Aug. 25, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Game week has arrived for the University of Alabama football team.
After three weeks of fall camp, the Tide hit the practice field Monday afternoon in preparation for its 2008 season opener against No. 9 Clemson Tigers, the preseason favorites to the win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship.
"Clemson has got an outstanding team," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said today at his weekly press conference. "They're a Top 10 team. Tommy Bowden has done a fantastic job there in the 10 years that he's been there as coach. Their offensive team has tremendous skill players. (C.J.) Spiller and (James) Davis are as fine a running back combination, tandem, whatever you want to call them, as anyone in the country. (Aaron) Kelly is certainly a fantastic wide receiver. Cullen Harper is probably as fine a quarterback as there is in the country and will be certainly drafted very high in the NFL draft next year, maybe the first quarterback taken in the draft.
"They've got eight starters back on defense. And their defense: everybody talks about Clemson's offense and they do have great skill players, but defensively there were ranked in the top 10 in most categories last year. They were 10th in scoring defense. Turnover margin, which is always important in winning and losing, they were one of the top teams in the country. I think they were ninth in turnover margin. So this is a very good all-around team."
The Crimson Tide and Tigers will square off Saturday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. (CDT) at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. The game will be televised nationally by ABC Sports and will mark the Tide's first appearance on ABC since the Jan. 1, 2000, FedEx Orange Bowl game against Michigan.
The Crimson Tide worked for two hours in full pads inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility as rains forced the Tide indoors for their second straight practice.
Alabama junior place kicker Leigh Tiffin was named to the 2008 Lou Groza Award preseason watch list on Monday. The Groza Award, sponsored by the Palm Beach (Fla.) Sports Commission, is presented annually to college football's best kicker. The semifinalists will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 11, and the three finalists will be named on Wednesday, Nov. 26. The winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 11, during the Home Depot/ESPNU College Football Awards show broadcast live from Orlando, Fla.
Last year as a sophomore, Tiffin set Alabama single-season records for points by a kicker (111) and field goals made (25). He led the SEC and tied for third nationally with 1.92 field goals per game. In all, Tiffin converted all 36 extra point attempts and was successful on 25 of 34 field goal attempts.
In his two-year career, Tiffin has converted 48 of 49 extra points and 33 of 50 field goal attempts. He has scored 147 points in his career.