Countdown to Kickoff
Tide Puts Finishing Touches on Arkansas Game Plan



Sept. 18, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team practiced for 90 minutes in helmets and shoulder pads in the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility as preparations began to wind down for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener at Arkansas.

“Well this is a road game in the SEC and it’s difficult to win on the road in the SEC,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said.  “It will be a challenge for our players. I think Coach Bobby Petrino has done an outstanding job.  They are an outstanding passing team. They are playing pretty well on defense. (Quarterback) Casey Dick has done a nice job for them.  The tight end – D.J. Williams – is an effective player. Their defense has played hard and I think they are only going to improve.

“I think the key thing for us is that we continue to improve and get better.  We played a little better in the last game and hopefully we can build on that and play with consistency and take the challenge of playing on the road, which I am sure will be a lot of adversity to overcome, but that’s a challenge in this league you have to be ready to take on each and every week when you play in league play.”

The No. 9 Crimson Tide will hold a walk-thru on Friday in Tuscaloosa before departing for Fayetteville.

Alabama and Arkansas will kick off at 11:30 a.m. (CDT) Saturday from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.  The game will be televised by Raycom Sports in the nine-state SEC region, with Dave Neal (play-by-play), Dave Archer (analyst) and Dave Baker (sidelines) handling the call. The game will also be shown on ESPN GamePlan outside the nine-state SEC territory.

ARENAS FEATURED ON RAYCOM:  Raycom Sports' coverage of the 2008 Southeastern Conference continues this weekend with the Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0) visiting the Arkansas Razorbacks (2-0) in a key SEC Western Division showdown.  Allstate SEC Football Today airs at 11 a.m. (CDT) with kickoff set for 11:30 a.m. (CDT) from Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.

Alabama's Javier Arenas, a game-changing return specialist and defensive back, will be featured during the pregame show. The junior is regarded as one of the most dangerous return men in the country. He set an Alabama single-game record with 147 punt return yards against Tulane on Sept. 6, a 20-6 win in Tuscaloosa.  The Tampa, Fla., native is the active SEC leader in punt return yardage, amassing 794 yards on 59 returns.

In addition, fans will learn about the SEC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee's second annual league-wide food drive. All 12 SEC institutions are participating by collecting food and financial donations at various sporting events and on campuses. During last year's food drive, the SEC SAAC raised more than 40,000 pounds of food and donations that benefited local food banks and shelters.