No. 16 Alabama Begins Preparations for No. 22 Georgia Two of the Southeastern Conference's most storied football programs will renew their rivalry this Saturday, Sept. 22, when the 16th-ranked University of Alabama football team meets the 22nd-ranked University of Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tusc
GAME 4: ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE (3-0) vs. GEORGIA BULLDOGS (2-1) September 22, 2007 -- Bryant-Denny Stadium (92,138) -- Tuscaloosa, Ala. 6:45 p.m. (CDT) ESPN
ALABAMA QUICK NOTES: Alabama is ranked in both polls (AP and Coaches) for the first time since the final poll of the 2005 season ... Alabama ended the 2005 season with a 10-2 record and was ranked 8th by the AP and Coaches poll ... Coach Nick Saban is the fifth coach in Alabama history to start 3-0 in his first season with the Crimson Tide ... Other are Thomas Kelley (3-0, 1915), Xen Scott (4-0, 1919), Frank Thomas (5-0, 1931) and Ray Perkins (3-0, 1983) ... Senior wide receiver DJ Hall is the school’s all-time leader with 2,209 yards ... He had four catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns last week against Arkansas to break the previous record of 2,070 yards held by NFL Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome (1974-77) ... Redshirt freshman running back Terry Grant was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the third straight week on Sept. 17 ... Grant is second in the SEC and 8th nationally with 134.33 rushing yards per game ... ESPN College GameDay will originate from Tuscaloosa this weekend ... This will be Alabama’s 10th overall appearance and sixth in Tuscaloosa ... GameDay also attended the UA-UGA game in 2002.
ALABAMA HOSTS GEORGIA Two of the Southeastern Conference’s most storied football programs will renew their rivalry this Saturday, Sept. 22, when the 16th-ranked University of Alabama football team meets the 22nd-ranked University of Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. 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 kickoff time is set for 6:45 p.m. (CDT). Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC) remained undefeated with a thrilling 41-38 win over then-No. 16 Arkansas last Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide built a 31-10 lead with 5:15 left in the third quarter only to see Arkansas grab a 38-31 lead with 8:08 left in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson (24-for-45, 327 yards, 4 TDs) engineered a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes for the win. Wilson’s 8-yard pass to senior wide receiver Matt Caddell (9-91, 1 TD) gave UA the win. Caddell had four catches for 41 yards on the game-winning drive. Senior wide receiver DJ Hall (6-172-2 TDs) became the school’s all-time leader with 2,209 career receiving yards. He broke the previous record of 2,070 yards held by Ozzie Newsome (1974-77). Georgia (2-1, 0-1 SEC) is coming off a 45-16 win over Western Carolina last Saturday in Athens. Sophomore quarterback Matthew Stafford completed 14 of 20 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns 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 94-42-1 (.690) 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). He is 2-1 (.667) in his career against the Bulldogs, including an SEC Championship Game victory in 2003. Georgia head coach Mark Richt (Miami, Fla., 1982) has compiled a 63-18 (.778) record in his seventh season in Athens. He has guided the Bulldogs to two SEC titles (2002 and 2005), three SEC Championship Game appearances (2002, 2003 and 2005) and six straight bowl berths. He was named the SEC Coach of the Year in both 2002 (13-1, 8-1 SEC) and 2005 (10-3, 7-2 SEC). The Bulldogs set a school-record with 13 wins during the 2002 season. Richt’s teams are 36-16 in SEC play, 22-3 in road games and 16-5 against SEC Western Division teams. He came to Georgia from Florida State, where he served as offensive coordinator from 1994-2000. COLLEGE GAMEDAY VISITS TUSCALOOSA The highly popular college football pregame,“College Gameday” will air live from Tuscaloosa this Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9-11 a.m. (CDT). Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard will be in Tuscaloosa this weekend to preview the Alabama-Georgia game. ESPN will air the game to a national audience at 6:45 p.m. (CDT) in its Saturday Primetime game. Alabama has appeared nine times on ESPN College Gameday since the show’s inception.
SABAN WINS THIRD STRAIGHT
Alabama head coach Nick Saban became the fifth coach in school history to win his first three games with a 41-38 win over Arkansas.
Saban joins Thomas Kelley (3-0), Xen Scott (5-0, 1919), Frank Thomas (4-0, 1931) and Ray Perkins (3-0, 1983) as the only UA head coaches to win the first three games in their inaugural season as head coach.
Here is a look at all UA head coaches since 1915 after three games with the Crimson Tide.
ALABAMA RANKED IN LATEST POLLS
Following its 41-38 win over then No. 16 Arkansas on Sept. 15, the Alabama Crimson Tide made a significant jump in both major polls this week.
The Crimson Tide is ranked 16th in the latest Associated Press college football poll and 20th in the ESPN/Coaches poll.
The latest ranking marks the first tine since the end of the 2005 season that Alabama has been ranked in both polls.
The Crimson Tide closed out the 2005 season with a 10-2 record and was ranked eighth in both polls following its 13-10 Cotton Bowl win over Texas Tech.
Alabama opened the 2006 season with a 3-0 record and made its only appearance in the ESPN/Coaches poll on Sept. 16, 2006.
Following a 24-23 double-overtime loss to Arkansas, the Crimson Tide dropped from the rankings for the remainder of the season.
Alabama has compiled a 355-123-10 (.738) all-time record when ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Alabama’s initial appearance in the AP poll came during the poll’s inaugural year in 1936 when the 14th-ranked Crimson Tide beat No. 10 Tulane 34-7 in Legion Field.
Alabama compiled a 12-15-2 (.448) record when ranked in the AP poll from 1936-60.
Things changed in 1961 as coach Paul “Bear” Bryant began his dominance in college football.
Alabama was ranked in the AP poll for 47 consecutive weeks from Nov. 20, 1960 through Sept. 19, 1965.
After a six-week hiatus in 1965, following a 5-1-1 start, Alabama re-entered the poll on Nov. 7, 1965 after a 31-7 win at LSU.
The Crimson Tide was ranked another 20 consecutive weeks from 1965-67, ending the run with a 24-13 loss to Tennessee at Legion Field on Oct. 21, 1967.
The 1970s are easily the heyday of Alabama football. From 1970-79, Alabama won 103 games to become the first college football team to win 100 games in a decade.
From 1971-82, Alabama was ranked in the AP poll 141 of a possible 142 weeks. The Crimson Tide had a one-week absence following a 21-0 loss at Georgia on Oct. 2, 1976.
After a win over Southern Miss the following week, the Crimson Tide was back in the rankings until the 1982 season.
Ironically, the Tide fell out of the AP poll for the first time since 1976 with a 38-29 loss to Southern Miss at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 13, 1983.
Since the 1983 season, Alabama has compiled a 130-48-2 (.728) record when ranked in the AP Top 25.
Former Alabama coach Gene Stallings’ teams (1990-96) were 62-13-1 (.822) and were ranked for 71 consecutive weeks from 1991 through the end of his seven-year tenure in 1996.
Since 1997, Alabama has only been ranked in the AP poll 39 times and has compiled a 25-14 (.641) record.
Alabama is 13-5 (.722) in its last 18 games when ranked in the AP Top-25.
ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY VISITS TUSCALOOSA THIS WEEKEND
ESPN’s highly-popular College GameDay will be live in Tuscaloosa this weekend for the Alabama-Georgia game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
The show will air from 9-11 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday, Sept. 22 and preview the Crimson Tide’s showdown with No. 20 Georgia.
The Alabama-Georgia game will air on ESPN at 6:45 p.m. (CDT).
Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard will report live from Tuscaloosa throughout the day.
There will also be live and taped segments on Friday to be used on ESPN News and during SportsCenter at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. (ET).
Alabama will be making its 10th College Gameday appearance this weekend and its fifth from Tuscaloosa.
The last time ESPN College GameDay aired from Tuscaloosa was Nov. 12, 2005 when No. 3 Alabama met No. 5 LSU at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama is 3-6 (.333) in its College GameDay appearances, including a 16-13 loss in overtime to LSU in 2005.
In all, ESPN College GameDay has done 10 Alabama games, including three at Legion Field and two road games since 1994.
BAMA ON ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY
Auburn at Alabama
Tennessee at Alabama
Alabama at Auburn
Alabama at LSU
Auburn at Alabama
UCLA at Alabama
Georgia at Alabama
Oklahoma at Alabama
LSU at Alabama
Georgia at Alabama
ALABAMA PLAYERS HONORED AFTER WIN OVER ARKANSAS
Alabama’s 41-38 win over No. 16 Arkansas drew national attention from ESPN SportsCenter and ESPN College Gameday Final.
Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson (Hoover) set career highs in attempts (45), completions (24), yards (327) and touchdowns (4) in the win 41-38 win over Arkansas.
Wilson received a helmet sticker from ESPN studio host Rece Davis during the network’s College Football Final show.
Wilson’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Matt Caddell (McAdory) with eight seconds left in the game was the No. 3 play on ESPN SportCenter’s Top 10 plays from Saturday, Sept. 15.
The Crimson Tide’s win over the No. 16 Razorbacks also earned top-billing on ESPN SportsCenter’s late-night show following its college football coverage.
THE ALABAMA-GEORGIA SERIES
Alabama holds a 34-23-4 lead with Georgia in a series that dates back to 1895. This year will mark the 64th meeting between these two Southern football powers.
Georgia has won the last two meetings, beating Alabama in 2002 (27-25) and 2003 (37-23).
The Bulldogs have not won three straight over the Crimson Tide since a series-best five-game winning streak from 1910-16.
Georgia’s 27-25 win in 2002 marked their first-ever win over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in eight tries. Billy Bennett’s 32-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the game provided the winning margin for the Bulldogs.
Alabama and Georgia first met on Nov. 2, 1895, with the Bulldogs claiming a 30-6 win over the Crimson Tide in Columbus, Ga.
The Georgia series is the third-oldest series in the Alabama record books. Only Auburn (1893) and Ole Miss (1894) are older.
The 1901 Alabama-Georgia game was the first scoreless tie in school history. It was also the first tie in Alabama history.
Alabama has had 13 scoreless ties in its 111-year history and three of them have come against Georgia (1901, 1907 and 1954).
Alabama did not register its first series win until a 16-5 victory in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5, 1904.
Georgia was Alabama’s first-ever opponent at Birmingham Fairgrounds (1905), Cramton Bowl (1922) and Legion Field (1927).
Georgia’s 1920 win over Alabama snapped the Crimson Tide’s then school-record 12-game winning streak.
Three of the four longest winning streaks in Alabama history began with a win over Georgia, including 1924 (20 game-winning streak), 1961 (19-game winning streak; 26-game unbeaten streak) and 1991 (28-game winning streak; 31-game unbeaten streak.
Alabama and Georgia played each other 51 times from 1895-1965. The two teams met every year from 1941-65, with the exception of 1943.
HALL SETS ALL-TIME RECEIVING MARK
Senior receiver DJ Hall (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) broke the school record for receiving yards in a career against Arkansas on Sept. 15.
He now has 2,209 receiving yards for his UA career, surpassing Ozzie Newsome (1974-77) who compiled 2,070 receiving yards in his career.
Hall has 140 career catches for 2,209 yards and 13 touchdowns.
His 172 receiving yards against Arkansas set a career high for yardage, and ranks fourth on the Alabama single-game receiving yards list. Hall’s previous single-game yardage high at Alabama was a 157-yard performance (on 11 catches) against Utah State in 2005.
Hall’s 172 receiving yards extends his school record for 100-yard receiving games to 11. He has caught at least one pass in 21 consecutive games, dating back to Oct. 15, 2005 against Ole Miss.
Hall had a huge first quarter against Arkansas with four catches for 118 yards (29.5-yard average) and two touchdowns.
Hall’s outing continued a trend against the Razorbacks as the senior has enjoyed much success against Arkansas.
In four games against Arkansas, Hall has 16 catches for 378 yards and five touchdowns. He has averaged 23.6 yards per catch and 94.5 yards per game in his career against the Razorbacks.
In 2006, Hall had six catches for 144 yards and one TD, including a 78-yard touchdown catch. In 2005, Hall had three catches for 54 yards and two scores, including the game-clinching scoring catch.
Through three games this season, Hall leads UA with 13 catches for 291 yards (22.4 yards per catch).
GRANT EYES FRESHMAN RECORDS
Redshirt freshman Terry Grant (Lumberton, Miss.) is second in the SEC and eighth nationally with 134.33 rushing yards per game through three games.
He has 62 rushing attempts for 403 yards (6.5 average) and five touchdowns in leading Alabama to a 3-0 record.
Grant burst onto the scene in the Crimson Tide’s season opener against Western Carolina with 18 carries for 134 yards and three touchdowns on Sept. 1.
He added 24 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns in his first career SEC start against Vanderbilt on Sept. 8. The 173 rushing yards were the third-most in school history by a freshman running back.
Grant earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after the Western Carolina, Vanderbilt and Arkansas games.
He added 20 carries for 96 yards in the Tide’s 41-38 win over Arkansas on Sept. 15.
In just three games, Grant is already making his mark on the Alabama freshman rushing records.
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 fifth in the SEC in rushing offense (219.0), passing offense (246.33) and scoring offense (39.0).
The Crimson Tide is 22nd nationally in scoring and 25th in rushing and passing offense.
Alabama has scored on 20 of 42 (47.6 percent) offensive drives this season.
In addition, the Crimson Tide has nine scoring drives of less than two minutes this season, including five in the win over Arkansas on Sept. 15.
SCORING DRIVES UNDER 2-MINUTES
2-9-0:39 6-74-1:44 4-80-1:08 5-41-1:30 1-2-0:06
Alabama scored the game-winning touchdown with eight seconds remaining for the 41-38 victory over Arkansas on Sept. 15. The win was Alabama’s first by scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown since a 14-13 win over Iowa State in the 2001 Independence Bowl (an Andrew Zow to Terry Jones TD pass). That game also marked the last time prior to the Arkansas game that the Crimson Tide had overcome a fourth-quarter deficit to win a game. Alabama trailed that I-Bowl contest, 13-7, before winning in the final stanza.
Before the last-minute comeback, the Crimson Tide lost a 21-point lead against the Razorbacks, the largest lead lost since Alabama lost a 21-point lead against Arkansas on September 27, 2003, at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Alabama led 21-0 with 1:27 left in the first quarter on Sept. 15, 2007, and regained that edge at 31-10 with 5:15 left in the third quarter. The Razorbacks scored three touchdowns in the span of six minutes to tie the game with 12:05 left in the fourth quarter, and took the lead at 38-31 with 8:08 left in the fourth quarter.
In the 2003 game, Alabama held a 31-10 lead with 7:52 left in the third quarter, but watched Arkansas score the game's final 24 points to pull out the three-point win. The Razorbacks outscored Alabama 14-0 in the fourth quarter and put the game-winning points on the board at the end of the second overtime for the win.
Alabama scored 21 points in the first quarter against Arkansas, the most points scored by the Crimson Tide in a single quarter since UA scored 21 points in the third quarter against Arkansas on September 27, 2003, a game that Arkansas won 34-31 in double overtime.
Alabama has scored 117 points in its first three games of the season, the most by the Tide during the first three games of a season since scoring 118 points in 2004. The Crimson Tide opened that year with wins over Utah State (48-17), Ole Miss (28-7) and Western Carolina (52-0).
The 52 points scored in the season opener were 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 was 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 broke 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 were 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 9-7 (.563) as the starting quarterback.
In 21 career games, Wilson has completed 278 of 488 passes (.570) for 3,471 yards, with 23 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
In three games this season, Wilson has completed 55 of 98 passes (.561) for 666 yards with four touchdowns and three interception.
Wilson threw for a career-high 327 yards in the win over Arkansas and a career-high four touchdowns. His previous career-high for passing yards in a game was 291 against LSU in 2006.
Wilson also set new career single-game marks for pass attempts (45), completions (24) and touchdowns (4). His previous career highs in those categories: 40 attempts at Florida in 2006 and 22 completions at LSU in 2006. His previous single-game high for scoring passes was three at Arkansas in 2006.
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.
He set seven single-season school records, including most plays, total offense, pass attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns.
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 a 2,000-yard receiver on its roster.
In addition to Hall, Alabama has a talented corps of receivers.
The Crimson Tide has had 15 different players catch at least one pass this season.
Alabama’s wide receivers have caught 41 passes for 540 yards (13.2 yards per catch) this season.
Sophomore Mike McCoy (Rankin, Miss.) is second on the team with 10 catches for 68 yards (6.8 average) this season.
Senior Matt Caddell (McCalla) has nine catches for 91 yards (10.1 average) and one touchdown.
He had all nine catches in the Tide’s thrilling win over Arkansas on Sept. 15. Caddell had four catches for 41 yards on the game-winning touchdown drive, including a 4-yard TD catch with eight seconds left in the game.
Senior wide receiver Keith Brown (Pensacola, Fla.) caught two passes for 18 yards against Arkansas.
In 34 career games, Brown has 97 receptions for 1,545 yards (15.9 average) and eight touchdowns.
Brown needs three catches for his 100th career reception.
The tight ends have nine catches for 53 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Nick Walker (Brundidge, Ala.) has eight catches for 53 yards (6.6 average) and two touchdowns. He also has a 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 were 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 three games of the season, led by redshirt freshman Terry Grant (Lumberton, Miss.), who ranks second in the SEC in rushing. Grant has 62 carries for 403 yards (6.5 average) and five touchdowns.
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.
Sophomore Glen Coffee (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) has 27 carries for 158 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
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.
Junior center Antoine Caldwell (Montgomery, Ala.), who has made 28 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.
Senior Justin Britt (Cullman, Ala.) is another veteran lineman for the Tide. Britt has played in 38 career games, including 20 career starts. He has started all three games this season at left guard.
Junior Marlon Davis (Columbus, Ga.) has started all three games at right guard. Overall, Davis has appeared in 20 career games with eight starts.
Sophomore Mike Johnson (Pensacola, Fla.) has started the first three 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 all three games this year.
Freshmen William Vlachos (Mountain Brook) and Patrick Crump (Hoover, Ala.) and senior B.J. Stabler (Grove Hill, Ala.) all played in the season opener.
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 fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (18.0) and passing defense (165.0) and seventh in rushing defense (144.57).
The Crimson Tide 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 41st career game for the Crimson Tide this Saturday against Georgia.
In 40 career games, Gilberry has 120 tackles, 32 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 10 tackles, two TFLs and one sack this season.
Junior Bobby Greenwood (Prattville, Ala.) starts at the other defensive end position and has nine tackles, including four stops behind the line in three games this year.
Greenwood has played in 28 games and logged 51 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 7 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 third-leading tackler this season with 18 stops in three games. He also has 2.5 TFLs, one sack (-16), two pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
He had a career-high nine tackles in the win over Arkansas, which equalled his tackles from the first two games of the season.
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 all three games and leads the Crimson Tide with 21 tackles. He has added two TFLs, two pass breakups and one sack.
McClain matched his career-high with eight tackles in the win over Arkansas.
Waldrop has never missed a game in his UA career and will look to play his 41st career game against Georgia. He has 66 career tackles.
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 last season.
Hall had five tackles in two games this season as a back-up linebacker.
Seniors Darren Mustin (Brentwood, Tenn.) and Marcel Stamps (Brantley, Ala.) share duties at the “will” linebacker position.
Mustin has started all three games this season and made his first collegiate start against Western Carolina on Sept. 1. He is second on the team with 18 tackles and is UA’s co-leader with 11 solo stops.
He set up Alabama’s first score against Arkansas with an interception of a Casey Dick pass at the Arkansas 15 in the first quarter. Mustin returned the interception six yards to set up Alabama at the Arkansas 9-yard line.
Mustin had five tackles, including one for a loss of two yards, and the interception before leaving the Arkansas game with an injury (stinger) in the first half.
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 17 tackles in three games this season, including a season-high 10 tackles in the win over Arkansas.
Overall, Saunders has 44 tackles, 4.5 TFLs and two sacks in 33 career games for the Tide.
Fanney has played in all three games and logged 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 32 of 44 career starts among the defensive backs. Castille has 19 career starts and Carter has 13 starts.
Castille leads the UA secondary with 16 tackles and three pass breakups this season. He was a First-Team All-SEC selection last season and a preseason First-Team All-SEC honoree this year.
In 38 career games, he has 129 tackles, 10 interceptions (1 TD) and 30 pass breakups.
Castille is backed up by sophomore Marquis Johnson (Sarasota, Fla.) and senior Eric Gray (Trinity).
Carter has 13 tackles and 1.5 TFLs in three games this season as the starting strong safety.
In 38 career games, Carter has 48 tackles and 2.5 TFLs.
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 second on the team with 18 tackles from his starting free safety position. He is also second on the team with 10 solo stops.
He had a career-high eight tackles in the Crimson Tide’s wins over Western Carolina and Arkansas.
Johnson has 59 tackles in 26 career games for the Tide. He has also added four forced fumbles, 2.5 sacks, one interception and one PBU.
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 11 tackles in three games.
He has recorded 38 tackles and four interceptions in 18 career games. Mitchell had four interceptions (TD) and 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 started the first two games as the nickel back. Jackson has 10 tackles and one forced fumble this season.
CAREER STARTS BY ALABAMA DEFENSE
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 three games of the 2007 season.
Sophomore Javier Arenas (Tampa, Fla.) is the Crimson Tide’s top return specialist.
Arenas leads the SEC and ranks 11th nationally with a 15.55 punt return average in three games. He has 11 returns for 171 yards.
He has 42 career punt returns for 457 yards (10.9 average) and two touchdowns. Arenas had a 65-yard punt return against Florida International and an Alabama bowl record 86-yard punt return against Oklahoma State in 2006.
The Alabama career record for most punt returns is three held by Harry Gilmer.
Arenas is second in the SEC and 23rd nationally with a 28-yard kickoff return average. He has six returns for 168 yards this season.
He has had at least one 45-yard return (punt or kickoff) in all three games this season. Arenas had a season-best 69-yard punt return against Vanderbilt and a season-best 45-yard kickoff return against Western Carolina. Both returns led to UA touchdowns on the very next play.
Junior Jonathan Lowe (Phenix City, Ala.) is the backup to Arenas. Lowe has four kickoff returns for 66 yards (16.5 average) this season. He made his Alabama debut with a 23-yard kickoff return and a 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 12 extra point attempts this season and 24 of 25 in his two-year career.
He is second in the SEC and ninth nationally with two field goals made per game.
Tiffin is third in the SEC and 26th nationally in scoring 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.
Sophomore Andrew Friedman (Fairhope, Ala.) made his 2007 season debut with his first career extra point attempt against Arkansas on Sept. 15. He has now played in four games at UA.
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 11 times for 429 yards (39-yard average) this season. He had a career-long 58-yard punt at Vanderbilt.
In 16 career games, Fitzgerald has 68 punts for a 38.5-yard average (2,605 yards) with 20 kicks landing inside the opponents 20-yard line. He punted 57 times for a 38.2-yard average (2,176 yards) last year.
The Crimson Tide is breaking 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 duites this year..
Alabama has compiled a 124-43-8 (.731) all-time record in its previous 175 night games.
The 2007 season opener against Western Carolina marked the 175th night game in UA football history.
Alabama is playing its third night game of the season this weekend against Georgia at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama is 5-1 (.833) under the lights in the last two seasons, including a 2-0 mark this year.
The Crimson Tide’s first-ever night game was a 26-0 win over Spring Hill College at Murphy High School in Mobile on Sept. 27, 1940.
The first-ever Tuscaloosa night game was a 48-6 win over Duquesne on Oct. 8, 1948.
The Georgia game will mark the 33rd night game in the history of Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Alabama has compiled a 26-6 (.813) record in Bryant-Denny Stadium night games.
A rarity in the early years, night games have become the norm at Bryant-Denny Stadium in the last five years.
After playing just 13 night games from 1929-99, Bryant-Denny Stadium has hosted 20 night games since the 2000 season.
The Crimson Tide played a school record five night games during the 2004 season and posted a 4-1 record in those games. The previous record was four night games during the 2003 season.
ALABAMA’S TV RECORD
Alabama has compiled a 165-108-5 (.603) all-time record in 278 televised games. This does not include pay-per-view, tape-delayed or closed circuit telecasts.
The Crimson Tide owns a 141-90-3 (.610) record in 234 regular-season televised games.
Alabama is 27-18 (.600) in games televised by ESPN. The Crimson Tide snapped a seven-game losing streak on the all-sports cable network last week with its 41-38 win over Arkansas.
Overall, the Crimson Tide owns a 35-22 (.614) all-time record on ESPN, including espn2 games.
The Crimson Tide’s first ESPN game was a 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.
ALABAMA TV RECORD BY NETWORK
Alabama has compiled a 162-40-5 (.799) in 206 all-time games in the month of September.
Alabama is 13-3 (.813) 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 34-10-1 (.767) during his career in the month of September.
Saban’s teams are 13-1 (.929) in their last 14 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 5-2 (.714) in games played on Sept. 22, including a 1-1 record against the Georgia Bulldogs.
The Crimson Tide opened the 1962 season and the Joe Namath era with a 35-0 win over Georgia on Sept. 22 at Legion Field.
Georgia beat Alabama 17-16 on Sept. 22, 1990 in Athens in the latest meeting between these two schools on this date.
GAMES PLAYED ON SEPTEMBER 22
Result of Game
Rice 20, Alabama 13
Alabama 35, Georgia 0
Alabama 28, Kentucky 14
Alabama 45, Baylor 0
Alabama 37, USL 14
Georgia 17, Alabama 16
Alabama 31, Arkansas 10
NEXT GAME Alabama will travel to Jacksonville, Fla., next Saturday, Sept. 29, to face the Florida State Seminoles at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. The kickoff time will be announced at a later date.