Crimson Tide Tangles with No. 9 Tigers
Aug. 25, 2008
CLEMSON TIGERS (0-0) VS. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (0-0) Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 7 p.m. - ABC Sports Georgia Dome (71,250) - Atlanta, Georgia
TODAY'S GAME: The University of Alabama football team opens the 2008 season on Saturday, August 30 when the Crimson Tide travels to Atlanta, Ga., to face the Clemson Tigers in the regular-season opener for both teams. The neutral-site game marks the beginning of the 114th season of Alabama football. The Alabama-Clemson game will be televised nationally by ABC Sports with kickoff set for 7 p.m. (CDT).
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) begins his second season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school's 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 98-47-1 (.675) record as a collegiate head coach, including a 7-6 mark at Alabama. He is two wins shy of his 100th career win and four games shy of his 150th game as a collegiate head coach. Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003. 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. For more information on Coach Saban, please see pages 3-4 of this notes package.
RANKINGS: Alabama opens the 2008 season ranked 24th in the Associated Press preseason season poll. The Tide is ranked in the preseason AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001, when UA opened the season 25th in the rankings. Clemson is ranked 9th in the preseason AP Top 25. Alabama sits just outside the USA Today Coaches Poll rankings at No. 26, while the Tigers reside at No. 9.
CLEMSON SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with Clemson, 11-3. This is the first meeting between the two schools since the Crimson Tide posted a 56-0 win over the Tigers on Sept. 20, 1975, at Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. The two teams first met on Nov. 29, 1900, at North Birmingham Park with Tigers prevailing, 35-0. The Tigers won the first three meetings, all shutouts, in 1900, 1904 and 1905. Alabama has won the last 11 meetings, including its first series win on Oct. 16, 1909 at the Birmingham Fairgrounds with UA winning, 3-0. In fact, 10 of the 14 meetings have resulted in shutouts. UA and Clemson met again in 1913, four times in the 1930s and four times in the 1960s. UA's 74-7 win on Nov. 14, 1931 at Montgomery's Cramton Bowl is one of the largest margins of victory in school history. For a complete listing of series scores, please see page 168 of the 2008 Alabama Football Media Guide.
NEXT GAME: Alabama opens the home portion of its 2008 football schedule on Saturday, Sept. 6, against the Tulane Green Wave. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis beginning at 6 p.m. (CDT). Chris Stewart, Tyler Watts and Barry Krauss will handle the broadcast for the Crimson Tide Sports Network. PRESEASON RANKINGS: Alabama is ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll for the 41st time in school history with its No. 24 ranking this season ... The Crimson Tide is ranked in the AP preseason poll for the first time since 2001 ... From 1961-84, Alabama was ranked in 24 consecutive preseason polls ... Overall, the Tide is 29-10-1 in season openers when ranked in the preseason Top 25.
MORE RANKINGS: Alabama will play five games this season against teams ranked in preseason Associated Press Top 25, including four Top 10 squads ... The list of opponents includes No. 1 Georgia, No. 6 LSU, No. 9 Clemson, No. 10 Auburn and No. 18 Tennessee ... Alabama and South Carolina are the only two schools in the country that will play four teams ranked in the AP preseason Top 10 ... The Alabama-Clemson game is one of only two opening weekend games matching a pair of Top 25 teams ... No. 6 Missouri and No. 20 Illinois is the other Top 25 match up on the opening weekend of the 2008 season.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY: The highly popular college football pregame show, "College Gameday" will kickoff the 2008 season at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., for the Alabama-Clemson game ... The show will air Saturday, Aug. 30 from 10-Noon (EDT) from the Georgia Dome ... Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard will be in Atlanta to preview the season opening weekend of college football ... Alabama will be making its 11th overall appearance on ESPN College Gameday and its second in the Nick Saban era ... The Tide is 3-7 in games featured on Gameday ... Alabama made its College Gameday debut with a 21-14 win over Auburn during the 1994 season at Legion Field ... Alabama has been on ESPN College Gameday for eight home games, including five Tuscaloosa games and three Birmingham games ... The Crimson Tide appeared on ESPN College Gameday twice on the road at Auburn in 1995 and LSU in 1996.
ALABAMA-CLEMSON TIES: A total of 14 former players and coaches share Alabama-Clemson ties ... There have been four Alabama graduates serve as head coach at Clemson, all from a period of 1940-89 ... Alabama associate head coach and running backs coach Burton Burns worked at Clemson from 1996-2006 ... Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden was Alabama's receivers coach under Bill Curry from 1987-89 ... Clemson receiver coach Dabo Swinney was a player and coach at Alabama from 1988-2000 ... Here is a look at some of the Alabama-Clemson connections.
Burton Burns - Alabama's associate head coach and running backs coach served as running backs coach at both Tulane (1995-98) and Clemson (1999-2006) under head coach Tommy Bowden ... Burns was a major factor in producing six of the Top 10 offenses in Clemson history while serving as running backs coach ... He coached 2005 ACC Rookie of the Year James Davis and 2006 ACC record-setter C.J. Spiller.
Tommy Bowden - Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden was the receivers coach at Alabama under Bill Curry from 1987-89 ... During his tenure at Alabama, Bowden worked with Alabama teams that posted a 27-9 overall record and won a share of the 1989 SEC Championship.
Dabo Swinney - Clemson receivers coach Dabo Swinney is a 1993 Alabama graduate and three-year letterman (1990-92) for the Crimson Tide ... member of 1992 National Championship team ... also a member of 1989 SEC Championship team ... position coach in 1988 and 1989 was Tommy Bowden ... A two-time Academic All-SEC pick in 1990 and 1992 ... earned master's degree from UA (1996) ... also served as graduate assistant coach and assistant coach under Gene Stallings and Mike DuBose.
Frank Howard - A 1931 Alabama graduate, Howard served as Clemson's head coach from 1940-69 ... He compiled a 165-118-12 (.580) overall record with the Tigers, including eight conference championships and six Top 25 finishes ... He was 0-4 in his career against Alabama ... Howard also served as Director of Athletics and served as an assistant baseball coach ... He was also Clemson's line coach from 1931-39 under Jess Neely ... Howard was a first-stringer at Alabama for coach Wallace Wade ... He was member of the Tide's 10-0 national championship squad in 1930 that drubbed Washington State 24-0 in the 1931 Rose Bowl.
Hootie Ingram - A 1955 Alabama graduate, Ingram was a football and baseball standout at Alabama, earning All-SEC accolades in both sports ... Ingram replaced Howard as Clemson's head coach following the 1969 season ... He was 12-21 (.363) in his three years (1970-72) at Clemson ... He did not coach against Alabama ... One of his star players at Clemson was current Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson. Charley Pell - A 1961 Alabama graduate, Pell served as the Tigers head coach in 1977-78 ... He compiled an 18-4-1 (.804) record, including one conference championship and two bowl berths ... Pell led the Tigers to a 10-1 record in 1978 ... Pell was also defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Red Parker in 1976 ... Pell left Clemson after two seasons to become head coach at Florida.
Danny Ford - A 1970 Alabama graduate and All-SEC player, Danny Ford served as Clemson's head coach from 1979-89, leading the Tigers to the 1981 National Championship with an 12-0 record ... Clemson clinched the national title with a 10-0 win over Nebraska in the 1982 Orange Bowl ... He led Clemson to eight bowl games, seven Top 25 finishes and five conference championships in his 11-year tenure ... He also led the Tigers to back-to-back 10-win seasons in 1987-89 ... Ford was also the assistant head coach and offensive line coach under Pell in 1977-78.
Mickey Andrews - A 1965 Alabama graduate, Andrews was a football and baseball star for the Tide ... He served as an assistant coach at Clemson from 1977-80 under Charley Pell and Danny Ford ... At Clemson, Andrews served as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for the Tigers.
Curley Hallman - Hallman served as an assistant coach at both Alabama and Clemson ... He was the linebackers (1979-80) and defensive backs (1981) coach for the Tigers under Danny Ford.
Charlie Harbison - Harbison has worked at both Alabama and Clemson ... He was Clemson's defensive backs coach from 1995-97 under Tommy West ... He served as defensive backs coach at wide receivers coach at Alabama under Mike DuBose and Mike Shula ... Harbison also spent two years (2001-02) as defensive backfield coach at LSU under coach Nick Saban.
Ellis Johnson - Johnson served on the defensive staffs at both Alabama and Clemson ... At Alabama he worked for both Gene Stallings (1990-93) and Mike DuBose (1997-2000) serving as outside linebackers coach and defensive coordinator ... Sandwiched in between his two stints with the Tide, Johnson served coached outside linebackers and defensive line at Clemson (1993-96) and was defensive coordinator in 1996.
Joe Kines - Kines worked at both Clemson and Alabama during his college football career ... He was the linebackers coach at Clemson under Charley Pell in 1977-78 ... He later served as linebackers coach at Alabama under Ray Perkins in 1985-86 ... Kines returned to Alabama and served a defensive coordinator under Mike Shula from 2003-06 and served as interim head coach for the 2006 PetroSun Independence Bowl.
Woody McCorvey - McCorvey has also worked at both Alabama and Clemson ... He worked seven years at Clemson under Tommy West, serving as tight ends (1983-85) and receivers (1986-89) coach ... McCorvey worked at Alabama from 1990-97 under Gene Stallings (1990-96) and Mike DuBose (1997).
Bill Oliver - A 1962 Alabama graduate, Oliver was a member of the Tide's 1961 national championship team ... He also lettered in baseball while at the Capstone ... He later served as an assistant coach at Alabama under Paul Bryant and Gene Stallings ... Oliver also worked as the defensive backs coach under Danny Ford at Clemson from 1986-89, serving as defensive coordinator in 1989.
BOWDEN TRIVIA: Alabama becomes the 11th different school to have faced all three of the Bowden coaches when the Crimson Tide meets Clemson in the 2008 season opener at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta ... The Crimson Tide will be facing Tommy Bowden for the first time and joins Auburn, East Carolina, Central Florida, Georgia, Louisiana Tech, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Tennessee and Virginia as the only schools to play against Bobby, Tommy and Terry Bowden ... The Crimson Tide faced Terry Bowden five times, while he was the head coach at Auburn ... Alabama met legendary coach Bobby Bowden for the first time last season when the Tide and Seminoles played a neutral site game in Jacksonville, Fla.
ALABAMA VS. ACC: Alabama has compiled a 76-33-1 (.695) against the current ACC field ... Clemson marks Alabama's third ACC opponent in the last three years, joining Duke (2006) and Florida State (2007) ... The Crimson Tide's record against the ACC field includes Boston College (1-3), Clemson (11-3), Duke (2-1), Florida State (2-1-1), Georgia Tech (28-21-3), Maryland (2-1), Miami, Fla. (14-3), North Carolina (1-0), North Carolina State (5-0) and Virginia Tech (0-1) ... Alabama has never faced Virginia or Wake Forest in football.
SABAN VS. ACC: Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 2-2 (.500) in his career against ACC teams ... He has posted wins against Boston College (1995) and Georgia Tech (2000) and suffered losses to Virginia Tech (2002) and Florida State (2007) ... He is 0-1 against ACC teams at Alabama, including last year's 21-14 loss to the Seminoles in Jacksonville, Fla.
CLEMSON VS. SEC: Clemson has compiled a 110-158-4 (.412) all-time record against the current SEC field ... The Tigers have played two SEC teams in each of the last two seasons ... Clemson played South Carolina and Kentucky (Music City Bowl) in 2006 and South Carolina and Auburn (Peach Bowl) in 2007 ... The Alabama game will be Clemson's third straight game against an SEC team, after closing the 2007 season with South Carolina and Auburn ... The Tigers' record against the SEC field includes Alabama (3-11), Auburn (11-33-2), Florida (3-9-1), Georgia (17-41-4), Kentucky (4-8), LSU (0-2), Ole Miss (0-2), Mississippi State (1-1-1), South Carolina (646-37-4), Tennessee (6-11-2) and Vanderbilt (1-3) ... Clemson has never faced Arkansas.
BOWDEN VS. SEC: Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden is 8-7 (.533) in his career against SEC teams ... The majority of his games have come against in-state rival South Carolina, where the Tigers have posted a 7-2 (.778) record in his first nine seasons against the Gamecocks ... Bowden has also faced Tennessee (1-0), Ole Miss (0-1), Mississippi State (0-1), Georgia (0-1), Kentucky (0-1) and Auburn (0-1) ... He has never faced Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU or Vanderbilt in his collegiate career.
SEASON OPENERS: Alabama has compiled an 89-21-3 all-time record in season openers, including a six-game winning streak ... Dating back to the 1977 season, Alabama is 27-4 in its last 31 season openers ... The Tide has posted a 15-2 opening day record since 1991 ... The 2008 season marks the ninth consecutive year the Tide has opened the season with a non-conference opponent ... The Crimson Tide is opening the season away from home for the first time since a 35-24 loss to UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Sept. 2, 2000 ... Alabama is opening the season with a BCS opponent for the first time since a 20-17 loss at UCLA in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Sept. 1, 2001.
COACH SABAN IN SEASON OPENERS: Coach Saban is 9-3 in his collegiate season openers ... He led Alabama to a 52-6 win over Western Carolina on Sept. 1, 2007 in his inaugural game with the Crimson Tide ... Saban won his very first collegiate game on Sept. 8, 1990 as he led Toldeo to a 20-14 win over Miami (Ohio) ... Saban was 3-2 in season openers at Michigan State ... He was 4-1 in season openers at LSU.
SEASON OPENERS BY SITE: Alabama has played its season opener in 18 different cities in its 114-year history of football ... The 2008 season opener with Clemson at the Georgia Dome marks the first time since the 1982 season that UA has opened the season in Atlanta ... Alabama is 2-0 in season openers in Atlanta, beating Georgia Tech at Grant Field in 1979 (30-6) and 1982 (45-7) ... The 2008 season also marks the Tide's ninth season opener in the state of Georgia ... The Tide is 5-3 in the previous eight openers, including a 3-2 mark in Athens and an 0-1 mark in Columbus ... The most common venue for an Alabama season opener is on the UA campus in Tuscaloosa, where the Tide has opened the season 50 times and compiled a 47-2-1 record ... The Tide is 17-1-1 in season openers at Bryant-Denny Stadium (circa 1929) following last year's win over Western Carolina ... The Tide has also opened the season 29 times in Birmingham and has posted a 24-4-1 record in those games in the Magic City.
SEASON OPENERS BY HEAD COACH: Coach Nick Saban posted a 52-6 win over Western Carolina (Sept. 1, 2007) in his lone season opener at the Capstone ... Coach Frank Thomas (1931-46) is the school's most successful coach on opening day, compiling a 13-0-2 record in his 15 season openers with the Crimson Tide ... Legendary coach Paul W. "Bear" Bryant (1958-82) is the school's winningest coach, logging 18 opening day wins in his 25-year career ... Bryant's record in Alabama season openers was 18-6-1 (.740), including a six-game winning streak to close out his successful career.
SEASON OPENERS BY OPPONENTS: Clemson represents the 54th different opening day opponent for the Alabama football team ... In fact, the Tide has faced a different opening day foe six times (UCLA, Middle Tennessee, South Florida, Utah, Hawaii, Western Carolina and Clemson) in the last nine years ... The Crimson Tide's most common opening day opponent is Howard (now Samford) ... UA is 11-0-1 record in its school-record 12 opening day meetings with Howard ... Alabama has also played five current SEC teams on opening day, compiling a 14-8-1 (.630) record against Ole Miss, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida and LSU ... Alabama has not opened the season with an SEC opponent since a 28-17 win at Vanderbilt in 1999.
OPENING-DAY SCORING SPREE: Alabama has scored 234 points in its last six season openers, an average of 39 points per game in wins over Middle Tennessee (39-34), South Florida (40-17), Utah State (48-17), Middle Tennessee (26-7), Hawaii (25-17) and Western Carolina (52-6) ... Alabama's 52-6 win over Western Carolina in Coach Saban's debut last season were the most points scored by the Tide in a season opener since a 66-0 win over Cal at Legion Field to open the 1973 season ... The Tide scored 40 points in back-to-back openers in 2003 and 2004, marking the first time since 1941-42 the Crimson Tide had hung 40 points on the board on opening night ... From 1924-32, Alabama scored 40 or more points in the season opener eight times. Alabama hit the 40-point mark four year in a row from 1924-27 and then again from 1929-32 ... Alabama has scored 40 or more points in its season opener 26 times, but only eight times since the World War II ... The record for most points in a season opener was an 89-0 win over Delta State in 1951.
HIGHEST-SCORING OPENERS: Alabama's 52-6 win over Western Carolina in last year's season opener fell one point short of making the school's all-time Top 10 list of highest scoring season openers ... The list of highest scoring season openers is headlined by a 110-0 win over Marion Institute on Sept. 20, 1922 ... The most recent additions to the all-time list was 39-34 win over Middle Tennessee on Aug. 3,1 2002 and a 48-17 win over Utah State on Sept. 4, 2004.
OPENING-DAY TRIVIA: Alabama has posted 49 opening day shutouts in its football history, including 16 consecutive opening-day shutouts from 1904-20 ... From 1904-34, Alabama posted 29 opening-day shutouts in a 30-year period. The lone exception was a 34-14 win over Howard (now Samford) in 1921 ... On the flip side, Alabama has been shutout on opening day just five times, with the last coming in 1957 ... Alabama's longest opening day winning streak came from 1904-34, when the Crimson Tide posted 31 consecutive wins in season openers ... From 1904-47, Alabama was an incredible 40-0-2 in season openers, which included a pair of ties with Howard (7-7, 1925) and LSU (27-27, 1944) ... Alabama's 42-game unbeaten streak in season openers ended with a 21-14 loss at Tulane on Sept. 25, 1948 ... The Crimson Tide had a seven-game losing streak in season openers from 1953-59, the longest in school history ... The Crimson Tide also suffered back-to-back opening day losses in 1975 (Missouri, 20-7) and 1976 (Ole Miss, 10-7), and 2000 (UCLA, 35-24) and 2001 (UCLA, 20-17) ... Prior to the loss to UCLA in 2000, Alabama had reeled off nine straight opening day wins, the longest winning streak in the modern era of UA football.
RETURNING SUCCESS: Much of the talk in the preseason about Alabama was its talented crop of incoming freshmen, but the Crimson Tide also returns a solid nucleus of veterans. Alabama features nine returning starters and 23 lettermen on offense that comprises 98.2 percent of the total offense from 2007. The Tide returns all 2,919 yards passing and 19 touchdowns while the rushing attack returns 95.5 percent of its yards and 94.7 percent of its touchdowns. The receiving corps was hit by graduation, but stills boasts 50.2 percent of the receptions in 2007 and 36.4 percent of its yards. On defense, Alabama returns five starters and 22 lettermen that represent 53.5 percent (494 of 923) of the tackles last season. The defense also returns 63.2 (12 of 19) percent of the interceptions from a year ago. The special teams returns almost completely intact with place-kicker Leigh Tiffin, punter P.J. Fitzgerald, snapper Brian Selman and return specialist Javier Arenas.
ALABAMA DEGREES: Alabama enters the 2008 season with six graduates on its football roster, including five of the nine scholarship seniors. Senior All-SEC safety Rashad Johnson, senior quarterback John Parker Wilson and junior offensive lineman Drew Davis all graduated this August from the Capstone ... Johnson received his degree in Criminal Justice ... Wilson and Davis earned their degrees in Marketing ... the trio joins senior All-SEC center Antoine Caldwell and senior wide receivers Will Oakley and Nikita Stover, who graduated last May ... in addition, five other former Crimson Tide players earned their undergraduate degrees from UA this August, including Charles Hoke (Finance), Zeke Knight (Human Environmental Studies), Terrence Jones (Human Environmental Studies), Tyrone Prothro (Human Environmental Studies) and B.J. Stabler (General Business).
TIDE PLAYERS EARN EARLY ACCOLADES: Several Alabama players have been recognized before the start of the 2008 season as potentially the top players at their position. Along the offensive front both left tackle Andre Smith and cetner Antoine Caldwell were named to the watch list for the 2008 Outland Trophy, which goes to the best interior lineman in the country. Caldwell was also selected to the Rimington Trophy watch list. The Rimington Trophy goes annually to the top center in the nation. Senior safety Rashad Johnson was named to two watch lists as both the Nagurski Trophy and the Jim Thorpe Award tagged Johnson as a player to watch. The Nagurski Trophy is given to the top defensive player in the nation while the Thorpe Award goes to the top defensive back. Crimson Tide Quarterback John Parker Wilson also received multiple honors as the senior was named to the Maxwell Award, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm and Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award watch lists. Both the Johnny Unitas and the Davey O'Brien go to the top quarterbacks nationally, while the Maxwell is given to the top player nationally.
FRESHMAN ACADEMICS: Alabama placed five freshman on the 2007 SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll, the fifth-highest total in the SEC ... the Tide's freshmen academic honorees were Josh Chapman, Rolando McClain, Jennings Hester, Nick Fanuzzi and Alfred McCullough.
FRESHMAN CLASS: Alabama's 2008 freshman class was the consensus No. 1-recruiting class in the country and they have done nothing to disprove that reputation throughout preseason camp. Coach Nick Saban has estimated as many as eight-to-10 players, maybe even more, that will receive substantial playing time in 2008. Freshmen and newcomers should bolster the Crimson Tide's receiving corps, defensive front seven and the offensive backfield.
TRUE FRESHMEN START SEASON OPENER: Alabama has had nine true freshmen start the season opener since freshmen regained their eligibility from the NCAA in 1973 ... Last year, a pair of true freshmen started the season opener as the Crimson Tide handed Coach Nick Saban a 52-6 victory in his Alabama debut against Western Carolina ... Freshman mike linebacker Rolando McClain and freshman cornerback Kareem Jackson both started the 2007 season opener ... The 2007 season opener marks the second time in school history the Crimson Tide has started a pair of true freshmen in the its opener ... In 1999, Alabama started freshman left tackle Dante Ellington and linebacker Saleem Rasheed in its 28-17 win at Vanderbilt ... Alabama has started at least one true freshman in the season opener in each of the last two seasons as left tackle Andre Smith started his first game at Alabama in the 2006 season opener against Hawaii.
FORBES RECOGNIZES UNIVERSITY: The University of Alabama was rated No. 7 by Forbes magazine on the Top 100 National Public Universities list ... "The University of Alabama, which got great reviews from its students, came in No. 7 on our national public university ranking," the magazine wrote.
NICK'S KIDS: At Michigan State, Saban started the "Nick's Kids" Foundation, which the Saban's continue here in Tuscaloosa. Since their arrival at the University of Alabama, the Saban's have helped raise over $650,000 - including over $350,000 this year - for "Nick's Kids" and made a total of more than 140 donations to children's charities throughout the state of Alabama.
COVERING EVERYTHING: Alabama head coach Nick Saban's success has spread beyond just football and into the business world. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated prior to the 2007 season, and prior to the start of the 2008 season he is featured on the cover of the Sept. 1 issue of Forbes magazine. The article inside the magazine, written by Monte Burke, examines Saban and his guidance of Crimson Tide program. The cover features Saban with Bryant-Denny Stadium in the background. Saban is the first college football coach to be featured on the cover of Forbes since the publication began in 1917.
$1 MILLION PLEDGE: Coach Saban and his wife, Terry, pledged $1 million to the University for scholarships in June of 2008. The Saban scholarships are designed specifically for first-generation college students. Six first-generation college students have already benefitted from the $100,000 gift the Saban's made upon their arrival at the Capstone in January 2007.
COACHING CLINIC SUCCESS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban's coaching clinic featured some of the top minds in football across all levels and over 1,000 high school coaches were on hand for the event. The featured speakers included Bill Belichick, Al Groh, Dean Pees, Fernando Bryant, several Alabama assistant coaches and keynote speaker Vince Dooley.
NEW HIRES: The Alabama football staff features three new faces in 2008, including offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim McElwain, tight ends and special teams coordinator and Associate Athletics Director for Football Mike Vollmar. McElwain joins the Tide staff after spending last season at Fresno State where the Bulldogs averaged 419.5 yards of total offense per game that ranked 38th nationally and was a 24 percent increase over the previous year. He spent the 2007 season as the quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. Williams rejoins Saban's staff after spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the Miami Dolphins running backs coach. Prior to that Williams was Saban's associate head coach and wide receivers coach at LSU in 2004. He was the head coach at Michigan State from 2000-04, taking over for Saban when he left for LSU. Vollmar comes to the Capstone after 12 years as an Assistant Athletics Director for Football at Michigan State.
TOP AIDES: Alabama's coaching staff has a wealth of knowledge across all levels of football. The nine-man Crimson Tide staff features two former head coaches at the Bowl Subdivision level in Kevin Steele (Baylor) and 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), Kevin Steele (Panthers) and Bobby Williams (Lions and Dolphins).
2008 ALABAMA PREVIEW: The Alabama Crimson Tide returns 48 lettermen this season, 23 on offense, 22 on defense and three specialists ... back for their final seasons with the Tide are key seniors John Parker Wilson, who will be the starting quarterback for the third straight year, All-SEC safety and team captain Rashad Johnson, who the SEC in interceptions last season, and three-year starter and team captain Antoine Caldwell on the offensive line ... with one of the nation's top freshman classes being added to the roster, the Tide will rely on this senior leadership throughout the 2008 season.
OFFENSE - Alabama returns nine starters from last year's squad on offense ... anchoring the Crimson Tide offensively will be three-year starting quarterback John Parker Wilson ... Wilson broke his own single-season school records in total plays, total offense, pass attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdown passes last season ... the Tide also returns needed experience on the offensive line in the form of junior All-SEC tackle Andre Smith and senior team captain Antoine Caldwell ... although sophomore Mike McCoy returns to the starting lineup at wide receiver, there will still be holes to fill at that position after the departure of seniors D.J. Hall, Matt Caddell and Keith Brown ... other returning starters on offense include OL Marlon Davis, OL Mike Johnson, TE Nick Walker, TE Travis McCall and RB Terry Grant.
DEFENSE - On the defensive side of the ball the Crimson Tide brings back five starters ... The group will be led by senior All-SEC safety Rashad Johnson, who started 13 games last season and led the SEC with six interceptions ... His senior leadership is vital to a young defensive backfield that includes sophomore corner Kareem Jackson, who was named Freshman All-SEC last year ... At linebacker, one of the top young players in the league returns in sophomore Rolando McClain ... McClain played in all 13 games last season as a true freshman and started eight games ... He was selected First-Team Sporting News Freshman All-American ... The defensive line will be a point of emphasis for the Tide this season as they try and replace All-SEC defensive end Wallace Gilberry ... UA returns two starters in junior Brandon Deaderick and junior Lorenzo Washington along with senior Bobby Greenwood.
SPECIAL TEAMS - The all-important special teams units from last season remain fully in place ... Junior place-kicker Leigh Tiffin returns to handle Alabama's placekicking and kickoff duties ... Last season Tiffin was tied for seventh nationally with 1.92 field goals per game and led the SEC with 10 field goals of over 40 yards ... Junior punter P.J. Fitzgerald has started every game in his Crimson Tide over the last two years ... Senior long snapper Brian Selman is set to handle the long snapping duties again in 2008 ... Electrifying return man Javier Arenas is back as the deep man on kickoff and punt returns this season ... Last season, Arenas had 27 kickoff returns for 657 yards and 21 punts for 323 yards and a touchdown to rank second in the Tide's single-season return chart for both categories. John Parker Wilson: John Parker Wilson is one of the school's most prolific quarterbacks ... he owns single-season school records for total plays (104), total offense (2,950), pass attempts (462), completions (225), passing yards (2,846) and touchdown passes (18) ... a three-year starter, Wilson enters his senior season with his sights set on the a number of UA career passing records ... he has started 26 straight games under center for the Crimson Tide ... named to the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm watch list ... named to the Davey O'Brien watch list and the Maxwell Award watch list ... third-team preseason All-SEC pick by SEC Coaches and Phil Steele ... rated as the No. 20 quarterback in the nation by Lindy's ... named to the 2008 Johnny Musso Most Outstanding Offensive Back Award following spring practice ... earned his degree in Marketing this August.
Antoine Caldwell: A three-year starter Antoine Caldwell returned for his senior season despite earning his degree from Alabama last spring ... Caldwell has started 34 games on the offensive line and has played center, guard and tackle in his career ... he is on the watch list for both the Rimington Trophy and Outland Trophy ... he is a second-team preseason All-SEC pick by league coaches, the Associated Press, Phil Steele, Lindy's and College Football Preview ... ranked as the No. 5 center in the country according to Lindy's ... earned the 2008 Mal Moore Leadership Award following spring practice ... elected captain of the 2007 Alabama team.
Rashad Johnson: A former walk-on, Rashad Johnson is one of the top rated defensive backs in the SEC ... he led the league with six interceptions in 2007 ... named to the 2008 Bronco Nagurski Trophy watch list and Jim Thorpe Award watch list ... in 37 career games, Johnson has 135 tackles and six interceptions ... he led UA with 94 tackles last season ... named first-team preseason All-SEC by the SEC Coaches and the Associated Press ... was a second-team preseason All-SEC by Athlon's Sports, Lindy's, Phil Steele and College Football Preview ... ranked as the No. 9 free safety nationally by Lindy's ... earned his degree in Criminal Justice in August ... won the Mal Moore Leadership Award following spring practice.
PLAYBOY ALL-AMERICAN: Alabama junior left tackle Andre Smith was named to the 2008 preseason Playboy All-American team this summer ... was the winner of the 2007 Jacobs Trophy, presented to the SEC's most outstanding blocker ... Smith was named to the 2008 Outland Trophy watch list ... Smith was also named preseason All-American by Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, Phil Steele, Athlon's Sports and Lindy's ... rated as the No. 2 offensive tackle in the nation by Lindy's ... He has started all 26 games in his UA career ... Smith earned the Paul Crane Offensive Lineman Award following spring practice.
GEORGIA PEACHES: Alabama has eight players on its football from the state of Georgia, including junior offensive lineman Marlon Davis (Columbus), redshirt freshman quarterback Thomas Darrah (Newnan), freshman defensive back Demetrius Goode (LaGrange), sophomore wide receiver Darius Hanks (Norcross), redshirt freshman linebacker Jennings Hester (Atlanta), freshman wide receiver Chris Jackson (McDonough), sophomore defensive back Kareem Jackson (Macon) and junior defensive lineman Lorenzo Washington (Loganville).
GEORGIA ON MY MIND: Alabama is 27-27-3 (.500) all-time in games played in the state of Georgia ... The Crimson Tide owns a 15-15-3 (.500) record in the city of Atlanta, site of the 2008 season opener, and has won five of its seven games in Atlanta ... The Tide owns a 12-10 record in games played in Athens and will face the Georgia Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium on Sept. 27, 2008 ... Alabama is 0-2 in games played in Columbus.
GEORGIA TIMES TWO: Alabama will play two regular season games in the state of Georgia this season, against Clemson and Georgia ... The Tide and Tigers will open the 2008 season on Aug. 30 in the Georgia Dome ... The Crimson Tide will make a return visit to the state of Georgia on Sept. 27 when Alabama faces Georgia in Athens ... The 2008 season marks the third time in school history Alabama has played two regular season games in the state of Georgia ... The Crimson Tide played at both Georgia and Georgia Tech in 1912 and 1942.
NEUTRAL SITES: Alabama is 62-44-4 (.582) in neutral site games ... The list includes all Alabama-Auburn games not played on campus, including Legion Field from 1948-88 ... The 2008 season marks the second straight year the Crimson Tide has played a neutral site regular season game ... Last year, Alabama and Florida State at Jacksonville (Fla.) Municipal Stadium with the Seminoles winning 21-14 ... Prior to last year's FSU game, Alabama had not played a regular season neutral site game since beating No. 9 Ohio State 16-10 in the 1986 Kickoff Classic on Aug. 27 at the Meadowlands.
DOME SWEET DOME: Alabama is 6-3 (.667) all-time in domed stadiums ... The Crimson Tide is making its first appearance in a dome since handing No. 5 Florida a 34-7 loss in the 1999 SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4 at the Georgia Dome ... UA is 1-2 (.333) in its three SEC Championship game appearances at the Georgia Dome ... In addition, Alabama is 6-1 (.857) in games played at the Louisiana Superdome, including a 5-1 (.833) mark in Sugar Bowl games ... Alabama beat Penn State, 13-6, in the first Sugar Bowl game played in the Superdome on Dec. 31, 1975.
AUGUST RECORD: The Alabama-Clemson game ties for the second-earliest season opener in school history ... The Crimson Tide and Tigers will play on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta ... The earliest season opener in school history took place on Aug. 27, 1986 as the Crimson Tide beat No. 9 Ohio State 16-10 in the Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. ... The last time Alabama opened the season in the month of August came on Aug. 30, 2003 when the Tide beat South Florida 40-17 at in the Tide's final game at Legion Field ... Alabama is 5-0 in games played in the month of August with wins coming in 1986, 1996, 1997, 2002 and 2003 ... Coach Saban is 2-1 (.667) in the month of August with wins over Purdue (1996) and Louisiana-Monroe (2003) and a loss to Colorado State (1998).
ALABAMA'S TV RECORD: Alabama has compiled a 168-113-5 (.596) all-time record in 286 televised games ... This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts ... The Crimson Tide owns a 143-95-3 (.600) record in 241 regular-season televised games.
OVERTIME RECORD: Alabama is 3-7 (.300) all-time in overtime games ... In its last overtime game, the Crimson Tide suffered a 26-23 loss to Georgia on Sept. 22, 2007 at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... Alabama has lost six of its last seven overtime games ... The Crimson Tide is 3-6 (.333) 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.
ALL-TIME RANKINGS: Alabama has compiled a 355-127-10 (.732) all-time record when ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll ... The Tide's initial appearance in the AP poll came during the poll's inaugural year in 1936 when the 14th-ranked Crimson Tide beat No. 10 Tulane 34-7 in Legion Field ... Alabama compiled a 12-15-2 (.448) record when ranked in the AP poll from 1936-60 ... Things changed in 1961 as coach Paul "Bear" Bryant began his dominance in college football ... Alabama was ranked in the AP poll for 47 consecutive weeks from Nov. 20, 1960 through Sept. 19, 1965 ... After a six-week hiatus in 1965, following a 5-1-1 start, Alabama re-entered the poll on Nov. 7, 1965 after a 31-7 win at LSU ... The Crimson Tide was ranked another 20 consecutive weeks from 1965-67, ending the run with a 24-13 loss to Tennessee at Legion Field on Oct. 21, 1967 ... The 1970s are easily the heyday of Alabama football. From 1970-79, Alabama won 103 games to become the first college football team to win 100 games in a decade ... From 1971-82, Alabama was ranked in the AP poll 141 of a possible 142 weeks. The Crimson Tide had a one-week absence following a 21-0 loss at Georgia on Oct. 2, 1976 ... After a win over Southern Miss the following week, the Crimson Tide was back in the rankings until the 1982 season ... Ironically, the Tide fell out of the AP poll for the first time since 1976 with a 38-29 loss to Southern Miss at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 13, 1983 ... Since the 1983 season, Alabama has compiled a 130-51-2 (.716) record when ranked in the AP Top 25 ... Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings' teams (1990-96) were 62-13-1 (.822) and were ranked for 71 consecutive weeks from 1991 through the end of his seven-year tenure in 1996 ... Since 1997, Alabama has only been ranked in the AP poll 42 times and has compiled a 26-17 (.619) record.
MEMORABLE SEASON OPENERS: Here is a look at some of the more memorable and significant season openers for the Crimson Tide since World War II.
1938 -- Alabama 19, Southern California 7 (Sept. 24, 1938, Los Angeles) In front of 65,000 fans, Hershel Moseley threw two touchdown passes to lead Alabama to a win over Southern California.
1940 -- Alabama 26, Spring Hill 0 (Sept. 27, 1940, Mobile) In the first night game in Alabama football history, the Crimson Tide beat Spring Hill College, 26-0, in front of 7,500 fans at Murphy High School in Mobile.
1958 -- LSU 13, Alabama 3 (Sept. 27, Mobile, Ala.) The Alabama head coaching debut of Paul "Bear " Bryant took place at Ladd Stadium in Mobile ... Bryant inherited a team that posted a 2-7-1 record in 1957 and took that team to a 5-4-1 mark in his first season.
1960 -- Alabama 21, Georgia 6 (Sept. 17, 1960, Birmingham) Alabama defeated Georgia 21-6 in the first college football game to be televised by ABC Sports.
1965 -- Georgia 18, Alabama 17 (Sept. 18, 1965, Athens) After winning the national championship in 1964, Alabama was set to defend its title between the hedges in Athens, Ga. ... It was a spectacular pass-and-lateral play in the final two minutes that gave Georgia the 18-17 upset win, although television replays later revealed the Georgia player had one knee touching the ground before the lateral.
1970 -- Southern Cal 42, Alabama 21 (Sept. 12, Birmingham) Sam Cunningham's dominating ground game handed the Crimson Tide its worst loss of the 1970 season ... USC ran for 485 yards against Alabama and had 559 yards of total offense. Cunningham scored two first quarter touchdowns on runs of 22 and four yards.
1971 -- Alabama 17, USC 10 (Sept. 10, Los Angeles) Perhaps the most significant season opener in Alabama football annals was the Tide's win at USC ... The Crimson Tide had installed the wishbone offense and kept it a secret throughout the summer and fall camp ... The Tide unleashed its attack against the Trojans and built a 17-0 lead ... All-America tailback Johnny Musso had the honor of scoring the first rushing touchdown in the wishbone era of Alabama football. The Crimson Tide would dominate the decade of the 1970s, winning 103 games ... In addition, Alabama either won or played for the national championship six times in that 10-year period.
1978 -- Alabama 20, Nebraska 3 (Sept. 2, Birmingham) No. 1 ranked Alabama dominated No. 10 Nebraska before a capacity crowd at Birmingham's Legion Field ... The Crimson Tide avenged a 31-24 loss to the Cornhuskers a year earlier ... Alabama dominated the game on offense as evidenced by a 16-play, 99-yard touchdown drive engineered by quarterback Jeff Rutledge ... The 1978 season opener marked the only time in school history Alabama has been ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls.
1985 -- Alabama 20, Georgia 16 (Sept. 2, Athens) Junior quarterback Mike Shula fired a 17-yard TD pass to Al Bell with 15 seconds remaining to cap a thrilling game-winning drive in the final minute to beat Georgia between the hedges ... A Labor Day night crowd burst into excitement as Georgia blocked an Alabama punt and covered it in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of play ... The calm and confident Shula directed the Crimson Tide down the field for the game-winner, giving ABC Sports a thrilling season opener in 1985.
1986 -- Alabama 16, Ohio State 10 (Aug. 27, Meadowlands) Fifth-ranked Alabama defeated No. 9 Ohio State in the Kickoff Classic at East Rutherford, N.J. ... The game marked the last time Alabama opened the season against a team ranked in the Top 25 until 2001 when meeting UCLA in Tuscaloosa.
1998 -- Alabama 38, BYU 31 (Sept. 5, Tuscaloosa) Shaun Alexander rushed for an Alabama single-game record five touchdowns, leading the Crimson Tide to a 38-31 win over BYU in the newly expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium ... A record crowd of 83,318 fans watched as Alexander scored on runs of 5, 37, 1, 28 and 2 yards to lead the Crimson Tide to victory.
2007 -- Alabama 52, Western Carolina 6 (Sept. 1, Tuscaloosa) The Nick Saban era began with a bang as freshman running back Terry Grant scored on the first play from scrimmage as the Crimson Tide cruised to a 52-6 win in the season opener ... Grant finished with 134 yards and three touchdowns and was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance in his Crimson Tide debut.
MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES: Here is a look at some of the Crimson Tide's top individual opening-day performances.
Sept. 24, 1926 (Alabama 54, Millsaps 0, Tuscaloosa) Red Brown scores three touchdowns on runs of 92, 70 and 30 yards in the Tide's win over Millsaps.
Sept. 28, 1929 (Alabama 55, Mississippi College 0) In the first game at Denny Stadium, Tony Holm scored two touchdowns to lead Alabama to a 55-0 win over Mississippi College ... Holm's two rushing touchdowns totaled 130 yards for the Tide.
1951 -- Alabama 89, Delta State 0 (Sept. 21, Montgomery, Ala.) All-American halfback Bobby Marlow ran for 103 yards as the Tide set school record for points (89), touchdowns (13) and extra points (11) in this blowout win over Delta State.
1973 -- Alabama 66, California 0 (Sept. 15, Birmingham) Freshman backup quarterback Richard Todd ran for 106 yards in his Alabama debut as the Crimson Tide posted a 66-0 blowout win over Cal.
1984 -- Boston College 38, Alabama 31 (Sept. 8, Birmingham) Sophomore tailback Kerry Goode electrified the Legion Field crowd and a national television audience with 297 all-purpose yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with a season-ending knee injury ... Goode set the SEC single-game record with 197 yards in kickoff returns, including a 99-yard TD to open the second half.
1989 -- Alabama 35, Memphis State 7 (Sept. 16, Birmingham) Junior running back Siran Stacy ran for 000 yards and four touchdowns in his Crimson Tide debut, leading Alabama to a 35-7 win over Memphis State at Legion Field.
1998 -- Alabama 38, BYU 31 (Sept. 5, Tuscaloosa) Junior tailback Shaun Alexander had 26 carries for 115 yards and a school-record five touchdowns, leading Alabama to a 38-31 win over BYU in the newly-expanded Bryant-Denny Stadium ... Alexander scored on runs of 5, 37, 1, 28 and 2 yards in the win.
2003 -- Alabama 40, South Florida 17 (Aug. 30, Birmingham) Junior running back Shaud Williams had 172 all-purpose yards and scored three second-half touchdowns to lead Alabama to a 40-17 win over South Florida ... Williams had a 73-yard punt return in the third quarter that gave the Tide a 27-17 lead.
2007 -- Alabama 52, Western Carolina 6 (Sept. 1, Tuscaloosa) Freshman running back Terry Grant ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns, leading Alabama to a 52-6 win over Western Carolina in Nick Saban's debut as head coach ... Grant began his UA career in style with a 47-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage ... He was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for his efforts.
A-DAY SUCCESS: Alabama has led the SEC in spring football game attendance each of the last two seasons, averaging 85,166 fans for Coach Nick Saban's two A-Day football games at Bryant-Denny Stadium ... Alabama dew an NCAA record 92,138 fans for Saban's first spring football game on April 21, 2007 ... In 2008, Alabama led the SEC again with 78,200 fans for it's A-Day game on April 12.