Monday, November 30, 2009

Tide Talk: Mark Ingram, Javier Arenas, and Greg McElroy

Mark, Javy, and Greg "talk up" the rematch with the Florida Gators.

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Great Escape: ‘Bama Beats Auburn

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(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Alabama didn’t play like champions until the final drive of the game, but the final drive is all they needed. The Crimson Tide survived the Auburn Tigers 26-21, in a heart stopper at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Auburn jumped on Alabama 14-0 in the first quarter thanks to every trick play in the book. Courtesy of a nifty reverse by wide receiver Terrell Zachery, an on-sides kick courtesy of Wes Byrum, and plenty of fairy dust courtesy of the “magic hat,” Auburn seemed to have enough tricks to make David Blaine blush.

One could say, in typical “Iron Bowl” fashion…nothing went according to plan. The Auburn rush defense had all the answers for ‘Bama running back Mark Ingram. The Tide star, who averages over 120 yards per game, was held to only 30 yards on 16 carries.

If nail biting is one of your favorite hobbies, this game was ideal.

The contest was knotted at 14 at the half, and many thought ‘Bama would simply wear Auburn down in the latter portion of the game. However, this game was all about the experts being wrong…and the second half was no exception.

Instead of Alabama reclaiming the game and walking away with a victory, Auburn came out firing. Chris Todd found Darvin Adams on a 72-yard touchdown strike to give the Tigers a 21-14 advantage in the third quarter.

Leigh Tiffin would connect on field goals of 27 and 31 yards, to close the margin to 21-20. The sun was setting over Jordan-Hare Stadium, and the final period would be the final chance for Alabama.

With state, conference, and national title hopes hanging in the balance, Tide quarterback Greg McElroy orchestrated…“THE DRIVE.”

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With the running game soured by the Auburn defense, McElroy and Julio Jones drove 79 yards and washed away more than seven minutes of clock. McElroy completed his final seven passes, four of them to Jones…including three critical first down receptions.

With just over a minute left in regulation, and the ‘Bama season on the line, the Tide faced a critical third down at the Auburn 4-yard line. After changing the original play call, a run to Trent Richardson, ‘Bama called…”Cody-5” to save the season.

Typically designed to be a run play behind Terrence Cody, the play was instead a roll out pass to running back Roy Upchurch. With everyone in the stadium expecting run, Greg McElroy found Upchurch for the go ahead touchdown.

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Following a failed 2-point conversion, Alabama led 26-21 with only a minute and change remaining in regulation.

On the final play of the game Auburn quarterback Chris Todd lofted a “Hail Mary,” but the ball was spiked to the ground by linebacker Rolando McClain. When the ‘Bama defense needed to stand tall…they responded.

Alabama has now won back-to-back games in the series, and now leads the overall series, 40-33-1.

Scoring Summary

AUB Terrell Zachery 67 yd run (Wes Byrum kick)
AUB Eric Smith 1 yd pass from Chris Todd (Wes Byrum kick)
AL Trent Richardson 2 yd run (Leigh Tiffin kick)
AL Colin Peek 33 yd pass from Greg McElroy (Leigh Tiffin kick)
AUB Darvin Adams 72 yd pass from Chris Todd (Wes Byrum kick)
AL Leigh Tiffin 27 yd FG
AL Leigh Tiffin 31 yd FG
AL Roy Upchurch 4 yd pass from Greg McElroy (failed 2pt pass)

Individual Stats

AL: Trent Richardson 15-51, Mark Ingram 16-30, Greg McElroy 4--8
AUB: Terrell Zachery 1-67, Ben Tate 18-45, Onterio McCalebb 5-23, Mario Fannin 1-14, Kodi Burns 2-5, Chris Todd 5--3

AL: Greg McElroy 21-31-218-0, Mark Ingram 0-1-0-0
AUB: Chris Todd 15-25-181-1, Kodi Burns 0-1-0-0

AL: Julio Jones 9-83, Colin Peek 3-53, Trent Richardson 3-31, Mark Ingram 3-21, Roy Upchurch 2-15, Darius Hanks 1-15
AUB: Darvin Adams 4-138, Mario Fannin 4-20, Ben Tate 4-17, Emory Blake 1-7, Eric Smith 1-1, Terrell Zachery 1--2

NOTE: Coming soon…’Bama/Florida…THE REMATCH!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alabama/Auburn: Too Much vs. Too Little

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When all the facts, stats, and cheap talk have been scattered across the table, I ask myself one single question:

Can Auburn compete with Alabama for an ENTIRE game? No.

Auburn lacks depth in critical areas and also lacks team efficiency in many critical areas.

When you look at Alabama, you see a superior football who could be destined for greatness come January. When you look at Auburn, you clearly see a mediocre team with sparks of greatness…but also signs of atrocious play.

The crowning achievement for the Auburn Tigers was obviously the “get off the canvas” win against Ole Miss. However, a home loss to Kentucky is a prime example of an incomplete mediocre team.

Alabama is quicker, more physical, and simply better. It has been very difficult for any team to compete with the Tide this season. The deciding factor for this game will have more to do with Alabama being superior…than Auburn being mediocre.

From a candid objective point of view, (and yes I can be objective) I honestly can’t foresee a situation where Alabama will lose this game. I can however see a scenario were Alabama is forced to pull away early in the final quarter (even though that is a stretch), but I can’t see a situation where Alabama is defeated by Auburn.

I’m afraid the BEST possible game played by Auburn, will still fall 9 or 10 points shy of Alabama.

Mark Ingram is simply too much, and the Auburn rush defense is simply too little. The Alabama defense is simply too much, and the Auburn total defense is simply too thin.

I could certainly be more detailed, but if you’re reading this content I’m quite confident you’ve heard all the media predictions, and the overall “tone” heading into Friday afternoon.

I’m not going to take “cheap shots” at Auburn, but the Tigers are clearly overmatched and undermanned. On the bright side, the Tigers are in the midst of a great recruiting class and will certainly be a top 20 team in a very short
time…baring an unforeseen disaster.

However, until Auburn can build a sturdy foundation for the future, “Black Friday” could take on a whole new meaning…come Friday afternoon.

When the "talking heads" (myself included) have spoken the final word, the game will be rather simplistic.

Alabama, like last season, is simply the better team, and Auburn like last simply in the way.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Iron Bowl vs. Alabama/Auburn

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Before you ask me if the title is a trick question…the answer is “no.” For those who will tell me the “Iron Bowl” and “Alabama/Auburn” is in fact the same thing…the answer is once again…”no.”

I’ve been pondering this idea for many days, and I would like to share my conclusions as kickoff draws near.


In my opinion the Iron Bowl is the hype, the talk, the banter, the braggin’ rights, the arguing, and in some cases…the fighting! The Iron Bowl is where the records are thrown out the window, and the team with the better talent…will NEVER win! The mindset behind the Iron Bowl is the history, but it’s also the idea that anything can happen and the hope the UNDERDOG should be…the FAVORITE!

The Iron Bowl is the place where stats mean nothing, and the team with the better record…is destined to LOSE! The hatred many people have towards Auburn or Alabama is in large part due to the Iron Bowl, and the stories told and shared over the years.

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Simply stated, the actual Iron Bowl supersedes common knowledge, basic football logic, and can cause the most “sane and sound” fan to suffer from temporary delusions of grandeur.

No matter how big the odds, how honest the stats, how good the record of the opposition, or how “common” the logic, deep down his or her team will FOREVER have a chance to beat the in-state rival…regardless!

The “iron will” to win…is the epitome of the IRON BOWL!


The Alabama/Auburn game is what happens when the Iron Bowl is NOT taking place. In my opinion the Iron Bowl ends after each team has had an offensive possession in the game.

Once the game begins the emotion and tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. However, by the middle of the first quarter…the Iron Bowl ends…and basic college football begins.

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(AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Once the actual “game” begins, all the things that didn’t matter in
the Iron Bowl…will matter. All the stats that were thrown out and all the logic that was discarded…will matter.

Even though the “anyone can win” premise is always a card to be played, upsets in the Alabama/Auburn game have rarely occurred. Once the talk and banter come to an end and the actual game is played on the field….9 times out of 10, the better team has won.

The Alabama/Auburn game in 2009 has the Alabama Crimson Tide playing in yet another typical road game, and it has the Auburn Tigers playing against a very tough opponent at home. Sound simple? It is very simple.

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(AP Photo/April L Brown)

Once the trim is removed and the sparkle is tainted, the game is still played on the field. Once the game is over you’ll realize all the talk…was merely talk…and this goes for both fan bases.

Does the game hold extra importance for the fans? It most certainly does. However, the game is played on the field, and once the clock hits zero…the better team usually wins. The better players will make the better plays, and the better team will win the game. The “Iron Bowl” is what makes the rivalry, but “Alabama/Auburn” is just another football game…despite what we all believe.

Contrary to popular belief, the “Iron Bowl” will never hold a candle to talented players, teams, and coaches.

We tell our kids about the “Iron Bowl”…but we witness “Alabama vs. Auburn.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

IRON BOWL 2009: The Numbers Game

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Anytime a “big game” is on the countdown clock, many fans and “experts” will turn to key players or common opponents in order to decide the outcome of the game in question. However, the ultimate comparisons will always be found in statistics.

Even though the “numbers game” is deemed an irrelevant issue by a sizeable faction of people, statistical "evidence" can be vital. Eleven games can offer some insight in terms of what a given team can seize upon in respect to the other teams deficiencies.

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(AP Photo/ Butch Dill)

To kickoff "Iron Bowl 2009," I’ve taken the liberty to dissect Alabama and Auburn in the mathematical sense. No common opponents or key players in this
breakdown…this is strictly the numbers game.

Some stats are glaring and obviously favor Alabama. Judging by the statistical breakdown it’s very easy to see why the betting line favors 'Bama by 11-12 points.

Let’s play the numbers game…Iron Bowl style!

**The numbers 1-12 dictate where each team ranks in a given category in respect to other SEC teams. "1" being FIRST and "12" being LAST.**


1-Auburn 34.0 Points Per Game
4-‘Bama 32.2 Points Per Game


2-‘Bama 9.9 Points Per Game
12-Auburn 27.0 Points Per Game


3-Auburn 441.5 Yards Per Game
4-‘Bama 418 Yards Per Game


1-‘Bama 225 Yards Per Game
9-Auburn 359.2 Yards Per Game


2-‘Bama 225.6 Yards Per Game
3-Auburn 219.5 Yards Per Game

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(AP Photo/ Butch Dill)


1-‘Bama 70.4 Yards Per Game
10-Auburn 169.7 Yards Per Game


4-Auburn 221.9 Yards Per Game
8-‘Bama 192.4 Yards Per Game


2-‘Bama 154.6 Yards Per Game
9-Auburn 189.5 Yards Per Game


1-‘Bama 18 INTs
5-Auburn 12 INTs


1-‘Bama 32:56 Per Game
10-Auburn 28:26 Per Game

Individual Stats of Note:


1-Mark Ingram (UA) 127.2 Yards Per Game
3-Ben Tate (AU) 109.9 Yards Per Game


5-Chris Todd (AU) 199.6 Yards Per Game
7-Greg McElroy (UA) 181.2 Yards Per Game

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(AP Photo/ Butch Dill)


3-Mark Ingram (UA) 147.6 Yards Per Game
6-Ben Tate (AU) 130.5 Yards Per Game

As you glance at the stats, four VITAL things stand alone from the rest.

1) The Alabama defense only allows 9.9 points per contest, and the Auburn defense allows 27 points per contest. If you want to find a "glaring" stat...that would certainly be the one. If stats could ever predict a final score...27-9 could very well be the final.

2) Alabama allows only 225 yards per game and Auburn allows 359.
3) Couple that with the fact Auburn is 10th in the SEC in rushing defense (169.7) and 4) 9th in the conference in pass defense (189.5), and you begin to see massive holes on the defensive side of the ball for Auburn.

Mark Ingram will face the 10th "best" defense in the conference in respect to the run (as mentioned above), on Friday afternoon. Auburn gives up an average of 169.7 yards on the ground. Don't be shocked if Ingram has a 200 yard game based on those stats.

This has been IRON BOWL MATH 101...class dismissed.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Senior Day Shutout: 'Bama Blanks Chattanooga

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The Alabama Crimson Tide (11-0) sent the seniors out on a positive note, courtesy of a 45-0 drubbing of the undersized and undermanned, Chattanooga Mocs.

Many were predicting the contest to be nothing but a “glorified scrimmage” and the game was indeed a “pleasure cruise” for the Tide.

Mark Ingram led ‘Bama with 102 yards on the ground including two impressive touchdown runs of 25 and 40 yards respectively.

Greg McElroy had a nice afternoon in limited duty. McElroy was 6/11 for 80 yards including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones in the first period.

In his final game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, Javier Arenas not only had an interception but returned a punt 66 yards for a ‘Bama touchdown early in the second period. With the return, Arenas only needs 37 yards to break the SEC punt return record. Javy is also only 93 yards shy of the NCAA record.

‘Bama led the ‘Mocs 35-0 at the break, and the second half was simply an exhibition in clock management…by both teams. ‘Bama was in a hurry to get to the locker room…and UTC was in a hurry to get home!

Alabama held the ‘Mocs to only 84 yards of total offense, and recorded the first shutout of the 2009 season. Chattanooga quarterback BJ Coleman was 7/25 for 37 yards, including a pair of interceptions.

Outside of winning, the goal to remain injury free was obtained. The game was over at the half, and the ‘Bama “key players” spent the second half on the sidelines as the game meandered along.

Bench Production:
QB Star Jackson: 4/5 29 Yards
RB Demetrius Goode: 11 Carries 70 Yards


1st Quarter

Trent Richardson, 3 Yd run (Leigh Tiffin kick is good), 5:23. Drive: 11 plays, 51 yards in 05:44.

Mark Ingram, 25 Yd run (Leigh Tiffin kick is good), 3:04. Drive: 2 plays, 69 yards in 00:49.

Julio Jones, 19 Yd pass from Greg McElroy (Leigh Tiffin kick is good), 0:54. Drive: 4 plays, 31 yards in 02:03.

2nd Quarter

Javier Arenas, 66 Yd punt return (Leigh Tiffin kick is good), 14:56.

Mark Ingram, 40 Yd run (Leigh Tiffin kick is good), 9:53. Drive: 5 plays, 62 yards in 01:50.

3rd Quarter

Leigh Tiffin 41 Yd, 11:43. Drive: 5 plays, 8 yards in 03:10.

4th Quarter

Roy Upchurch, 21 Yd run (Jeremy Shelley kick is good), 4:00. Drive: 8 plays, 71 yards in 04:42.

NOTE: Coming soon…All Things IRON BOWL!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crimson Notes 11/19/09

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Nose tackle Terrence Cody has been named one of the five finalists for the prestigious Bronko Nagurski Trophy. The award goes to the best defensive player in the nation.

On the flip side, Tide linebacker Rolando McClain was omitted from the list. Many Tide fans, and knowledgeable football fans alike, will certainly be scratching at the ‘ole forehead in respect to the surprising news. By all accounts Rolando McClain is the “quarterback” of the ‘Bama defense, and is certainly the driving force behind the Alabama defensive success in 2009.

In no way I’m I trying to overshadow the wonderful accomplishment(s) of Terrence Cody, but how can you have Cody on the list…and exclude McClain?

On the injury front, starting linebacker Eryk Anders appears to be “ready to roll” on Saturday. Anders, who has been dealing with a right ankle sprain for several weeks, has returned to full action this week in practice. Anders re-injured the ankle in the ‘Bama win over Mississippi State.

Running back Terry Grant will once again be out of action this weekend, and could possibly miss the reminder of the season. Grant is suffering from an abdominal strain that is simply not getting any better. Terry did not dress for the LSU game or the contest at Mississippi State. The injury is said to be extremely painful and debilitating. Grant has not handled the ball on offense since the Tide’s 35-7 victory over Arkansas in late September.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tide Talk: Mark Ingram

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Senior Day 2009: Tennessee-Chattanooga/Alabama

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The University of Alabama Crimson Tide will play the final home game of the 2009 season on Saturday, as ‘Bama takes on the ‘Mocs of Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Keys to the Game:


In all seriousness, it will be very important that Alabama use caution in respect to how long the starters are in the game against Chattanooga. The last thing anyone wants to see an injury…especially under these circumstances. In a “perfect world” ‘Bama quarterback Greg McElroy will be resting comfortably on the bench by the latter stages of the first half, and Star Jackson will be at the controls.

Also look for the likes of Mark Ingram, Julio Jones, Rolando McClain, (just to name a few) to see limited action against Chattanooga. This game is not about “style points” it’s about winning and staying healthy.

Be prepared to see many fresh faces against the ‘Mocs. I’m certain whoever is available to play…will play.

Even though everyone is aware this contest is nothing but a “glorified scrimmage,” I will most certainly give credit to the opposition.

Tennessee-Chattanooga finished the 2008 season with a record of 1-11. However, in 2009, the ‘Mocs are currently 6-4 overall and 4-4 in the Southern Conference.

The Chattanooga offense is led by quarterback BJ Coleman. In many ways Coleman is one of the best quarterbacks the Crimson Tide defense will face this season. BJ is a transfer from the University of Tennessee, and has certainly found a home with first-year coach Russ Huesman at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Coleman has thrown for 2,312 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009.

Chris Awuah leads the ‘Mocs in rushing, but it’s rather an irrelevant point. Awuah has over 500 yards rushing in 2009, but Chattanooga is obviously a passing team so any offensive damage will most certainly be done through the air.

BJ Coleman has a couple of excellent receivers in respect to Blue Cooper and Chris Pitchford. Cooper has caught 82 passes, has over 800 yards receiving, and seven touchdowns. Pitchford has 42 receptions in 2009, over 500 yards receiving, and has been the recipient of five touchdown passes.

As mentioned in the initial portion of the game preview, the contest with Chattanooga is the final home game of the 2009 season, and Alabama plans to honor a total of 26 seniors.

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The 26 seniors have played a vital role in turning the Alabama Crimson Tide into an elite program. We can all remember it wasn’t long ago that Alabama was simply “floating in the pool of mediocrity,” and now the Tide is regarded as a superior football team. The young men listed below deserve respect and credit for being a catalyst in turning the program in a positive direction.

Senior Day 2009:

Eryk Anders
Javier Arenas
Alex Benson
Evan Cardwell
Terrence Cody
Drew Davis
Brandon Deaderick
P.J. Fitzgerald
Hampton Gray
Baron Huber
Marquis Johnson
Mike Johnson
Tyrone King
Mike McCoy
Colin Peek
Cory Reamer
Chris Rogers
Brian Selman
Ali Sharrief
Leigh Tiffin
Heath Thomas
Jacob Vane
Roy Upchurch
Byron Walton
Lorenzo Washington
Justin Woodall

The game with Chattanooga will be the 11th meeting between the two schools, and the first encounter since the 1994 season. The contest will also be the first meeting in Tuscaloosa in 50 years.

Prediction: Alabama 55 Chattanooga 13

Kickoff for Chattanooga/Alabama is set for 11:21 a.m. central time on the SEC Network. Be sure to check your local affiliate for the station in your area.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Starkville Smash: ‘Bama Rolls MSU

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(AP Photo/Birmingham News, Mark Almond)

In arguably the best “complete performance” of the 2009 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide dominated the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 31-3. In front of the largest crowd to ever witness an MSU football game at Davis Wade Stadium, Alabama simply owned the Bulldogs in every sense of the word.

In front of a sea of cowbells, and Mississippi State gimmick black jerseys, the Crimson Tide improved to 10-0 on the season, and served noticed on the entire nation. Alabama has now started a perfect 10-0 for the second consecutive season, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by a Crimson Tide team since the 1973-1974 seasons.

‘Bama running back Mark Ingram had another spectacular outing and continues to make his case for the Heisman Trophy. Ingram had 149 yards on 19 carries, and two touchdowns. Even though Ingram busted open his forehead above his right eyebrow, and suffered a busted lip, the Bulldogs had no answer for the explosive Tide running back.

Quarterback Greg McElroy had an outstanding performance against the Bulldogs as he went 13-18 for 192 yards, including two touchdown passes. In the second period McElroy connected with Darius Hanks for a 45-yard touchdown, and in the final period McElroy found a wide open Julio Jones for a 48-yard score.

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(AP Photo/Birmingham News, Mark Almond)

The Alabama passing attack was not only efficient…but balanced. Julio Jones caught four passes for 66 yards and the aforementioned touchdown. Marquis Maze caught four passes for 55 yards, including a critical third down conversion that went for 42 yards. Finally, Darius Hanks caught three passes for 59 yards, including the aforementioned 45-yard touchdown reception, which was also the initial score of the game.

On the other side of the field, the MSU passing game was anemic. Starter Tyson Lee went 9-17 for only 99 yards including two interceptions. Chris Relf went 0-3 with no passing yards and one interception.

Alabama had 444 yards of total offense compared to only 213 by the Bulldogs.

On the defensive side of the ball, Alabama held MSU running back Anthony Dixon to only 81 yards on 22 carries. Safety Mark Barron also had two interceptions and now has six on the season, which leads the SEC.

Tide cornerback Marquis Johnson also had an excellent outing against the Bulldogs, with numerous pass break-ups and a late game interception of his own.

Many college football “experts” said the game with Mississippi State would be a “trap game,” and ‘Bama would struggle to leave Starkville with a victory. If 31-3 is a “struggle” then Alabama is certainly on the right track to the ultimate prize.

With the win over Mississippi State, Alabama remains No. 3 in the USA TODAY COACHES POLL, but the Tide did manage to surpass the Texas Longhorns and capture the No. 2 position in the AP POLL.

The latest edition of the BCS standings has the Crimson Tide holding strong at the No. 2 position behind the Florida Gators.

MISSISSIPPI MANHANDLE: The Alabama Crimson Tide has owned the state of Mississippi this season. Thanks to a 22-3 win at Ole Miss, and the 31-3 victory in Starkville, ‘Bama have outscored the Rebels and the Bulldogs by a total of 53-6 in 2009.

NOTE: Coming soon…Chattanooga/Alabama preview.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Alabama Practice: 11/10/09

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Crimson Notes 11/12/09

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The individual honors and recognition just keep coming for the 2009 Alabama Crimson Tide football team. Nose tackle Terrence Cody has been named as one of the four finalists for the coveted Lombardi Award. The famed and prestigious award is given to the top interior lineman (or linebacker) in college football.

The other finalists for the prized award were Oklahoma defensive end Gerald McCoy, TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes, and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

In other award nominations, Tide running back Mark Ingram has been named as one of the 10 semifinalists for the Doak Walker Award. The honor is given to the best running back in college football, each season.

In quarterback news, freshman AJ McCarron is one step closer to being the next starting quarterback for the Crimson Tide. McCarron, who has played on scout team throughout the season has now been promoted, and is now preparing, as one of the quarterback “options” for each week.

McCarron had been considered by many to be the fourth-string quarterback, behind Greg McElroy, Star Jackson, and Thomas Darrah. It now appears that McCarron will share dual second-string honors with Star Jackson.

Even though it is very unlikely that McCarron will see action this year (and will be redshirted), he is technically available if starting quarterback Greg McElroy sustains an injury.

Speaking of injury, running back Terry Grant is still listed as questionable for the contest at Mississippi State. Grant missed the game against LSU due to an unstipulated muscle pull. Even though Terry has been able to practice at times this week, his playing status is still very much in doubt for Saturday night in Starkville.

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Tight end Colin Peek appears to be on the mend and should see more action against Mississippi State. Peek injured his knee in pregame warm-ups prior to the Tennessee game. Colin saw very little action against LSU, but he seems to be progressing nicely after suffering what has been classified as a sprained MCL.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tide Talk: Javier Arenas

In this interview, Javy talks about being competitive, avoiding a let down, the importance of getting better as a team, being critical of himself, and his personal thoughts on Mississippi State running back Anthony Dixon.

NOTE: For the best audio quality please increase your volume due to natural sound interference.

Cowbell Alert: ‘Bama Invades Starkville

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The No. 3 University of Alabama Crimson Tide will look to stay undefeated and keep national championship aspirations alive, as ‘Bama takes on the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Saturday night in Starkville.

Alabama is coming off an emotional win over the LSU Tigers, while Mississippi State had the luxury of a bye week following a win over Kentucky.

The Bulldogs will enter the contest with a record of 4-5 on the season…and that is the scary part for Tide fans. The Bulldogs simply have nothing to lose…and the world to gain! Alabama must stay focused in order to be efficient on both sides of the ball and avoid the upset. Night games in Starkville had been known to damage several teams in the past.

In 1992, Alabama had to fight tooth and nail to escape Starkville with a win. The Crimson Tide ended that particular year with the national championship. Perhaps a win in Starkville will prove well for future prospects in 2009.

In respect to Mississippi State, the Bulldogs have talent…but nowhere near enough. However, the ‘Dogs do have weapons that can certainly change the complexity of any game. Coach Dan Mullen has certainly made good use of the talent he has been provided and recruited.

Running back Anthony Dixon is certainly one of the best backs in the SEC. Dixon has nine rushing touchdowns this season and averages over five yards per carry. Dixon has surpassed the 1,000 yard total already this season, and he is certainly a “workhorse” for the Bulldogs. From a personal standpoint, Dixon reminds me of Ben Tate (Auburn), Charles Scott (LSU), and Trent Richardson from our very own Alabama Crimson Tide.

Mississippi State ve. Kentucky

Alabama will certainly need to limit the productivity of Anthony Dixon, and force State to pass. The Bulldogs are ranked third is rushing offense, so shutting down the Mississippi State ground game will be key for the Alabama defense.

In the passing department, Mississippi State ranks 10th in passing offense under the command of quarterback Tyson Lee. Lee has been getting the bulk of the action this season, but is very shaky when if comes to pass efficiency. Lee has thrown four touchdowns…and 11 interceptions.

Mississippi State v Kentucky

One of the premiere wide receivers on the Mississippi State roster is none other than an Alabama top recruit. In February, Chad Bumphis chose the Bulldogs over the likes of Alabama, and others. Bumphis has wasted no time in showcasing his talent and currently averages just over 11 yards per catch, and has three touchdown receptions. Bumphis, along with Marcus Green are the primary targets in the Mississippi State passing attack.

In respect to Alabama, the contest with Mississippi State is all about focus and discipline. The Bulldogs are ranked 10th in pass defense and 9th in rush defense. If Alabama can maintain a nice mix of run/pass and force Mississippi State to throw the football, the Crimson Tide should dominate the game come Saturday night.

Anything can happen when the underdog is playing at home and has nothing to lose, but the ‘Bama defense and Tide running back Mark Ingram should prove far too much for the Bulldogs to handle for an entire game. Alabama and physicality go hand in hand, and by the latter stages of the game, Mississippi State should be on the ropes. Too much Ingram, will prove too much for the Bulldogs.

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In 2008 the final score was 32-7 in favor of the Crimson Tide. I look for this game to have a similar score with Alabama dominating the line of scrimmage…and the second half.

Prediction: Alabama 30 Mississippi State 10

Mississippi State/Alabama will be televised on ESPN with kickoff expected around 6:05 p.m. central time.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Nick Saban: LSU Post-Game Presser

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Welcome to Atlanta: ‘Bama Defeats LSU, Wins West

LSU v Alabama

Everyone enjoys classic television, and the 2009 edition of LSU/Alabama played out like the glory days of old.

On one side of the field we had the famous television show, M*A*S*H…also known as the LSU football team. Even though it never appeared in the stats, the leading rusher for the Tigers was without question…the training staff!

While the complete series of M*A*S*H was broadcast throughout Bryant-Denny Stadium, fans and viewers alike received a taste of another famous television classic during the second half.

Courtesy of a Julio Jones 73-yard touchdown reception from Greg McElroy, the theme song from Welcome Back, Kotter began to play in the minds of many Tide fans! Julio Jones was back…and LSU was finished.

Thanks to mental and physical toughness, a big play from Julio Jones, a dose of Mark Ingram, and some solid defense, Alabama defeated the LSU Tigers...24-15. With the victory, the Crimson Tide improves to 9-0 on the season, and captures the SEC Western Division crown for the second consecutive season.

Many thought this game would be down to the wire, and the contest at Bryant-Denny certainly lived up to the hype. Following a scoreless first quarter which saw a series of defensive stands and field position swings, the LSU Tigers added the first score of the game. Quarterback Jordan Jefferson connected with wide receiver Deangelo Peterson on a 12-yard touchdown to give LSU an early 7-0 lead.

Alabama was able to move the ball in the initial half of play, but quarterback Greg McElroy was shaky to say the least. McElroy missed open receivers and ended the first half with an interception. Alabama was however able to get on the scoreboard courtesy of a 28-yard field goal from Leigh Tiffin.

LSU held a 7-3 advantage as both teams headed for the locker room, but the firework display, as expected…would come after dark.

LSU v Alabama

I’m not sure what Alabama coach Nick Saban said to Greg McElroy at the half…but it worked. Alabama took a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter as the maligned McElroy found wide receiver Darius Hanks for a 21-yard touchdown. With the pass to Hanks, the Tide offense broke a six quarter drought without an offensive touchdown.

Even though ‘Bama took the lead, the Crimson Tide momentum was short lived. LSU was able to pin the Tide deep thanks to a punt. After a dropped pass by Julio Jones, Greg McElroy found himself trapped in the endzone which resulted in a safety.

LSU recaptured the motivational edge and would later retake the lead thanks to a touchdown run by LSU running back Stevan Ridley. Ridley replaced running back Charles Scott who was injured following a long run which actually set up the Ridley touchdown. LSU would take a 15-10 lead into the final quarter of play.

LSU v Alabama

Early in the final period, Tide placekicker Leigh Tiffin connected on a
20-yard field goal to cut the LSU lead to 15-13. With just over 10 minutes to play, Alabama would take the lead once again, but this time…it was for good.

LSU defensive back Patrick Peterson battled injury throughout the game, and when LSU needed him the most, Peterson was out of the game due to cramps. The absence of Peterson turned into the ultimate exploitation.

LSU v Alabama

With the game, and the season on the line, Tide quarterback Greg McElroy found Julio Jones on a “jail break” screen and Jones raced 73 yards down the sidelines for a ‘Bama touchdown.

Leigh Tiffin would add yet another field goal to ice the game and send Alabama…back to Atlanta.


Julio Jones TD:

LSU/ALABAMA Highlights:

With his performance against LSU, Leigh Tiffin is now the all-time leading scorer in Alabama football history!

Alabama currently remains No. 3 in the AP and USA TODAY COACHES POLL, however, the Tide did move to the No. 2 position in the latest BCS standings.

NOTE: Coming soon...Alabama/Mississippi State preview.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Death of Gerald Jack

Former assistant athletic director Gerald Jack has passed away. Jack, a native of Paris, Texas, joined former Tide coach Gene Stallings (also a Paris native) at the University of Alabama in 1990.

Jack began his time at Alabama as an assistant coach, but later became assistant athletic director before retiring in 1997.

Gene Stallings referred to Jack as his "right-hand man" and in a more touching tribute Stallings said Gerald Jack was simply..."the best friend I ever had."

Gerald Jack was 74 years old.

Crimson Notes 11/6/09

Kentucky vs. Alabama

Alabama tight end Colin Peek is listed as questionable for the game against LSU. Peek sprained the MCL in his left knee prior to the Tennessee game while going through pregame warmups. Peek has seen limited practice time while working with a brace. His status will probably be a “game time” decision.

Running back Terry Grant is also questionable for Saturday. Grant has been battling a minor muscle pull and (like Peek) will be regarded as a “game time” decision. Grant is listed as the forth running back on the depth chart behind Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, and Roy Upchurch.

If Terry Grant is unable to play against LSU, look for Demetrius Goode to fill the fourth spot in the ‘Bama running back rotation. Grant is also a prominent factor on kickoff returns with Javier Arenas. Look for Trent Richardson, Julio Jones, or Mike McCoy to relieve Grant of those duties if he is inactive on Saturday.

During the off period following the game against Tennessee, the Alabama passing game has been a major point of emphasis in practice. Coach Nick Saban says he’s very pleased with what he’s seen in practice in respect to not only passing…but quarterback protection. Saban says he would like to see more passes down the middle portion of the field against LSU. Alabama finished with no pass longer than 27 yards during the entire playing month of October.

NOTE: For those of you who are regular visitors to the site, I'm sure you've noticed things have been rather delayed this week. Due to that fact, my weekly SEC PICKS will not be available today.

Road to Atlanta: LSU/ALABAMA

Tennessee v Alabama

Many times in college football, “big games” can simply be an illusion. The anticipation is bigger than the actual game, and once the season is over you realize the “big game” wasn’t so big after all.

However, other times games are so big the earth will move, and the anticipation is only surpassed by what’s at stake for the winner. The tension will be as thick as the night fog, and the electricity will make your hair stand on end.

I give you…LSU/ALABAMA…2009.

Unless you’ve been resting quietly under the most comfortable of rocks, you know the importance of this game cannot be understated. What’s at stake? For LSU and Alabama, a Western Division title hangs in the balance, a birth in the SEC title game, and for Alabama…another step closer to an undefeated season and possible national championship.

Tennessee v Alabama

While Alabama currently remains perfect, the LSU Tigers are not far behind. The only LSU loss this season was to the Florida Gators. Granted, the Tigers have looked very overrated at times and struggled on the offensive side of the ball during the early portion of the season, but LSU still has loads of talent.

LSU Players to Watch:

At the quarterback position the LSU Tigers are led by Jordan Jefferson. The Tiger signal caller has a very strong arm and is very fleet of foot. Jefferson has no problem running with the ball when the pocket breaks down. Alabama must be aware of Jefferson running the ball if the open receiver is not available. Jefferson is certainly a dual threat, and the Tide defense must be ready for any and everything.

West Virginia v Auburn

Running back Charles Scott is a beast. Although he has been less than productive in 2009, Scott is a big back and physical runner. Alabama is a “brick house” against the run and it must continue on Saturday.

Russell Shepard is listed as a running back, but like Trindon Holliday…he is simply an athlete. LSU loves to give Shepard the opportunity to showcase his speed and like Holliday, he is very versatile.

As for the aforementioned Trindon Holliday, look for the LSU speed merchant to be used anytime, anywhere, on offense. Holliday will return kickoffs, punts, take the handoff from the wide receiver position, be the recipient of screen passes…etc. Holliday was a non factor against Alabama in 2008, and the Tide must make him a spectator once again on Saturday.

Louisiana Lafayette v LSU

At the wide receiver position LSU has solid skill players in the form of Brandon LaFell and Terrance Toliver. Both men are practically interchangeable and are the favorite targets of quarterback Jordon Jefferson. If Alabama has a weak spot on defense, it certainly is found in the secondary. Alabama has shown inconsistent play at times and LSU will certainly look to expose any missed assignment or mental lapse in the Alabama pass coverage.

Game Overview and Prediction:

In respect to Alabama, we all know what the Tide defense is capable of in terms of holding the opposition at bay. However, if the offense ever needed a time to shine…this would certainly be the game.

On the surface this contest reeks of the Ole Miss game. LSU wears a nice plate of armor but visible cracks are all across the surface. Statistics don’t lie and LSU currently ranks dead last in terms on total offense in the conference. In respect to a passing attack, everyone seems to frown upon the Alabama passing game, well, LSU is statistically worse. Finally to close the deal, LSU also ranks 10th in the conference in respect to rushing offense.

The Tigers have avoided disaster thanks to a strong defense, but on paper the LSU offense is far worse than the Crimson Tide. When you take a poor offense and place it against a stellar defense, bad things can happen. If LSU cannot establish a solid ground attack and are forced to pass, the Alabama defense could have a fantastic day!

Now I understand one could easily “flip the script” in favor of LSU, however, for as bad as the Crimson Tide offense has looked at times…LSU is statistically worse. Does LSU have strong defense, yes…but Alabama is statistically better.

This game is bigger than others, despite what anyone has to say on the subject. However, just like any other game, this contest will be determined by the players. The lost art of fundamentals and discipline still goes a long way.

Tennessee v Alabama

After every media type and fan has thrown a couple of pennies in the pot…the better team will in fact win. The Alabama “bend but don’t break” defense will once again turn away LSU when it matters the most.

Prediction: Alabama 24 LSU 19

LSU/Alabama will be televised on CBS with kickoff expected around 2:35 p.m. central time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Crimson Consumer: 'Bama Football on DIRECTV

Every Alabama Crimson Tide football fan deserves to watch the Tide roll in style! Thanks to DIRECT TV packages 'Bama fans can cheer on the Tide while also saving money and receiving the best deals.

If you're tired of missing the big game or not getting the visual quality you deserve, DIRECTV packages, DIRECT TV offers, and DIRECT TV deals
can take you from the upper the front row!

November is "crunch time" for the Crimson Tide and if you're a diehard 'Bama fan you certainly don't want to miss a single moment of the action. Get in the game with DIRECT TV and cheer 'Bama to victory!


Tide Talk: Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram, and Javier Arenas

As Alabama prepares for the LSU Tigers, some key players speak out about the off week, the LSU game, and the importance of staying focused on the task at hand.

NOTE: Please increase volume for proper audio quality.

NOTE: The LSU/Alabama game preview is currently being prepared. However, due to the extensive nature of the piece, the information and commentary will not be available for 24-48 hours.