Want to know the interesting facts entering this week’s SEC West showdown between the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU? Then you should check out the official game notes from UA Media Relations:
GAME 9: Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC)
vs. LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC)
Saturday, Nov. 7 â€¢ 2:30 p.m. â€¢ CBS
Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,012) â€¢ Tuscaloosa, Ala.
THE GAME: The No. 3 University of Alabama football team finishes a three-game Southeastern Conference homestand with a visit from the ninth-ranked LSU Tigers, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick off at 2:30 p.m. on CBS with Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson and Tracy Wolfson calling the action. Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.
HEAD COACH NICK SABAN: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the schoolâ€™s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 118-50-1 (.701) record as a collegiate head coach with a 27-8 (.771) mark at Alabama that includes an 8-0 record this year with a 5-0 mark in the SEC. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Alabama already bowl eligible this season. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.
RANKINGS: Alabama was ranked fifth in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coachesâ€™ preseason polls. It was the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when they opened at No. 3. Since that time, the Crimson Tide has moved up to No. 2 in both the AP and the coachesâ€™ poll this week. The Tide moved to No. 4 after the opening weekend with an Oklahoma loss and then to No. 3 in week three when Southern California fell. The Tide jumped Texas in the AP poll in week six and then overtook Florida for the top spot in week seven before slipping back to No. 2 in week eight and No. 3 in week nine during a bye week. UA garnered eight first-place votes in the AP poll and five in the coachesâ€™ poll this week.
LSU SERIES: The LSU/Alabama series is becoming one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in the Southeastern Conference. The Crimson Tide leads the all-time series 44-23-5, but the Tigers had won five straight in the series before Alabama went into Baton Rouge last season and claimed a 27-21 overtime win. UA will be looking for its first win over LSU in Tuscaloosa since 1999. The series is deadlocked 8-8 in Tuscaloosa, while the Tide holds a 25-8-2 edge in Baton Rouge. LSU rallied for a 41-34 win in their last trip to Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2007.
NEXT GAME: The Crimson Tide travels 83 miles up highway 82 for their third SEC road game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 14, against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Alabama leads the all-time series with MSU 72-18-3. The Tide snapped a two-game losing streak to the Bulldogs last season with a 32-7 win in Tuscaloosa. UAâ€™s last win in Starkville was a 17-0 shutout in 2005.
ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabamaâ€™s success on the field over the past two seasons under the direction of head coach Nick Saban has also coincided with success in the classroom. An impressive total of 13 Crimson Tide players are playing this season with degrees already in hand, including Eryk Anders (Health Studies), Drew Davis (marketing), P.J. Fitzgerald (management), Mike Johnson (consumer affairs), Tyrone King (Health Studies), Greg McElroy (business marketing), Cory Reamer (finance), Chris Rogers (consumer affairs), Brian Selman (business marketing), Ali Sharrief (human environmental science), Travis Sikes (consumer affairs), Heath Thomas and Lorenzo Washington (human environmental science). McElroy finished his undergraduate degree in just three years with a 3.86 grade point average while graduating magna cum laude. Additionally, another 10 players are on track to graduate in December of 2009. In 2008, Alabama had six players with degrees already in hand.
TIDE LEADS NATION IN GRADUATES: Alabamaâ€™s 13 graduates on the 2009 roster are the most of any school in the Bowl Championship Subdivision. The Crimson Tide is five graduates ahead of any other SEC school with Auburn checking in fifth with eight graduates. Boston College and Virginia Tech (the Tideâ€™s season-opening opponent) are tied for second with 10 graduates while Penn State is fourth with nine (see sidebar for complete list).
BEATING THE BEST: Alabama is 6-2 against the Associated Press Top 25 over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Crimson Tideâ€™s 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in the season opener was the Tideâ€™s third win over a top-10 team dating back to the start of the 2008 season. Alabama is 3-0 against the AP Top 25 in the 2009 season and will face No. 9 LSU on Saturday.
Alabama vs. Top 25 Opponents (since the start of the 2008 season)
Date Team Rank Result
Aug. 30, 2008 vs. Clemson 9 W, 34-10
Sept. 27, 2008 at Georgia 3 W, 41-30
Nov. 8, 2008 at LSU 15 W, 27-21 (OT)
Dec. 6, 2008 vs. Florida 2 L, 31-20
Jan. 2, 2009 vs. Utah 7 L, 31-17
Sept. 5, 2009 vs. Virginia Tech 7 W, 34-24
Oct. 10, 2009 at Mississippi 20 W, 22-3
Oct. 17, 2009 South Carolina 22 W, 20-6
Nov. 6, 2009 LSU 9
SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Sabanâ€™s arrival in Tuscaloosa has seen his Crimson Tide vault up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time has quickly impacted the Tideâ€™s record book. Saban produced the largest win increase from year one to year two in school history as Alabama went from seven wins in 2007 to 12 wins in 2008. He is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision football to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. He also ranks fourth in winning percentage (70.1 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of Division I-A football.
INITIAL BCS RANKINGS RELEASED: Alabama is ranked third in the second Bowl Championship Series standings released on Sunday, Nov. 1. The Crimson Tide (.9166) trails No. 1 Florida (.9918) by a margin .0752 and No. 2 Texas (.9227) by .0061. The Tide is ranked No. 3 in the Harris Interactive poll and the USA Today Coaches poll while placing tied for third in the average of all six computer rankings. Iowa is fourth with a 0.8407 BCS average, with Cincinnati fifth (.8033).
Team BCS Average Harris Average Coaches Average ComputerAverage
1. Florida .9918 .9835 (1) .9919 (1) 1.000 (1)
2. Texas .9227 .9523 (2) .9458 (2) .870 (3)
3. Alabama .9166 .9375 (3) .9424 (3) .870 (3)
4. Iowa .8407 .7751 (7) .7871 (6) .960 (2)
5. Cincinnati .8033 .8004 (5) .7797 (7) .820 (5)
DOMINANT â€˜Dâ€™: Alabama returned eight starters from a 2008 defense that finished third nationally in total defense, allowing just 263.5 yards per game. The 2009 unit has even better numbers, allowing a total of 240.88 yards per game in eight outings to rank fourth nationally. The Tide held Virginia Tech to 155 total yards (64 rushing, 91 passing) and 11 first downs while limiting Tech to 2-of-12 on third down conversions and racking up five sacks. Against FIU, UA held the Panthers to 214 total yards, including only one yard rushing while North Texas could only manage 187 yards of offense and 61 yards rushing. Arkansas gained 254 yards, but only managed 63 on the ground. The Tide limited No. 20 Mississippi to 197 total yards and just 57 rushing yards, including a mere 19 yards of total offense in the first half. UA then held No. 22 South Carolina to 64 yards rushing and just six points. In 2008, Alabama finished No. 2 nationally in rushing defense, allowing 74.14 yards per game. UA ranks second through eight games this season, allowing 64.63 yards per game.
AIR DEFENSE: Alabamaâ€™s defense has smothered almost every aspect of opponent offense in 2009, and while a lot of the attention goes to the Tideâ€™s suffocating rushing defense, Alabama has also limited some very dangerous passing attacks. The Tide boasts the nationâ€™s No. 4 overall defense, allowing just 240.88 yards per game, but Alabama also ranks second in the country in pass efficiency defense, surrendering an 88.81 opponent passer rating. The Tide is tied for 17th in interceptions (11) and ranks 20th in pass defense (176.00 ypg). The Tide limited Virginia Techâ€™s Tyrod Taylor to just 45 percent passing, 91 yards and an 82.22 passer rating. Arkansasâ€™ Ryan Mallet, who is 12th nationally in passing yards, managed a 34.29 completion percentage and a 76.40 passer rating. Mississippiâ€™s Jevan Snead completed only 32.35 percent of his passes vs. Alabama and threw four interceptions for a 43.41 passer rating while South Carolinaâ€™s Stephen Garcia connected on 43.5 percent of his passes with an interception and no touchdowns.
Opposing Quarterbacks vs. Alabama
C-A-Yds Comp Pct. TD-INT QB Rating
Tyrod Taylor, Va. Tech 9-20-91 45.00 0-0 83.22
Paul McCall, FIU 16-32-189 50.00 1-0 109.93
Nathan Tune, North Texas 16-23-126 69.56 1-0 129.93
Ryan Mallett, Ark. 12-35-160 34.29 1-1 76.40
Mike Hartline, UK 17-31-168 54.84 1-3 91.65
Jevan Snead, Ole Miss 11-34-140 32.35 0-4 43.41
Stephen Garcia, USC 20-46-214 43.48 0-1 78.21
Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee 21-36-265 58.33 1-1 123.78
STIFLING DEFENSE PUTTING UP IMPRESSIVE NUMBERS: Alabamaâ€™s defense over the past 22 games â€“ or two seasons â€“ has developed a reputation for its toughness, talent and pure speed, a reputation verified on the stat sheet. The Crimson Tide has held 19 teams under 100 yards rushing over the past 22 games with only LSU and Florida in 2008 and Kentucky in 2009, able to crack the 100-yard barrier as a team. In 2009, only Kentucky has managed more than 74 yards rushing on the Tide. UA has surrendered just 1,570 yards on the ground in the last 22 games, an average of 71.36 yards per game. No running back has cracked the 100-yard mark since Mississippiâ€™s BenJarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 on Oct. 13, 2007, a span of 27 games.
The Alabama defense has held opponents under 200 yards of total offense in nine of the last 22 games, including a 155-yard effort by Virginia Tech, a 187-yard showing by North Texas and a 197-yard game by Mississippi in 2009. The sub-200-yard games in that span: Clemson (188); Western Kentucky (158); Tennessee (173); Arkansas State (158); Mississippi State (167); Auburn (170); Virginia Tech (155); North Texas (187); Mississippi (197).
DEFENSE TOUGH ON THIRD DOWN: The Crimson Tide defense has been strong on third down in 2009, ranking seventh nationally and allowing just a 29.82 conversion rate (34 for 114). Alabamaâ€™s performance at Mississippi in week seven was something special. UA did not allow the Rebels a single third-down conversion as UM went 0 for 9. UA held Virginia Tech to just two conversions on 12 third down attempts (16.7 percent). Florida International was just 7 for 17 (41.1%) on third down while North Texas could only muster a success rate of 28.5 percent (4 for 14). The Tide opened SEC play by limiting Arkansas to 2 for 14 on third down (14.3 percent) and then held Kentucky to 4 of 13 (30.8 percent). That continues a trend for the Crimson Tide after finishing third nationally in third down conversion defense in 2008, holding opponents to a 28.14 percent (56 of 199) conversion rate.
FORCING TURNOVERS: Alabama has produced 12 turnovers in the last four games, forcing five turnovers at Mississippi, four at Kentucky, two against South Carolina and one vs. Tennessee. The Tide has picked off nine passes in those four games and recovered three fumbles. The Crimson Tide ranks 17th nationally in turnover margin at plus-.88 per game. The Crimson Tide has forced 65 turnovers in the first 35 games under head coach Nick Saban, an average of 1.86 per game. The Crimson Tide has forced 16 turnovers in the first eight games this season, while the UA offense has only turned the ball over nine times (3 interception, 6 fumbles).
Alabama forced 24 turnovers in 2007 for a plus-4 turnover ratio and then recorded 25 turnovers and ended the season with a plus-6 turnover margin in 2008. Alabama has recorded at least one turnover in 30 of 35 games under Saban. UA is 24-6 under Saban when they have at least one turnover. Alabama is 3-2 in games without a turnover over the last three seasons.
PASS RUSH IMPORTANT FOR BAMA DEFENSE: The Alabama defense will be looking to get pressure on LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson in an effort to slow down the Tigers passing attack. The UA defense exploded for five sacks in each of their first two games of the 2009 season and then tallied five more against South Carolina. The Tide has 23 on the season after recording only 26 during the entire 2008 season. UA ranks tied for 14th nationally while leading the SEC in sacks with 2.88 per game. The Tigers offensive line has surrendered an average of just 2.88 sacks per game to rank tied for 101st nationally. Defensive end Marcell Dareus leads the Tide with 4.5 (-32) while Javier Arenas and Eryk Anders are second with 4.0. Rolando McClain and Lorenzo Washington both have two sacks each.
UA also ranks 18th nationally in tackles for loss, averaging 7.38 per game. That mark ranks also leads the Southeastern Conference and accounts for 285 lost yards by UA opponents. Arenas leads the Tide with 8.5 tackles for loss (-66) while Anders is second with 8.0 (-56) and McClain is third with 7.0 (-28).
DEFENSE STINGY WITH TOUCHDOWNS: Alabama held Tennessee without a touchdown until the final minutes of a 12-10 win over Tennessee on Oct. 24. Before that touchdown, the Crimson Tide had not allowed a touchdown in more than 11 quarters of football, dating back to the fourth quarter of the Kentucky game, a span of 192 minutes. The Tide did not surrender touchdowns in consecutive games against Mississippi and South Carolina.
DAREUS MAKES A NAME FOR HIMSELF: Following an exceptional fall camp, sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus has started the 2009 season in dominant fashion. He has 21 tackles on the season with 6.5 tackles for loss (-36) and 4.5 sacks (-32). Dareus had a breakout game in the season opener against Virginia Tech and then another excellent performance against Florida International. Against Tech, Dareus had two total tackles, including 1.5 sacks, as he harassed Tech signal-caller Tyrod Taylor into 9-of-20 passing for just 91 yards. He followed that up with a four-tackle outing against FIU during which he posted two sacks for 17 yards in losses. Dareus had two solo stops vs. Arkansas with a tackle for loss (-1). He then recorded a sack, four tackles and a pass breakup in a hard-fought win over Tennessee.
DEADERICK UNDAUNTED: Senior defensive tackle Brandon Deaderick completed a miraculous return to the playing field with an appearance in the Crimson Tideâ€™s win over Virginia Tech, just 5 days after being shot by an unknown assailant on Monday night, August 31, in Tuscaloosa. Deaderick, who suffered non-life threatening injuries to his left forearm and hip in the incident, was cleared for action by team doctors. He saw his first action on special teams with 6:35 left to play in the first quarter on Virginia Techâ€™s point-after conversion following a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that tied the game at 6-6. Deaderick saw action on defense with 3:00 left in the first quarter. He finished with one solo tackle vs. the Hokies. He has played in all eight games this season and has accounted for 14 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.
McClain, Cody Named Semifinalists for Lombardi Award: Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain and senior nose guard Terrence Cody were among the 12 players named semifinalists for the 2009 Rotary Lombardi Award by the Football Writers Association of America. Alabama is one of only two schools with two semifinalists for the coveted Lombardi Award, which is given annually to the nationâ€™s top college football lineman or linebacker. McClain leads the Crimson Tide with 57 total tackles and 33 solo stops. He has 7.0 tackles for loss (-28), two sacks (-19), two interceptions, a pass breakup, a forced fumble and seven quarterback hurries. Cody boasts 17 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss (-10) a pass breakup and two quarterback hurries.
INGRAM OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore Mark Ingram is off and running in 2009 with a season that should put him at or near the top of the list for the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nationâ€™s top running back. He has rushed for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns through eight games this season for 125.5 yards per game average to rank fifth nationally and first in the SEC in rushing. Ingram has also added 19 receptions for 186 yards and three scores. Below is a look at Ingramâ€™s season on a game-by-game case.
Mark Ingram 2009 Game-By-Game
Game Rushes Yards TD Rec. Yards TD All-Purpose
vs. Virginia Tech 26 150 1 3 35 1 185
FIU 10 56 1 4 47 0 103
North Texas 8 91 1 3 38 1 129
Arkansas 17 50 1 3 21 1 71
at Kentucky 22 140 2 1 6 0 146
at Mississippi 28 172 1 3 16 0 188
South Carolina 24 246 1 2 23 0 269
Tennessee 18 99 0 0 0 0 99
INGRAM EXPLOSIVE: Mark Ingram has burst onto the scene for the Crimson Tide as a sophomore in 2009. He leads the nation with 32 rushes of 10 or more yards this season and has eight receptions of 10 or more yards for a total of 40. Of Ingramâ€™s 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions), almost a quarter (23.3 percent) have went for at least 10 yards. He ripped off an impressive eight runs and one reception of 10 or more yards against South Carolina, including five runs and one reception of 20 or more yards and a burst of 54 in the second quarter. Those big runs have also shown in Ingramâ€™s 6.56 yards per carry, which leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks sixth nationally among rushers with at least 115 carries. Fresno Stateâ€™s Ryan Matthews is first with 7.35 yards per carry on 179 attempts.
AND TOUGH: Mark Ingram has also proven difficult to bring down on first contact. He has gained an astonishing 645 yards after contact this season on those 172 touches (153 rushes, 19 receptions). He has gained 54.2 percent of his total yards after contact this season (645 of 1,190). Ingram reeled off a season-best 167 total yards after contact against South Carolina, including in his 24 rushing attempts and two receptions. He also broke the 100-yard barrier on yards after contact vs. Virginia Tech with 115 and got close at Mississippi with 95 yards after contact. Below is a breakdown of Ingramâ€™s yards after contact (both rushing and receiving) this season.
Ingramâ€™s Yards After Contact
Game Rush Yds Receiving Yds Total Yds Yds After Contact
vs. Virginia Tech 150 35 185 115
FIU 56 47 103 52
North Texas 91 38 129 74
Arkansas 50 21 71 23
at Kentucky 140 6 146 54
at Mississippi 172 16 188 95
South Carolina 246 23 269 167
Tennessee 99 0 99 65
Totals 1,004 186 1,190 645
TOP RUSHING EFFORT IN BRYANT-DENNY STADIUM: Sophomore running back Mark Ingram constructed a career-best rushing performance with 246 yards on 24 attempts against South Carolina on Oct. 17 â€“ the third-highest single-game rushing total in Alabama history and the most in the history of Bryant-Denny Stadium. Ingramâ€™s signature drive of the season also came against the Gamecocks, as he carried the ball on all six plays of the Tide final touchdown drive that sealed the game. Five of the plays came out of the â€˜Wildcatâ€™ formation with the runs covering 24, 4, 5, 9, 22 and 4 yards (TD). The yardage exceeded Ingramâ€™s 172-yard outing at Mississippi, his previous career high. Ingram now ranks fifth in the nation in rushing yards per game with 125.5, tied for 26th in scoring (8.25 points per game) and 18th in all-purpose yards (148.75 ypg). He leads the SEC in rushing with 1,004 yards and has 11 total touchdowns (8 rushing, 3 receiving).
Alabamaâ€™s Top Rushing Performances
291 Shaun Alexander at LSU (20 att.) Nov. 9, 1996
284 Bobby Humphrey at Mississippi State (30 att.) Nov. 1, 1986
246 Mark Ingram vs. South Carolina (24 att.) Oct. 17, 2009
233 Bobby Marlow vs. Auburn (25 att.) Dec. 2, 1951
221 Johnny Musso vs. Auburn (42 att.) Nov. 28, 1970
220 Bobby Humphrey at Penn State (27 att.) Sept. 12, 1987
218 Glenn Coffee vs. Kentucky (25 att.) Oct. 4, 2008
BALL SECURITY: Mark Ingram has also developed an impressive reputation during his 22-game Alabama career as an expert at holding onto the football. The sophomore has lost only one fumble in 296 career rushing attempts and 26 career receptions for a total of 322 career touches. He has only put the ball on the ground twice (at LSU in 2008), which was recovered by the Tide and a lost fumbe vs. Tennessee this season. Ingram went 332 carries into his career before losing his first fumble. He has 1,732 rushing yards in those 22 games with 20 rushing touchdowns while also catching 26 passes for 243 yards and three scores.
AT HIS BEST, AGAINST THE BEST: Mark Ingram has been at his best against the best in 2009. The sophomore has rolled up 1,190 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 125.5 yards per game on the ground with eight rushing touchdowns in eight games. But those numbers climb even higher when the Crimson Tideâ€™s opponent is ranked in the top 25. In Alabamaâ€™s three games with top-25 opponents, Ingram has accounted for 568 yards on the ground (189.3 ypg) with three rushing touchdowns. He has also caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown to account for 639 all-purpose yards (213.0 ypg) in those three contests. Ingram broke free for 150 rushing yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 35 yards and a score in the season-opener against Virginia Tech in the Georgia Dome. He then scampered for 172 yards on the ground, including a 36-yard touchdown run on fourth down at Mississippi. Ingram then exploded for a Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards and a game-clinching touchdown vs. South Carolina. The Tideâ€™s games against ranked opponents are also when he has best displayed his hard-to-tackle running style that has led to 377 total yards after contact (125.6 ypg) in those three games, including 115 yards vs. Virginia Tech, 95 yards after contact at Mississippi and 167 yards against South Carolina.
INGRAM RECEIVES HESIMAN ATTENTION: Mark Ingramâ€™s 246-yard rushing effort against South Carolina that included a six-play, 68-yard, game-clinching touchdown drive has people talking about the sophomore and the Heisman Trophy. Ingram has topped the last two HeismanPundit.com polls and ESPNâ€™s Heisman Watch. The sophomore from Flint, Mich., has 1,004 rushing yards (125.5 ypg) to rank fifth nationally while also ranking among the team leaders with 19 receptions for 186 yards. He has compiled 11 total touchdowns â€“ eight rushing and three receiving. HeismanPundit.com features 13 Heisman voters from across the country voting for their top five each week. The Oct. 27 poll had the Tideâ€™s Ingram in front of Jimmy Clausen by 30 points (56 to 26) with Ingram receiving nine first-place votes and Clausen getting one. ESPNâ€™s Heisman Watch (Oct. 27), which polls 15 experts from across the nation, has Ingram with 57 total points and seven first-place votes while Clausen is 14 points back (4 first-place votes) and Tebow is 16 points back at 41 with three first-place votes.
A BALANCED ATTACK: Alabama made its name a season ago with a punishing ground attack that wore down defenses and took shots down the field. In 2009, the Tide has brought more balance to the table. UA still has an outstanding ground game and an aerial attack to match with quarterback Greg McElroy. The Tide has shown good balance in their offensive numbers, averaging 217.63 rushing yards (11th nationally) and 192.38 yards passing (84th nationally) per game, which gives UA the No. 34 total offense in the nation (410.0 ypg). On the ground, Alabama is rushing the ball an average of 41.0 times per game for 5.31 yards per rush. The passing game is averaging 27.0 pass attempts per contest for an average of 7.13 yards per attempt. Those numbers are leading to points on the scoreboard. UA averaged 30.1 points per game last season and is averaging 31.8 points per game in 2009 to rank 26th nationally.
McELROY ON THE MARK: Greg McElroy has been impressive in his first eight games as the Crimson Tideâ€™s starting quarterback, completing 60.0 percent (121 of 202) of his passes for 1,445 yards and nine touchdowns with only three interceptions. The junior boasts a 131.72 passing efficiency rating, which ranks 53rd nationally and sixth in the SEC. He has won his last 24 starts at quarterback, going 16-0 as a high school senior in 2005 and 8-0 for the Tide in 2009. In his collegiate starting debut against Virginia Tech, the Southlake, Texas, native threw for 230 yards on 15-of-30 passing with one touchdown and one interception in leading the Crimson Tide to a win over the No. 7 team in the country. He also set a new Alabama record for consecutive completions against FIU by connecting on 14 straight passes. Then against North Texas, he tied the school mark for highest completion percentage with a minimum of 10 completions, going 13 for 15 (86.7 percent).
RICHARDSON HAS IMPRESSIVE ROOKIE CAMPAIGN: True freshman running back Trent Richardson has enjoyed an impressive rookie season. The Pensacola, Fla., native has rushed for 377 yards and four touchdowns on just 74 attempts. He is averaging 5.1 yards per carry and 47.1 yards per game. He rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries against FIU in just his second career game. He followed that up with 87 yards on 11 carries (7.9 ypc) against North Texas and 65 yards and a score vs. Arkansas. Richardson scored on runs of nine and 35 yards in the second half vs. FIU, plunged in from one-yard out against North Texas and then broke five tackles en route to a 52-yard touchdown vs. Arkansas.
MULTIPLE OPTIONS CREATE DIVERSE OFFENSIVE ATTACK: One of the keys for the Tideâ€™s high-powered offense in 2009 has been its ability to find playmakers all over the field. UA quarterbacks, led by starter Greg McElroy, have completed 60.6 percent of their passes to an impressive 17 different receivers in the first eight games of the 2009 season. That includes the SEC opener against Arkansas where McElroy spread out 17 completions to nine different receiving targets. The UA receiving numbers are headed by preseason All-America wideout Julio Jones, who has 20 receptions for 229 yards, an 11.4 yards per catch average and one touchdown. Tight end Colin Peek and running back Mark Ingram are second with 19 catches each. Ingram also has three touchdowns and 186 yards while Peek has one score and 213 yards. Next is wide receiver Marquis Maze, who has 15 catches for a team-high 280 yards and two touchdowns. Junior Darius Hanks follows (12 catches, 177 yards & 1 TD) and freshman running back Trent Richardson (10 catches, 73 yard) are next. In all, the Tide has 61 receptions from its wide receivers, 41 from backs, 28 from tight ends and one from safety Mark Barron on a fake punt.
Diverse Scoring: The Alabama offense has been able to score in a hurry while also showing the ability to grind out the long, time-consuming scoring drive as well. The Crimson Tide has scored 15 touchdowns in three minutes or less, including eight that found the end zone in three or less plays. On the flip side, Alabama has grinded out nine scoring drives (seven touchdowns & two field goals) that have included 10 or more plays and 5:00 of possession time. The Tide has logged five touchdowns that have consisted of 13 plays. Alabama has also pounded out seven drives of 80 yards or more, including three drives of 95 yards or more (99, 97 & 95).
TIME OF POSSESSION: An Alabama trademark over the past two seasons has been its ability to control the line of scrimmage offensively and, consequently, control the tempo of the game. This has played out with an impressive advantage in time of possession. A year ago the Crimson Tide finished 11th nationally with an average time of possession of 32:08. In 2009, the Crimson Tide is off to another great start in that category, ranking ninth nationally at 32:36. The Tide held the ball for 37:02 in the opener against Virginia Tech and then a season-best 38:19 at Mississippi. UA also won possession time against FIU (31:38), North Texas (30:43), Arkansas (33:36) and Kentucky (33:30). The Tide has won the time of possession battle in 15 of the last 22 games overall and six-of-eight contests in 2009.
BAMA SCORES ON BIG PLAYS: On the year, the Alabama offense has 35 plays of 20 yard or more with nine of those plays going for touchdowns. The Tide also has 12 plays of 35 yards or more with seven of those going to scores.
ALABAMAâ€™S 53 POINTS: The Crimson Tideâ€™s 53 points in its win over North Texas were the most during head coach Nick Sabanâ€™s tenure at the Capstone. The previous high of 52 came on Sept. 1, 2007, against Western Carolina in his first game at Alabama. Additionally, the 53 points are the most scored by Alabama since beating UTEP, 56-7, on Oct. 6, 2001, at Legion Field in Birmingham. The 53 points are the most at Bryant-Denny Stadium since a 62-0 win over Tulane on Oct. 12, 1991.
100-YARD RUSHERS AND RECEIVERS: Alabama has had five 100-yard rushers and one 100-yard receiver in its seven games this season. Sophomore running back Mark Ingram ran for 150 yards in the Tideâ€™s 34-24 win over Virginia Tech in the season opener on Sept. 5. One week later, freshman Trent Richardson led the Tide with 118 rushing yards and senior WR Mike McCoy recorded his first career 100-yard receiving game in a win over FIU (5-100-1). Ingram has also recorded at least 100 yards in his last three games with 140 yards at Kentucky, 172 yards at Mississippi and then a career-best and Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards against South Carolina. Under Coach Saban, Alabama has had 15, 100-yard games and the Tide has gone 14-1 in those 15 games. Four different players have rushed for 100 yards during the last three seasons. Under Coach Saban, Alabama has had seven, 100-yard games and the Tide has gone 6-1 in those seven games. The Florida International game marked the third time under Coach Saban that Alabama had a 100-yard rusher and receiver in the same game.
100-Yard Rushers (14-1)
246 by Mark Ingram vs. South Carolina (Oct. 17, 2009) W
218 by Glen Coffee vs. Kentucky (Oct. 4, 2008) W
173 by Terry Grant at Vanderbilt (Sept. 8, 2007) W
172 by Mark Ingram at Mississippi (Oct. 10, 2009) W
162 by Glen Coffee at Arkansas (Sept. 20, 2008) W
150 by Mark Ingram vs. Virginia Tech (Sept. 5, 2009) W
144 by Glen Coffee vs. Auburn (Nov. 29, 2008) W
140 by Mark Ingram at Kentucky (Oct. 3, 2009) W
134 by Terry Grant vs. Western Carolina (Sept. 1, 2007) W
126 by Glen Coffee at LSU (Nov. 8, 2008) W
121 by Glen Coffee vs. Houston (Oct. 6, 2007) W
118 by Trent Richardson vs. FIU (Sept. 12, 2009) W
113 by Mark Ingram vs. Arkansas State (Nov. 1, 2008) W
112 by Glen Coffee vs. Florida (Dec. 6, 2008) (SEC) L
104 by Terry Grant vs. Tennessee (Oct. 20, 2007) W
30-PLUS: For the first time since 1979, and just the third time in school history, Alabama opened the season with five straight games of 30 points or more. The Tide also accomplished the feat in 1920. It was just the seventh time in school history Alabama had five consecutive games of 30 points or more with the most recent being the season-opening streak in 1979. The longest such streak is seven games, which came from Sept. 18 – Oct. 30 in 1971. The 1971 team also set the school record for most 30-point games with nine. Alabama had seven (tied for third) in 2008. In 2009, the Tide opened with 34 points against Virginia Tech, scored 40 vs. FIU and the hung 53 against North Texas – the most points for a UA team since 2001. The Crimson Tide then put up 35 points in the SEC opener against Arkansas and followed that with 38 points on the road at Kentucky.
Most consecutive 30-point games
1971 7 games Sept. 18-Oct. 30
1975 6 games Sept. 20-Oct. 25
2009 5 games First five games of the season
1979 5 games First five games of the season
1978 5 games Last five games of the season
1973 5 games Oct. 13-Nov. 17
1920 5 games First five games of the season
SPECIAL TEAMS NOTES:
ARENAS NEARING SEC & NCAA PUNT RETURN YARDAGE RECORD: Senior cornerback and return specialist Javier Arenas is quickly sneaking up on the all-time great punt returners in college football history. He has already broken all of the Crimson Tide punt return records, and now has his sights set on the SEC and NCAA records as well. He is the NCAA active leader in career punt returns, yards, touchdowns, returns per game and yards per game. Arenas, who has 1,579 career punt return yards on 112 returns, is just 117 punt return yards away from breaking Lee Nalleyâ€™s long-standing SEC record of 1,695 (102 returns for a 14.4 ypr average). Nalley set that record from 1947-1949 and it stood for 54 years as the NCAA record until Texas Techâ€™s Wes Welker broke it in 2003. Welker finished his Tech career with 1,761 punt return yards and Arenas needs 183 yards to break his record and become the NCAAâ€™s all-time leader in punt return yards.
Arenasâ€™ Career Punt Returns: By the Numbers
Year No. Yards Avg. TD LP
2006 31 286 9.2 2 86
2007 21 323 15.4 1 69
2008 41 650 15.9 3 87
2009 19 320 16.8 0 46
TOTAL 112 1579 14.1 6 87
ARENASâ€™ PUNT RETURN CAREER HIGHS
Punt Returns: 6 vs. Arkansas, 2007
Yards: 153 vs. Mississippi State, 2008
Touchdowns: 1 (6 Times) Last vs. Utah, 2008 (2009 Sugar Bowl)
Long Play: 87 vs. Tulane, 2008
Tiffin Moves Up Career Scoring Chart: Alabama senior placekicker Leigh Tiffin is rapidly moving up the Alabama career scoring chart. After the conclusion of the Tennessee game, when he kicked four field goals and scored all 12 of the Tideâ€™s points, the Muscle Shoals, Ala., native has 337 career points. The Tennessee performance moved him into second place the career points scored list, just eight points from career leader Phillip Doyle, who had 345 points. Tiffin passed his father; Van (312), for third place on the Tideâ€™s all-time in the career list earlier this season.
TIFFIN NO. 2 ON UAâ€™S CAREER FIELD GOALS LIST: Senior place-kicker Leigh Tiffin keeps inching closer to the Alabama career field goals made leader. He converted four field goals against Tennessee to give him 73 career field goals, second all-time at Alabama. He surpassed his father, Van Tiffin (59 from 1983-86) earlier this season against North Texas and then moved past Michael Proctor vs. Mississippi. Tiffinâ€™s 73 field goals leaves him just five shy of the school record held by Philip Doyle (78 from 1987-90).
UA HONORS AND ACCOLADES NOTES:
UA COACHES PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Alabama coaching staff recognized five players of the week following a 12-10 win over Tennessee. Left tackle James Carpenter and wide receiver Julio Jones were selected on offense while Javier Arenas garnered defensive accolades. Terrence Cody and Leigh Tiffin shared special teams honors.
Cody and Tiffinâ€™s play on special teams were the difference in the game for the Tide. Tiffin accounted for all 12 of Alabamaâ€™s points on field goals from 38, 50, 22 and 49 yards. Cody managed to keep six UT points off the scoreboard by blocking two Daniel Lincoln field goals – both in the fourth quarter. The second blocked field goal sealed the Tideâ€™s win on the final play of the game.
Arenas accumlated the most defensive performance points ever by a defensive back. The senior from Tampa, Fla., made 14 tackles with 4.5 going for a loss of 31 yards. Arenas also recorded his fourth sack of the season and registered another quarterback hurry.
Jones hauled in a season-high seven receptions for 54 yards while converting three first downs for the Crimson Tide. Carpenter did an excellent job in pass protection, limiting the Vols to just two quarterback hurries and no sacks. He also cleared a path for 136 yards rushing, including 99 yards by Mark Ingram.
Ingram/Cody receive att&t Player of the week honors: In back-to-back weeks (South Carolina and Tennessee), Alabama players won the AT&T All-America Player of the Week Award. The AT&T All-America Player of the Week is the only player of the week award voted on solely by the fans. Ingram rushed for a Bryant-Denny Stadium record 246 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina and Cody followed that with two blocked field goals in the fourth quarter against Tennessee to preserve the win. The second blocked field goal came with four seconds remaining and clinched a 12-10 Crimson Tide win.
MORE SEC HONORS: Seniors Leigh Tiffin and Terrence Cody were the latest Alabama players to receive weekly player of the week honors from the SEC. Tiffin was selected as the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week after successfully converting all four field goal attempts and accounting for all 12 points in the win over Tennessee. Tiffin made kicks of 38, 50, 22 and 49 yards. Tiffin has made 11 field goals in the last three games against Mississippi (5-for-5), South Carolina (2-for-3) and Tennessee (4-for-4). Cody was named the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week after his two blocked field attempts, including one of the gameâ€™s final play that secured the Crimson Tideâ€™s 12-10 victory over the Vols. Cody blocked Daniel Lincolnâ€™s 44-yard field goal attempt on the gameâ€™s final play as the Tide improved to 8-0 this season. Cody also blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt earlier in the fourth quarter, tying the Alabama single-game record for blocked kicks in a game. He was also credited with two tackles in the win.
For the season, Alabama has seen six players earn eight SEC Player of the Week honors. Mark Ingram has received offensive player of the week honors twice, following the Virginia Tech and South Carolina games while fellow running back Trent Richardson was recognized as the freshman of the week following the FIU and Arkansas games. Rolando McClain was honors after the Kentucky game when he made 12 tackles, forced a fumbe that was returned for a touchdown and intercepted a pass. Junior center William Vlachos was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Tideâ€™s win at Mississippi.
Alabamaâ€™s SEC Players of the Week
Week 1 Mark Ingram Offensive
Week 2 Trent Richardson Freshman
Week 4 Trent Richardson Freshman
Week 5 Rolando McClain Defensive
Week 6 William Vlachos Offensive Line
Week 7 Mark Ingram Offensive
Week 8 Leigh Tiffin Special Teams
Week 8 Terrence Cody Defensive Line
TIDE PLAYERS EARN EARLY ACCOLADES: Eight Alabama players were named to 11 different preseason awards watch lists prior to the 2009 season. The players were recognized as potentially the top players at their position nationally.
Both Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody appeared on five watch lists. McClain is on the watch list for the Chuck Bednarik Award (best defensive player), Dick Butkus Award (top linebacker), Lombardi Trophy (top lineman or linebacker), Lott Trophy (best defensive player) and Nagurski Trophy (defensive player of the year). As a sophomore, McClain led the Tide with 95 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. Cody is also up for the Bednarik Award, Lombardi Trophy, Lott Trophy, Nagurski Award and Outland Trophy. Last year as a junior, Cody recorded 24 tackles, 4 Â½ tackles for loss and recovered two fumbles for the Tide. Other defensive players on preseason awards lists included Arenas (Nagurski and Thorpe) and Hightower (Butkus and Lombardi).
The Crimson Tide offense was represented by Mark Ingram, Mike Johnson and Julio Jones. Jones appears on the Biletnikoff Award (best receiver) and Maxwell Trophy (player of the year), while Johnson is on both the Lombardi and Outland watch lists for outstanding linemen. Ingram appears on the Doak Walker Award list, presented the nationâ€™s top running back. Last year as a freshman, Ingram ran for 712 yards and a freshman record 12 touchdowns. Senior Leigh Tiffin was named to the Lou Groza Award list, which is given to the nationâ€™s top place kicker. (see sidebar on page 7 for complete list)
FRESHMAN ACADEMICS: Alabamaâ€™s heralded 2008 freshman class did more than just excel on the football field, the Crimson Tide placed 12 rookies on the 2009 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll, by far the highest total in the SEC with Georgia coming in second with seven honorees. The Tideâ€™s freshmen academic honorees were Undra Billingsley, John Michael Boswell, Jerrell Harris, Mark Ingram, Barrett Jones, Chris Jordan, Tyler Love, Wesley Neighbors, Brad Smelley, Corey Smith, Damion Square and Michael Williams. Each student-athlete must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or above and be on scholarship or a letter winner. They also must completed 24 semester hours of non-remedial credit at the nominating institution and have been a member of the varsity team for the sportâ€™s entire NCAA Championship segment. (see sidebar on page 7 for complete list)
McClain Earns National Honor: Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain was named the FWAA/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against Kentucky. McClain, a 6-4, 258-pound junior from Decatur, Ala., registered a game- and season-high 12 tackles (eight unassisted) made his first interception of the 2009 season, forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown, notched a quarterback hurry and recorded a pass deflection in Alabamaâ€™s 38-20 victory. McClainâ€™s forced fumble led to a 45-yard touchdown return that gave the Crimson Tide a 21-6 halftime lead. Then, his 21-yard interception return on the first possession of the third quarter set up another Alabama touchdown. His third-quarter pass deflection resulted in an interception that led to a field goal. McClain now has 57 tackles on the season to pace the Tide. He also has 7.0 tackles for loss (-28).
SPORTING NEWSâ€™ MIDSEASON ALL-AMERICANS: Sporting News released is midseason All-Americans this week with four Alabama Crimson Tide players among the 26-man team. The Tideâ€™s top-ranked defense featured standout linebacker Rolando McClain along with senior nose guard Terrence Cody. Sophomore running back Mark Ingram and senior left guard Mike Johnson were tabbed on offense. McClain leads the team with 57 tackles while registering 7.0 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions. Cody has 17 tackles, five tackles for loss and two blocked field goals while eating up double teams and helping the Tide hold opponents to just 64.3 rushing yards per game. Johnson has cleared the way for Ingram in the rushing game and the pair have combined to ignite Alabamaâ€™s vaunted running game, which averages 217.6 yards per game. Ingram ranks fifth nationally with 125.0 ypg by himself while finding the end zone 11 times.
MCCLAIN LOTT IMPACT POW: Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain was selected as the Lott Trophy IMPACT Player of the Week following the Tideâ€™s 20-6 win over No. 22 South Carolina. The Decatur, Ala., native had seven tackles, two quarterback pressures, one tackle for loss (-2 yards) and one pass breakup in the Crimson Tideâ€™s win. McClain leads Alabama with 57 tackles, including 33 solo stops. He has also added seven quarterback pressures, 7.0 tackles for loss (-28 yards), two sacks (-19 yards), two interceptions (21 return yards), one pass break-up and one forced fumble. McClain has also drawn praise from a former coach. â€œThis guy shows up every single Saturday,â€ said former Auburn head coach Pat Dye. â€œHe is the best defensive player I have seen this year. No, make that the best defensive player Iâ€™ve seen in many years.â€
PEEK ON MACKEY WATCH LIST: Alabama senior tight end Colin Peek was one of 22 players named to the 2009 John Mackey Award Watch List, the Nassau County Sports Commission has announced. The Mackey Award is given annually to best collegiate tight end and the winner will be announced on Dec. 10. Peek has started all eight games for the top-ranked Crimson Tide and has caught a team-high 19 passes for 213 yards (11.2 per catch) and one touchdown this season. Peekâ€™s blocking skills have paved the way for sophomore running back Mark Ingramâ€™s SEC-leading 129.29 rushing yards per game this season, and eight touchdowns. In addition, the Crimson Tide offense churns out 217.63 rushing yards per game to rank 11th nationally and third in the SEC.
STAR OF THE WEEK: Senior place-kicker Leigh Tiffin has become accustomed to being named the Lou Groza Award â€œStar of the Week.â€ He was selected for the award for the third time this season after nailing four field goals and accounting for all of Alabamaâ€™s points in a 12-10 win over Tennessee. He connected on kicks of 38, 50, 22 and 49 yards in the win. He was also named the Lou Groza Award â€œStar of the Weekâ€ for his efforts in the Crimson Tideâ€™s 22-3 win at Mississippi on Oct. 10, when he kicked a career-best field goals in the win. His first â€œStar of the Weekâ€ recognition this season came at Virginia Tech where he connected on 4-of-5 field goals and two extra points. Tiffin was also named a Lou Groza Award â€œStar of the Weekâ€ twice in 2008.
Three Added to Watch Lists: A trio of Alabama football players â€“ junior quarterback Greg McElroy, sophomore running back Mark Ingram and senior cornerback/return specialist Javier Arenas â€“ were added to a pair of 2009 watch lists. McElroy and Ingram were added to the watch list for the 73rd Maxwell Award, which is presented to the best player in college football. Arenas was added to the watch list for the 15th Chuck Bednarik Award, which is given annually to the best defensive player in college football.
ALABAMA 25-1 UNDER SABAN WHEN LEADING AT THE HALF: Alabama has led at the half of its last seven games. The Crimson Tide is 25-1 when leading at halftime under head coach Nick Saban, including a 19-game winning streak. The only loss came against LSU during the 2007 season when UA held a 20-17 halftime lead before losing, 41-34, on Nov. 3, 2007, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Crimson Tide is 1-5 under Saban when trailing at halftime and 1-2 when tied at halftime. The lone win when trailing at the half came in the 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech in the 2009 season opener in Atlanta. Alabamaâ€™s lone win when tied at halftime came last year at LSU.
TIDE CAPTURES 800TH WIN: The storied Alabama football program captured the programâ€™s 800th win on Sept. 5 in Atlanta with a 34-24 win over No. 7 Virginia Tech. Alabama is the seventh school in the Football Bowl Subdivision to reach the 800-win plateau. The Crimson Tide holds an 807-316-43 all-time record for a .710 winning percentage that ranks sixth in FBS history. The other six programs to record 800 wins: Michigan (877); Texas (839); Notre Dame (836); Nebraska (821); Ohio State (814); Penn State (807).
16 NATIONAL TV GAMES IN LAST TWO YEARS: The LSU game, which will be broadcast on CBS, will be the Crimson Tideâ€™s 16th national television game since the start of the 2008 season. UA opened the season with a national ABC broadcast against Virginia Tech and then CBS broadcast the Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee games. ESPN broadcast the Tideâ€™s win over South Carolina in Bryant-Denny Stadium. In 2008, Alabama had 10 of its 14 games broadcast nationally, including five games on CBS, three games on ESPN, one on ABC and one on FOX. The 10 nationally broadcast games last year were tied with Notre Dame for the most in the nation.
BEST COACHING STARTS: Nick Saban has compiled a 27-8 (.772) record in his career with the Tide and the 27 wins rank as the fourth-most for any Crimson Tide head football coach after 35 games. Xen Scott had 25 wins through his first 35 games with the Crimson Tide and Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant had 23. Wallace Wade holds the record for most wins after 35 games with 31 victories. Frank Thomas is second with 30 wins in 35 games while Gene Stallings third with 29. Below are the most wins by UA coaches after the first 35 and 36 career games.
Most Wins (After 35 Games)
Wallace Wade 31
Frank Thomas 30
Gene Stallings 29
Nick Saban 27
Xen Scott 25
Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant 23
Ray Perkins 22
Most Wins (After 36 Games)
Wallace Wade 32
Frank Thomas 31
Gene Stallings 30
Xen Scott 26
Paul â€œBearâ€ Bryant 24
Ray Perkins 23
FIRST-TIME STARTERS: Fifteen Alabama players (9 on offense, 6 on defense) have made their first career starts for the Crimson Tide this season. On defense, senior linebacker Eryk Anders, sophomore defensive back Mark Barron and sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus were first-time starters against Virginia Tech before sophomore free safety Robby Green made his first career start as the Tide employed five defensive backs on the first play of scrimmage against FIU and Courtney Upshaw got his first start at Kentucky. True freshman Nico Johnson made his first start at will linebacker against South Carolina. On offense, junior left tackle James Carpenter, sophomore center William Vlachos, sophomore right guard Barrett Jones, senior tight end Colin Peek, sophomore tight end/H-back Brad Smelley and junior quarterback Greg McElroy made their first starts against Tech. Against FIU, senior running back Roy Upchurch made his first start for the Crimson Tide and Darius Hanks started his first game vs. North Texas.
NFL DRAFT: The Crimson Tide saw four players selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, including first-round pick Andre Smith, who went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 6 overall pick. Glen Coffee (San Francisco), Antoine Caldwell (Houston) and Rashad Johnson (Arizona) all went off the board in the third round. The four picks were the most for the Tide since five players were taken in 2005.
RETURNING SUCCESS: Much of the talk in the preseason was about Alabamaâ€˜s vaunted defense, and the defensive side of the football is where the Crimson Tide returned the biggest portion of its players from last yearâ€™s Sugar Bowl team. UA features 15 total returning starters and 55 lettermen this season, but eight of those returning starters are on the defensive side of the football with four on offense and both specialists. The Tide returned 90 percent of its lettermen on defense and 73 percent on offense. The defense returns 84 percent of the tackles (728 of 866) from 2008. The special teams returned almost completely intact with place-kicker Leigh Tiffin, punter P.J. Fitzgerald, snapper Brian Selman and return specialist Javier Arenas.
PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: The Crimson Tide had five players earn preseason first-team All-America honors prior to the 2009 campaign. Javier Arenas, Terrence Cody, Mike Johnson, Julio Jones and Rolando McClain have garnered at least one first-team designation. McClain leads the way with six first-team honors (a complete list of preseason All-Americans in the sidebar).
NICKâ€™S KIDS: At Michigan State, head coach Nick Saban and his wife Terry started the â€œNickâ€™s Kidsâ€ Foundation, which the Sabans have continued in Tuscaloosa. Since their arrival at the University of Alabama, the Sabans have helped raise over $1 million – including over $300,000 this year – for â€œNickâ€™s Kidsâ€ and made a total of more than 160 donations to childrenâ€™s charities throughout the state of Alabama.
STADIUM RENOVATION: The newest expansion project for Bryant-Denny Stadium will see an increase in seating capacity to approximately 101,000, keeping it among the largest on-campus football stadiums in the nation. The expansion, which is expected to be complete for the beginning of the 2010 season, will be the fourth expansion of this magnificent edifice since 1988 and the seventh expansion in the stadiumâ€™s history. This renovation will mirror north end zone project that was completed in 2006. It will consist of roughly 8,500 additional seats, 1,700 South Zone Club seats, two corner video boards, an upper concourse with concessions and restrooms, 36 skyboxes, offices Donors Hall of Fame and an outdoor market for food and merchandise.
NEW HIRES: The Alabama football staff features two new faces in 2009, including linebackersâ€™ coaches Sal Sunseri and James Willis. Sunseri joins the staff spending the last seven seasons as the defensive line coach for the NFLâ€™s Carolina Panthers where he coached the likes of Pro Bowl players Julius Peppers, Mike Rucker and Kris Jenkins. Willis joined Sabanâ€™s staff after spending three years with Auburn where he worked with former Saban assistant Will Muschamp. He spent seven seasons in the NFL prior to beginning his coaching career.
TOP AIDES: Alabamaâ€™s coaching staff has a wealth of knowledge across all levels of football. The nine-man Crimson Tide staff features a former head coach at the Bowl Subdivision level in Bobby Williams (Michigan State). The staff also has six coaches that have spent time as assistant coaches in the NFL in Bo Davis (Dolphins), Jim McElwain (Raiders), Joe Pendry (19 years with multiple teams), Kirby Smart (Dolphins), Sal Sunseri (Panthers) and Bobby Williams (Lions and Dolphins). Alabamaâ€™s coaching staff boasts 40-plus years of combined NFL coaching experience.
THREE TIDE PLAYERS NAMED PLAYBOY ALL-AMERICANS: Alabama landed three players on the 2009 Playboy Magazine annual preseason College Football All-America Team. Rolando McClain was selected as a linebacker while Julio Jones was picked at wide receiver and Javier Arenas was the return specialist. Alabama has now had four Playboy All-Americans in the last two years after Andre Smith was chosen in 2008.
CRIMSON TIDE PLAYERS ON NFL ROSTERS: The Alabama football program was well represented throughout the NFL with the opening of the 2009 season with former players and coaches dotting league rosters. The Tide has 36 former players and coaches working in the NFL this season. The Crimson Tide is also represented on 17 of the leagueâ€™s 30 teams. Four former Alabama players and coaches are with the defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, including defensive back DeShea Townsend and assistant coaches John Mitchell (assistant head coach/DL), Bruce Arians (offensive coordinator/QBs) and Amos Jones (special teams). The Crimson Tide has 21 current NFL players, including 18 on active rosters and two more on practice squads or injured reserve. There are 13 former UA players and/or coaches serving as assistant coaches in the NFL this season, including Sylvester Croom (St. Louis), Freddie Kitchens (Arizona) and Richard Williamson (Carolina).
2009 NFL OPENING DAY ROSTERS
Player Pos. Team
Mark Anderson DE Chicago Bears
Antoine Caldwell C Houston Texans
Glen Coffee RB San Francisco 49ers
Brodie Croyle QB Kansas City Chiefs
Kenneth Darby RB St. Louis Rams
Wallace Gilberry DL Kansas City Chiefs
Cornelius Griffin DL Washington Redskins
Roman Harper DB New Orleans Saints
Jarret Johnson LB Baltimore Ravens
Rashad Johnson DB Arizona Cardinals
Evan Matthis OL Cincinnati Bengals
LeRon McClain FB Baltimore Ravens
Antwan Odom DL Cincinnati Bengals
DeMeco Ryans LB Houston Texans
Chris Samuels OL Washington Redskins
Justin Smiley OL Miami Dolphins
Deshea Townsend DB Pittsburgh Steelers
Andre Smith OL Cincinnati Bengals (Injured Reserve)
John Parker Wilson QB Atlanta Falcons
Anthony Bryant DL New York Giants (Practice Squad)
Bobby Greenwood DL Kansas City Chiefs (Practice Squad)
BURNS and Cochran honored: Associate head coach and running backs coach Burton Burns along with head strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran were named the nationâ€™s best at their respective fields in 2008. Burns was named college footballâ€™s 2008 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year, while Cochran was tabbed as the 2008 Samson Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year for his work with the Crimson Tide in the weight room.
ALABAMAâ€™S TVâ€ˆRECORD: Alabama has compiled a 184-115-5 (.613) all-time record in 304 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts. The Crimson Tide owns a 159-96-3 (.622) record in 258 regular-season televised games.
OVERTIME RECORD: Alabama is 4-7 (.364) all-time in overtime games. In its last overtime game, the Crimson Tide defeated LSU, 27-21, at Tiger Stadium on Nov. 8, 2008. Alabama has lost six of its last nine overtime games. The Crimson Tide is 4-6 (.400) in overtime games against SEC teams. Alabama is 2-4 (.333) in overtime home games. The Crimson Tide is 3-4 (.429) in single-overtime games.
A-DAY SUCCESS: Alabama has led the SEC in spring football game attendance each of the last three seasons, averaging 84,769 fans for Coach Nick Sabanâ€™s three A-Day football games at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama dew a then-NCAA record 92,138 fans for Sabanâ€™s first spring football game on April 21, 2007. In 2008, Alabama led the SEC again with 78,200 fans for itâ€™s A-Day game on April 12. The Tide again set the pace in the SEC with 84,050 fans on April 17, 2009.
2008 SEC Spring Game Att. 2009 SEC Spring Game Att.
Alabama 78,200 Alabama 84,050
Florida 61,000 Florida 65,000
Arkansas 40,200 Tennessee 51,488
Auburn 35,000 Auburn 45,381
LSU 33,624 Georgia 42,458
South Carolina 31,125 Mississippi State 31,606
Tennessee 28,898 LSU 30,532
Mississippi 28,311 Arkansas 30,000
Georgia 19,874 Mississippi 28,357
Kentucky 8,500 South Carolina 25,157
Mississippi State 6,000 Kentucky 20,200
Vanderbilt 2,500 Vanderbilt 1,000
THE ALABAMA-LSU SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with LSU 44-23-5 in a series that dates back to the 1895 season. The 2009 game will be the 73rd meeting between these two long-time Southern football rivals. The Tigers won the inaugural meeting in Baton Rouge, 12-6, on Nov. 18, 1895. The two teams did not meet again until the 1902 season, with LSU prevailing once again. Alabamaâ€™s first series win came on Nov. 9, 1903, in Baton Rouge as the Crimson Tide scored a 10-0 victory. From 1919-45, Alabama posted a 12-game unbeaten streak (9-0-3) against LSU. The series was resumed during the 1944 season with the Tigers gaining a slight advantage over the next nine meetings, posting a 5-3-1 record from 1946-58. Alabama went 16-2 (.889) against LSU from 1964-81, including a series-long 11-game winning streak from 1971-81. LSU also ended UAâ€™s school record 31-game (30-0-1) unbeaten streak with a 17-13 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 1993. The Tigers snapped a 15-game winless streak to the Crimson Tide in Tiger Stadium with a 30-28 win in Baton Rouge on Nov. 4, 2000. LSU has won eight of the last 13 meetings, dating back to 1997. Alabama snapped a five-game series skid with last yearâ€™s 27-21 overtime win in Baton Rouge. The Tide has not beaten LSU in Tuscaloosa since a 23-17 win in 1999. Four Alabama cities have played host to this rivalry, including Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. The Tide owns a 19-14-2 record in the state of Alabama.
THEREâ€™S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Thereâ€™s no place like home, unless you play in the Alabama-LSU football series. A streaky series at best, this matchup between Alabama and LSU has produced some interesting results. The Crimson Tide holds a 44-23-5 series lead over the Tigers in a series that has been dominated by the road team. The home team has compiled an 11-27-1 record since the 1970 season. The road team won every game in the Alabama-LSU series from 1981-89, with the exception of a 14-14 tie in Baton Rouge in 1985. Alabama snapped the nine-game unbeaten streak by the road team with a 24-3 win in Tuscaloosa during the 1990 season. Since 1991, the road team is 13-5 in the last 18 games, including Alabamaâ€™s win last season in Tiger Stadium (27-21 in overtime). Since 1971, Alabama has posted a 16-2-1 record against LSU in Baton Rouge, including a 15-game unbeatean streak from 1971-98. Alabama posted a 14-0-1 record at Tiger Stadium during that stretch. LSU won back-to-back home games with Alabama in 2004 and 2006. The only other time in series history in which LSU won two straight home games against Alabama was a 31-21 win on Nov. 9, 1946 (31-21), and a 26-6 win on Nov. 20, 1948. Since 1982, LSU owns a 10-3 record over the Crimson Tide in the state of Alabama. The Tigers won four straight road games from 1982-88 and have won the last four at Bryant-Denny Stadium (2001, 2003, 2005 & 2007).
NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: Nick Saban, Les Miles, Steve Spurrier and Urban Meyer are the four active SEC coaches to win a national championship. Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003, while Miles led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship in 2007. Spurrier guided Florida to a 12-1 ledger and the schoolâ€™s first national title in 1996. Meyer has two national titles with the Gators in 2006 and 2008.
BAMA-LSU SERIES AT VARIOUS SITES: The Alabama-LSU series has been played at six different sites since the initial meeting in 1895. The city of Baton Rouge has hosted the most games in the series (35), with Alabama posting a 25-8-2 record on the LSU campus. Only one other Louisiana city has hosted this series, with Alabama and LSU playing to a 7-7 tie in New Orleans in 1921. Four Alabama cities have played host to this rivalry, including Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Montgomery and Birmingham. The Tide owns a 19-14-2 record in the state of Alabama.
LSU SERIES IS A LONG ONE: The LSU series is the fourth-longest series in school history. The two teams began playing in 1895, the 15th game in Crimson Tide history, and the 2009 game marks the 73rd meeting between the two teams. Only Mississippi State (92), Tennessee (92) and Vanderbilt (81) have played Alabama more than LSU.
MOST GAMES VS. OPPONENT (All-Time)
Opponent Games 1st Meeting
Mississippi State 92 1896
Tennessee 92 1901
Vanderbilt 81 1903
LSU 72 1895
Auburn 71 1892
Alabamaâ€™s Oldest Football Series
Opponent First Meeting
1. Auburn 1893
2. Mississippi 1894
3. Georgia 1895
3. LSU 1895
5. Mississippi State 1896
6. Tennessee 1901
SABAN VS. LSU: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 1-2 in his career against LSU, following last yearâ€™s 27-21 overtime win in Tiger Stadium. Prior to that, Saban-coached teams were 0-2 against LSU, losing 46-25 to the Tigers while at Michigan State in the 1995 Independence Bowl in Shreveport and 41-34 in 2007 Tuscaloosa. Saban was the head coach at LSU from 2000-04 and compiled a 48-16 (.750) record, leading the Tigers to the 2003 BCS National Championship and two SEC Championships during his tenure. In 2003, Saban led the Tigers to a 13-1 record and a 21-14 win over Oklahoma in the BCS National Championship Game played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La.
LOUISIANA NATIVES: Alabama has five Louisiana natives on its football roster, including freshman wide receiver Kenny Bell (Rayville, La.), junior defensive lineman Luther Davis (Monroe, La.), sophomore defensive back player Robby Green (River Ridge, La.), freshman running back Eddie Lacy and freshman defensive lineman Darrington Sentimore.
UA-LSU COACHING TIES: Alabama defensive line coach Bo Davis was an All-SEC defensive lineman at LSU and later worked on the Tigersâ€™ staff under both Saban and current LSU head coach Les Miles. Assistant head coach and secondary coach Kirby Smart spent the 2004 season at LSU under Saban. Smart tutored two NFL first-round draft picks Corey Webster and Travis Daniels. LSU allowed 157.2 passing yards to rank second in the SEC and fifth nationally in 2004. LSU Athletic Trainer Jack Marucci served as a graduate assistant trainer for the Alabama football and baseball teams from 1986-88 and earned his masterâ€™s degree from UA in 1988.
ALABAMA VS. LOUISIANA SCHOOLS: Alabama owns an 84-39-8 record against teams from the state of Louisiana. The Crimson Tide has played 113 of those 130 games against LSU (72) and Tulane (41).