While the Alabama football team completed the 2016 football season last week, opened spring practice Monday with 18 players on the 2017 roster.

Head coach Patrick Murphy enters his 19th season as the head coach of the Crimson Tide. Under his leadership, Alabama has established a tradition of excellence with 11 Women’s College World Series Appearances including a national championship in 2012 and over 1,000 wins in program history.

Alabama will count on a deep, experienced pitching staff to lead the way in 2017. Junior Alexis Osorio struck out 273 batters while senior Sydney Littlejohn had a break out 2016 season with 23-7 record along with 114 strike outs.

During his conversation with reporters before practice, Patrick Murphy touched on the experience returning in the circle and the challenge that he issued to senior Sydney Littlejohn, junior Alexis Osorio and sophomore Madi Moore at the end of the 2016 season.

“All three were challenged at the end of last year to come back in the best shape of their lives beginning in the fall.” Murphy stated.

Alabama’s head coach also highlighted the diverse strengths of the Crimson Tide’s pitching staff.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun with all three. They bring something totally different to the staff. Madi (Moore) is lefty. The other two are righties. One is up. One is away. It’s going to be fun to mix and match against an opponent. We’re going to go strength versus weakness, and hopefully, that’s going to work out.” Murphy said.

The 2017 team has only three seniors compared to four freshman and five sophomores. Murphy expressed pleasure in the team’s selflessness and the incoming freshman class’s willingness to buy into the program.

“This could be one of the most selfless teams we’ve ever had. From the very beginning, the freshmen have bought in. I’m really excited about them.” Murphy said.

Alabama opens the regular season February 10 against Towson as part of Coastal Carolina’s Kickin’ Chicken Classic.