Thursday, September 29, 2011

Superior Talent Versus Statistics: ‘Bama/UF Verdict

When it comes to predicting a nationally “hyped” college football game, you can either rely on stats…or rely on superior talent.

Statistics are a display of how good a team is relative to the competition they’ve played. Superior talent is viewed as having the ability to do something better than anyone else regardless of the competition.

Statistically, the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators are virtual mirror images, which lends itself to the “promise” of a slugfest come Saturday night.

However, if you’re betting that Florida has the superior talent to compete with anyone and everyone in the country, you would be incorrect…for now.

The Florida Gators have the “promise” to BECOME a great team, while the Alabama Crimson Tide ARE a great team.

Statistics and hype bring in the ratings and fuel the chatter, but talent wins the game.

Place your bet on superior talent come Saturday night.

Alabama 23
Florida 13

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Unsung Hero: ‘Bama/Florida QB Comparison

The similarities between Alabama and Florida in respect to rushing and overall defense have been well established. However, with all the chatter concerning “steel versus steel,” quarterback play could be the “quiet” deciding factor that has been lost in the shuffle.

In the same fashion that Alabama and Florida share virtually identical numbers when it comes to running the football and defense, both teams share similar statistics when it comes to quarterback performance.

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

If four games worth of statistics (offensive/defensive stronghold) live up to the hype, expect unforced errors, special teams play, and quarterback efficiency to become critical factors in the game.

John Brantley and A.J. McCarron find themselves “flying under the radar” entering the contest in Gainesville, but when the smoke clears, expect one quarterback to be called an “unsung hero” in the Sunday paper.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Irresistible Force Paradox: Alabama/Florida

What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Come Saturday night in Gainesville…that question will have to be answered.

The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators have two of the best rushing offenses, rushing defenses, and total defenses in all of college football.

Under the bright lights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, a “clash of the titans” will commence.

Florida Ground Attack

The Florida Gators have the 10th best rushing offense in the nation led by Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey. The UF ground attack averages 259 yards per contest.

The duo of Demps and Rainey combined for 262 yards rushing Saturday night at Kentucky. Florida as a team rushed for 405 yards against the overmatched Wildcats.

Gator rushing threats…

*Rushing Stats Only*

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

Alabama Ground Attack

Led by Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson and his capable sidekick Eddie Lacy, the Alabama Crimson Tide currently average 230 yards rushing per game. ‘Bama currently ranks 19th as a team in total rushing offense.

Crimson Tide rushing threats…

*Rushing Stats Only*

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

Florida Rush Defense/Total Defense

Florida currently ranks fifth in the nation in rush defense, only allowing a total of 56 yards per game.

In respect to the team aspect, the Gators only allow 231 yards per contest which also puts them fifth in the nation.

Alabama Rush Defense/Total Defense

The Alabama defense is ranked third in the nation against the run, only giving up an average of 45 yards per game.

The Nick Saban and Kirby Smart led effort currently rank second in the nation in respect to team defense, only allowing the opposition 184 yards per contest.

Fortitude Wins

When “iron will” meets “iron will” something has to give.

The “art” and importance of running the football coupled with solid defense has not been lost on Alabama or Florida.

However, when it comes to art, a good frame can’t hide a bad painting.

The true “artist” will be revealed on Saturday…

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Richardson and Jones Receive SEC Honors

Alabama running back Trent Richardson has been named the SEC Offensive Player of the Week, while Barrett Jones has received SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors.

Richardson, who rushed for 126 yards, and garnered 235 in total against Arkansas, currently ranks second in the SEC in rushing averaging 110 yards per contest.

The junior running back now has a total of nine touchdowns this season and currently ranks fifth in the nation in scoring.

Richardson has now rushed for 100 yards plus in three consecutive games.

Offensive lineman Barrett Jones, arguably the heart and soul of the ‘Bama line, played left and right tackle against Arkansas.

Jones helped the Tide earn 397 yards of total offense with 197 coming via the run and 200 through the air.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pulled Pork: Alabama 38 Arkansas 14

Alabama running back Trent Richardson rushed for 126 yards while the Crimson Tide defense sent Arkansas rushing for the bus.

For the fifth time in five years the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks, this time, by a score of 38-14.

The contest that was “hyped” for a week turned out to be nothing more than an old fashioned “pig roast.”

Defense Shines…McCarron Solid

Entering the contest with Alabama, the Arkansas Razorbacks were averaging 47 points and 517 yards per game. The Alabama defense “tied the Hogs” thanks to 10 tackles for loss, two interceptions, six pass breakups, and a total of four quarterback hurries.

While the Tide gained 397 yards of total offense, including a 200-yard
two touchdown effort from A.J. McCarron, the Razorbacks only managed 226 yards against the stout ‘Bama defense.

Arkansas starting quarterback Tyler Wilson completed 22-of-35 passes for 185 yards including one touchdown and one interception. However, the one-dimensional Hogs, only managed 17 yards on the ground.

Running with a Purpose

Trent Richardson rushed for over 100 yards for the third consecutive game, including the aforementioned 126 against Arkansas.

Eddie Lacy rushed for 61 yards against the Razorbacks including a 4-yard touchdown run.

Richardson and Lacy have quickly established themselves as one of the best rushing combinations in all of college football.

Roasting Moments

-A.J. McCarron 37-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Williams courtesy of a fake field goal.

-DeQuan Menzie 25-yard interception return for a touchdown.

-Marquis Maze 83-yard punt return for a touchdown.

-A.J. McCarron 61-yard screen pass to Trent Richardson for a touchdown.

Team Stats

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Amari Cooper Gives Verbal to ‘Bama

Miami Northwestern High School (FL) wide receiver Amari Cooper has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2012.

Cooper, who stands 6-foot-1 and tops the scale at 175-pounds, selected the Crimson Tide over the likes of Florida State, Miami, and Ohio State.

The highly touted prospect becomes the 19th Alabama verbal commitment in respect to the 2012 signing class.

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Redshirt Season Probable for Duron Carter

The "Duron Carter watch” appears to be over…for this season.

After a month of speculation, which at times felt like years, Alabama wide receiver Duron Carter will likely be forced to redshirt and miss the entire 2011 season.

"There is one piece of information we did not receive, have not received, and may not ever receive," head coach Nick Saban said. "So as of right now, he (Carter) has to be here a year in residence before he's eligible. He'll still have two years to play after that but as of right now; it doesn't look like he will be eligible for this season."

Carter, who has been involved in a myriad of twists and turns regarding his academic status, will continue to practice with the scout team for the remainder of the season.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Potent Pigs: Arkansas/Alabama

On Saturday afternoon, the Alabama Crimson Tide will face the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

For both the Razorbacks and Crimson Tide, the contest on Saturday will mark the first SEC showdown of the season.

Thus far in 2011, Alabama has rolled through the likes of Kent State, Penn State, and North Texas, while Arkansas has feasted on cupcakes such as Missouri State, New Mexico, and Troy.

Needless to say, the real season, for both teams…will begin Saturday.

Air Hog

Under head coach Bobby Petrino, the Arkansas passing attack has become a thing of legend.

Due in large part to former Hog quarterback Ryan Mallett, the Razorback aerial assault is to be appreciated…and feared.

While Mallett is now just a memory, the “gunslinger” style has continued in the person of Tyler Wilson.

Wilson, known to many as the young man who relieved Mallett in the Auburn game last season, is a very impressive passer and has displayed his own “magic” in an Arkansas uniform.

In three games, all be it against less than stellar competition, Wilson has thrown for 822 yards including five touchdowns.

As he enters the contest with Alabama, Wilson currently has a 68 percent completion rate.

Look for the Alabama defense to prey on the Arkansas quarterback from both a mental and physical standpoint.

The creation of “mass confusion” worked for Alabama in 2009 when Arkansas invaded Bryant-Denny. One can expect a similar defensive game plan on Saturday.

Catch the Pigskin

Another staple of the Bobby Petrino era has been the plethora of fantastic receivers available to the quarterback.

The Razorbacks, once again, have several talented wide receivers that will give the Alabama secondary fits all afternoon.

When you look at the list below, it is easy to see why quarterback pressure and defensive disruption will be vital against Arkansas.

The last thing the Alabama defense wants to see is a “calm and collected” Tyler Wilson throwing the football to one of the best receiving corps in the nation.

It only took the Hogs less than a minute to strike first against the Crimson Tide in 2010 as Ryan Mallett found Ronnie Wingo on a 43-yard connection.

Great receivers coupled with a defensive “bust” can lead to bad things in a hurry.

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

Ground Hog

The Arkansas rushing attack suffered a severe blow in August when Knile Davis went down with a season ending injury.

In 2010, Davis rushed for 1,322 yards and 13 touchdowns...both of which led the SEC.

Although one could easily make the case that Davis was/is irreplaceable, Arkansas is still very formidable at the running back position.

Thus far in 2011, the Hogs have been led by Ronnie Wingo.

Wingo currently leads the team in rushing by a considerable margin with 225 yards over the course of the first three games.

Arkansas has used, and will continue to use, various backs over the course of the season, but Wingo is the “featured back” in the Arkansas ground attack.

The Arkansas offense is predicated on the pass, but the Hog ground game seems to get better with each season.

**Click on the chart if resolution is not adequate.**

Tender Pork

The Arkansas defense is much improved, but the Hogs have made it a point to “mask” their deficient defense with a high-octane offense.

The truth of the matter is, like the Auburn Tigers, the Arkansas Razorbacks are in the business of putting points on the board…not preventing points.

The Razorback defense will never be confused for an “iron curtain," but the Hogs do have leadership on the defensive side of the ball which does go a long way.

As for the game plan against the Alabama offense, look for Arkansas to "stack the box" and pressure A.J. McCarron at each and every turn.

Arkansas will look to stop the Alabama ground game and force McCarron to be the deciding factor.

Arkansas/Alabama Verdict

Defense! The verdict is defense!

Can the Hogs score more than 14-points against Alabama?

An Alabama team who currently ranks third in the nation in total defense...

An Alabama team who only allows six points per contest...

At the end of an afternoon of push and pull, expect the better overall team to have the better overall score.

Once the media "Pomp and Circumstance" has come to an end, the Crimson Tide will improve to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the SEC.

Alabama 27
Arkansas 13

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crimson Rewind: Arkansas/Alabama 2009

In September of 2009 the Alabama Crimson Tide would prove to be too much for the Arkansas Razorbacks, as the Hogs were defeated by the score of 35-7.

Alabama would go on to complete a perfect season...and capture the national championship.

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Crimson Notes 9/20/11

-Defensive back Dee Milliner returned to practice on Tuesday after missing the Monday session due to illness.

-Safety Robert Lester, who left the game against North Texas due to back spasms, appears to be at full strength and shows no ill-effects from his ailment.

-Wide receiver Duron Carter continues to work with the scout team as the first month of the Alabama football season draws to a close. With no end to his NCAA “quandary” in sight, Carter appears to be headed for a redshirt season barring some unforeseen turn of events. However, “unforeseen turn of events” have been quite commonplace during this ordeal…so stay tuned.

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Braves Fan

Thanks for the guest post by Donn Schroeder

Since I was a little boy, I have enjoyed watching baseball games. My dad used to take me to the Braves games at Fulton County stadium, and I even remember missing school when I was in the first grade to go to downtown Atlanta to watch the Braves parade when they were in the World Series. I would look at all of the baseball scores in the sports section of the Sunday papers each week. My dad’s influence through the years helped to mold me into the huge Braves fan I am today. These days, I love watching the Braves play on TV. I looked on to find a sports package so that I could watch as many Braves games as possible. There’s nothing better than relaxing on a Sunday afternoon and watching the Braves play while my wife and kids nap. My dad and I still go to a few games each season, but during several games I have him over to our house to watch the games. It always brings back memories of the games we went to when I was little. I hope that someday when my son is a little older, that I can take him to some Braves games to make some memories like the ones I have with my dad.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Firing Blanks: Alabama 41 North Texas 0

Led by a ferocious rushing attack and an ironclad defense, the Alabama Crimson Tide blanked the North Texas Mean Green by the score of 41-0.

Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson combined for 328 yards rushing and five touchdowns on Saturday night, and even set a school record in the process.

Richardson (167) and Lacy (161) became the first two running backs in Alabama history to rush for over 150 plus yards in the same game.

Richardson, who has eight touchdowns in three games, currently leads the NCAA in scoring.

On the 2011 season, Richardson has 315 yards rushing while Lacy has 304. Lacy currently averages 10.9 yards per rushing attempt.

In respect to Saturday night, the Crimson Tide accumulated 586 yards of total offense while rendering North Texas to just 169.

Mean Green starting quarterback Derek Thompson completed 11-of-22 passes against the stout Alabama defense for a meager 80 yards.

Holding the opposition to less than stellar offensive numbers is nothing new for the Tide defense. After three games, ‘Bama has only allowed an average of six points per contest.

Additional Stats of Note

A.J. McCarron 15/21 190 Yards
Phillip Sims 6/8 49 Yards

K. Bell…4 Receptions 55 Yards
B. Smelley…4 Receptions 46 Yards
C. Jones…2 Receptions 41 Yards
B. Gibson…3 Receptions 35 Yards
M. Maze…3 Receptions 26 Yards
D. Hanks…2 Receptions 20 Yards
M. Williams…1 Reception 10 Yards
D. White…1 Reception 5 Yards
T. Richardson…1 Reception 1 Yard

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Proving Ground: Second Chance for Sims

Quarterback Phillip Sims, who completed 7-of-14 passes against Kent State, is expected to receive plenty of playing time Saturday night against North Texas.

Although A.J. McCarron is the “unofficial” starter, Sims will have another opportunity to prove himself in front of the home crowd, and more importantly…Nick Saban.

Saban has yet to officially name a long-term starter at the quarterback position, so even though McCarron got the nod against Penn State, nothing is etched in stone.

Alabama enters conference play on Sept. 24 against Arkansas, so barring an injury to McCarron, the contest with North Texas could be Sims’ final opportunity to compete for the starting job in live game action.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mean Green Invasion: North Texas/Alabama

After an impressive road win at Penn State, the Alabama Crimson Tide return to Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night to take on the Mean Green of North Texas.

The Mean Green, who compete in the Sun Belt Conference, currently stand 0-2 on the season following losses to Florida International and Houston.

The contest with North Texas will be Alabama’s final tune-up before entering conference play on Sept. 24 against Arkansas.

Free “Air” Time

The North Texas offense is led by quarterback Derek Thompson.

Thompson completed 21-of-33 passes for 172 yards including one touchdown and one interception against the Houston Cougars.

On the season, the Mean Green signal caller is 35-of-60 for 339 yards.

Thompson's only touchdown, as well as his only interception, came against Houston.

Mean Green Receiving Team

At the receiver position, Derek Thompson’s favorite targets are Brelan Chancellor and Michael Outlaw.

Chancellor caught three passes for 49 yards against Houston, and has a total of six receptions for 104 yards on the season.

Outlaw reeled in four receptions for 40 yards against Houston, and has eight receptions for 99 yards in 2011.

The Rushing Green

On the ground, North Texas is led by Lance Dunbar.

Dunbar has rushed for 105 yards this season, including one touchdown.

Dunbar’s lone touchdown came against Houston last week as he rushed for 62 yards on 18 carries.

North Texas/Alabama Verdict

New head coach Dan McCarney, former University of Florida defensive line coach, has found the going tough at North Texas, and his tenure is only two games deep.

With a defense that currently allows 44-points per game, the contest with Alabama should do nothing to improve that statistic.

North Texas will leave Bryant-Denny Stadium with a nice paycheck…while the Crimson Tide will improve to 3-0.

Alabama 55
North Texas 7

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Crimson Notes 9/12/11

-Safety Mark Barron has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Penn State. Barron had seven tackles, a fumble recovery and the 11th interception of his Alabama career.

-Wide receiver Darius Hanks will make his 2011 debut on Saturday after missing the first two games of the season due to NCAA regulations.

-Wide receiver Duron Carter, who was expected to make his Crimson Tide debut against Penn State, did not make the trip to Happy Valley and remains unable to contribute in live game action. The University of Alabama is awaiting essential documents before Carter can be certified and allowed to participate.

TomTom Go Confidently

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Respect Bowl: Alabama 27 Penn State 11

Led by A.J. McCarron, Trent Richardson, and a fierce defense, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions by a score of 27-11 on Saturday.

McCarron, who has emerged as the Alabama starting quarterback, completed 19-of-31 passes for 163 yards including one touchdown.

The Tide sophomore looked calm and collected as he led the Crimson Tide offense in front of 107,846 spectators. The packed house at Beaver Stadium was the largest crowd on record to ever witness a University of Alabama football game.

Aerial Outcome

While A.J. McCarron had a solid afternoon as the primary quarterback for Alabama, the Penn State Nittany Lions, as expected, employed a two-quarterback system.

Starter Rob Bolden held his own and finished the game 11-of-29 for 144 yards including one interception.

Matthew McGloin on the other hand…was dreadful. McGloin was 1-of-10 for a grand total of zero yards.

Quarterback stability on the Alabama side of the ball, and lack of stability by PSU, was one of the many keys to victory for the Crimson Tide.

The Trent and Eddie Show

Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy combined for 196 yards and two touchdowns as the “two-headed monster” proved too much for the Penn State defense.

The ability to run the ball with success was critical on Saturday and will remain so as the season progresses.

Richardson: 26 Carries 111 Yards 2 TDs
Lacy: 11 Carries 85 Yards


A.J. McCarron was solid, but a quarterback is only as good as his supporting cast.

Alabama received solid contributions in the “good hands” department from a plethora of players, including Marquis Maze, Michael Williams and Kevin Norwood.

Williams, the ‘Bama tight end, was on the receiving end of A.J. McCarron’s first quarter touchdown.

Maze: 4 Receptions 42 Yards
Williams: 3 Receptions 34 Yards 1 TD
Norwood: 3 Receptions 25 Yards
Richardson: 4 Receptions 19 Yards
Smelley: 2 Receptions 18 Yards
Bell: 1 Reception 14 Yards
Lacy: 1 Reception 6 Yards
Gibson: 1 Reception 5 Yards

Stone Wall of Crimson

In what was without question the biggest difference in the game, the Alabama defense kept the Penn State offense reeling for most of the contest.

Alabama forced three Nittany Lion turnovers which included two fumbles and a Mark Barron interception of quarterback Rob Bolden.

The Nittany Lions did garner 251 yards of total offense, but during the critical moments when it mattered the most…the Tide defense didn’t budge an inch.

Team Stats of Note

1st Downs: Alabama 19 Penn State 16
3rd Down Conversions: Alabama 8-17 Penn State 8-17
4th Down Conversions: Alabama 1-1 Penn State 1-1
Total Yards: Alabama 359 Penn State 251
Passing: Alabama 163 Penn State 144
Comp-Att: Alabama 19-31 Penn State 12-39
Rushing: Alabama 196 Penn State 107
Turnovers: Alabama 0 Penn State 3
Fumbles Lost: Alabama 0 Penn State 2
Interceptions Thrown: Alabama 0 Penn State 1
Possession: Alabama 34:05 Penn State 25:55

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

‘Bama Preps for PSU Crowd, Carter Expected to Play

Beaver Stadium has a seating capacity of 106,572, but a crowd of 110,000 is expected on Saturday afternoon when Penn State plays host to Alabama.

In order to deal with the raucous atmosphere, Alabama has put the speaker system to good use this week by implementing artificial crowd noise onto the practice field.

Non-verbal play calling, by use of silent counts and hand gestures, will be the essential means of communication for the ‘Bama offense come Saturday.

Via teleconference earlier this week, ‘Bama head coach Nick Saban said wide receiver Duron Carter is expected to make a contribution against Penn State.

Carter, who didn’t enroll at Alabama until late August due to academic transcript issues, is projected to be a vital member of the Crimson Tide offense as the season progresses.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Valley Showdown: Alabama/Penn State

On Saturday afternoon the Alabama Crimson Tide will invade Beaver Stadium to tangle with the Penn State Nittany Lions in what figures to be one of the most prominent games of the weekend.

After dusting Kent State and Indiana State in week one, the Tide and Nittany Lions are prepared for a national showdown for the second time in as many years.

In week two of the 2010 season, Penn State traveled to Bryant-Denny Stadium where they were defeated 24-3, due in large part to a swarming and suffocating Crimson Tide defense.

The calendar has turned, the venue has changed, but Nick Saban and Joe Paterno are ready for round two.

Due to shoulder and pelvic injuries sustained from an inadvertent collision with a player during preseason camp, Joe Paterno was forced to coach the contest against Indiana State from the press box.

It is unclear at this time if the legendary coach will be on the sidelines when the Nittany Lions face Alabama, although Paterno himself has indicated the chances are good.

Penn State Quarterback/Offensive Line Concerns

When it comes to quarterback “controversy," the Alabama Crimson Tide has a friend in Penn State.

Rob Bolden, who started against Alabama in 2010 as a freshman, is in a battle with Matthew McGloin to decide who will be the permanent signal caller for the Nittany Lions.

Bolden, who started the contest against Indiana State, completed 6-of-12 passes for only 37 yards, while McGloin went 6-of-8 for a total of 77 yards.

While the Nittany Lions continue to sort out the quarterback issue, the PSU offensive line has become a concern for head coach Joe Paterno.

Both Bolden and McGloin took several hits against an inferior Indiana State defense, and the last team you want to play if you have offensive line concerns…is the University of Alabama.

In one final piece of apprehension, the PSU offense was 2-of-10 in respect to third down conversions against ISU.

Lack of quarterback stability, offensive line concerns and lack of third down success could spell trouble for the Nittany Lions against a sturdy Alabama defense.

Penn State Ground Assault

In the same way Alabama will find it difficult to replace Mark Ingram and Julio Jones, Penn State must endure the task of trying to replace Evan Royster, the all-time leading rusher in school history.

If the contest with Indiana State served as a glimpse into the future, Silas Redd will be the featured back for the Nittany Lions in 2011. Redd had 12 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns against Indiana State.

Penn State certainly has a very talented player in Silas Redd, but the Nittany Lions are also very deep at the running back position. PSU received solid contributions from five different backs against ISU.

Silas Redd.....12 Carries 104 Yards 2 TD
Curtis Dukes.....6 Carries 47 Yards
Brandon Beachum.....7 Carries 41 Yards
Joe Suhey.....6 Carries 29 Yards 1 TD
Michael Zordich.....5 Carries 15 Yards 1 TD

Playmaker Derek Moye

At the wide receiver position the Nittany Lions are led by the talented Derek Moye.

While PSU may have quarterback concerns, Moye is the receiver of choice regardless of who is throwing the football.

Moye led the Nittany Lions last season with 53 receptions for 885 yards including eight touchdowns.

In week one against the Sycamores of Indiana State, Moye caught a total of four passes for 57 yards.

Chaz “Special Teams” Powell

It goes without saying that Penn State will find the going tough against the solid Alabama defense, but the Nittany Lions have a special teams weapon in the person of Chaz Powell.

Powell, a cornerback/kick returner, took the opening kickoff of the 2011 season 95-yards for a Penn State touchdown.

Alabama has been known to have issues in respect to kick coverage, so Chaz Powell could very well be a “major player” come Saturday.

Alabama/Penn State Verdict

While Alabama comfortably sits as a 10-point favorite over Penn State, this game stands to be anything but comfortable.

Both Alabama and Penn State share similar concerns on the offensive side of the ball in respect to quarterback play and offensive line stability.

Alabama has a solid ground game, led by Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson, but defense and overall team speed are the major factors that separate the Crimson Tide from the Nittany Lions.

Alabama is the better team and should win the contest; however, weather reports suggest a 40 percent chance of showers on Saturday with highs in the lower 70s. Inclement weather could very well play a factor in respect to ball security and team speed, which in turn could "equal" the playing field from a "strengths and weaknesses" standpoint.

When all is said and done, the 2011 Alabama/Penn State contest will play out like a sequel to the 2010 game; only this time…the Nittany Lions will be a smidgen better.

Alabama 20
Penn State 7

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

2011 NCAA Football Rankings


1 Oklahoma (32)
2 LSU (17)
3 Alabama (9)
4 Boise State (2)
5 Florida State
6 Stanford
7 Texas A&M
8 Wisconsin
9 Oklahoma State
10 Nebraska


1 Oklahoma (43)
2 Alabama (9)
3 LSU (7)
4 Florida State
5 Boise State
6 Stanford
7 Oklahoma State
8 Texas A&M
9 Wisconsin
10 Nebraska

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Saban Preaches Consistency and Fundamentals

Nick Saban has yet to name a starting quarterback for the contest at Penn State, but he has named the areas of concern in respect to his football team.

Lack of consistency within the offensive line and lack of basic fundamentals have been his “preaching points” since the conclusion of the Kent State game.

Saban has also gone on record as saying that most of the players who took the field on Saturday didn’t play as well as the coaching staff had hoped.

Whether the lack of performance was due to nerves or anxiety…Nick Saban wasn’t pleased.

On the injury front, wide receiver Kevin Norwood sustained a sprained ankle against KSU. The injury is considered to be minor and Norwood is expected to be available on Saturday afternoon.

Coming Soon: Alabama/Penn State Preview

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Emotional High: Tide Routs Kent State 48-7

Led by quarterback A.J. McCarron and a suffocating defense, the Alabama Crimson Tide opened the 2011 season with a 48-7 rout over the Kent State Golden Flashes.

The contest against KSU marked the first football game played in Tuscaloosa since a massive tornado destroyed life and property on April 27.

In respect to the actual game, Kent State was clearly overmatched, but on a few occasions the Alabama offense looked “out to lunch” and displayed inexperience and lack of chemistry.

Quarterback Play

Although Nick Saban has yet to name a starter for the contest at Penn State, A.J. McCarron appears to be the “man behind the wheel” based on his outing against KSU.

McCarron, who his vying for the starting job with redshirt freshman Phillip Sims; finished the afternoon 14-of-23 for 226 yards including a 24-yard touchdown strike to Marquis Maze.

Sims, who looked very “green” at times, finished the afternoon 7-of-14 for 73 yards.

One of the biggest points of contention in respect to the Alabama quarterback race is the turnover issue. While McCarron looked impressive, he, as did Sims, threw two interceptions on Saturday afternoon.

The Crimson Tide finished the day with a total of five turnovers, and it goes without saying…that can’t happen against Penn State.

Ground Attack

Kent State was clearly an inferior opponent, but Alabama did have a solid day running the football.

Jalston Fowler, Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson combined for 164 yards rushing and five touchdowns. The Crimson Tide finished the afternoon with a total of 183 yards on the ground as a team.

On the Receiving End

Redshirt freshman DeAndrew White looked very impressive in his Crimson Tide debut while Marquis Maze remains the solid receiver we’ve all come to know and love.

The return of Darius Hanks, in a little under two weeks, and the implementation of Duron Carter into the ‘Bama offense, should give the Alabama quarterback(s) more “comfort” as the month of September moves along.


In what is considered to be the stalwart and stout portion of the Crimson Tide…the ‘Bama defense proved to be just that against the Golden Flashes.

The Tide held KSU to just 90 yards of total offense including negative yardage on the ground.

Stats of Note

A.J. McCarron.....14/23 226 Yards 1 TD 2 INT
Phillip Sims.....7/14 73 Yards 0 TD 2 INT

Jalston Fowler.....4 Carries 69 Yards 1 TD
Eddie Lacy.....8 Carries 58 Yards 1 TD
Trent Richardson.....13 Carries 37 Yards 3 TD

Marquis Maze.....8 Receptions 118 Yards 1 TD
DeAndrew White.....4 Receptions 44 Yards
Eddie Lacy.....3 Receptions 76 Yards
Brandon Gibson.....1 Reception 18 Yards
Trent Richardson.....1 Reception 16 Yards

Team Stats:
1st Downs.....Alabama 24 Kent State 6
Total Yards.....Alabama 482 Kent State 90
Passing Yards.....Alabama 299 Kent State 99
Rushing Yards.....Alabama 183 Kent State -9
Turnovers.....Alabama 5 Kent State 1
Fumbles Lost.....Alabama 1 Kent State 0
Interceptions Thrown.....Alabama 4 Kent State 1
Time of Possession.....Alabama 29:53 Kent State 30:07

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Do the Splits: Two-Quarterback System for ‘Bama

On Thursday night Nick Saban addressed the Alabama quarterback situation and acknowledged that both A.J. McCarron and Phillip Sims will receive equal playing time against Kent State.

Saban, who declined to name a starter, said both McCarron and Sims will play three series consecutively in a recurring cycle.

While many expect Alabama to adopt a two-quarterback system for the entire season, Saban did admit that Saturday’s game, from an individual standpoint, may go a long way in respect to “separating” McCarron and Sims for the future.

Alabama will play host to Kent State on Saturday, but the ‘Bama quarterbacks will play a “game within the game” for the principal endorsement of Nick Saban.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Philon Gives Verbal to ‘Bama, Woodson, Jr. Enrolls

Vigor High School (Prichard, AL) defensive lineman Darius Philon has given his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama for 2012.

Philon, who stands 6-foot-2 and tops the scale at nearly 280 pounds, originally committed to Auburn University in May, but re-opened his recruitment 60 days later.

Philon becomes the 18th Alabama verbal commitment in respect to the 2012 signing class.

In what could be regarded as an unforeseen turn of events, freshman wide receiver Danny Woodson, Jr. has enrolled for the fall semester.

Nick Saban addressed the media on Wednesday and noted that Woodson, Jr. made the Aug. 31 academic deadline (last day to enroll in the fall semester) and is now officially a scholarship member of the 2011 Crimson Tide football team.

It was originally speculated that Woodson, Jr. would greyshirt and defer enrollment until January of 2012.

The late arrival of Duron Carter, which exhausted a scholarship, aided as a catalyst in the deferral speculation on the grounds that Woodson, Jr. had yet to enroll.

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