Sept. 22, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The No. 8 University of Alabama football team began preparations for No. 3 Georgia with a two-hour practice in helmets and shoulders pads Monday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility. The matchup between Top 10 teams will be televised nationally by ESPN with kickoff set for 6:45 p.m. (CDT) in Sanford Stadium in Athens.
“These are the kind of games that you should come to a place like The University of Alabama to play in,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban at his Monday press conference. “To be on national TV is great for our players but the most important thing is that we stay focused on what we need to do on the field so we have the best chance to be successful.
“Georgia has an outstanding team. A team that has been pretty dominant in the way they have played all season long on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Mark Richt is an outstanding coach and has done a good job there. They won the Sugar Bowl last year and were very impressive last week against Arizona State. They have some outstanding individual players. Obviously a great running back in (Knowshon) Moreno, their quarterback is arguably the best quarterback in the country in terms of his passing efficiency, running their offense and his leadership. They have two fantastic wide receivers. (A.J.) Green and (Mohamed) Massaquoi both have big play ability and are big guys.
“Their defense is certainly one of the best defensive teams in the country. They are difficult to run against, are difficult to score against and have a lot of starters and a lot of experience back on the team. This team has balance offensively, they play well; they are coached well; that is why they are one of the best teams in the country. So it will be a real challenge for our team to play against one of the best teams in the country on the road. We need to stay focused on the things we need to do to improve as a team and play our best football.”
SMITH HONORED: Alabama junior left tackle Andre Smith was named the Southeastern Conference offensive linemen of the week on Monday by the league office. Smith anchored an Alabama offensive line that paved the way for a season-high 324 rushing yards in a 49-14 SEC road win at Arkansas on Sept. 20. The Crimson Tide’s 324 rushing yards and 9.4 yards per carry are the most by an SEC team this season. Smith had a key block in three of the Tide’s rushing touchdowns, including an 87-yard run and 31-yard run by Glen Coffee. Smith also registered the top grade on the UA offensive line and did not allow a sack or pressure in the win at Arkansas.
GAMEDAY VISITS ALABAMA-GEORGIA GAME: The popular college football pregame show, “College Gameday” will be at the Alabama-Georgia game this Saturday in Athens. It will mark Alabama’s second appearance on the show this season. The Tide’s 2008 season opener against Clemson also hosted GameDay on Aug. 30 from Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard will be in Athens to preview a showdown of Top 10 SEC teams. Alabama is making its 12th overall appearance on ESPN College Gameday and its third in the Nick Saban era. The Tide is 4-7 in games featured on Gameday. Alabama made its College Gameday debut with a 21-14 win over Auburn during the 1994 season at Legion Field. Alabama has been on ESPN College Gameday for eight home games, including five Tuscaloosa games and three Birmingham games. The Georgia game will mark Alabama’s fourth Gameday appearance on the road, including Auburn (1995), LSU (1996), Clemson (2008 in Atlanta) and Georgia (2008).