Nov. 30, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama junior linebacker Rolando McClain has been named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week following his performance in the Crimson Tide’s 26-21 win over Auburn last Friday, the league office announced Monday morning.
The Decatur, Ala., native registered a team-high 12 total tackles with one sack, another half-tackle for loss and a pass deflection in the Tide’s come-from-behind win. His sack came at the 10:00 mark of the fourth quarter on a third down at midfield, stopping an Auburn drive. Alabama went on its game-winning drive after the stop and subsequent punt. He combined with Justin Woodall to knock down Auburn’s hail mary pass attempt on the game’s final play.
McClain leads the Crimson Tide defense with 96 total stops, 12 for losses, including four sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and two interceptions.
Alabama senior cornerback and return specialist Javier Arenas earned honorable mention honors this week, after he accounted for 113 return yards and added seven tackles, with one sack, against Auburn.
McClain is a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week winner this season. He was also recognized for his play in the Tide’s 38-20 win at Kentucky on Oct. 3.
For the season, Alabama has had eight different players earn SEC Player of the Week recognition, including at least one honoree in 11 of the 12 games played this season. The complete list includes Mark Ingram (Virginia Tech and South Carolina), Trent Richardson (Florida International and Arkansas), Rolando McClain (Kentucky and Auburn), William Vlachos (Mississippi), Leigh Tiffin (Tennessee), Terrence Cody (Tennessee), Mike Johnson (Mississippi State) and Javier Arenas (Chattanooga).
The Alabama coaching staff recognized eight players of the week following the win over Auburn. Julio Jones and Colin Peek were selected for their efforts on the offensive side of the football while McClain, Arenas and Eryk Anders earned defensive accolades. Arenas also joined punter P.J. Fitzgerald and Ali Sharrief as special teams players of the week.
Jones caught a career-high nine passes for 83 yards, including four passes on the Tide’s game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, three of which resulted in first downs. Peek caught three passes for 53 yards, including a 33-yard strike in the second quarter for a touchdown.
Defensively, McClain led Alabama with 12 tackles while recording one sack and 1.5 tackles for loss. Anders had seven tackles, three quarterback hurries and a team-best 3.5 tackles for loss (-16 yards).
Arenas returned two punts for 67 yards with a long of 56 and also returned his only kickoff 46 yards to set up an Alabama score. In the process, he broke the SEC punt returns yardage record. Fitzgerald punted five times and averaged 45.2 yards per kick, including a 40.2 yard net average. He booted a season-long 55-yarder and placed two kicks inside the 20-yard line. Sharrief was honored for his excellent play on return and coverage teams.