Sept. 14, 2009
Alabama Football Game Notes (North Texas Game)
THE GAME: The University of Alabama football team welcomes North Texas to Bryant-Denny Stadium for the second game of a three-game homestand. Kickoff with the Mean Green is slated for 11:21 a.m. on Saturday, September 19, and will be televised on the SEC Network with Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Cara Capuano calling the action. Eli Gold and Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network.
HEAD COACH Nick Saban: Alabama head coach Nick Saban (Kent State, 1973) is in his third season with the Crimson Tide. He was named the school’s 27th head coach on January 3, 2007. Saban has compiled a 112-50-1 (.690) record as a collegiate head coach with a 21-8 (.724) mark at Alabama that includes 2-0 record this year. He captured his 100th career win and coached his 150th game as a collegiate head coach during the 2008 campaign. In 2003, Saban led LSU to a 13-1 record and the BCS National Championship. Overall, Saban has coached three conference championship teams (1990 Mid-American, 2001 SEC and 2003 SEC) and nine of his 12 teams have played in post-season bowl games with Tide appearing in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Saban is one of two (Bob Stoops) current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to coach for at least 10 years and not suffer a losing season.
SABAN AMONG THE BEST: Head coach Nick Saban’s arrival in Tuscaloosa has seen his Crimson Tide vault up the national rankings. That success in such a short period of time has quickly impacted the Tide’s record book. Saban produced the largest win increase from year one to year two in school history as Alabama went from seven wins in 2007 to 12 wins in 2008. He is one of two coaches (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma) in the Football Bowl Subdivision football to have coached 10 years and never suffered through a losing season. He also ranks fourth in winning percentage (69.0 percent) among active coaches who have coached at least 10 years of Division I-A football.
RANKINGS: Alabama was ranked fifth in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches’ preseason polls. It was the highest preseason ranking for the Tide since the 2000 season when they opened at No. 3. After a week one win over then-No. 7 Virginia Tech and a loss by then-No. 3 Oklahoma to BYU, the Crimson Tide moved up one spot to No. 4 and remained there in both of this week’s rankings. The Crimson Tide also garnered two first-place votes in the AP poll in both of that last two weeks.
NORTH TEXAS SERIES: Alabama leads the all-time series with North Texas 2-0. The Crimson Tide and Mean Green first met on Octocber 18, 1995, as the 18th-ranked Crimson Tide posted a 38-19 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The two teams met again on Sept.14, 2002, as the Tide rolled up a 33-7 win in Tuscaloosa.
TIDE LEADS NATION IN GRADUATES: Alabama’s 13 graduates on the 2009 roster are the most of any school in the Bowl Championship Subdivision. The Crimson Tide is five graduates ahead of any other SEC school with Auburn checking in fifth with eight graduates. Boston College and Virginia Tech (the Tide’s season-opening opponent) are tied for second with 10 graduates while Penn State is fourth with nine (see sidebar for complete list).
UA COACHES PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: The Alabama coaching staff recognized eight players of the week following the Crimson Tide’s 40-14 win over Florida International on Saturday. Trent Richardson, Mike McCoy and James Carpenter shared offensive honors. Richardson rushed for a career-high 118 yards and two touchdowns while catching two passes for 23 yards to finish with 141 total yards. McCoy shattered his career high in receiving yards with 100 on five catches and one touchdown. Dont’a Hightower, Rolando McClain and Terrence Cody were the defensive players of the week. Hightower had six tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. McClain led the team with 10 tackles, including 1.5 TFL. Cody helped the Tide hold FIU to one total yard rushing on 26 attempts with all three tackles coming behind the line of scrimmage. Javier Arenas and Dre Kirkpatrick shared the special teams award. Arenas averaged 25.3 yards on four punt returns and had one kickoff return for 25 yards while Kirkpatrick starred on several special teams units and excelled at the gunner spot on the punt team.
SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Alabama true freshman running back Trent Richardson was named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week following his impressive showing against Florida International . Richardson rushed 15 times for a career-high 118 yards and two touchdowns in just his second collegiate game. He also added two catches for 23 yards with a long reception of 12 yards to finish the game with 143 all-purpose yards. Richardson had touchdowns runs of nine and 35 yards and averaged an impressive 7.9 yards per carry.
FIRST-TIME STARTERS: Twelve Alabama players (8 on offense, 4 on defense) have made their first career starts for the Crimson Tide this season. On defense, senior linebacker Eryk Anders, sophomore defensive back Mark Barron and sophomore defensive lineman Marcell Dareus were first-time starters against Virginia Tech before sophomore free safety Robby Green made his first career start as the Tide employed five defensive backs on the first play of scrimmage against FIU. On offense, junior left tackle James Carpenter, sophomore center William Vlachos, sophomore right guard Barrett Jones, senior tight end Colin Peek, sophomore tight end/H-back Brad Smelley and junior quarterback Greg McElroy made their first starts against Tech. Against FIU, senior running back Roy Upchurch made his first start for the Crimson Tide.
NEXT GAME: Alabama will begin Southeastern Conference action with the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will televised by CBS Sports with kick off set for 2:30 p.m. (CST). It will be the 20th meeting between the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks and the 18th since Arkansas joined the SEC for the 1992 season. Alabama holds an 11-8 record in the series and has won the last two meetings - and three of the last four - including a 49-14 win in Fayetteville last year.