Alabama football: Thursday news & links

Alabama practiced for two hours Wednesday as it prepares for Arkansas. The big question continues to be the health of two football players–Alabama Crimson Tide receiver Julio Jones and running back Roy Upchurch. Both practiced, and during the SEC teleconference on Wednesday, Alabama’s coach Nick Saban said he was hopeful both would play this weekend.

During the teleconference, Nick Saban praised Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett.

“I think he understands their system. He is throwing the ball to the right place,” Alabama’s football coach said. “He throwing it on time and he gets it out of his hand and he seems to do a good job of executing their offense overall, whether they have some check with me’s, he gets them in the right play. I think he has done a good job all the way around. It seems like the players believe in him and he is a good leader for them. I think he is an outstanding quarterback and he certainly has a lot of arm talent, has been accurate and has made a tremendous amount of plays in the first two games.”

Below find links to more stories of interest and a news brief.
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ANTWAN ODOM HONOERD: Former Alabama defensive lineman Antwan Odom was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week by the NFL on Wednesday. Odom tied a franchise record at Green Bay this past Sunday with five sacks, helping to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 31-24 win at Lambeau Field. The Bengals, who have compiled individual sack records since 1976, had seen such a performance only once previously, when Eddie Edwards logged five sacks vs. Cleveland on Dec. 21, 1980.

Odom produced 31 yards in losses with his five sacks of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Two of his first three sacks helped push the Packers out of field-goal range, forcing punting situations, and midway through the fourth quarter, he pushed the Packers into a third-and-15 situation at their 28, with a punt the result of that drive.

Odom also recorded two sacks against Denver in the season opener and his seven-sack total leads by three in the NFL sacks race. Odom and Edwards now share the Bengals record for most sacks over any two-game span, as Edwards had seven over the last two games of 1980. According to Elias Sports Bureau reports this week that since 1982, when individual sacks became an official NFL statistic, no player has matched that total for the first two games of a season. The previous record for Games 1-2 of a season was 6.5 sacks by Detroit defensive end William Gay in 1983 (Gay finished ’83 with 13.5).