacity crowd 101,821.
Alabama improved to 5-0 overall on the season, as well as 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play, while the visiting Wildcats fell to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in league play.
Hurts led the Tide offense by completing 20 of 33 passes for 262 yards and a pair of touchdowns while also carrying the ball nine times for 25 yards. Ridley, his main weapon on the evening, hauled in a career-best 11 throws for 174 yards and a pair of scoring receptions.
Jacobs, meanwhile, gained his first 100-yard game on the collegiate ranks as he carried the ball 16 times for 100 yards and a TD. He also caught three passes for 44 yards, including a long reception of 23 yards.
“I thought we executed a little better in the second half, I thought we were a little sloppy in the first half,” said Tide coach Nick Saban after the game. “I thought the defense played well and I thought it was a pretty good win for us. I thought we left some points out there by not finishing some drives. There are certainly a lot of lessons to be learned from this game. We have to be more consistent in the passing game. Things like that we just have to continue to work on.”

This month’s column is about life’s most valuable commodity. We sacrifice it for the possibility of something better – or because we think we have to. We thrive when we hoard it. We suffer when we neglect it. The world dictates it. 

I am talking about sleep.

SATURDAY, OCT. 1  SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE:  

Alcorn State (1-2) at Arkansas (3-1, 0-1 SEC),  Series: First Meeting, 11 a.m. CT • SEC Network Alternate Channel, Little Rock, Ark. • War Memorial Stadium (51,120)              

Florida (3-1, 1-1 SEC) at Vanderbilt (2-2, 0-1 SEC), Series: UF leads, 37-10-2,  11 a.m. CT • SEC Network, Nashville, Tenn. • Vanderbilt Stadium (40,350)

Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Auburn (2-2, 1-1 SEC), Series: AU leads, 9-0, 2:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network Alternate Channel, Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)    

Tennessee (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC), Series: UT leads, 22-21-2, 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS,  Athens, Ga. • Sanford Stadium (92,746)                                

Texas A&M (4-0, 2-0 SEC) at South Carolina (2-2, 1-2 SEC)   Series: TAMU leads, 2-0,   3 p.m. CT • SEC Network,  Columbia, S.C. • Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)     

Kentucky (2-2, 1-1 SEC) at Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC), Series: UA leads, 36-2-1, 6 p.m. CT •  ESPN), Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)  

How can flower gardeners help reverse the current decline in pollinators, and why is this important? Autumn is an excellent time for planting most trees, shrubs, and perennials, so their roots may mature during the winter, before their resources are needed for the growth spurts of spring.

By Stan J. Griffin: September 26, 2016

The top-ranked and 4-0 Alabama football team had its most complete effort of the season this past weekend in romping past Kent State 48-0, a crisp, efficient and clean performance in which many players saw action, including all four Alabama quarterbacks.
During his press conference on Monday, however, Saban said it is still time for his team to elevate its overall game significantly as Alabama is about to begin a stretch of six consecutive Southeastern Conference games.
Homecoming comes to UA Saturday as the Crimson Tide hosts Mark Stoops' 2-2 Kentucky Wildcats at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT, and the contest will be televised by ESPN.
"Now that we're back in SEC play, I think it's time that we build on (the effort against the Golden Flashes), build on the momentum, play faster, be more crisp, practice better, play with confidence, use the right technique, not talk about paying attention to detail or being casual or finishing or any of those things," said Saban. "If we want to be the team that we're capable of being, I think it's important for everybody to buy into that and do that. The SEC's a tough league, and every game you play in this league is an important game, as this game will be against Kentucky.

By Stan J. Griffin: September 24, 2016

After having survived a grueling marathon of a contest in its previous outing against Ole Miss, the University of Alabama football team was hoping for a much less physically and mentally stressful day at the office Saturday as it collided with Kent State.
And fortunately for the top-ranked Crimson Tide, that came to fruition as Alabama experienced very little difficulty against Nick Saban's alma mater, topping the Golden Flashes 48-0 behind a fast start and breakout performances by freshmen tailbacks Joshua Jacobs and B.J. Emmons among others.
Alabama improved to 4-0 before a sellout crowd of 101,821 at a steamy Bryant-Denny Stadium. Paul Haynes’ visiting Golden Flashes, meanwhile, fell to 1-3.
“Our goal for this game was to start fast, and to play a complete game and start fast and finish, and I think we probably did that as well as we have all year,” said Saban. “The players were focused and we had three straight scoring drives right off the bat, and the first play on defense we probably didn’t execute exactly right, and they made a big play, but we got a stop. I am very pleased with the fact that we got to play a lot of players. Maybe there were a few more we wish we could have played as well. But overall, pretty pleased with the way we played. It was the plan to play (Barnett) in the second quarter, regardless of how it was going in the game, for his development as a quarterback. He may have to play at some point down the road, so I thought he did some good things while he was in there. I thought (starter Jalen Hurts) played well.”

On the Tide’s opening drive of the game, Alabama marched 70 yards in eight plays, mainly on the ground. Hurts capped the drive, which consumed 2:46 off the clock, with a 20-yard keeper to put Alabama up 7-0.

By Stan J. Griffin: September 23, 2016

Above photo: Alabama coach Nick Saban during his playing days with the Kent State Golden Flashes

Take a drive around Tuscaloosa, and you will not find a host of parking lots swamped with hundreds of RVs at this point, even with Saturday's Alabama/Kent State game less than 24 hours away.
Let's face it, the game has tons of sentimental significance to Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban due to the fact that he once suited up for the Golden Flashes, but otherwise much of the football talk by Alabama fans for this weekend actually involves other games such as Auburn/LSU and Tennessee/Florida.
Alabama/Kent State, meanwhile, elicits mainly yawns and golf claps.
The buzz concerning next week's Alabama/Kentucky contest will only be moderately higher because of it being an SEC game and also due to it being Homecoming at UA.

By Stan J. Griffin: September 22, 2016

We have just passed the three-week plateau of the 2016 college football season, and the landscape has already been littered with big upsets as well as a host of near stunners.
This includes Iowa falling to North Dakota State, Oklahoma State falling to Central Michigan and Mississippi State falling to South Alabama, as well as teams such as Tennessee and Georgia narrowly avoiding catastrophic upsets against Appalachian State and Nicholls State respectively.
Nick Saban, the 10th-year coach of the Alabama football program, knows better than anyone what can happen if a "big-name" school does not prepare well against a huge underdog opponent,  and fails to treat that opponent with the respect it is due.
And he sends that message to his No. 1 Crimson Tide team early and often, usually utilizing the media to do so.
That was the case again earlier this week when discussing the Tide's game Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Kent State, his alma mater.
The Tide (3-0) and Golden Flashes (1-2) are set to clash just after 11 a.m. CT, and the game will be televised by SEC Network.
Alabama is a nearly 44-point favorite, but Saban noted that he hopes his team is more focused on continued improvement, eliminating mistakes which have plagued the Crimson Tide up to this point and playing to its standard in order to avoid becoming a victim of the upset bug.

The Annual National Shrimp Festival presented by Zatarain’s and sponsored in part by our wonderful sponsors, is held each year during the second full weekend in October on the beautiful beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. Thanks to our all of the generous sponsors the event is free to everyone! The Annual National Shrimp Festival is held at the public beach access in Gulf Shores where Hwy. 59 ends and intersects with Hwy. 182.

SEC FOOTBALL SCHEDULE FOR SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24:

Kent State (1-2) at Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC),  Series: UA leads, 1-0 11 a.m. CT • SEC Network, Tuscaloosa, Ala. • Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821)            
Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at Ole Miss (1-2, 0-1 SEC), Series: UGA leads, 32-12-1,  11 a.m. CT • ESPN, Oxford, Miss. • Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (64,038)          
Mississippi State (1-2, 1-1 SEC) at UMass (1-2,), Series: First Meeting, 2:30 p.m. CT • ESPN3,  Foxborough, Mass. • Gillette Stadium (68,756
Florida (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at Tennessee (3-0, 0-0 SEC), Series: UF leads, 26-19, 2:30 p.m. CT • CBS, Knoxville, Tenn. • Neyland Stadium (102,455)                      
Delaware State (0-2) at Missouri (1-2, 0-1 SEC), Series: First Meeting, 3 p.m. CT • SEC Network, Columbia, Mo. • Memorial Stadium / Faurot Field / (71,168)     
Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1 SEC) at Western Kentucky (2-1), Series: VU leads, 3-1, 3:30 p.m. CT •  CBS Sports Network,  Houchens Industries–L. T. Smith Stadium (22,113)       
 LSU (2-1, 1-0 SEC) at Auburn (1-2, 0-1 SEC),  Series: LSU leads, 28-21-1, 5 p.m. CT • ESPN,   Auburn, Ala. • Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451)                         
South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Kentucky (1-2, 0-1 SEC), Series: SC leads, 17-9-1, 6:30 p.m. CT • SEC Network, Lexington, Ky. • Commonwealth Stadium (61,000)      
Arkansas (3-0, 0-0 SEC) vs. Texas A&M (3-0, 1-0 SEC), Series: ARK leads, 41-28-3, 8 p.m. CT • ESPN, Arlington, Texas • AT&T Stadium (86,798)   

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK FOLLOWING WEEK 3:

OFFENSE:
Jalen Hurts, QB, Alabama
The freshman quarterback led the Crimson Tide with 304 yards of total offense, throwing for 158 yards and rushing for 146.
Helped the Crimson Tide overcome the largest deficit in school history (21 points) in a 48-43 win at No. 17 Ole Miss.
Became the first Alabama quarterback to rush (146) and pass (158) for more than 100 yards since Tyler Watts in 2001. It was also the fifth most rushing yards by a QB in school history.
Completed 19-of-31 passes without an interception while completing five explosive passes for 17 yards or more (45, 30, 22, 18, 17). He also accounted for seven first downs through the air.
 Produced eight rushes of 10 yards or more and seven rushes that produced first downs.

The Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) announces the 2016-17 youth and archery hunt schedules for the Fred T. Stimpson Community Hunting Area (CHA) in Clarke County. The hunting area is located off of Clarke County Road 15 approximately 12 miles south of Jackson, Ala. The hunts will take place October 2016 through February 2017.

The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) Child Nutrition Program will host approximately 30 school nutrition professionals from across Alabama at a Team Up for School Nutrition Success (Team Up) workshop aimed at helping schools facilitate financially stable, healthy meal programs through tailored technical assistance and peer-to-peer mentoring. 

School is in full swing and Labor Day has come and gone, signaling summer’s lazy crawl has come to an end – but that doesn’t mean it has to end for you. With summer rates dropping as the offseason approaches, the beach in the fall is perfect for anyone looking to visit some sandy shores without the crowd.  

By Stan J. Griffin: September 20, 2016

A 2017 University of Alabama baseball schedule which features 37 home games will allow Crimson Tide fans not only plenty of opportunities to experience the second season of baseball in the beautiful,  modern and fully-renovated Sewell-Thomas Stadium, but also the new era of Alabama baseball under first-year coach Greg Goff.
The University of Alabama and Goff announced the Tide’s official schedule for the 2017 baseball season Tuesday.
UA’s schedule consists of a total of 56 total games.
The 2017 schedule is also a very competitive and formidable one, as it features eight teams that advanced to the NCAA postseason in 2016, including four Super Regional hosts and one College World Series participant.
“I’m really excited about our schedule, especially having the opportunity to play 37 home games this season,” said Goff. “Our team is looking forward to getting to play in front of our great fans and inside our beautiful stadium every opportunity we get. I hope to see “The Joe” packed out every night to provide us with some extra energy and help us build a home field advantage unlike any other.”
Alabama will open 2017 with 20 consecutive home games to begin the season, with the Tide playing host to the Presbyterian College Blue Hose from Feb. 17-19 to open the 2017 schedule. Alabama will follow with non-conference weekend series against Oral Roberts (Feb. 24-26), Louisiana-Monroe (March 3-5) and Arkansas Pine Bluff (March 10-12).

Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded grants totaling $277,394 to help the Family Counseling Center of Mobile support victims of crime and their families.

The center offers services for victims of sexual assault, homicide, armed robbery and financial crimes in Mobile, Washington and Clarke counties.

Azalea City Living is Mobile, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

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