Sept. 8, 2009
ALABAMA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: The Alabama offensive notebook appears each Tuesday on www.RollTide.com. Here is a look at some Alabama football notes heading into this week’s game with FIU.
INGRAM OFF TO THE RACES: Sophomore running back Mark Ingram showed a national television audience why he was named to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award after rushing for 150 yards and a touchdown against No. 7 Virginia Tech. He also hauled in three passes for 35 yards, which included an 18-yard touchdown grabs to seal the fifth-ranked Crimson Tide’s 34-24 win. Ingram earned Offensive Most Outstanding Player honors for the game and bested his previous single-game career-best rushing yardage, which was a 113-yard effort against Arkansas State in 2008. He also set a single-game high for rushing attempts with 26, eclipsing his previous high of 17 set against Clemson and Mississippi in 2008. Ingram also received “Helmet Stickers” from Mark May on ESPN’s GameDay Final and from ESPN SEC beat writer Chris Low.
BALL SECURITY: Mark Ingram has also developed another impressive reputation during his 15-game Alabama career. The Flint, Mich. native is an expert at holding onto the football. The sophomore has not lost a fumble in 169 career rushing attempts and only put the ball on the ground one time, coming at LSU in 2008, which was recovered by the Tide. He has 878 yards in those 15 games with 13 rushing touchdowns.
SEC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Alabama sophomore running back Mark Ingram was named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week following his impressive showing against Virginia Tech. Ingram rushed 26 times for a career-high 150 yards and one touchdown. His previous rushing high was 113 yards against Arkansas State in 2008. He also added three catches for 35 yards and one touchdown to finish the game with a career-high 185 all-purpose yards and two scores. His six-yard rushing touchdown put Alabama on top 24-17 early in the fourth quarter. His 18-yard touchdown catch with 6:35 left in the game, gave the Tide the final margin, 34-24. The Flint, Mich., native accounted for 99 total yards and two touchdowns in UA’s decisive fourth quarter. He ran the ball 10 times for 81 yards and one TD and added an 18-yard TD reception.
McELROY DEBUT: Alabama junior Greg McElroy made his starting quarterback debut last week against Virginia Tech. The Southlake, Texas native threw for 230 yards on 15-of-30 passing with one touchdown and one interception in leading the Crimson Tide to a win over the No. 7 team in the country. The 230 yards is the fourth-highest total of any quarterback in their UA debut. Only Brodie Croyle (285), Andrew Zow (272) and John Parker Wilson (253) had more.
TIME OF POSSESSION: An Alabama trademark over the past two seasons has been its ability to control the line of scrimmage offensively and, consequently, control the tempo of the game. This has played out with an impressive advantage in time of possession. A year ago the Crimson Tide finished 11th nationally with an average time of possession of 32:08. In 2009, the Crimson Tide is off to another great start in that category after holding the ball for 37:02 in the opener against Virginia Tech. The Crimson Tide has won the time of possession battle in 10 of their last 15.
SPORTING NEWS CHRONICLES Mike Johnson: Like his fellow offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell did a season ago, Alabama senior left guard Mike Johnson will write a regular diary for the Sporting News in 2009. Johnson will take a look at all aspects of life when you are a college football player at one of the most storied programs.
SOPHOMORE SENSATIONS: Julio Jones and Mark Ingram return for their sophomore season and give the Alabama offense a big-play threat both inside and outside. The duo turned in some of the best rookie seasons in school history in 2008. Jones set school freshman marks for receptions (58), yards (924) and touchdowns (4), while Ingram rushed for 728 yards and a UA rookie record 12 scores. The pair is off to another fast start in 2009. Ingram rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 35 yards and a score. Jones caught a team-high four passes for 46 yards in the opener.