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Alabama Football: Offensive Notebook



Oct. 28, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama improved to 8-0 for the first time since 2005 with its 29-9 win over Tennessee last Saturday in Knoxville.  Take a look at the Crimson Tide offense in this week’s offensive notebook on

John Parker Wilson: Wilson is among 13 Football Bowl Subdivision quarterbacks selected as semifinalists for the 2008 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.  A native of Hoover, Ala., he guided the Crimson Tide to an 8-0 record and No. 2 national ranking in his senior campaign. He has completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 1,260 yards and eight touchdowns. Wilson has thrown just three interceptions and has added two rushing touchdowns this season. He ranks fourth in the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency with a 133.66 rating. Wilson is Alabama’s career leader in passing yards (6,911), completions (587), touchdowns (45) and attempts (1,028). He also holds the single-season record in all four of those categories.  He is 21-13 in 34 career starts under center for the Tide.

FAST-STARTING TIDE: Alabama continued its penchant for jumping on top early and never looking back against Tennessee. UA led 6-3 at the end of the first quarter and 13-3 at halftime. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opposition this season a combined 184-26 in the first half, including a 101-6 edge in the first quarter of its first eight games. Alabama has shut out Clemson (13-0), Tulane (13-0), Western Kentucky (17-0), Arkansas (21-0), Georgia (10-0) and Kentucky (14-0) in the first period this year, and has a 90-20 edge in second-quarter scoring this season.

ANOTHER FIRST-HALF EXPLOSION: Alabama once again broke out to an early lead against Tennessee with a 13-3 halftime lead. That continued a trend of quick starts by the Crimson Tide in 2008. The Tide has scored on its first possession of the game in five of eight games this season. The Crimson Tide had a 35-point first half at Arkansas and then a 31-point first half at Georgia. The 35 points at Arkansas was the most by an Alabama team since the Tide scored 42 points in the first half of a 56-7 win over UTEP on Oct. 6, 2001, at Legion Field, game UA lead 42-0 at halftime. Below are the top scoring halves for Alabama under second-year head coach Nick Saban:

Scoring by Half
35 at Arkansas Sept. 20, 2008 (1st Half)
31 at Georgia Sept. 27, 2008 (1st Half)
31 Western Kentucky Sept. 13, 2008 (1st Half)
28 Western Carolina Sept. 1, 2007 (2nd Half)
27 Colorado Dec. 30, 2007 (1st Half)
24 Mississippi Oct. 18, 2008 (1st Half)
24 Tennessee Oct. 20, 2007 (2nd Half)
24 Western Carolina Sept. 1, 2007 (1st Half)

SMITH A SEMIFINALIST FOR THE LOMBARDI: Alabama junior left tackle Andre Smith is one of 12 semifinalists for the 2008 Rotary Lombardi Award. The Lombardi Award is presented to the nation’s top offensive or defensive lineman. The Lombardi Award will be presented Dec. 10 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston. Smith, a preseason Playboy All-American, was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week following the Tide’s 49-14 win at Arkansas on Sept. 20 as UA rushed for 328 yards. Smith has helped the Crimson Tide rank 19th nationally in rushing at 209.6 yards per game. He won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy last year as the top offensive lineman in the conference. Former UA All-American Cornelius Bennett in 1986 is the only other Crimson Tide player to win the Lombardi Award.

OUT IN FRONT: Alabama has trailed for a total of 1:15 over the last nine games dating back to a loss at Auburn in 2007. The Crimson Tide have been tied or led in just under 539 of the last 540 minutes of football. In eight of those nine games (Mississippi), Alabama has scored in the first quarter to take an early lead and held that lead for 484:17 of those games. The Tide has spent 54:28 tied during those games.

TIME OF POSSESSION: An Alabama trademark this season has been its ability to control the line of scrimmage offensively and, consequently, control the tempo of the game. This has been particularly evident in games with Clemson, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Alabama (33:05) currently leads the SEC and ranks fifth nationally in time of possession. The Crimson Tide have won the time of possession battle in six of eight games this season and have had the ball 37:18 more than it’s opponents this season (264:41/215:19).

O-LINE EXPERIENCE: Alabama’s offensive line has been a dominant force early in the 2008 season. The Crimson Tide ranks 18th nationally in rushing - with the No. 21 individual rusher Glen Coffee (104.75) - and have physically dominated their opposition. A big reason for their success - beyond physical talent - is their ability to play as a cohesive unit. Coming into the Arkansas State game, the five have combined to start 124 games over their careers – Antoine Caldwell (42 starts), Andre Smith (33 starts), Mike Johnson (21 starts), Marlon Davis (20 starts) & Drew Davis (8 starts).

COFFEE HAS SEC’S TWO LONGEST RUNS: Glen Coffee has the two longest runs in the Southeastern Conference this season. He busted loose on an 87-yard touchdown run at Arkansas, which was the fourth-longest run in Crimson Tide history and a career long for him at Alabama. He then ripped off a 78-yard touchdown run against Kentucky. Coffee has three rushes of 50 yards or more, including a 51-yard touchdown run against Western Kentucky. Coffee ranks fourth in the SEC and 21st nationally in rushing at 104.75 yards per game and leads the top 10 SEC rushers at 6.6 yards per carry.

TIDE TIDBITS:  John Parker Wilson completed his last 11 pass attempts at Tennessee for 132 yards … Junior running back Roy Upchurch has scored at least one rushing TD in all three SEC road games this season … Freshman receiver Julio Jones turned in Alabama’s first 100-yard receiving game of the season at Tennessee … The Foley native caught six passes for 103 yards in the win … He is seventh in the SEC with 55.5 receiving yards per game … Alabama has back-to-back wins over Tennessee for the first time since 1991-92 … The Crimson Tide’s last two wins over the Vols have both been by 20 or more points, marking the first time since 1973-75 that UA beat Tennessee by 20 or more points in consecutive years … Alabama is first in the SEC and 18th nationally with 208.35 rushing yards per game … Junior running back Glen Coffee is fourth in the SEC and 21st nationally with 104.75 rushing yards per game.