Oct. 14, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team worked out for two hours in full pads Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility in preparation for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference matchup with Mississippi.
The Crimson Tide is prepping for another tough, physical football game, as evidenced by the fact that the last three games between the Tide and Rebels have been decided by nine total points. Alabama won 13-10 in 2005, 26-23 in overtime in 2006 and 27-24 last year.
Alabama junior left guard Mike Johnson talked about the size and speed of the Rebels’ defensive front.
“They are pretty big guys,” Johnson said following Tuesday’s practice. “Their defense likes to run a lot of penetration up the middle. They expect their tackles to hold down the front and they do a really good of doing that. They let their linebackers roam and make plays. They have two pretty good guys coming off the edge, so this is a pretty big task for us this week.”
One of the tasks this weekend is the offensive line matching up against the Rebels defensive lineman Greg Hardy.
“He had a big day against us last year, particularly against me to be honest with you, at right tackle,” Johnson said. “He is a very talented and athletic guy. He is going to do nothing but good things in his career. He will be playing on Sunday. He is obviously a part of our film work and game plan.”
“(Hardy) is a great player and very explosive,” Alabama junior left tackle Andre Smith said after Tuesday’s practice. “He is always around the ball. He had an outstanding game against us last year.”
The Crimson Tide and Rebels will meet at 2:30 p.m. (CDT) this Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium and the game will be nationally televised by CBS Sports, with Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (analyst) and Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter) calling the action.
NINE UA PLAYERS NAMED MIDSEASON ALL-SEC: Alabama had nine players on Phil Steele’s 2008 Midseason All-SEC Football team released on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide had five offensive selections, four defensive selections and one special teams’ honoree. Junior Javier Arenas was named as both a cornerback and kick returner.
Junior left tackle Andre Smith was the Tide’s lone first-team All-SEC representative on offense. Smith has started five games for the Tide this season and anchors and offensive line that paves the way for the top rushing team in the league. Junior running back Glen Coffee, freshman receiver Julio Jones and senior center Antoine Caldwell were second-team honorees, while left guard Mike Johnson was named to the third team. Coffee ranks second in the SEC with 118 yards per game this season.
Junior nose tackle Terrence Cody and sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain were named first-team All-SEC defensive players on Tuesday. Cody has 15 tackles and three TFLs for the SEC’s top run-defense, while McClain leads UA with 44 tackles and has one touchdown this season. Rashad Johnson, who leads UA with eight pass break-ups, was a second-team All-SEC pick.
Arenas was tabbed a third-team All-SEC selection as cornerback and kick returner. Arenas is third on the team with 25 tackles this season and has added three pass break-ups and a 63-yard interception return for a touchdown at Arkansas. He also leads UA with 25.8-yard kickoff return average and a 16.8-yard punt return average, including an 87-yard return for a touchdown against Tulane.