The Wire

  • New tunnel, premium RV section at Talladega Superspeedway on schedule despite weather


    Construction of a new oversized vehicle tunnel and premium RV infield parking section at Talladega Superspeedway is still on schedule to be completed in time for the April NASCAR race, despite large amounts of rainfall and unusual groundwater conditions underneath the track.

    Track Chairman Grant Lynch, during a news conference Wednesday at the track, said he’s amazed the general contractor, Taylor Corporation of Oxford, has been able to keep the project on schedule.

    “The amount of water they have pumped out of that and the extra engineering they did from the original design, basically to keep that tunnel from floating up out of the earth, was remarkable,” Lynch said.

  • Alabama workers built 1.6M engines in 2018 to add auto horsepower


    Alabama’s auto workers built nearly 1.6 million engines last year, as the state industry continues to carve out a place in global markets with innovative, high-performance parts, systems and finished vehicles.

    Last year also saw major new developments in engine manufacturing among the state’s key players, and more advanced infrastructure is on the way in the coming year.

    Hyundai expects to complete a key addition to its engine operations in Montgomery during the first half of 2019, while Honda continues to reap the benefits of a cutting-edge Alabama engine line installed several years ago.

  • Groundbreaking on Alabama’s newest aerospace plant made possible through key partnerships


    Political and business leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at Alabama’s newest aerospace plant gave credit to the formation of the many key partnerships that made it possible.

    Governor Kay Ivey and several other federal, state and local officials attended the event which celebrated the construction of rocket engine builder Blue Origin’s facility in Huntsville.

1 month ago

Nick Saban: Time for Crimson Tide to flip switch from practice to game mode

(Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

Alabama coach Nick Saban said his Crimson Tide football team is showing the right effort and intensity in practice, but it’s time to flip the switch and start finishing plays like they would in a game.

“We haven’t played a game in a long time,” Saban said. “We’ve got to get out of practice mode and make sure we’re practicing to develop the habits that are gonna become a part of our DNA as competitors in terms of how we play in a game.”

Alabama opens the season on the road against Missouri at 6 p.m. Saturday. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Nick Saban: Crimson Tide focuses on finishing as season kickoff approaches from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn ready to host Kentucky, kick off delayed season

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said he is happy game week has finally arrived, even though he knows his Auburn Tigers football team will be tested by the visiting Kentucky Wildcats.

“It’s been a long time coming to get to this point,” Malzahn said. “We’re playing a really good Kentucky Wildcat team. When you look at them offensively, last year they were one of the best rushing teams in all of college football. To be able to do that in this league says a lot.”

But Malzahn said he is also impressed by his own squad.


“Overall, I’m really excited about this year’s team,” he said. “We have all kinds of new faces out there. I believe we have 13 new starters, so I’m really excited to watch this team grow. I really feel that if we stay healthy, we’ll have a chance to improve each game, and of course with 10 SEC games, it’s important for teams to improve throughout the year. I’m really looking forward to watching our guys play. I’m excited.”

Auburn hosts the Wildcats at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Gus Malzahn: Kentucky presents a challenge for Auburn’s opener from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

Nick Saban: Alabama football players need to buy into culture of winning

(Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

Alabama coach Nick Saban said the offense performed well at Saturday’s scrimmage while the defense identified areas that need improving.

Saban said it’s time for all players to buy into the culture of success Alabama football has established.

“It’s very important that our players sort of buy into the culture of what has helped us be successful here for a long, long time,” Saban said. “And that’s the intangibles that we play with, the work ethic that we have, the discipline that we play with, the toughness, the effort … and people having a great sense of urgency about how important it is to do their job so that their unit, their team – our team – has a chance to be successful. That means we have to play to a standard – and it’s not really anybody else’s standard, it’s our standard.”


Hear what else Saban had to say below. The Crimson Tide begins preparing today for its opening game against Missouri on Sept. 26.

Nick Saban on Alabama’s latest scrimmage, culture of winning from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

1 month ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn football depth a positive of the COVID-19 positives

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said it’s concerning that players on his football team continue to test positive for COVID-19 less than two weeks before the SEC season kicks off, but there is a silver lining.

“When you’ve got guys out, specifically starters out, it gives other guys opportunities,” he said. “So, on the positive end of it, our other guys have gotten more reps than they’ve ever got.”

Malzahn said practices will now focus on Kentucky. Auburn hosts the Wildcats to kick off the season at 11 a.m. Sept. 26 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

RELATED: What impact will Chad Morris have on the Auburn offense in 2020?

2 months ago

Nick Saban has a system to ‘practice all guys all the time’

9/10/20 MFB Practice Team Photo by Kent Gidley 9/10/20 MFB Practice Team Photo by Kent Gidley

Alabama football coach Nick Saban said preparing for a conference-only schedule during a pandemic has caused the Crimson Tide to structure practice differently on the Capstone.

Saban said the coaches have split up to allow them to practice all players all the time and give some players experience at other positions – even some on both offense and defense.

It’s an approach that could be pivotal this year if players are lost due to a positive COVID-19 test or exposure through contact tracing.

2 months ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn football practice moving to game preparation

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Auburn’s football team is back into a practice routine following a COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined much of the team for several days.

Coach Gus Malzahn said the next two scrimmages will be more situational as the team shifts to game-prep mode compared to the past scrimmage that was more general in play calling and formations.

Auburn hosts Kentucky at Jordan-Hare Stadium at 11 a.m. on Sept. 26 to kick off the season.

2 months ago

Nick Saban encourages team to vote, not who to vote for

(Robert Sutton/UA Athletics)

Alabama coach Nick Saban said he is encouraging his team and everyone to exercise their right to vote but said he would never endorse a particular candidate.

At his press conference this week, the Crimson Tide football coach said he supports the Alabama Athletics Civic Engagement Initiative that pushes athletes to register to vote, learn what is required to vote absentee and exercise their right to vote.

Saban said he would never endorse a candidate “or get involved in politics in any way, shape or form” because it’s not his place to do so.


“But I do think it is very, very important that every American … has a voice and uses their opportunity to vote so their voice is heard.”

Hear more of what Saban had to say on the subject below.

Nick Saban: All should have their voices heard through voting from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 months ago

Nick Saban: Alabama practice less grind, more mind leading up to opening game

(Robert Sutton/UA Athletics)

Alabama coach Nick Saban said the pandemic-shortened fall camp means there is less time for grinding, grueling physical practice and more need to ensure Crimson Tide players have the mental toughness and commitment to play every play.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s be prepared for anything. Saban wants to see that attitude on the practice field.

“The focus needs to be on the things that are going to help you perform and accomplish the goals you want to accomplish, not necessarily on the outcomes. Success is determined by consistency in performance and having the ability to focus on every play,” Saban said. “You never know when the play that you’re going to have an opportunity to make – whether it’s a pass to catch or a play to make on defense, a fumble to recover – you never know when that’s happening. So, if you’re not playing all-out and focused on every play, then you’re not going to have a chance to make those plays when they come up.”

2 months ago

Gus Malzahn: Auburn football has time to overcome COVID-19 challenge

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said the bad news is the football team has lost valuable practice time due to a COVID-19 outbreak. But the good news is there is still time to be ready for the first game on Sept. 26.

“We understand we’re four weeks out,” Malzahn said Sunday. “We feel like we have time to prepare. But, like I said, we’re going to take it day by day and do the best we can.”

Auburn was expected to resume practice today – the first practice since in a week.

2 months ago

Alabama coach Nick Saban: Let’s try to play football for the players

(Rodger Champion/Contributed)

Nick Saban knows how important football is to the greater community. He saw it growing up in his small hometown in West Virginia and he’s seen it on a higher level as the head coach at the University of Alabama.

And while he appreciates what it means to fans, alumni and the community at large, it’s the players that Saban hopes will get to take the field this football season. The COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat but the season is still scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

Proceeding with football is important, Saban said.

“Is it more important than public safety? No, I don’t think so,” he said. “Is there a way that we can do that and keep people safe? I think a lot of people are trying to do that and if we can do that, I think we can play. If we can’t do that, I think somebody will make a decision that maybe we shouldn’t play. But I don’t think that we should not try.”

Hear more of what Saban had to say below.

2 months ago

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wants physical practices leading up to season

(Todd Van Emst/AU Athletics)

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn wants to see his Tigers football team going hard the next few weeks so they’re hardened for an all-SEC season.

Malzahn said after Saturday’s scrimmage at Jordan-Hare Stadium that he intends to hold up to four scrimmages prior to the start of the conference-only season kicking off on Sept. 26 against Kentucky. Saturday was the first of those scrimmages.

“We’ve got to put the ball down and play and block and tackle and get tackled and hold onto the ball and everything that goes with it,” he said. “That’s just our philosophy. I felt like we needed to be physical and get back in the swing of things with not having spring football.”

COVID-19 prevented the typical spring practice and has presented challenges to fall practice and a revamped season.

Hear more of what Malzahn had to say below.

2 months ago

Alabama, Auburn players looking forward to SEC-only season

(Todd Van Ernst/AU Athletics, Kent Gidley/UA Athletics)

After an unusual spring and summer, football players at Auburn and Alabama are on the familiar ground of the practice field this week as they prepare for a delayed, SEC-only football schedule.

Sure, there are masks being worn, social distancing taking place and regular temperature taking and virus testing. But it’s clear that players are excited to have the opportunity to take the field again this fall.

For Alabama senior wide receiver DeVonta Smith, it’s a chance to end his playing days at the Capstone on a high note.

For Alabama senior linebacker Dylan Moses, it’s an opportunity to finish a season healthy.


For Auburn sophomore quarterback Bo Nix, it’s time to show growth as the leader of the Tiger offense.

For Auburn senior linebacker K.J. Britt, it’s a relief to focus on something other than COVID-19.

Alabama, Auburn football players address new season, COVID-19 from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

5 months ago

Coach Bill Clark: UAB ready for football season preparations to start

(Mark Jerald/Alabama NewsCenter)
UAB football coach Bill Clark is like many fans who are waiting for a clear sign that the college football season is on the horizon this year.

With less than 90 days until the start of the season, that sign will be next week when UAB players report for voluntary individual workouts and training. Clark said that will progress into the more familiar pre-season camp between now and August.

“I’m excited to get them back, even in small numbers right now,” Clark said.


Coach Bill Clark: UAB ready for football season preparations from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

It’s been a challenging few months for everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic and football was not immune. It eliminated the normal spring training and spring football scrimmages for all collegiate teams, and officials from all schools and conferences have been weighing whether and how to proceed with preparations for a season that at one time seemed uncertain.

Clark said he is confident the plan UAB has in place is a good one and he has one of the premier institutions to draw on for medical expertise.

“Rule No. 1 has always been athlete safety, so this is not something new for us,” Clark said. “Obviously, the COVID crisis was something new for us to deal with. The support of our athletic trainers obviously being at UAB with the medical school helps.”

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

2 years ago

WATCH: Birmingham executive recalls childhood during Alabama civil rights movement

(Mark Jerald/Alabama NewsCenter)

If there was a civil rights demonstration in downtown Birmingham, you could bet that Willie Mae Buford was going to be there. That meant that her young son, Ron Buford, was also there because she made sure she brought him along.

They vividly remember the water cannons, police dogs and racial slurs hurled by former Birmingham Public Safety Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor and others as they gathered at Kelly Ingram Park for a peaceful demonstration against segregation. Many of the protesters were schoolchildren, including Ron Buford.


As a child, Buford imagined two things: Seeing the inside of the Alabama Theatre and having a job in one of those big buildings downtown.

As a young adult, he got to experience the former.

Today, Buford is director of legislative affairs and compliance at Alabama Power Company.

He can see Kelly Ingram Park from his office. He can also see progress everywhere and changed hearts in the people of the Magic City.

Here is his story.

Ron Buford recalls being a child in Birmingham civil rights movement from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)