Our second and final stop on the inaugural Barstool Bench Mob SEC Road Trip brought us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. After an eight hour drive that eventually got us to campus at around 1:30 AM, it was a quick turnaround this morning. We started things off at 7:30 AM with a Team Culture meeting. While we were sitting off to the side, Coach Nate Oats and his staff highlighted the cultural playbook and the team's three main beliefs:
Max Effort. Continuous Growth. Selfless Love.
The players and coaches went around the room and broke down what each of those terms meant to them and how it could help them be successful in this upcoming season. After this meeting to start off the day, it was time for practice.
The facility was very impressive, and my biggest takeaway was the "four point line" that Coach Oats has implemented on the court with some tape. If you watched Alabama last season, you know that they shoot a TON of threes. With the four point line in play, it definitely makes more sense.
After a practice with high intensity, Marty, Rico, and I sat down with Coach Oats in the film room to record our Bench Mob interview. It was a great discussion with topics including the culture he has implemented, his approval rating for the suit PFT bought me for my Peacock debut in two weeks, the story behind his viral clip after the SEC Championship Game, and much more. Keep an eye out for that interview in next week's episode.
We wrapped up the morning in the team lounge, which was an absolute blast. When you walk in, you see a giant shuffleboard table, a Crimson Tide style billiards table, and last, but certainly not least, PING PONG! Coach Oats and I went head-to-head in a setting a little bit different than the Triple S.
I was fortunate enough to take down Coach 21-13, But I have to give credit to No. 21 on the Crimson Tide, Britton Johnson. He took me down in a game in between a 2-2 series split with Graduate Assistant Ikenna Smart. We then grabbed lunch and returned to the facility for a tour of the rest of the facility and Coleman Coliseum with players Jahvon Quinerly and Keon Ellis. It was awesome to see and hear everything from their perspective, and you could sense that they are excited for a full, non-COVID college basketball season beginning in November.
The way we finished the day was nothing short of spectacular. Coach Oats invited us on his boat for some wakesurfing and tubing on Lake Tuscaloosa. The man at the helm for the Crimson Tide knows what he's doing both on the court and in the water.
Not to brag, but I was the only one of the Bench Mob crew to successfully get up on the board. There may have been a few falls in between, but at the end of the day, it was a success. Before wrapping up, we had multiple requests to visit Innisfree Irish Pub in Tuscaloosa. So, that's how we finished up our trip. We cracked open some High Noons, enjoyed the good vibes, and watched Suns-Bucks. It was an awesome trip, and hopefully this is just the beginning for us when it comes to hitting the road and visiting other programs.
We dove into our trip more in detail on today's episode of the Barstool Bench Mob that includes our full interview with Arkansas Head Coach Eric Musselman. YouTube videos with both schools will be released over the next week or two.