Alabama Begins Preparations for Vanderbilt

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ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

GAME 2: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE vs. VANDERBILT COMMODORES
September 8, 2007 -- Vanderbilt Stadium (41,000) -- Nashville, Tenn.
11:30 a.m. (CDT) -- Lincoln Financial Sports

ALABAMA QUICK NOTES: Alabama has compiled a 47-20-4 (.690) record in SEC openers, including a 15-game winning streak ... The Crimson Tide is 17-3-1 in SEC openers against the Commodores, including last year’s 13-10 win in Tuscaloosa ... This Saturday marks the 17-year anniversary (Sept. 8, 1990) of Nick Saban’s first game as a collegiate head coach (Toledo 20, Miami, Ohio 14) ... Bama is 8-1-1 (.850) in SEC openers in Nashville ... Junior tight end Nick Walker played on the same high school team as Vandy junior quarterback Chris Nickson. The duo led Pike County High School (Brundidge, Ala.) to 3A state championship in 2003 ... Alabama has held Vanderbilt to 10 points or less in nine of the last 12 meetings ... The Crimson Tide leads the SEC in total offense (575) and scoring offense (52) heading into the SEC opener ... Redshirt freshman Terry Grant is third in the SEC and 20th nationally in rushing (134.0) and first in the SEC and 15th nationally in scoring (18 points).

ALABAMA OPENS SEC SLATE

After a successful 2007 debut, the University of Alabama football team opens its Southeastern Conference slate this Saturday, Sept. 8 against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.  The SEC opener will be televised by Lincoln Financial Sports with kickoff set for shortly after 11:30 a.m. (CDT).  Dave Neal (play-by-play), Dave Archer (analyst) and Dave Baker (sidelines) will call the action to a regional audience.  The game will be aired on 67 stations in the nine-state SEC region, plus ESPN GamePlan. Alabama (1-0) ushered in the Nick Saban era with a resounding 52-6 win over Western Carolina.  The Crimson Tide offense, which scored on the first play from scrimmage (Terry Grant 47-yard run), racked up a school record 35 first downs to go with 575 total yards.  The Crimson Tide had 313 yards rushing and 262 yards passing for its most impressive offensive output since totaling 588 yards in a 56-3 win over UTEP on October 6, 2001.  Grant (Lumberton, Miss.) had 18 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns in the first half to lead all rushers in his first career start.  Vanderbilt (1-0) opened the season with a 41-17 win over Richmond last weekend in Nashville.  Alabama is 47-20-4 (.690) all-time in SEC openers and owns a 15-game winning streak, which dates back to the 1992 season.  Alabama’s last loss in an SEC opener came on September 14, 1991, in a 35-0 loss at Florida.  Vanderbilt is UA’s most common opponent in SEC openers. The Crimson Tide and Commodores will be meeting for the 22nd time this weekend in an SEC opener.  Alabama owns a 17-3-1 (.833) advantage over Vanderbilt in those previous 21 meetings.

THE HEAD COACHES

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) was named the school’s 27th head coach on Jan. 3, 2007.  Saban has compiled a 92-42-1 (.685) record as a college head coach.   He led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship in 2003.  He was 48-16 (.750) in his five years at LSU, including two SEC championships.  Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and eight of his 11 teams have played in post-season bowl games.  Saban also has a wealth of coaching experience in the National Football League, serving as secondary coach (Houston, 1988-89), defensive coordinator (Cleveland, 1991-94) and head coach (Miami, 2005-06).

Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson (Clemson, 1973) has compiled a 16-42 (.276) record in his six seasons at Vanderbilt.  Johnson guided the Commodores to a 5-6 record in 2005, his best season in Nashville.  Overall, Johnson has compiled a 76-72 (.514) record. Prior to Vanderbilt, Johnson spent 24 years at Furman, where he served as head coach from 1994-2001.  He led the Paladins to a 60-30 (.667) record, an NCAA Division IAA national runnerup finish and four Southern Conference championships.  He also spent two years as an assistant at his alma mater, Clemson (1980 and 1993).  Johnson played football at Clemson for Cecil “Hootie” Ingram, a standout football and baseball player at Alabama and former Director of Athletics (1989-95).

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

  • This Saturday marks the 17th anniversary of head coach Nick Saban’s first game as a collegiate head coach.
  • Saban made his head coaching debut on Sept. 8, 1990 as Toledo beat Miami (Ohio) 20-14 in Oxford, Ohio.
  • He has compiled a 2-0 career record on Sept. 8 also having led LSU to a 31-14 win over Utah State in 2001.

ALABAMA SEC OPENERS

  • The Crimson Tide has posted a 47-20-4  (.690) record in Southeastern Conference openers.
  • Alabama has won 15 consecutive SEC openers, dating back to the 1992 season.
  • The current winning streak includes 11 wins against Vanderbilt (1992-2001, 2006) and one win against Arkansas (2002), Kentucky (2003), Ole Miss (2004) and South Carolina (2005).
  • The last time Alabama lost an SEC opener was Sept. 14, 1991, when Florida shut out the Crimson Tide 35-0 in Gainesville
  • The 2007 season marks the 15th time in 17 years of divisional play that Alabama has opened its SEC schedule with an Eastern Division foe.
  • Alabama’s first SEC game was a scoreless tie with Ole Miss at Birmingham’s Municipal Stadium (now Legion Field) on October 7, 1933.

SEC OPENERS BY SITE

  • The Crimson Tide has played its SEC opener at 14 different sites since 1933.
  • The most common site for an SEC opener is Tuscaloosa where the Crimson Tide has fashioned a 19-3 (.864) record.
  • The Crimson Tide will be playing its 11th SEC opener at Vanderbilt Stadium this weekend, which ranks second on the school’s all-time opener sites.  Bama is 8-1-1 (.850) in its previous 10 SEC openers in Nashville.
  • Alabama has also played 10 SEC openers at Birmingham’s Legion Field and has compiled a 6-3-1 (.650) record in those games.
  • The Tide has opened its SEC schedule against every current SEC foe with the exception of Auburn.  The Tide and Tigers traditionally meet in the final game of the regular season with a few exceptions since the rivalry resumed in 1948.
  • For historical purposes, Bama never opened its SEC season with former league members Georgia Tech or Tulane. 

 SEC Openers by Opponent (Since 1933)

Opponent  Record (Last Meeting)
Auburn 0-0 (NA)
Arkansas  1-0 (2002) 
Florida  2-3 (1991) 
Georgia  6-2 (1985) 
Kentucky  3-0 (1989) 
LSU  4-1-2 (1981) 
Mississippi State  2-2 (1942) 
Ole Miss  8-2 (1983) 
South Carolina  1-0 (2005) 
Tennessee  0-3 (1940) 
Vanderbilt  17-3-1 (2006) 

SEC EXPERIENCE

  • The Crimson Tide roster contains only 50 players with SEC playing experience entering Saturday’s conference opener.
  • The 50 players have combined to play 612 career SEC games.
  • The Crimson Tide has 10 players with 20 or more career SEC games, with Caddell, Collins, Gilberry, DJ Hall and Demarcus Waldrop leading the way with 25 games each.
  • Alabama has 25 players with less than 10 career SEC games. 
  • In addition, the Alabama roster has only 25 players with at least one SEC start entering the 2007 SEC opener at Vanderbilt this Saturday
  • The 25 players have combined to make 182 starts in league play
  • Alabama has six players with 10 or more career SEC starts.  Caldwell, Capps and Gilberry head the list with 16 starts each, followed by Stabler (14), Brown (13) and DJ Hall (13)
  • The Tide has 19 players with less than 10 career SEC starts and nine players with less than five SEC starts entering Saturday’s opener.

ALABAMA-VANDERBILT SERIES

  • The Crimson Tide and Commodores meet for the 83rd time this weekend when the two-long time rivals open SEC play at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville.
  • Alabama holds 59-19-4 (.744) lead in a series that dates back to 1904.
  • This will be the first meeting in Nashville since the Crimson Tide posted a 30-8 win on Nov. 2, 2002. 
  • Alabama won 13-10 last year in Tuscaloosa on freshman Leigh Tiffin’s 47-yard field goal with 7:43 left in the game.  That game marked the first meeting in Tuscaloosa since the 2000 season.
  • Alabama and Vanderbilt met every year from 1952-2002 before a schedule change by the SEC put the two schools on a rotating basis.
  • Alabama enters the 2007 season with an 18-game winning streak over Vanderbilt. The Commodores last win in the series was a 30-21 decision on September 29, 1984 in Tuscaloosa.
  • That win over Alabama also snapped the Crimson Tide’s school-record 25-game homecoming winning streak.
  • The Commodores posted a 30-0 win over the Crimson Tide in the initial meeting in Nashville in 1904.
  • In fact, Vanderbilt won the first five games in the series, outscoring the Crimson Tide, 165-14, in those five meetings.
  • Vandy also posted shutouts in each of the first three meetings, including the most lopsided win (78-0, 1906) ever recorded against an Alabama team.
  • After spotting the Commodores a 5-0 series lead, Alabama earned its first win in 1920 with a 14-7 triumph in Birmingham.
  • From 1957-59, the Crimson Tide and Commodores played to three consecutive ties. The scores were 6-6 (1957), 0-0 (1958), and 7-7 (1959).
  • Prior to 1960, Alabama and Vanderbilt battled on even terms with the Crimson Tide holding a slight 17-16-4 (.514) series lead.
  • Since 1961, Alabama has had the upperhand, posting a 42-2 (.957) record in the last 44 meetings.
  • In 1998, Alabama set the school record for most safeties in a game with two against Vanderbilt in a 32-7 win at Legion Field in Birmingham.
  • The Crimson Tide duplicated that feat with another pair of safeties in a 28-10 win over Vandy at Legion Field in 2000.
  • Bama’s 2001 win in Nashville (12-9) marked the first time since 1958 that the Crimson Tide did not score a touchdown against the Commodores.  The two teams played to a scoreless tie in 1958.
  • Vanderbilt has scored 10 points or less in nine of the last 12 meetings with Alabama.

ALABAMA-VANDERBILT NOTEBOOK

  • The Crimson Tide and Commodores have played at four different sites during their first 81 meetings. 
  • The two teams have played at different sites in Alabama, including Birmingham, Mobile and Tuscaloosa.
  • Nashville is the only city in Tennessee to host the game.

Series Record by Site

Site  Record 
Nashville  27-12-2 
Birmingham  15-3-1 
Tuscaloosa  14-1 
Mobile  1-2-1 

  • Coach Saban is 1-0 in his career against Vanderbilt following a 24-7 win while at LSU on Oct. 30, 2004.
  • Vanderbilt head coach Bobby Johnson is 0-2 against Alabama following a 30-8 loss in Nashville in 2002 and a 13-10 loss in Tuscaloosa last year.
  • Johnson is a 1973 graduate of Clemson University, where he played for Cecil “Hootie” Ingram.  Ingram, who resides in Tuscaloosa, was a football and baseball standout for the Crimson Tide in the 1950s and was Director of Athletics at UA from 1989-95.
  • The Crimson Tide roster includes six players from the state of Tennessee.

Alabama Players from Tennessee

Player, Position  Hometown 
Tremayne Coger, DB  Columbia 
Brandon Fanney, DL  Morristown 
Baron Huber, FB  Knoxville 
Darren Mustin, LB  Brentwood 
Travis Sikes, LB  Nashville 
Alex Watkins, DL/LB  Brownsville 

Vanderbilt lists nine players from the state of Alabama on its 2007 football roster.

Vanderbilt Players from Alabama

Player, Position  Hometown 
Joey Bailey  Trussville 
Earl Bennett  Birmingham 
Joel Caldwell  Hoover 
Justin Green  Troy 
Chris Johnson  Birmingham 
Reshard Langford  Troy 
Kikko Logan  Elba 
Chris Nickson  Brundidge 
Larry Smith  Prattville 

UA PLAYER NOTES VS. VANDERBILT

  • Keith Brown had eight catches for 99 yards (12.4 avg) in last year’s win over Vanderbilt.
  • Simeon Castille recorded two interceptions in last year’s win over the Commodores, including a fourth quarter interception that led to the Tide’s game-winning field goal.  He finished the game with four tackles, two interceptions, two pass breakups and one tackle for loss (-1).
  • Wallace Gilberry had five tackles and two TFLs (-2) in last year’s win over Vandy.
  • DJ Hall scored the Crimson Tide’s lone touchdown in last year’s 13-10 win over the Commodores.  Hall finished the game with four catches for 56 yards.
  • Jimmy Johns had seven rushing attempts for 37 yards (5.3 avg) in last year’s game.
  • Rashad Johnson posted four tackles and one TFL (-4) last year against Vandy.
  • Nikita Stover hauled in a 36-yard pass on third-and-18 from the UA 45-yard line to keep the Tide’s game-winning field goal drive alive.  The catch was Stover’s first career play in an Alabama uniform.
  • Leigh Tiffin’s 47-yard field goal with 7:53 left in the game gave Alabama a 13-10 win over Vanderbilt in the 2006 SEC opener.  Tiffin made both field goal attempts and scored seven of the team’s 13 points.
  • In his first career SEC start, John Parker Wilson completed 18 of 29 passes for 207 yards, with one TD and one interception. 

2006 GAME RECAP

Alabama 13, Vanderbilt 10
September 9, 2006 - Tuscaloosa, Ala.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Crimson Tide forced four Vanderbilt turnovers, including an interception as time expired, en route to a 13-10 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  For the second consecutive week, it was up to the Alabama defense to hold late to preserve a lead, and for the second straight week, it responded.

Senior Juwan Simpson intercepted a Chris Nickson pass at the Alabama 25-yard line as time expired to preserve the win, Alabama's first conference victory of 2006. Junior Simeon Castille recorded his fifth and sixth career interceptions on the day, picking off passes from Nickson in the second and fourth quarters. Castille's second pick happened with just under 13 minutes left in the game, giving Alabama the ball at its own 21-yard line.

The Tide then drove 49 yards in 12 plays, capped by a career-long 47-yard field goal from freshman Leigh Tiffin to give Alabama the 13-10 lead with 7:34 left in the game. A 36-yard completion from sophomore John Parker Wilson to sophomore Nikita Stover kept the drive going on third-and-18.

Wilson was 18-of-29 on the day for 207 yards with a touchdown and interception. Brown led the Alabama receiving corps with eight catches for 99 yards. DJ Hall had four catches for 56 yards and a touchdown. Alabama opened the second half with a 31-yard Wilson touchdown pass to Hall to tie the score at 10-10. Wilson was 5-for-5 for 73 yards on the drive. Though Alabama recorded four turnovers on the day, it also turned the ball over three times, each in Vanderbilt territory.

The Commodores took a 10-3 lead to the lockerroom at the half, with all 10 points coming on Alabama turnovers. The first touchdown of the game came on a six-yard Nickson pass to Earl Bennett following a Tim Castille fumble on the Commodores' 13-yard line.

Vanderbilt drove 87 yards in just under four minutes to take the 10-3 lead with 14 seconds left in the half. An interception earlier in the second quarter set up a six-play, 29-yard drive for the Commodores that culminated with a 42-yard Bryan Hahnfeldt kick to pull Vanderbilt even at 3-3.

The Tide was led on the ground by senior Ken Darby, who carried the ball 21 times for 65 yards, with sophomore Jimmy Johns adding 37 yards and Castille with 19 yards.

STATE CHAMPS/FRIENDS REUNITED

  • This weekend’s game between the Crimson Tide and Commodores will reunite a pair of successful high school teammates.
  • Alabama junior tight end Nick Walker and Vanderbilt junior quarterback Chris Nickson were teammates at Pike County High School in Brundidge, Ala from 2001-03.
  • The duo led the Bulldogs to the Class 3A State Championship in 2003.
  • Walker caught 67 passes for 1,028 yards and 15 touchdowns and was a Class 3A All-State selections.
  • Nickson accounted for a state-record 65 touchdowns in 2003 en route to “Mr. Football” honors by the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association.
  • Nickson threw for 2,946 yards and 42 touchdowns. He ran for 1,526 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior.
  • Nearly the entire town of Brundidge (population 3,500) came to Tuscaloosa for last year’s game, which was the first collegiate matchup between the two Pike County stars. T-shirts were made emblazoned on the front with the question, “Are you going to the game?”. On the back, the shirt reads, “Nick Walker (Alabama) vs. Chris Nickson (Vanderbilt), September 9, 2006, Tuscaloosa, Alabama”.
  • The duo were even featured on “SEC TV Weekly” last season as reporter Jenn Hildreth interviewed both Walker and Nickson, as well as their high school coach (Wayne Grant), about the game, the rivalry and their friendship.

UA PUTS WIN STREAK ON THE LINE

  • The Crimson Tide owns an 18-game, on-the-field winning streak over the Commodores, dating back to 1984.
  • Vanderbilt last beat Alabama 30-21 on Sept. 29, 1984 to snap the Tide’s school-record 25-game homecoming winning streak.
  • The Crimson Tide’s 17-6 win over the Commodores in 1993 was later forfeited by NCAA sanctions.
  • Bama also owns a 17-game winning streak over the Commodores in Nashville.  Vandy’s last win over UA at Vanderbilt Stadium was a 14-10 win on Oct. 11, 1969.

GRANT NETS 100 YARDS IN FIRST START

  • Redshirt freshman Terry Grant (Lumberton, Miss.) ran for 134 yards in his first collegiate start in the season opener against Western Carolina.
  • Grant had 18 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half of UA’s 52-6 win.
  • He becomes the first UA player since Kenneth Darby to rush for 100 or more yards in his first start. 
  • Darby ran for 197 yards in his first start against Southern Mississippi on Oct. 16, 2004.  Darby’s 197 yards are the most by an Alabama running back in his first career start.
  • Grant’s three rushing touchdowns are the most by an Alabama running back since Shaud Williams scored three touchdowns in win over Kentucky on September 13, 2003.

GRANT’S OPENER AMONG UA’S BEST

  • Grant’s 134 rushing yards is the fourth-best rushing total in a season opener in Alabama history.
  • The 134 yards are the most by an Alabama back on opening day since Sherman Williams ran for 153 yards against UT Chattanooga on September 3, 1994.
  • The school record for most rushing yards in a season opener is held by Siran Stacy and Calvin Culliver.
  • Culliver had 169 yards in the 1973 season opener against California on September 15.

TOP OPENING DAY RUSHING EFFORTS

Player                                                                            Yards

Calvin Culliver                                                                169

Siran Stacy                                                                    169

Sherman Williams                                                           153

Terry Grant                                                                     134

Shaun Alexander                                                            132

UA SCORES ON FIRST PLAY OF SEASON

  • The Crimson Tide offense opened the Nick Saban era with a bang as Grant scored a 47-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage against Western Carolina.
  • Arenas gave the Tide great field position with a 45-yard kickoff return to the Catamounts 47-yard line.  Grant scored on the following play to give Alabama a 7-0 lead with 14:38 left in the first quarter.
  • The first-play touchdown by Alabama marked the first time the Tide has opened the game with a score since an 87-yard pass from Brodie Croyle to Tyrone Prothro against Florida in 2005.
  • Freddie Milons actually scored the quickest touchdown in school history when he returned a punt 71 yards against UCLA on September 2, 2000 in the Rose Bowl.  Milons scored the first time UA touched the football to give Bama a 7-0 lead with 13:45 left in the first quarter.
  • Other notable game-starting scoring plays include an 80-yard run by Shaud Williams against Arkansas in 2002 and an 80-yard pass from Gary Rutledge to Wayne Wheeler against Tennessee in 1973.
  • Ironically, LSU scored on its third play from scrimmage in Saban’s first game with the Tigers against Western Carolina in 2000.  Josh Booty completed an 80-yard TD pass to Reggie Robinson on a third-and-12 from the Tigers 20-yard line to give LSU the first points in the Saban era with 14:03 left in the first quarter.

ALABAMA OFFENSE

  • Alabama returns 20 lettermen and nine starters on offense from last year’s team.
  • The Crimson Tide’s 20 offensive lettermen  combined for 212 starts entering the 2007 season.
  • Alabama is eighth nationally in total offense (575.0), 10th in rushing offense (332.0) and 10th in scoring (52.0).
  • The Tide leads the SEC in total offense (575.0) and scoring (52.0) heading into Saturday’s SEC opener at Vanderbilt.
  • The Crimson Tide is second in the league in rushing offense (313.0) and fifth in passing offense (262.0). 
  • The 52 points scored in the season opener are the most points by Alabama on opening day since a 66-0 win over Cal at Legion Field to open the 1973 season.
  • Alabama has scored 230 total points in its last six season openers, an average of 38.3 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).
  • The 46-point margin of victory over Western Carolina is the largest by an Alabama team in a season opener since a 66-0 victory over California to start the 1973 season.
  • The Alabama offense racked up 35 first downs against Western Carolina.  That total breaks the previous mark of 34 set against Penn State in a 34-28 loss in 1983
  • Alabama accumulated 575 yards (313 rushing, 262 passing) of total offense tonight, the most by a Tide offense since gaining 588 yards in a 56-3 win over UTEP on October 6,  2001. The 313 rushing yards are the most by an Alabama team since the Tide rushed for 338 in a win at South Carolina on September 17, 2005.
  • The Crimson Tide offense returns a record-setting quarterback and two of the most prolific pass catchers in school history.
  • Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson (Hoover, Ala.) set Alabama single-season records in 2006 for most plays, total offense, pass attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns.
  • In 13 games last season, Wilson completed 216 of 379 passes (57 percent) for 2,707 yards and 17 touchdowns.
  • He is one of seven quarterbacks in school history to throw for 2,000 or more yards in a season.
  • Wilson also owns the single-season record for most plays (461) and total offense (2,790 yards).
  • He is one of eight quarterbacks in Alabama history to surpass the 2,000-yard mark in total offense.
  • Wilson set Alabama single-season records for most 200-yard passing games and consecutive 200-yard games.
  • Wilson has nine 200-yard games last season, breaking the previous record of eight set by Gary Hollingsworth in 1989.
  • He opened the season by throwing for 200 yards in his first seven games to eclipse the record for most consecutive 200-yard games.
  • The previous record was five consecutive 200-yard games by Gary Hollingsworth in 1989-90.
  • Wilson is currently tied for third place all-time with Scott Hunter (1969-70) and Gary Hollingsworth (1989-90) with nine career 200-yard games. 
  • The UA career record is 14, 200-yard games by Brodie Croyle (2002-2005) and Andrew Zow (1998-2001).
  • With 52 yards on four catches in the season opener, senior receiver DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) is now just 101 yards shy of becoming the school’s all-time leader for career receiving yards with 1,970. Former All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome (1974-77) holds the all-time record with 2,070 career yards. In 36 career games,
  • Hall has 131 catches for 1,970 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last year as a junior, he caught 62 passes for a school single-season record 1,062 yards and five touchdowns. David Palmer held the previous single-season record with 1,000 yards during the 1993 season.
  • He finished the 2006 regular season with an Alabama single-season record seven, 100-yard games.  The previous record was  four, 100-yard receiving games held by former Alabama All-American and NFL Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome in 1977.
  • Hall also owns the Alabama career record with 10, 100-yard games.  The previous record was six, 100-yard games held by Newsome from 1974-77.
  • Junior center Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery, Ala.), who has made 26 consecutive starts, is a 2007 Rimington Trophy candidate and preseason All-SEC honoree.
  • Sophomore left tackle Andre Smith (Birmingham, Ala.) started all 13 games last season en route to Freshman All-American and All-SEC honors.  Smith, who scored the game-tying touchdown against Oklahoma State (2-yard lateral) in the PetroSun Independence Bowl, is on the 2007 Outland Trophy watch list.
  • Capps had his streak of 25 consecutive starts snapped in the season opener against Western Carolina.  Capps was the back up left tackle to Andre Smith in the 52-6 win. 
  • Sophomore Mike Johnson (Pensacola, Fla.) made his first career start as Capps’ replacement at right tackle.
  • Alabama had to replace the school’s leading rusher (Kenneth Darby) and top two fullbacks (Le’Ron McClain and Tim Castille) off last year’s squad. 
  • Darby finished third on the school’s all-time rushing list with 3,329 career rushing yards.
  • Castille had 161 career rushing attempts for 533 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Castille led UA with six rushing touchdowns last season.
  • McClain, a devastating blocker, wrapped up his career with 10 career touchdowns, including eight TD receptions.
  • Alabama’s backfield entered the 2007 season with 43 career games and no starts.  In addition, UA backs had 733 rushing yards and three career touchdowns entering the season opener.
  • The Tide’s four running backs accounted for 296 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the win over Western Carolina. 
  • The six rushing TDs are the most by Alabama since scoring six rushing touchdowns in a 56-3 win over UTEP on Oct. 6, 2004.
  • Seeing all his carries in the first half, redshirt freshman tailback Terry Grant rushed for 134 yards and 3 touchdowns on 18 carries tonight. 
  • Grant opened the game with a 47-yard touchdown run on the game’s first play and had 68 yards rushing on eight carries (8.5-yard average) through the first period of action.
  • His three rushing touchdowns are the most by an Alabama back since Shaud Williams had three rushing scores against Kentucky on September 13, 2003.
  • Junior Jimmy Johns (Brookhaven, Miss.) had eight carries for 31 yards and one touchdown.  Johns only other career rushing TD came against Duke in 2006.
  • Sophomore Glen Coffee (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) had nine carries for 76 yards and one touchdown.  The 76 yards eclipsed his previous high of 75 yards against South Carolina in 2005.  He also scored his first career rushing TD against the Catamounts.
  • Sophomore Roy Upchurch (Tallahassege, Fla.) rounded out the foursome with six carries for 58 yards and one touchdown.
  • Upchurch has three career touchdowns despite only nine career (9-92-3) rushing attempts.

HALL’S STREAK AT 19 GAMES

  • In addition to his four school records, as Hall has caught at least one pass in 19 consecutive games, dating back to the 2005  season.
  • Hall’s current streak began at Ole Miss on October 15, 2005, when he hauled in a 10-yard reception in the second quarter.
  • He has had nine, 100-yard games during the 18-game streak.
  • Hall has also added three double-digit reception (10 or more catches) games during the 18-game streak.

ALABAMA DEFENSE

  • The Crimson Tide returns 24 lettermen and only five starters off last year’s squad.
  • The 24 lettermen combined for 92 career starts entering the 2007 season opener.
  • Alabama is 16th in scoring defense (6.0) and 12th in turnover margin (+2).
  • In SEC play, the Crimson Tide is third in scoring defense (6.0), fifth in rushing defense (76.0) and fourth in total defense (247.0).
  • Bama held Western Carolina to six points in the season opener, the lowest point total by an opponent on opening day since a 41-3 win over Temple on September 7, 1991.
  • Gilberry anchors an inexperienced defensive front for the Crimson Tide. 
  • Gilberry has 108 tackles, 14.5 TFLs and 10.5 sacks in his 38-game career.  He leads all UA defenders with 26 career starts.
  • Junior defensive end Bobby Greenwood (Prattville) is the only other defensive lineman with any significant experience.
  • Greenwood had 42 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and five TFLs in 25 career games. 
  • Sophomore nose guard Lorezno Washington (Logansville, Ga.) made his first career start in the Western Carolina game.
  • Sophomore Prince Hall (Riverside, Calif.) is the lone returning starting linebacker.  Hall, who earned Freshman All-American honors in 2006, had 77 tackles and led the Tide with 10 1/2 tackles for loss.
  • Senior Keith Saunders (Willingboro, N.J.), who has experience on the defensive line, made the switch to linebacker this season.  Saunders made his first start at “jack” linebacker against Western Carolina.
  • Saunders had a career-high five tackles in the win over Western Carolina in the season opener.
  • The rest of the linebacking corps had little playing experience for the Tide entering the 2007 season.
  • Senior Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.) made his first career start at “will” linebacker in the Western Carolina game. 
  • True freshman Rolando McClain (Decatur) made his first start in his UA playing debut in the season opener.
  • Junior Ezekial Knight (Wedowee) has played only five career games on defense, including a stint at “sam” linebacker in the season opener.  Knight played wide receiver his first two years (2004-05) at UA.
  • Knight had four tackles and one sack (-16) in the season opener.  He had three tackles in the 2006 opener against Hawaii.
  • A pair of seniors will anchor the Alabama secondary this season. Simeon Castille (Birmingham, Ala.) and Marcus Carter (Ft. Payne, Ala.) have 28 of 37 career starts among the defensive backs.  Castille has 17 career starts and Carter has 11 starts.
  • Castille has 10 career interceptions in 36 games at Alabama.  He was a First-Team All-SEC selection last season and a preseason First-Team All-SEC honoree this year.
  • Carter has 34 career games under his belt, including nine starts in 2006, and has 33 career tackles
  • Junior Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) is the starting free safety.  Johnson has 41 tackles and three forced fumbles in 23 career games.
  • Johnson had a career-high eight tackles in the win over Western Carolina.  He has recorded a career-high in tackles in each of his last two games (vs. Oklahoma State, 7).  Johnson also added one TFL and one forced fumble in the 2007 season opener.
  • Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is the starting at right cornerback.  Mitchell had four interceptions for 31 yards and one TD as a sophomore in 2006.

ALABAMA SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Alabama returns all but one of its specialists from last season.
  • The Alabama special teams showed marked improvement in the 2007 season opener.
  • The Tide ranks second in the SEC and 14th nationally with 30.67-yard kickoff return average.
  • Alabama is fifth in the SEC and 39th nationally with a 12-yard punt return average.
  • Sophomore return specialist Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla,)  had a big night returning kickoffs in the season opener for the Tide.
  • Arenas, who opened the game with a 35-yard return to the WCU 47-yard line to set up UA’s first touchdown, averaged 37.5 yards per kickoff return with 75 yards on two kickoff returns. He also returned two punts for a total of 13 yards.
  • Arenas had 31 punt returns for 286 yards (9.2 average) and two touchdowns as a freshman in 2006.
  • He had a 56-yard punt return against Florida International and a school-record 86-yard punt return against Oklahoma State in the Independence Bowl.
  • Arenas also had 19 kickoff returns for 344 yards (19.1 average) en route to Freshman All-SEC and All-American honors.
  • Junior Jonathan Lowe (Phenix City, Ala.) added a 23-yard kickoff return and  a 17-yard punt return.
  • Sophomore Leigh Tiffin (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) hit all seven extra point attempts in the win over Western Carolina, but missed two of his three field goal attempts.
  • Tiffin appeared in five games last season and hit 8 of 13 field goals and 12 of 13 extra point attempts. 
  • His father, Van (1983-86), was an All-American kicker at Alabama in 1986 and set the UA record with 135 consecutive career extra points.
  • Senior Jamie Christensen (Norcross, Ga.), who has also handled kickoffs the last three years, has hit 29 of 42 career field goal attempts and 40 of 42 career extra points. 
  • He also has three-game winning field goals to his credit, beating Ole Miss, Tennessee and Texas Tech during the 2006 season.
  • Christensen is nursing a quad injury and did not play in the season opener.
  • Sophomore punter P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.) is back for his second year as the Crimson Tide’s punter and holder.  He punted 57 times for a 38.2-yard average (2,176 yards) last year.
  • He had a 40-yard punt in his lone kick against Western Carolina.
  • The Crimson Tide will break in its third long snapper in as many years this season as they replace last year’s snapper Luke Spaulding.
  • Junior Brian Selman (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) is set to open the year as the Tide’s snapper.  Selman played in one game last season as Spaulding’s backup.

SEPTEMBER RECORD 

  • Alabama has compiled a 160-40-5 (.793) in 205 all-time games in the month of September. 
  • Alabama is 11-3 (.786) in the month of September in the last four seasons, including a 3-2 mark last year. The Tide posted an unbeaten record in September, 2005 for the first time since 1996.
  • In its first-ever game in the month, Alabama posted a 24-0 win over Howard on September 30, 1911.
  • The Crimson Tide posted a 19-game winning streak from Sept. 30, 1911 through Sept. 29, 1934, which is the longest winning streak in school history during September.
  • Head Coach Nick Saban is 32-10-1 (.756) during his career in the month of September. 
  • Saban’s teams are 11-1 (.917) in their last 12 September games, dating back to 2002.
  • Saban directed teams to undefeated records in September in 1990 (4-0), 1997 (3-0), 1999 (4-0) and 2003 (4-0).

ON THIS DATE

  • Alabama is 2-3 (.400) in games played on September 8.
  • The last time the Tide played on this date was 12-9 win at Vanderbilt during the 2001 season.  It was the first win for then-head coach Dennis Franchione.

GAMES PLAYED ON SEPTEMBER 8

Result of Game                                                              Year

Missouri 20, Alabama 7                                                   1975

Alabama 30, Georgia Tech 6                                            1979

Boston College 38, Alabama 31                                       1984

Southern Miss 27, Alabama 24                                        1990

Alabama 12, Vanderbilt 9                                                2001

NEXT GAME

Alabama returns home on Saturday, Sept. 15, to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. The game will be televised by ESPN with kickoff set for 5:45 p.m. (CDT) from Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The Arkansas game will mark the Crimson Tide’s first home appearance on ESPN since the 2003 season.