Alabama Begins Preparations for No. 16 Arkansas

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ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

GAME 3: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (2-0) vs. ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS (1-0) September 15, 2007 -- Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,138) -- Tuscaloosa, Ala. 5:45 p.m. (CDT) ?? ESPN

ALABAMA QUICK NOTES:

Freshman running back Terry Grant leads the SEC with 153.5 rushing yards per game ... Grant is also second in the league in scoring (12.0), fourth in all-purpose yards (173.0) and 12th in total offense (153.5) ... He has twice been named SEC Freshman of the Week after performances against Western Carolina (18-134-3) and Vanderbilt (24-173-2) ... Senior wide receiver DJ Hall needs 34 yards to break Ozzie Newsome’s (1974-77) all-time record of 2,070 career receiving yards ... In 37 games, Hall has 134 catches for 2,037 yards and eight touchdowns ... For the first time in school history, Alabama has a 3,000-yard passer (John Parker Wilson) and a 2,000-yard receiver (Hall) on the same team ... The Alabama defense, which opened the season with two former walk-ons and one true freshman in the starting lineup, has allowed only 16 points in the first two games  ...  The 16 points are the fewest allowed by the Tide in the first two games since 1989 (10 points) ... The UA defense did not allow a touchdown in the first seven quarters ... Sophomore Javier Arenas is second in the SEC in punt returns (18.4 avg).

ALABAMA BACK HOME; HOSTS ARKANSAS

Following consecutive wins over Western Carolina and Vanderbilt, the University of Alabama football team returns home to face No. 16 Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 5:45 p.m. (CDT). The game will be televised nationally by ESPN with Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline) calling the action.  The Arkansas game will mark the Crimson Tide’s first home game on ESPN since the 2003 season.  The Alabama-Arkansas game will also be aired nationally by Sports USA Radio Network with Tom Dillon (play-by-play), Gary Barnett (analyst) and Rich Cellini ln (sideline) calling the action.  The game will also be aired on the 62-station Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold (play-by-play), Kenny Stabler (analyst) and Barry Krauss (sidelines).  Alabama (2-0) won its 16th straight SEC opener with a 24-10 victory at Vanderbilt last weekend.  Redshirt freshman running back Terry Grant (Lumberton, Miss.) led the Crimson Tide offense with 173 yards and two touchdowns in the win. For the second straight week, Grant scored on the Crimson Tide’s first offensive play with a one-yard touchdown run.  Grant’s touchdown was set by a 69-yard punt return by sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) who had 139 all-purpose yards in the win.  Arkansas (1-0) opened its season with a 46-26 win over Troy in its Sept. 1 season opener. Darren McFadden and Felix Jones combined for 286  rushing yards in the win.  

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 93-42-1 (.688) 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). Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt (Oklahoma State, 1981) is in his 10th season as head coach of the Razorbacks.  He has compiled a 68-44 (.607) overall record in Fayetteville. During his tenure, Arkansas has won two SEC Western Division titles (1998 and 2002) and played in six bowl games.  Overall, Nutt is 104-66 (.612) in 15 seasons, which also includes stints at Murray State (1993-96) and Boise State (1997).  A quarterback in college, Nutt played two seasons at Arkansas (1976-77) before he transferred to Oklahoma State (1979-80), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1981.  Nutt is 5-4 (.556) against Alabama.

SABAN JOINS UNIQUE LIST

  • Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban joined a unique coaching fraternity when he accepted the Crimson Tide job in January, 2007.
  • Saban is now one of seven coaches to be head coach at Alabama and to have also coached against the Crimson Tide.
  • Saban joins G.H. Harvey, Eli Abbott, Harold “Red” Drew, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Gene Stallings and Bill Curry as coaches who have coached for and against the Crimson Tide.  
  • Saban posted a 4-1 record against Alabama during his five-year career at LSU (2000-04). He is 1-0 in his first season with the Crimson Tide.
  • G.H. Harvey coached Alabama in 1901 and compiled a 2-1-2 record.  In 1893, Harvey served as head coach at Auburn, where he posted a 40-16 win over Alabama on November 30, 1893 in Montgomery.
  • Abbott coached Alabama from 1893-95 and compiled a 3-9 (.250) record. He served as the player-coach for the Tuscaloosa Athletic Club, comprised of many former UA players, against Alabama in 1899.
  • Drew compiled a 91-58-17 (.599) record in 16 seasons as a head coach.  He had stops at Birmingham Southern (1924-28), UT Chattanooga (1929-30), Ole Miss (1946) and Alabama (1947-54).  Drew was 54-28-7 (.646) in his eight years at Alabama.  He was 0-2 against the Tide with lopsided losses at Birmingham Southern and Chattanooga.
  • Bryant is the school’s all-time winningest football coach with a 232-46-9 (.824) record from 1958-82.  He led the Crimson Tide to six national championships (1961, 1964, 1965, 1973, 1978 and 1979) and 13 SEC titles (1961, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1981) during his remarkable career.  Alabama also played in 25 bowl games during his tenure. The former Crimson Tide end also served as head coach at Maryland, Kentucky and Texas A&M.  He was 0-2 against Alabama while at Kentucky, losing in 1946 and 1947.
  • Curry posted a 26-10 (.722) record in his three years (1987-89) at Alabama, including a share of the SEC championship in 1989.  He also coached against Alabama while at Georgia Tech and Kentucky.  He made his coaching debut against Alabama on Sept. 6, 1980 at Legion Field.  Curry was 2-4 (.333) in six meetings with the Tide.
  • Stallings led Alabama to the 1992 national championship during his run from 1990-96. Overall, he compiled a 62-25 (.713) record and guided UA into the SEC Championship game four times (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996).  He led Texas A&M to a 20-16 win over Alabama in the January 1, 1968 Cotton Bowl in his lone meeting with the Crimson Tide.

ALABAMA-ARKANSAS SERIES

  • Alabama holds a 9-8 (.529) series lead over Arkansas in a series that dates back to the 1962 Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.
  • The two teams have also played a pair of double-overtime games in the last four seasons.  Arkansas won 34-31 in double-overtime in 2002 and 24-23 in double-overtime last season.
  • The two teams met only twice before the Razorbacks joined the league in 1992.
  • The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks first met in the January 1, 1962 Sugar Bowl at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans.  Alabama won the game 10-3 to clinch its first of six national championships under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.
  • The 1962 Sugar Bowl also featured two future College Football Hall of Famers and Dallas Cowboy stars -- Lee Roy Jordan (Alabama) and Lance Allworth (Arkansas).
  • Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson and current Cowboys owner Jerry Jones were true freshmen on the 1961 Arkansas team, but did not play that season or against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
  • The two teams did not meet again until January 1, 1980, when Alabama posted a 24-9 win at the Sugar Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome.  The win capped Bryant’s only 12-0 season at Alabama and was his sixth and final national title.
  • In 1992, Gene Stallings led Alabama to a 38-11 win over the Razorbacks in Little Rock and the consensus national championship as the Tide celebrated its 100th year of football.  *In the first regular-season meeting between the two schools, Alabama racked up 467 yards of total offense en route to the win.  The Crimson Tide defense held the Razorbacks to 191 total yards.
  • Derrick Lassic led the Crimson Tide with 18 carries for 112 yards and one touchdown.  He scored on a 33-yard run in the first quarter the UA built a 28-0 halftime lead.
  • Arkansas’ first on-the-field win came in 1995 when quarterback Barry Lunney, Jr., engineered a fourth-quarter comeback for a 20-19 win.  
  • Lunney’s three-yard pass to J.J Medors with six seconds left in the game tied the game at 19-19.  Todd Latoruette’s extra point decided the game.
  • Lunney completed 15 of 26 passes for 181 yards and added a three-yard touchdown run in the the first quarter in the win.
  • The Crimson Tide rolled up 553 yards of offense (267 rushing, 285 passing) in a 30-12 win in Fayetteville in 2002.
  • Santonio Beard (21-134-0) and Shaud Williams (11-114-1) each rushed for 100 yards in the win.
  • Williams gave Alabama a 7-0 lead with an 80-yard touchdown run on the Crimson Tide’s first play from scrimmage.
  • UA quarterback Brodie Croyle, who earned National Freshmen of the Week honors, completed 12 of 24 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Chris Balserio’s 19-yard field goal in the second overtime gave Arkansas a 34-31 win in Tuscaloosa during the 2003 season.
  • Alabama scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to build a 31-17 lead, but watched Arkansas score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game. *Matt Jones’ three-yard pass to Richard Smith with 27 seconds left in the game forced then overtime period.
  • After a scoreless first overtime session, Arkansas scored on a Balserio field goal for the win.
  • The teams combined for 887 total yards in the double-overtime game.  The start of the game was delayed one hour due to storms and the game lasted almost four hours.
  • Since the 1995 season, Arkansas holds a slight series lead, winning seven of the last 12 meetings.
  • Alabama is 3-4 (.429) in games played at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  
  • Alabama is 4-4 (.500) in games played in the state of Arkansas.  The Crimson Tide is 2-0 in games played in Little Rock and 2-4 in games played in Fayetteville.
  • Alabama also owns a 2-0 record in neutral sites games.

ALABAMA-ARKANSAS NOTEBOOK

  • The Alabama roster does not contain any players from the state of Arkansas.
  • The Arkansas roster contains three players from the state of Alabama, including freshman defensive end DeMario Ambrose (Davidson HS; Mobile), sophomore flanker London Crawford (Davidson HS; Mobile) and freshman linebacker Ryan Powers (Tanner HS; Athens).
  • Saturday’s game in Tuscaloosa will serve as a reunion for several former high school teammates.
  • Alabama senior offensive lineman Justin Britt and Arkansas junior offensive tackle  Cody Green attended Cullman (Ala.) High School.
  • Junior defensive back Lionel Mitchell, sophomore nose guard Lorenzo Washington and sophomore defensive lineman Brandon Fanney attended Hargrave Military Academy along with Arkansas linebacker Freddie Fairchild and defensive tackle Marcus Harrison.
  • Alabama defense coordinator Kevin Steele was on Pat Jones’ staff at Oklahoma State from 1984-86, which also included Houston Nutt and Reggie Herring.
  • Alabama receivers coach Curt Cignetti was on the same coaching staff at North Carolina State with Herring during the 2004 season.
  • Arkansas assistant athletic director for internal operations Louis Campbell spent nine years on the Alabama coaching staff in the 1970s and 1980s.  Campbell began his career as a graduate assistant coach (1973-74) under Paul “Bear” Bryant. The Crimson Tide was 11-1 in 1973 and won the UPI national championship.  Campbell (1975-76, 1980-84) worked for both Bryant and Ray Perkins.  He was on the UA staff when Bryant won his 315th all-time game to become the games all-time winningest coach.  Campbell was also on Bryant’s last Alabama staff in 1982.
  • Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Markuson has had one coaching stint in the state of Alabama.  In 1991-92, Markuson was an assistant coach at Alabama A&M, where he was the offensive coordinator (1992) and o-line coach (1991-92). 

UA PLAYER NOTES VS. ARKANSAS 

  • Senior Keith Brown had seven catches for 97 yards and one touchdown in last year’s game in Fayetteville.
  • Simeon Castille has nine tackles, including three TFLs (-17) in three career games against Arkansas. He has also added one sack (-7), two PBUs, one interception (11 yards) and one forced fumble.  Castille had seven tackles and two TFLs (-7) in last year’s game.
  • Wallace Gilberry has recorded six tackles in three career games with Arkansas, including five last year.  
  • DJ Hall has enjoyed much success against the Razorbacks in his career at Alabama.  In three games, Hall has 10 catches for 206 yards and three touchdowns.  He has averged 20.6 yards per catch and 68.7 yards per game in his career against the Razorbacks.
  • Hall had six catches for 144 yards and one TD in last year’s loss at Arkansas, including a 78-yard TD catch in the second quarter.  
  • In 2005, Hall had three catches for 54 yards and two TDs in the Tide’s 24-13 win, including the game-clinching TD catch late in the fourth quarter.
  • Lionel Mitchell has seven tackles, one interception and one PBU in his two-game career against Arkansas.  He had six tackles last year and a 51-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.
  • Demarcus Waldrop had nine tackles in three games against Arkansas, including four last year.
  • Nick Walker’s first career touchdown reception came last year at Arkansas.  He hauled in a one-yard TD catch to give Alabama a 23-17 lead in the second overtime.  Walker has four catches for 35 yards in his career against Arkansas.
  • John Parker Wilson completed 80 percent of his passes (3rd best total in school history for 20 attempts) in his first road start last year at Arkansas.  Wilson was 16-for-20 for 243 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.
  • Wilson's  78-yard TD pass to Hall is the 10th longest in school history. 

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 ranks 12th nationally with 267 rushing yards per game.
  • The Crimson Tide is third in the SEC in rushing (267.0) and fifth in scoring (37.5) after two games.  
  • Alabama has scored 76 points in its first two games of the season, the most by the Tide during the first two games of a season since also scoring 76 points in 2004.  The Crimson Tide opened that year with wins over Utah State (48-17) and Ole Miss (28-7).  
  • 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.
  • 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 against Western Carolina, 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.
  • Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson (Hoover) directs the Tide offense for the second straight year.  Wilson is 8-7 (.533) as the starting quarterback.
  • In 20 career games, Wilson has completed 254 of 443 passes (.573) for 3,144 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
  • In two games this season, Wilson has completed 31 of 53 passes (.585) for 339 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.
  • As a sophomore in 2006, Wilson set seven single-season school records, including 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 UA history with 2,000 passing yards in a season.
  • Wilson also owns the single-season record for most plays (461) and total offense (2,790 yards).
  • He also set Alabama single-season records for most 200-yard passing games (9) and consecutive 200-yard games (7) in 2006.
  • For the first time in school history, Alabama has a 3,000-yard passer and 2,000-yard receiver on its roster.
  • Senior wide receiver DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) is closing in on the school’s all-time record with 2,034 yards.  
  • Hall enters the Arkansas game just 37 yards shy of Ozzie Newsome’s (1974-77) all-time record of 2,070 career yards.
  • Hall became the second player in school history to top the 2,000-yard mark when he hauled in a 30-yard catch at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • He has 134 career catches for 2,034 yards and 11 touchdowns.  In two games this season, Hall leads UA with seven catches for 119 yards (17.0 yards per catch).
  • Hall has caught at least one pass in 20 consecutive games, dating back to the 2005 season.
  • Hall’s current streak began on Oct. 15, 2005 against Ole Miss.  He has nine 100-yard games and three double-figure receiving games (10 or more catches) during the 20-game streak
  • He set Alabama records for most 100-yard games in a season and career in 2006.
  • Hall had seven 100-yard games last season, including a school record five in a row.  He also owns the UA record with 10 career 100-yard games.
  • The Crimson Tide has had 12 different players catch at least one pass this season.
  • Alabama’s wide receivers have caught 18 passes for 215 yards (11.9 yards per catch) this season.
  • In addition to Hall, sophomore Mike McCoy (Rankin, Miss.) has five catches for 40 yards in the first two games.
  • Redshirt freshman Earl Alexander (Phenix City, Ala.) has four catches for 40 yards.
  • Freshman Darius Hanks (Norcross, Ga.) had a six-yard catch in his UA debut against Western Carolina on Sept. 1.
  • Senior wide receiver Keith Brown (Pensacola, Fla.) does not have a pass reception this season.
  • In 33 career games, Brown has 95 receptions for 1,572 yards (16.1 per catch) and eight touchdowns. 
  • The tight ends have eight catches for 51 yards (6.4 per catch) and one touchdown.
  • Junior Nick Walker (Brundidge, Ala.) has five catches for 51 yards (7.1 per catch) and one touchdown.  He also has one, two-point conversion.
  • Junior Travis McCall (Prattville) has one catch for eight yards this season.
  • 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.
  • The Crimson Tide running game has been solid during the first two games of the season, led by redshirt freshman Terry Grant (Lumberton, Miss.), who leads the league in rushing.
  • Grant has 42 carries for 307 yards (7.2 average) and five touchdowns in wins over Western Carolina and Vanderbilt.
  • Grant leads the SEC and ranks eighth nationally with 153.5 rushing yards per game. 
  • He is second in the SEC and sixth nationally in scoring with 15 points per game.  
  • Grant is also fourth in the SEC with 173 all-purpose yards.
  • Grant rushed for 134 yards and three  touchdowns on 18 carries in the season opener against Western Carolina.  He scored on the Tide’s first play from scrimmage and had 68 yards rushing on eight carries (8.5-yard average) through the first period of action. 
  • His three rushing touchdowns were the most by an Alabama back since Shaud Williams had three rushing scores against Kentucky on September 13, 2003.
  • Sophomore Glen Coffee (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) has 20 carries for 124 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and one touchdown.
  • Sophomore Roy Upchurch (Tallahassee, Fla.) is third on the team with six carries for 55 yards (9.2 yards per carry) and one TD this season.
  • The Crimson Tide’s running backs have caught 12 passes for 130 yards this season, led by Grant’s five receptions for 39 yards.
  • The Crimson Tide returns all five offensive lineman, including a pair of All-American candidates.
  • Alabama’s offensive line has allowed only one sack in the first two games this season, the fewest sacks allowed in the SEC.
  • Junior center Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery, Ala.), who has made 27 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.  He was the back up left tackle to Andre Smith in the 52-6 win.  
  • He saw his 32-game playing streak come to an end when he did not see action at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • Senior Justin Britt (Cullman, Ala.) is another veteran lineman for the Tide. Britt has played in 37 career games, including 19 career starts.  He has started both games this season at left guard.
  • Junior Marlon Davis (Columbus, Ga.) has started both games at right guard.  Overall, Davis has appeared in 19 career games with seven starts.
  • Sophomore Mike Johnson (Pensacola, Fla.) has started the first two games at right tackle, including his first career start in the season opener against Western Carolina.
  • Sophomore Evan Cardwell (Killen, Ala.) is the only backup offensive lineman to see action in both games this season.
  • Freshmen William Vlachos (Mountain Brook) and Patrick Crump (Hoover, Ala.) and senior B.J. Stabler (Grove Hill, Ala.) all played in the season opener. 

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 second in the SEC in scoring defense (8.0 points) and total defense (239.5 yards) and third in the league in rushing defense (66.5 yards).
  • The Crimson Tide is also third in the SEC in turnover margin (+1) through two games. *Alabama is ranks 10th nationally in scoring defense and 15th in total defense.
  • The Crimson Tide has allowed only 16 points in its first two games this season and did not allow a touchdown in the first seven quarters of the season.
  • The 16 points are the fewest points allowed in the first two games of the season since 1989.  The Crimson Tide allowed only 10 points in back-to-back games to Memphis State (35-7) and Kentucky (15-3) in 1989.
  • The Crimson Tide 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.
  • Alabama’s defense has a three-man front, led by senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry (Bay Minette, Ala.).  Gilberry will play his 40th career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against Arkansas.
  • In 39 career games, Gilberry has 114 tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.  He has also added four four forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered and two pass breakups.
  • Gilberry had a career-high four quarterback pressures in the Tide’s win at Vanderbilt on Sept. 8.
  • Sophomore nose guard Lorenzo Washington (Logansville, Ga.) made his first career start against Western Carolina (Sept. 1) and first SEC start at Vanderbilt (Sept. 8).
  • Washington has six tackles, one sack and 1 1/2 tackles for loss this season.
  • Junior Bobby Greenwood (Prattville, Ala.) starts at the other defensive end position and has five tackles, including 3.5 stops behind the line in two games this year. 
  • Greenwood has played in 27 games and logged 47 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks in his three-year career.  
  • The defensive line is thin on experience as evidenced by the fact that three freshman have seen action up front this season.
  • True freshmen Josh Chapman (Hoover, Ala.) and Alfred McCullough (Athens, Ala.) have seen action as nose guard.
  • Sophomore Brandon Deaderick (Elizabethtown, Ky.) and redshirt freshman Milton Talbert (Hattiesburg, Miss.) have played at the ends.
  • The linebackers returned only one starter from last year’s squad.  
  • Junior Ezekial Knight (Wedowee, Ala.) and true freshmen Chavis Williams (Dora, Ala.) play the “sam” position. *Knight made his first career start at line backer in the SEC opener at Nashville.  He is the Tide’s fourth-leading tackler this season with nine stops in two games.  He has also added one sack (-16). 
  • Knight began his career as a wide receiver before switching to defense in 2006.  He has played only six games in his career on defense.
  • True freshmen Rolando McClain (Decatur) and senior Demarcus Waldrop (Pinson) man the “mike” linebacker position.
  • McClain has started both games and is UA’s leading tackler thus far.  McClain has 13 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one PBU this season.
  • He ranks sixth in the SEC with 0.5 sacks per game, 16th in TFLs per game (1.0) and 22nd in tackles per game (6.5).
  • Waldrop has never missed a game in his UA career and will look to play his 40th career game against Arkansas.  He has 64 career tackles, including four tackles for loss.  He has five solo tackles this season.
  • 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.
  • Seniors Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Marcel Stamps (Brantley, Ala.) share duties at the “will” linebacker position.
  • Mustin made his first collegiate start against Western Carolina on Sept. 1.  He is tied with McClain for the team lead with 13 tackles in two games.  Mustin also leads UA with seven solo stops.
  • He has 21 tackles in 12 career games at Alabama. *Senior Keith Saunders (Willingboro, N.J.) and sophomore Brandon Fanney (Morristown, Tenn.) man the “jack” linebacker position.
  • Saunders, who played defensive end last season, made the move to linebacker this season.  He has seven tackles in the first two  games.
  • Overall, Saunders has 34 tackles, four TFLs and two sacks in 32 career games for the Tide.
  • Fanney has six tackles this season, including five in the season opener against Western Carolina.
  • A pair of seniors will anchor the Alabama secondary this season. Simeon Castille (Birmingham, Ala.) and Marcus Carter (Ft. Payne, Ala.) have 30 of 42 career starts among the defensive backs.  Castille has 18 career starts and Carter has 12 starts.
  • Castille has nine tackles at left cornerback this season. He was a First-Team All-SEC selection last season and a preseason First-Team All-SEC honoree this year.
  • In 37 career games, he has 122 tackles, 10 interceptions (1 TD) and 19 pass breakups.
  • Castille is backed up by sophomore Marquis Johnson (Sarasota, Fla.) and senior Eric Gray (Trinity).
  • Carter has seven tackles as the starting strong safety this season.  
  • In 37 career games, Carter has 42 tackles and one tackle for loss.
  • He is backed up by sophomores Ali Sharrief (Stevenson, Ala.) and Carlos Rogers (Lakeland).  Both are also prominent special teams players.
  • Junior Rashad Johnson (Sulligent, Ala.) is third on the team with 10 tackles from his starting free safety position.  
  • Johnson has 51 tackles in 25 career games for the Tide.  He has also added four forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one P BU.
  • Johnson had a career-high eight tackles in the win over Western Carolina.  He 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.
  • Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is Johnson’s backup.  Arenas has three tackles this season.
  • Junior Lionel Mitchell (Stone Mountain, Ga.) is the Tide’s starting right cornerback.  Mitchell has eight tackles in two games.
  • He has recorded 35 tackles and four interceptions in 18 career games.  Mitchell had 131 interception return yards in 2006, which ranks fourth all-time at UA.
  • He is backed up by true freshman Kareem Jackson (Macon, Ga.), who has started both games as the nickel back.  Jackson has seven tackles and one forced fumble this season. 

ALABAMA SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Alabama returns all but one of its specialists from last season.
  • The Crimson Tide’s special teams have shown marked improvement during the first two games of the 2007 season.
  • Alabama ranks third in the SEC and 16th nationally with a 19.17 punt return average this season.
  • The return game is highlighted by Arenas, who leads UA in both punt and kickoff returns.
  • Arenas is second in the league and 14th nationally with a 18.4 average in two games.  He had a 65-yard return against Vanderbilt in the 2007 SEC opener.
  • He has 36 career punt returns for 378 yards (10.5 average) and two touchdowns.
  • 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.
  • The Alabama record for punt return touchdowns is three held by Harry Gilmer.
  • Arenas also has five kickoff returns this season for 134 yards (26.8 average).
  • Junior Jonathan Lowe (Phenix City, Ala.) is the backup to Arenas. Lowe made his Alabama debut with a 23-yard kickoff  return and 17-yard punt return against Western Carolina on Sept. 1.
  • Sophomore Leigh Tiffin (Muscle Shoals, Ala.) is the Crimson Tide’s starting kicker, handling all kickoffs, field goal and extra attempts.
  • Tiffin has hit all eight extra point attempts this season and 20 of 21 in his two-year career.
  • He is eighth nationally with two field goals made per game. Tiffin has converted 4 of 8 attempts this season and 12 of 21 in his career. 
  • Tiffin is eighth in the league with 10 points per game.
  • He 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 has not seen action this season.
  • Sophomore punter P.J. Fitzgerald (Coral Springs, Fla.) is back for his second year as the Crimson Tide’s punter and holder. 
  • Fitzgerald has punted six times for 248 yards (41.3 average) this season.  He had a career-long 58-yard punt at Vanderbilt.
  • He punted 57 times for a 38.2-yard average (2,176 yards) last year.
  • In 15 career games, Fitzgerald has 63 punts for 2,424 yards (38.5 average).
  • 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.) has handled all snapping shores in the first two games.  He has played in three games in his UA career.

ON THIS DATE

  • Alabama is 1-1 (.500) in games played on September 15.
  • The Crimson Tide opened the 1973 season with a 66-0 win over California at Legion Field.  The Cal team featured future NFL greats Vince Ferragamo, Steve Bartkowski and Chuck Muncie.
  • The last time Alabama played on Sept. 15 came in a 17-13 loss to Steve Spurrier’s Florida Gators in 1990.

ALABAMA’S TV RECORD

  • Alabama has compiled a 164-108-5 (.000) all-time record in 277 televised games.  This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.
  • The Crimson Tide owns a 140-90-3 (.607) record in 233 regular-season televised games.
  • The Arkansas game will mark Alabama’s first home appearance on ESPN since a 27-3 loss to LSU (coached by Nick Saban) during the 2003 season.
  • The Crimson Tide has had four home games televised by espn2 during the last three seasons.
  • Alabama owns a 34-22 (.607) all-time record on cable sports network, including espn2 games. 
  • The Tide 26-18 (.590) in games shown on ESPN, including a seven-game losing streak.
  • Alabama’s last win on ESPN was a 27-17 win over Kentucky at Bryant-Denny Stadium during the 2003 season.
  • The Crimson Tide’s first ESPN game was 23-10 win over Texas A&M on Sept. 14, 1985.  
  • In the win over the Aggies, linebacker Wayne Davis recorded 23 tackles and kicker Van Tiffin set a school record with a 57-yard field in the second quarter. 

NEXT GAME

Alabama will host the Georgia Bulldogs next Saturday, Sept. 22 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  The kickoff time will be announced at a later date.  The game will mark Georgia’s first appearance at Bryant-Denny Stadium since the 2002 season.  

 


 

 

     
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