Saban wins another Coach of the Year honor

Saban Sporting News National Coach of the Year; Four Tide Players Earn All-America Honors (via UA)
TUSCALOOSA — The Sporting News released its 2008 All-America teams and named its Coach of the Year on Wednesday. Alabama’s Nick Saban was selected as the Coach of the Year while four Crimson Tide players garnered All-America honors, including three on the first team.

Saban adds the Sporting News honor to his list of accolades this season that includes the 2008 Home Depot National Coach of the Year. Saban guided his team to a 12-1 record and the SEC Western Division Championship. He set the Alabama record for the largest win increase from year one to year two by a Crimson Tide head coach. The Tide won seven games in Saban’s first year, and then posted a 12-1 record this season, an increase of five wins.

Left tackle Andre Smith (Birmingham, Ala.), center Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery, Ala.) and nose guard Terrence Cody (Fort Myers, Fla.) were named to the Sporting News’ first team while free safety Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) was selected to the second team.

Smith, a consensus first-team All-American, and Caldwell anchored the Crimson Tide’s heralded offensive line that helped pave the way for the SEC’s No. 2 rushing offense at 196.5 yards per game and a 125.8 passing efficiency that ranked fourth in the league. Smith became Alabama’s second Outland Trophy winner and was a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award while Caldwell was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation’s top center.

Cody, another consensus first-team All-American from Fort Myers, Fla., held down the middle of the Crimson Tide’s defensive front that allowed just 78.9 rushing yards per game (fourth nationally). The junior college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast required double teams from opposing offensive lines all season while accounting for 23 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He also helped the Tide rank third nationally in total defense at 256.9 yards allowed per game.

Johnson, a former walk-on and second-team All-America selection, has developed into one of the finest safeties in college football after accounting for 82 tackles, five tackles for loss (-15), one sack (-7), five interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – and 11 pass break-ups. His 16 passes defended lead the SEC and is tied for 21st nationally. Johnson was selected as a first-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association and was a second-team Walter Camp and Associated Press selection.

Alabama has had four players earn first-team All-America recognition this season from either the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA), the Associated Press (AP), the Walter Camp Foundation or the Sporting News. A fifth Alabama player, Rolando McClain, garnered third-team All-America honors from the AP. Below is a breakdown of the Tide’s 2008 All-Americans.

Updated list of 2008 Crimson Tide All-Americans
Andre Smith: AFCA, FWAA, Walter Camp, Sporting News, Associated Press
Terrence Cody: AFCA, FWAA, Sporting News, Associated Press
Antoine Caldwell: AFCA, Sporting News, Associated Press
Rashad Johnson: AFCA

Rashad Johnson: Walter Camp, Associated Press
Terrence Cody: Walter Camp

Rolando McClain: Associated Press

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