Sept. 2, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
ALABAMA FOOTBALL: Offensive Notebook
RollTide.com will break down the Alabama offense, defense and special teams throughout the 2008 season. The Crimson Tide offense will be featured each Tuesday during the year. Here is today's look at the UA offense heading into Saturday's home opener with Tulane.
John Parker Wilson: John Parker Wilson is one of the school's most prolific quarterbacks. After throwing for 180 yards on 22-of-30 passing vs. Clemson, he became Alabama's all-time career leader in pass completions (500) and attempts (882). 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 has his sights set on a number of UA career passing records. He has started 27 straight games under center for the Crimson Tide. Wilson was named to the 2008 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm watch list, the Davey O'Brien watch list and the Maxwell Award watch list. He is a third-team preseason All-SEC pick by SEC Coaches and Phil Steele and rated as the No. 20 quarterback in the nation by Lindy's. He was selected as the 2008 Johnny Musso Most Outstanding Offensive Back Award following spring practice. Wilson graduated from the University of Alabama in August with his degree in marketing.
WILSON BREAKING RECORDS FOR TIDE: John Parker Wilson became Alabama's all-time leader in pass completions against Clemson on Saturday. Wilson found UA tight end Nick Walker for a five-yard completion in the second quarter to pass Brodie Croyle's record of 488 set from 2002-2005. Wilson now has 500 career completions. Wilson also surpassed the Alabama career pass attempts mark with 882, exceeding Croyle's 869. His two touchdown passes vs. the Tigers also moved him within two touchdowns of tying Croyle's career record of 41. Wilson isn't too far behind in a couple of other Alabama career categories heading into Saturday's game with Tulane. He needs just one play to pass Croyle (1,052) for the most plays in school history. Wilson also needs just 175 yards to become the school's all-time leader with 6,206 total yards (Croyle had 6,205 yards). Finally, Wilson (5,831 yards) needs 153 passing yards to move into second place on the career chart, ahead of Andrew Zow (5,984) and behind Croyle (6,382).
Antoine Caldwell: A three-year starter Antoine Caldwell returned for his senior season despite earning his degree from Alabama last spring. Caldwell has started 35 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. Caldwell is ranked as the No. 5 center in the country according to Lindy's. He earned the 2008 Mal Moore Leadership Award following spring practice and was elected captain of the 2007 Alabama team.
TIDE DOMINATES TIME OF POSSESSION: Alabama played a pretty good game of keep away last Saturday night inside the Georgia Dome in a commanding 34-10 win over then-No. 9 Clemson. The Crimson Tide had possession of the ball for an amazing 41:13 seconds. UA ran 80 plays compared to just 48 by the Tigers and compiled a 419 to 188 edge in total yards and a 239 to 0 edge on the ground. The last time an Alabama team racked up 40 minutes of time of possession was in an Oct. 9, 2004, win over Kentucky in Lexington where the Tide had the ball for 41:05.
LONG DIVES: Long methodical scoring drives were a big part of the Crimson Tide's 41:13 of possession time against Clemson. Alabama had four drives that last at least 10 plays while consuming at least five minutes of the clock. Three of those four drives lasted 14 plays each while two drives ate up more than eight minutes of the clock. The Tide had a 14-play, 83-yard drive in the second quarter that lasted 8:16 and a 14-play, 78-yard drive in the fourth quarter that consumed 8:54 of the clock.
2008 Long Drives
10 plays, 27 yards, 5:17 vs. Clemson (FG)
14 plays, 83 yards, 8:16 vs. Clemson (TD)
14 plays, 67 yards, 6:52 vs. Clemson (TD)
14 plays, 78 yards, 8:54 vs. Clemson (FG)
ALABAMA CONVERTS ON 3RD: Alabama's offense last Saturday vs. Clemson was the model of efficiency, rolling up 239 yards on the ground and 180 in the air. But the true test for the Crimson Tide came on third down where Alabama converted 64.7 percent of their chances against the Tigers or 11 of 17. On third down vs. Clemson, UA amassed 105 yards with a touchdown. John Parker Wilson completed 75 percent (9 of 12) of his passes on third down for 89 yards. The Tide has the best third-down conversion (64.7 percent) among the 12 SEC schools last weekend. Last season (2007), Alabama converted just 38 percent on third down.
TIGHT END PRODUCTION: The Crimson Tide made full use of their talented tight ends in the season-opening win over Clemson. Alabama completed eight passes for 75 yards to its tight ends with Nick Walker hauling in seven passes for 67 yards and a touchdown while Travis McCall made one grab for eight yards. Walker made three third down catches that resulted in first downs while four of his seven grabs went for first downs and another was a four-yard touchdown catch. Walker's seven receptions were the most by an SEC receiver during the opening weekend of play. Editor's note: The Alabama defense will be featured on Wednesday, while the special teams' notebook will run every Thursday during the 2008 season.