Sept. 26, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Woodrow Lowe’s accomplishments during the 1973 season have withstood the test of time.
Despite all the championship teams, top-rated defenses and All-America performers, Lowe’s name still sits atop the Alabama single-season tackle charts with a mind-boggling 134 stops in 1973. Playing on one of the most prolific offensive teams in school history, Lowe was a force on the Alabama defense. He made a name for himself as a sophomore in 1973 and then became a household name in 1974 and again in 1975.
Today, Lowe is being recognized for his achievements by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. Lowe is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2009. He will receive his plaque at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday during the Crimson Tide’s game with Arkansas.
Lowe (1972-75) played four years for the Crimson Tide and is one of only two Alabama players to be named a three-time All-America, Lowe earned the award in 1973-74-75. He had his best year as a sophomore in 1973 when he had a school-record 134 tackles, six stops behind the line and three interceptions. He was named to the all-decade team of the 1970s and helped the Tide to a 43-5 overall record during his career. His teams won four consecutive SEC titles during his career and a national championship in 1973.
Here are some of Lowe’s thoughts as he makes his way back to campus this weekend for this Hall of Fame recognition.
On being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame:
“First and foremost, I have to thank God. I also want to thank the (Coach Paul) Bryant family. There are a lot of coaches and ex-teammates and support people from the University of Alabama and if there was a way they could share all this, we can do that right now. They share in this just as much as I have. When you played under Coach Bryant, it was always about the team. There was no individualism..”
On his memories of that record-setting season in 1973:
“Well, 1973 was a long time ago. It’s been a long time. There were a lot of great players on that football team. We had a lot of great defensive players in Leroy Cook, Mike Christian, Skip Kubelius, Mike Washington and Tyrone King. We had a great, great offensive team. We only lost one game that year. For the most part, the best I can reflect upon, there was no individualism. We were a team and we had high expectations. We were never without high expectations. You hear it early when you first get on campus what football meant to the great state of Alabama and to this University. That part of it was a given. The expectation level was very high.”
On one game that sticks out in your mind from that season:
“No, not really. I’ll tell you what, one of the games I remember back then was the game we lost. We lost to Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship. It’s ironic I think that ballgame was decided by them being able to return a kickoff. I think we dominated pretty much everything else. We split in the national championship, but that right there was the game that I remember the most. To be honest, during the regular season, we scored a lot of points, that’s what I remember. I remember we had a very prolific offense, running the ball and throwing play-action passes and we were a great defensive team too. When we went on the field, we just expected to win. I just think, to me that was probably one of the best team’s I was ever associated with. It is the best team I’ve ever been associated with.”
On whether he is surprised his single-season tackles record still stands:
“Yes it does. We have some great football players that have attended the University of Alabama for the last 30 to 40 years. My idol before I got to the University was Lee Roy Jordan. I knew if I could just live up to his expectations, I would be O.K. and be halfway decent. For that record to stand as long as it has, that means there have been a lot of great defensive players at the University of Alabama in regards to no one single individual player on the team. Even back in 1973, we had a lot of great players on the defensive side of the football. I never thought the record would last this long. It’s an honor, I must say. There are some good football players. The game has changed a lot since then, its more wide open and spread out. They don’t run the ball as much as they used to run when I was a player. You also get the opportunity to make a lot of tackles that way. With today’s passing game, the spread offense and now the pistol, it’s harder for defensive players to rack up that many tackles, or just make big plays. I do know this, the part of the game that has not changed is the impact a good defense can have over the offense. I know you have heard the saying that ‘offense wins games and defense wins championships.’ I am believer in that.”
On what it means to play football for the Crimson Tide:
“It’s not just one thing. It’s not one single thing. It’s more of a temperament, a mindset. You have to throw words like tradition and legacy into that equation. When you are a member of the University of Alabama football team, I don’t care where you are, people know you. I’ve been in California, Mexico and Japan; you’d be surprised at the people that know about the Crimson Tide. We have a tradition here in the state of Alabama, I think, for the most part, that if you are a Crimson Tider or you played for the University of Alabama, you pretty much know what football is all about. That association is an honorable thing to be tied to. I don’t care how old I get or how long I live; it certainly is an honor to have played for the Crimson Tide. It really is.”
On the current state of the program and upgrading of facilities:
“Well, to be totally honest about it, I think Mal Moore has done a tremendous job. I can’t come up with enough words to describe it. He has really jettisoned us to the forefront as far as being one of the top schools in the nation, athletically and academically. I think the amount of projects and the progress that I have seen over the years has been really outstanding and you have to thank Mal Moore for that. He goes out and gets it done. I still call him Coach Moore. He is low-key, but when he talks you have to listen. He has done an outstanding job. I talk to him from time to time now and he keeps up with me and I keep up with him. I’ve met Nick Saban and my impression of him is that he is a no-nonsense guy and he gets the job done. I think, well I’m not going to say I think, I know for certain that there is a certain expectation level that when you join the University of Alabama that Coach Saban has already expressed and talked to the recruits about what it means to be a University of Alabama football player. I know for certain, it’s unlike anything else. Coach Saban insists on you becoming the very best. He insists on you not becoming complacent. It’s almost to the point where you don’t even have to think about what the expectations are. They are there and if you can live up to them, take it on your shoulders as your personal responsibility to make the University of Alabama one of the best football teams, or the best football team in the United States. I think we have that attitude there, it’s not arrogance. I think its confidence and I know for certain that he exudes confidence. I have no doubt he is the right man for the job.”
WOODROW LOWE CAREER STATISTICS
Year Tackles TFL-Yds Int-Yds
1972 46 2-7 1-13
1973 134 6-13 3-20
1974 86 5-22 1-0
1975 67 4-6 1-3
Totals 315 17-48 6-36