TUSCALOOSA â€” The University of Alabama football team began preparations for Saturdayâ€™s game with Kentucky on Monday afternoon with a two-hour practice in helmets and shoulders pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban talked about another challenging Southeastern Conference game on Saturday against another undefeated team that ranks first nationally in scoring defense and kickoff returns.
â€œThey are maybe the best defensive team in the country,â€ Saban at his weekly press conference on Monday. â€œThey are certainly first in scoring defense. They have a lot of guys back from last yearâ€™s team. They are physical, they play with toughness, and they make good sound adjustments in what they do. Obviously giving up five points a game they are hard to score on which makes you a good defensive team.
â€œOffensively they have done a nice job controlling the ball. Their new quarterback, (Mike) Hartline has done a good job of managing the offense, keeping them in the right place and have them doing the right things. Their offensive line is good. They have been able to run the ball effectively against everybody they have played against. They have shown the capabilities of beating good teams in beating LSU when they were No. 1 last year.
â€œThey are very good on special teams. (Dicky) Lyons is a good punt returner and is their leading receiver and they lead the conference in kickoff returns. This is going to be a challenging game for us. It is no different than the game we just played relative to maintaining intensity in terms of your mental energy, not only in how you play the game but how you prepare to play the game and get ready to play the game.â€
Alabama and Kentucky will meet this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) in Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by CBS Sports.
CALDWELL AND WILSON RECOGNIZED: Alabama senior center Antoine Caldwell and senior quarterback John Parker Wilson are among the 30 Division I players that make up the preliminary list for the 2008 Loweâ€™s Senior Class Award for NCAA football teams.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Loweâ€™s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages those leaders to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact on their circle of influence. This prestigious awards program was launched during the 2001-02 basketball season, added six additional sports in 2007, and has now expanded this year to include NCAA football.
Alabama, Georgia Tech and Ohio State are the only Division I programs will multiple candidates.
These 30 student-athletes will be narrowed down to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will then be placed on the official ballot. The ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select the candidate that best exemplifies excellence in the â€œFour Câ€™sâ€ of Classroom, Character, Community and Competition.
The overall winner of the Loweâ€™s Senior CLASS Award for football will be announced during a 2008-09 post-season college football event.
INJURY UPDATE: Coach Saban said that junior wide receiver Mike McCoy (hamstring) and sophomore tight end Preston Dial (knee) did not practice on Monday and that both players were questionable for Saturdayâ€™s game against Kentucky .