Countdown to Kickoff
Tide Begins Practice for Western Kentucky



Sept. 8, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team practiced for two hours in helmets and shoulder pads Monday afternoon as preparations began for the Western Kentucky game. 

“Western Kentucky has a good program and a good team, they win a lot of games and have had a lot of success in the six years that David Elson has been there,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said at his weekly press conference. “They run the spread offense which is a little bit of a problem because it is totally different than what we have played against to this point. It is going to be a whole new preparation for the defensive players which will hopefully be challenging to them. They have played pretty well on defense. They have 14 starters back and a lot of experienced players. They have some explosive players that can make plays on special teams, they have a very good running back that gained over 1,000 yards.

“You need to respect your opponent, you need to prepare, you need to go out and play with the kind of intensity, enthusiasm, sense of urgency to make plays because all you have to do is look at the scoreboard every week in college football. Every week it happens to someone, sometimes more than one. It is all about mindset and getting ready to play your best football. That is something we are going to have to continue to work on so that we show consistency in our performance.”

The Crimson Tide will host the Hilltoppers on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis and is available through local cable operators and satellite companies.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Alabama coaching staff recognized seven different players for their efforts following the 20-6 victory over Tulane. Mike Johnson was named the coaches’ offensive player of the week while Rolando McClain, Rashad Johnson and Cory Reamer shared the defensive award and Javier Arenas, Chris Rogers and Roy Upchurch split special teams’ honors. Johnson moved out to left tackle in place of All-American Andre Smith, who missed the game with a sprained knee. McClain led the team with 15 tackles while Johnson made nine tackles and broke up a pass. Cory Reamer seemed to be all over the field with seven tackles, two tackles for loss (-10) and a sack (-8). Arenas set a school record with 147 punt return yards, including an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. Roy Upchurch blocked a first quarter punt that Chris Rogers scooped up and returned 17 yards for a touchdown.

ALABAMA-ARKANSAS GAME ON RAYCOM: The Southeastern Conference announced today that Raycom Sports will televise the Alabama at Arkansas football game to a regional audience beginning at 11:30 a.m. (CDT) from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday, September 20.

Alabama and Arkansas will be meeting for the 19th time in football with Alabama holding a 10-8 lead in the series that began in 1961.  Since Arkansas joined the SEC in 1992, the series is tied at 8-8 with the Razorbacks hold a 4-2 advantage in games played at Fayetteville.  Alabama’s last victory at Fayetteville was a 30-12 win in 2002.  In the teams’ last meeting at Fayetteville in 2006, Arkansas earned a 24-23 victory in double overtime.

Other SEC games to be televised on Saturday, Sept. 20 include Florida at Tennessee (2:30 p.m. CDT on CBS), LSU at Auburn (6:45 p.m. on ESPN) and Georgia at Arizona State (7 p.m. CDT on ABC).  A decision regarding television coverage of the Mississippi State at Georgia Tech game was expected to be made later today.