Oct. 6, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain was named the Bronko Nagurski Award National Defensive Player of the Week Tuesday afternoon, following his 12-tackle performance in the Tide’s 38-20 win at Kentucky Saturday in Lexington.
McClain, the Tide’s defensive leader, stepped up in the absence of the injured Dont’a Hightower and led the Tide with 12 tackles (8 solo) in the win. He also added one interception, one forced fumble and one pass break-up in the win.
His forced fumble led to a 45-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Courtney Upshaw that gave the Tide a 21-6 halftime lead. He added a 21-yard interception return in the third quarter that set up Mark Ingram’s second touchdown run of the game two plays later that pushed the lead to 28-6. He later tipped a pass to teammate Eryk Anders for an interception that resulted in a third quarter field goal and a 31-6 Crimson Tide lead.
The Alabama defense forced four turnovers (came into the game with four on the season) and McClain played a direct role in three of those turnovers. Alabama ranks 2nd nationally in total defense, 4th in scoring defense and 8th in rush defense.
The Kentucky game marked McClain’s seventh career double-digit tackle game for the Crimson Tide and his second this season. He also had 10 tackles in the Tide’s win over Florida International on Sept. 12. McClain leads team with 35 total tackles and is 2nd with 4.5 tackles for loss this season.
TUESDAY PRACTICE: Alabama practiced for two hours in full pads at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Saturday’s SEC road game at Mississippi.
Senior linebacker Cory Reamer talked about working hard this week preparing for Mississippi’s running attack.
“Ole Miss is a great team,” Reamer said following Tuesday’s practice. “They are a top-25 team and top tier team. They have two, three great running backs. They have a guy that can make explosive plays whenever he wants too in number 22 (Dexter McCluster). We know that. It’s something we are going to be prepared for and we are going to have to work extra hard this week on stopping the run because it’s something they are very good at.”
Alabama meets Mississippi on Saturday, Oct. 10 in a nationally televised game by CBS Sports. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. (CDT) with Craig Bolerjack and Steve Beuerlein calling the action. The game will also be aired on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Barry Krauss.