Countdown to Kickoff
Tide Football Hosts Night of Champions on February 28


Tuesday, February 25, 2003

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The popular "Night of Champions" weightlifting demonstration, featuring members of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, will make its annual appearance Friday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m.  The event is free to the public and will be held in Coleman Coliseum.

"The Night of Champions weightlifting exhibition has become a very popular event," said Tide strength and conditioning coach Ben Pollard.  "It has been a huge success every year and our players really look forward to performing before our fans.  The event gives our players some incentives to make steady improvement in the weight room and it is very popular with the players. It gives those who have worked hardest and been impressive in their improvement, a chance to display their ability in front of our fans."

This year, Pollard picked five players to compete in three categories: bench press, squat, and hang clean.  There will also an exhibition in vertical jump and new this year, a special contest

"We've tweaked the event a little," Pollard said "and this year, Brandon Brooks (5-4, 162) and Triandos Luke (6-0,188) will do an exhibition in the vertical jump and then Anthony Bryant, Dre Fulgham, Zach Fletcher, Juwan Garth and Mark Anderson will compete in a special contest.  Those events will be in addition to the bench press, hang clean and squat that we normally demonstrate.

"Performance usually reaches a peak because it's such an adrenaline rush for them to be out there," Pollard said. "The Night of Champions is basically the culmination of the winter weight training. It will be a demonstration, not competition.  We'll be trying to max-out in the three lifts.  It is not necessarily just for the high-profile players. It's an opportunity for people to see what we do and get an idea of what a 500-pound squat looks like, what a 350-pound clean looks like. We hope that guys will lift more than they ever have.  We've had kids that put up big numbers in front of the crowd, but then go back to regular training and struggle to put up the same numbers. You can't simulate the Night of Champions conditions in the weight room."

Others tentatively scheduled to participate are Dre Fulgham, Josh Smith, Jeremy Clark, Derrick Pope, Cornelius Wortham and Evan Mathis in the bench press; Mark Anderson, Justin Smiley, Kyle Tatum, Antwan Odom, Clint Johnston and Freddie Roach in the hang clean and Wesley Britt, Ken Darby, Roberto McBride, DeMeco Ryans, Nic Luke and Greg McLain in the squat.