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October 23, 2010 | Volume 3, Issue 8

In This Issue Pregame Preview

President/Publisher

8

Exclusive: Tennessee Coaches Exclusive: The Dooley Lineage

10

12

Player Spotlight: Dre Kirkpatrick

16

Rosters

18

Recruit of the Week:

20

Opposing Team

21

Larry's Lowdown

22

Catching Up With Martin Houston

26

Staff

Editor-in-Chief

Bennie Bice Mike Lacy

General Manager

Wallace Kinsaul

Managing Editor Copyeditor

Jessica Temple Micah Phillips

Photography

BDL Matt Gaston Mark Lent Tim Bailey

Creative Director Graphic Design Chief Information Officer Website Designer Customer Relations

Jenifer McCormick Cassandra Johnson Antonio Rogers John Shamblin Brian LaShomb Carey Landon Herb Neu

28

Sales Managers

Tide Trivia

30

Advertising Inquiries

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My First Game

32

Tailgater of the Week

34

Traditions

38

Recruiting

39

SEC News

40

Writers

Jessica Brown Larry Burton Troy Farsoun Jennifer Gorham Haley Namie Mike Parker Coe Robbins Donald Staffo Jen Underwood Thomas Watts

Showing Pride in the Tide

42

Pro Connections: Demeco Ryans

Reporters

Mike Long Tim Smith Sheila Kent

Johnathan McMath T.J. Paysinger

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Letter from the Editors: Dear Fans, Last week was Homecoming at the University. Alumni gathered at the Capstone for food, fun and football, along with plenty of reminiscing about the good ol’ days. This year, Homecoming brought together students, fans and alumni to “Celebrate the Tide.” Homecoming also brought another muchneeded SEC West win for the Tide, and they have another in-conference opponent to face before a hard-earned week of rest. At just past the halfway mark of the season, a trip to Atlanta for the conference title game, and a likely shot at the national championship, are still up for grabs.

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ON THE COVER #21 Dre Kirkpatrick

We've gone pink! TDAL is sporting a new look in October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The 6-3, 190 pound sophomore from Gadsden, Ala., played 12 games as a true freshman in 2009. This year, the starting DB has racked up 27 solo tackles ans 8 assists with 4 tackles for loss. He has also grabbed 3 interceptions for 30 yards. For more on Kirkpatrick, see page 16. Photography by Matt Gaston.

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With a win this week in Knoxville, the Crimson Tide will be one step closer to achieving that goal. For those of you making the trip to Big Orange country, enjoy the trip and bring home a big win for the Tide! Roll Tide! Touchdown Alabama staff

“Touchdown Alabama Magazine was created to bring Alabama football fans the coverage of their team that they crave and expect, as well as to bring them closer to the action on the field. The University of Alabama has a long college football history, rich with tradition. Each season has added more dynamic players and colorful stories to the Alabama family. It is only fitting that a program with 13 National Championships should have a weekly magazine dedicated to conveying the excitement of the game to its devoted fans. Touchdown Alabama Magazine strives to be the most up-todate, relevant and exciting magazine covering University of Alabama football. Furthermore, we guarantee in-depth articles, exclusive interviews and quality content surrounding the Crimson Tide. We will never forget who we generate this magazine for... you, the fan. God bless.”

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010


Pregame Preview

Hard Knox:

Alabama at Tennessee

Thomas Watts

8

A

labama faces its third straight opponent coming off a bye week in the Tennessee Volunteers this weekend. The game is in Knoxville in Neyland Stadium, the stadium was so poorly planned that it appears to be literally eating the building next to it. Tennessee’s football team has a lot in common with their stadium. The team is

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

bad. They have been annihilated by Georgia, and taken to the wire by the UAB Blazers. While they did nearly beat LSU, that moral victory was Les Miles, fault, not the vaunted skill of the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is breaking in a new coach, Derek Dooley, son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley. Dooley was hired away from Louisiana Tech with a 17-20 record


over three seasons. He worked under Nick Saban at LSU and at Miami, but Dooley was quick to dispel the idea that he would be “Nick, Jr.” saying “I’m not Nick Saban. Have I been influenced by him? Of course. But I have my own personality, my own beliefs,” in an interview with the Knoxville NewsSentinel shortly after he was hired. The game itself does provide some intrigue. While Tennessee is bad, Alabama has had a rough couple of games. The run game was a non-factor against Ole Miss and South Carolina. Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson have been held below 100 yards in both games. Greg McElroy did have a career game against South Carolina, but went back to the check-down passing that has been his hallmark throughout his career for the Crimson Tide. If Tennessee stacks the box against Alabama, and they should, McElroy will have to throw the ball down the field to force the defense to back off. The Tennessee offense is a lot like Alabama’s, except the talent level is much lower. The Tennessee quarterback is a junior college transfer, Matt Simms. He has thrown 7 touchdowns this year to go with 4 interceptions, He is completing under 60 percent of his passes. Complimenting Simms is leading rusher, Tauren Poole, who has rushed for 478 yards on 95 carries for the year. The offense is ranked 97th in the country. Alabama’s defense matches up well against Tennessee’s offense. Tennessee runs a power running game, which Alabama is much better against then the option. The porous offensive line has given up 22 sacks, so the Tide defensive front should be able to control the line of scrimmage. They have a decent set of wide receivers overall, including Da’Rick Rogers, a former five-star recruit, but they do not have a “go-to” guy Tennessee’s defense is only slightly better. They rank 78th in the country and last in the SEC. The defense is led by captain Nick Reveiz, who averages nine tackles a game for the Volunteers. The weakness of the defense is in its run defense. It gives up 150 yards per game, which comes in at 9th in the SEC. If Greg McElroy can force the defense to stretch out, then Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson should have excellent games. On paper, Alabama should win going away. Tennessee’s offense is inferior to Alabama’s defense, and Alabama’s offense is superior to Tennessee’s defense. If Alabama can come in focused and knock the Vols out of the game early, the game will turn into a rout quickly. If Alabama is lackadaisical and lets the Volunteers hang around, expect a nail biter in Knoxville. PHOTO BY MATT GASTON

"They play hard every time we play them. Like last year, we couldn't say anything about their record, but when they came to play us, they put up a fight." - Marcell Dareus, on playing Tennessee

"The Alabama-Tennessee game is certainly a signature game for our fans, our alumni. We've had some great games in the series over the years." - Nick Saban, on the Tennessee rivalry

"Well, I think it’s really hard to say anything about Greg when you haven't set back in an SEC pocket with big 350-pounders running at you." - Barrett Jones, on recent criticism of Greg McElroy

"You have personal relationships with people, and you have professional relationships with them. And you have to compete against them, but that doesn't mean you have to dislike them."

- Nick Saban, on his relationship with UT head coach Derek Dooley

touchdownalabama.net |

9


Exclusive

Tennessee Football Coaches: From Doughnuts to Dummy to Dooley.

10

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

T

Thomas Watts

ennessee football has been in a period of transition over the past three years. The school fired Phillip “Fat Phil” Fulmer and hired Lane Kiffin after the 2008 season, then Kiffin left Knoxville to take the head coaching job at Southern Cal and the Vols hired current head coach Derek Dooley. Fulmer compiled a 152-52 record during his tenure at Tennessee from 1992-2008. He won the inaugural BCS Championship game in 1998 by beating Florida State in the Fiesta Bowl. He is most well known among Tide fans for his role in Alabama’s probation in the mid-90s. He was one of the leading witnesses for the NCAA against Alabama over the Albert Means case. Alabama fans have vilified him ever since. He was even once subpoenaed outside of SEC Media Days in Birmingham in an attempt to get him to testify in a defamation lawsuit. The “Fulmer Cup” goes to the

PHOTO ABOVE BY PHIL FULMER - AP FILE PHOTO


Exclusive

school whose football players have the worst criminal record each year. Fulmer’s final few seasons were marked by continual decline. He did not finish in the AP top ten after the 2001 season and did not win an SEC Championship after his national title year in 1998. He only had one ten-win season after 2004. The final year of Fulmer was sweetest for rival fans when Tennessee lost to Wyoming. He was fired in 2008 after a 5-7 campaign. Fulmer was succeeded by Lane Kiffin. Kiffin had been the head coach of the Oakland Raiders, where he had a 5-15 record. He was an assistant at Southern California during the Reggie Bush era. He came to Tennessee for the 2009 season and brought his father with him to coach the defense. Monte Kiffin is seen as a legend in the NFL because he invented the “Tampa 2” defense that won so many games for the Tampa

Bay Buccaneers. SEC fans remember the younger Kiffin as a loud-mouthed dummy. He constantly prodded Urban Meyer during his stay in Knoxville, one time accusing Meyer of breaking the rules when Meyer was in total compliance. He earned multiple letters of reprimand from the SEC for his antics. Alabama fans most remember the Lane Kiffin-coached Volunteers for a near-loss on the way to the national championship. Terrance Cody blocked two field goals, one as time expired in the game, to preserve Alabama’s perfect season with a 12-10 victory in Tuscaloosa. Lane Kiffin’s tenure was as short as it was incendiary. He left Knoxville to coach the Southern California Trojans after Pete Carroll left to join the Seattle Seahawks. Tennessee students reacted by rioting. There were mattresses on fire throughout Knoxville. Tennessee fans

PHOTO ABOVE BY ANDY LYONS/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / PHOTO RIGHT: BY AP PHOTO/WADE PAYNE

now despise Kiffin as much as many other fan bases throughout the country. Kiffin’s sudden departure left the Tennessee athletics department scrambling for a new coach. The school hired Derek Dooley on January 15, 2010, to replace Kiffin. Dooley’s experience included stints with Nick Saban at LSU and Miami. He was the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he compiled a 17-20 record over three seasons. Dooley is the son of Georgia legend Vince Dooley. He has amassed a 2-4 record thus far at Tennessee. Volunteer fans have high hopes that Dooley’s pedigree will bring success to their downtrodden football program. There have been flashes, such as the near upset of LSU in Baton Rouge earlier this year. Only time will tell if he can bring Tennessee back to the national prominence it enjoyed in the late 90s.

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11


Exclusive

The Dooley Lineage Football in the Family

Jen Underwood

O

n October 23, the Crimson Tide will walk into Neyland Stadium to face the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee is led by their head coach, Derek Dooley. Although Dooley may be new to Knoxville, he is not a rookie to college football. His most recent coaching position was at Louisiana Tech, his first as head coach. Not only that, but Derek is also the youngest son of the renowned Vince Dooley. Vince is the former head coach and athletic director for the Georgia Bulldogs, to whom Tennessee lost on October 9. On January 15, 2010, Derek Dooley was named the 22nd head coach at the University of Tennessee after Lane Kiffin ended his 14-month reign for a job at USC. Kiffin was named Tennessee coach after former coach and alum Phillip Fulmer resigned in November of 2008. After three different coaches in three years, many would wonder how Dooley will handle the changes that have occurred in Knoxville. However, although he is new as a head coach in the SEC, he has been around it his entire life. Not only that, but he was raised under the roof of one of the best coaches in college football. Vince Dooley is known throughout the south for his vital part in the success of Georgia football. He was named the NCAA Coach of the Year in 1980 and 1982. He has also been granted the title of SEC coach of the year on seven separate occasions. Although he is a native of Alabama, his legacy is bequeathed to Athens, Ga., where he led the Bulldogs to 201 wins over his 25-year stint. Even after the completion of his time as head coach, Dooley remained at

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010


“Derek is one of the bright young coaches...He understands our league and the competitive environment in which we compete.” -Mike Hamilton

Georgia as the athletic director for 15 more years. Many would presume that living under his father’s shadow would be a difficult task for Derek Dooley as he tries to make his own legacy in football. However, he has done an excellent job of establishing himself as a successful coach. He was the wide receivers coach at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and also served under Alabama’s Nick Saban with LSU and the Miami Dolphins. In fact, Dooley often credits Saban for granting him so many opportunities early on and for assisting him as a new coach. Dooley said of Saban, “I really thrived in his way of doing things. I’m very grateful for the opportunity he gave me in wearing so many hats, coaching different positions, coordiART FROM OLDMISS.EDU

nating recruiting and coordinating special teams, assistant head coach -he really allowed me to blossom as a young coach.” Many wonder how Vince Dooley feels about his son coaching at a rival school, especially after Tennessee’s loss to Georgia on Oct. 9. “In a perfect world, I’d rather him be farther away and not in the same conference,” Vince said of Derek. “I wish he had been in the far West and not so close. But it is what it is. We’ll make the make the best of it. I am very proud of him.” If trying to live up to the standards set forth by his father is not enough of a challenge, Dooley also has the added complication of being one of the youngest coaches ever in the SEC. Dooley, 42, has already made an impression on Mike Hamilton, the

athletics director at Tennessee. “Derek is one of the bright young coaches in America. He understands our league and the competitive environment in which we compete,” Hamilton said of Dooley. “He took a very difficult first head coaching job and made significant strides there in a short period of time. He is incredibly bright, a tireless recruiter and excellent on-the-field coach.” During his first few weeks at Tennessee, Dooley has led the Vols to a 2-4 season. Although he has a long way to go, Dooley has shown that he may have what it takes to coach in a nationally-recognized conference. Even though he is new to the game, he has many experiences that will aid in his successes in Knoxville. His lineage in the Dooley family and his time spent under Saban have taught him many things and helped him in his transformation at Louisiana Tech, where he tried to change the team’s record drastically. “I did take a little bit of a risk,” he said. “I took the head coaching job at Louisiana Tech. It was a program that had been struggling, it was a program that hadn’t made a lot of investment in football, and I’m very proud of the improvements we made in all phases.” When Alabama and Tennessee meet under the Knoxville sky, it will be a memorable game for many reasons. This will truly be an intense game battled out on the gridiron, and a young coach will face off against one of his mentors. touchdownalabama.net |

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Rankings

SEC Power Rankings WEST RULES THE FIRST FIVE SPOTS

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER Larry Burton

1

Auburn

There can be no doubt at this point that Auburn is the SEC’s top team. Though they did give up 43 points on defense this past week, their own 65 points scored will make people overlook the defense’s miscues. Auburn has started out well in the past, only to falter badly as the season goes on. Even as late as last season, they started off 5-0 before finishing out the season at 7-5. Will that happen again this year? No, not to that extent. But with remaining games against LSU and then later in Tuscaloosa for a game which may ultimately decide the SEC championship, will they stumble in one or the other? One reason for their late season collapses has been Auburn’s insistence on saving their bye week for before the last regular season game of the year with Alabama. By the time they play LSU, for example, they will have played eight games without a rest. This season will certainly have some-late season surprises.

2

LSU

Is this the high water mark of LSU this season as they face Auburn this coming weekend? All season long, LSU has been playing like a team on borrowed time, and this coming week’s contest will tell whether LSU has been a contender all along or just a luck pretender. They have remaining games with Auburn and Alabama, then two schools which always have less talent but somehow find a way to way to beat them: Ole Miss and Arkansas. Jarrett Lee has finally given them some consistency from the quarterback position and the defense is doing well, so they can’t be counted out entirely. Whether they go face down in the SEC yet again is to be determined.

3

Alabama

Since Auburn and LSU play this week, one of the two teams above Bama will lose this week, and Alabama must play both of them in the remaining games. Alabama holds its fate in the SEC in its own hands and can still win the conference champi-

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

onship with no help from anyone. The question is if they will do it. With the running game slipping and the defense continuing to give up big plays, there is still much work to be done before facing the two teams above them. They have the talent without question, but the heart and desire seem to be lacking at this point, and they appear to a team just going through the motions. Nick Saban needs urgently to find the right buttons to push. Comparing Alabama’s FBS rankings to the two SEC teams above them, an SEC title game is still a real possibility.

4

Arkansas

5

Mississippi State

Arkansas is a better team than their record shows. They have played every loss tough, not lost to an opponent that wasn’t in the top ten and haven’t lost to an inferior opponent all year. These are all things for the Hogs to be proud of, despite their two losses. With plenty of firepower on offense, they will be in any game they play. However, the defense simply has to stand up and be recognized, or they may have other losses as the season goes on. Future games against South Carolina, Mississippi State and LSU will tell if they are as good as most think and will determine just how good a bowl they may land.

Not in recent memory has the SEC West ever had the top five power rankings in one week. This shows where the true power of the league lies, at least this year. With South Carolina’s loss to a less-talented Kentucky team, and the Mississippi State win over Florida, few can argue this case. Dan Mullen is making a case for SEC Coach of the Year with the quick turnaround of the disastrous Dogs. He finally has an offense at State to go along with a talented defense. With remaining games against Alabama and Arkansas, he could have some problems, but now, no matter what, a bowl game is within the Bulldog’s reach, and that would be quite an accomplishment from where they were just one year ago.


6

South Carolina

In the SEC, it doesn’t take long to go from the top of the pack to also-ran status. With the surprise upset to Kentucky, South Carolina is taking a plunge this week. Call it being caught napping or still euphoric over the big win over Alabama, but call it a loss to less-talented team and it drops you rather rudely. With a win over Florida, South Carolina could still make the SEC Championship Game, and with the right amount of luck, they could still be SEC Champions. But now, few people believe that is going to happen for the Gamecocks.

7

Florida

8

Kentucky

At the first of the season, nobody thought there was a remote possibility that Florida would be in the bottom half of the SEC after week seven. It’s been 22 years since Florida has lost three in a row, and such a streak tarnishes Urban Meyer’s crown as one of the premier football coaches today. With remaining games against South Carolina and FSU could we be looking at a Florida team with a 7-5 record struggling to stay out of Shreveport for a bowl game? It’s a distinct possibility.

Earlier in the year, Kentucky seemed to have an easy road to keeping their continuous bowl appearance streak alive. But while the win against South Carolina certainly helps, the loss

to a pitiful Ole Miss team means that they will still have to win one remaining game against an improving Georgia, a red hot Mississippi State or a tougher-than-the-record-shows Tennessee or Vanderbilt. This year, six wins may not get an SEC team into a bowl, so Kentucky must find a way to win two of those above mentioned games to be secure a slot. Like so many SEC teams, Kentucky has learned that life in the SEC can be great one week and terrible the next. They just need some consistency.

9

Georgia

Finally out of the bottom third with well-deserved blowout wins over Tennessee and Vanderbilt, Georgia has now shot up to 9th in the SEC, and, while that’s quite an improvement from where they were just a few weeks ago, Bulldog fans are beginning to listen to the “get rid of Richt” talk going around. With remaining games against Kentucky, Florida, Auburn and Georgia Tech, this is a Bulldog team that may not make a bowl game for the first time in a long time. A 4-8 season is a distinct possibility. Then the Bulldog faithful will be set with a fateful decision of whether or not to keep the best coach they’ve had in a long while a little longer.

10 Vanderbilt

The Commodores have shown signs of life in some games on offense, and the defense has also looked good at times. With such limited quality depth, it’s hard for Vandy to play for four

continued on next page

2010 OVERALL FBS RANKINGS Team

Auburn LSU ALABAMA Arkansas Mississippi State South Carolina Florida Kentucky Georgia Vanderbilt Ole Miss Tennessee

Passing Rank Yards

197.4 140.3 243.6 366.3 180.4 245.0 186.9 270.6 244.9 162.5 177.8 206.8

76 113 46 2 88 40 84 25 41 101 90 71

Rushing Rank Yards

283.7 188.3 183.6 113.7 211.9 145.7 142.1 158.7 150.4 152.8 215.5 115.0

6 33 37 96 21 69 75 51 64 59 19 94

Points Rank Scored

40.7 26.7 33.3 32.2 28.6 31.0 27.6 35.3 29.7 20.8 32.7 23.3

6 70 31 39 57 43 65 21 51 98 36 84

Points Given Up

24.40 14.40 12.90 23.30 16.00 10.80 18.75 29.90 17.40 25.50 31.00 27.57

Rank

63 11 5 56 13 39 25 89 20 67 95 5

touchdownalabama.net |

15


Rankings, con't

quarters with much consistency. Like Georgia, there’s no bowl game in Vandy’s future, but they could wind up out of the cellar this year with a good finish, and, for the Commodores, that’s something to be proud of. They have a chance to beat Tennessee later in the year to cement their standing as not the worst team in the SEC.

11 Ole Miss

With a loss to Vandy, Ole Miss’ stay at the bottom was simply prolonged. They are a disaster on many levels, but there is reason to be optimistic about the future. With a win against Tennessee, they might leapfrog the very team that beat them, Vanderbilt, and move all the way to 10th place by season’s end. Was the Jeremiah Masoli experiment worth a knock to Nutt’s reputation? No, it wasn’t. Has he won a game that a backup may not have won? No, he hasn’t. Will the idea that a kid who signs with a college from high school and pays his dues to be the starter ever be resurrected at Ole Miss? Time will tell.

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

12 Tennessee

Somewhere in Tennessee Phillip Fulmer is sitting and laughing at the Vols’ fortunes since they discarded him as coach. They jumped out of the frying pan with Lane Kiffin and right into the fire with Derek Dooley. Not that Dooley hasn’t done a good job with the cards he was dealt, but the program at Tennessee couldn’t be is worse shape than it is right now. There have been some bright spots and some oh-so-close moments that could have changed the outlook of the program. Had Tennessee have had only eleven men on the field for the last play of the LSU game, they would be far removed from the bottom posting here, but that is football. No rival SEC team should relish seeing just how far the Tennessee program has sunk, but many do. There are things to build on, though. Tennessee has a good quarterback, and if they can just bring in some recruits to help with depth issues, they should return in the near future. With remaining games against Ole Miss and Vandy, Tennessee can at least fight their way out of the cellar this season.


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17


Player Spotlight

Dre Kirk Got t

A

labama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has worked hard to earn a starting position for the Crimson Tide this season. With the reconstruction of the defense, Kirkpatrick gets the chance to step up and demonstrate his ability to play football. Being a five-star recruit out of high school, according to scouts.com, he was one of the top signees for the 2009 Alabama recruiting class. Kirkpatrick attended Gadsden City High School, where he was a standout player and one of the top high school defensive backs across the country. In his final three seasons in high school, Kirkpatrick had 193 tackles and 17 interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns. He also had 36 pass breakups, two sacks, one punt return touchdown and one kick return touchdown. After Kirkpatrick’s senior season, he was honored with the ASWA 6A Back of the Year Award and received first team All-State defensive back for the second consecutive year. The notable 6-foot-2inch athlete accepted the invitation to play in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the 2008 Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Football Classic before attending college. Being a top prospect, Kirkpatrick had many offers from schools across the country, but as his recruiting process came to an end, he had narrowed his choices down to two teams: Texas and Alabama. Announcing his decision live on ESPNU, Kirkpatrick had Texas and Alabama hats sitting on the table in front

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

PHOTOS BY MATT GASTON


kpatrick

hat Alabama Swagger Jessica Brown

of him. He picked up the Texas hat and said, “This hat here? It ain’t got no swagger.” He then proceeded to put on the Alabama hat. The Alabama native chose to stay in-state, represent the Tide, and play for head coach Nick Saban. Kirkpatrick is a well-rounded player. Freshman year, he contributed on special teams in twelve games and recorded eight tackles. Pasadena-bound in January 2010, Kirkpatrick got to face the team he almost committed to. Coming out on top and with the 13th national championship for Alabama, Kirkpatrick should have been feeling confident about coming to Bama and playing for the best team in the country. In the 2010 A-Day game, Kirkpatrick made the game’s only interception and received the Bobby Johns Defensive Back Award for his impressive showing. From that spring game, he gained much respect from fans and his teammates. “He’s got great speed and great quickness, but he’s so long,” Quarterback

Greg McElroy told The Anniston Star. “He’s like 6-1 or 6-2 and he’s got extremely long arms. He can swat or rip at the ball easily. I probably didn’t understand how important that could be until this spring. He knocks down more balls that we’ve had. I look for him to continue to improve.” He had plenty of time to learn the complex Alabama defense from Coach Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. This season he has stepped up and started all six games for the cornerback position. Kirkpatrick has been a valuable player for the Tide. He currently has three interceptions for thirty yards and one forced fumble, which came during the Florida game. With the rebuilding of the Tide’s

defense this season, Kirkpatrick has stepped up and filled the shoes of former Alabama cornerback and 2010 NFL first round pick Kareem Jackson, and it’s a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly. "We're a little hungry to prove that we're still the defense that we were last year," Kirkpatrick told the Mobile Press- Register. Growing up just 122 miles from the University of Alabama, Kirkpatrick has been a huge impact for this young defense. The first-year starter has established his position and role on the team and has given the Tide a little more “swagger.” Kirkpatrick’s five-star ranking hasn’t left any Alabama fan doubting his potential. He has shown college football fans across the nation that the Alabama defense may be young but it doesn’t lack talent. touchdownalabama.net |

19


CRIMSON TIDE

Alabama Football Roster NO NAME 82 Earl Alexander 19 Jonathan Atchison 31 John Baites 4 Mark Barron 7 Kenny Bell 86 Undra Billingsley 69 David Blalock 93 Chris Bonds 67 John Michael Boswell 88 Michael Bowman 37 Hardie Buck 87 Drew Bullard 34 Hunter Bush 20 Nate Carlson 77 James Carpenter 33 Caleb Castille 99 Josh Chapman 57 Marcell Dareus 96 Luther Davis 51 Michael DeJohn 85 Preston Dial 40 DeMarcus DuBose 13 Rob Ezell 76 D.J. Fluker 43 Cade Foster 45 Jalston Fowler 10 John Fulton 95 Colin Gallagher 58 Nick Gentry 6 Demetrius Goode 25 Corey Grant 23 Robby Green 15 Darius Hanks 54 Glenn Harbin 48 Rowdy Harrell 5 Jerrell Harris 30 Dont’a Hightower 15 Mark Holt 21 Ben Howell 42 Adrian Hubbard 22 Mark Ingram 62 Brandon Ivory 35 Nico Johnson 57 Aaron Joiner 75 Barrett Jones 40 Harrison Jones 8 Julio Jones 9 Phelon Jones 36 Chris Jordan 43 Sam Kearns 26 Kendall Kelly 10 J.B. Kern 21 Dre Kirkpatrick 59 Arie Kouandjio 42 Eddie Lacy 37 Robert Lester 95 Brandon Lewis 78 Chad Lindsay 72 Tyler Love

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P CLS HT WR SR 6-4 LB FR 6-2 TE JR 6-4 DE JR 6-2 WR FR 6-1 TE/DL SO 6-2 OL JR 6-5 DL FR 6-4 OL JR 6-5 WR SO 6-4 WR SO 5-9 LB JR 6-3 DE SO 5-11 RB JR 6-4 OL SR 6-5 DE FR 5-11 DL JR 6-1 DL JR 6-4 DL SR 6-3 LB SR 6-1 TE SR 6-3 LB JR 6-1 WR SR 5-10 OL FR 6-6 PK FR 6-1 RB/LB FR 6-1 DE FR 6-0 PK SR 5-10 DL JR 6-1 RB JR 5-10 RB FR 5-9 DE JR 6-0 WR JR 6-0 DL/LB SO 6-5 LB JR 6-0 LB JR 6-3 LB SO 6-4 DE SR 6-1 RB SO 5-9 LB FR 6-6 RB JR 5-10 DL FR 6-4 LB SO 6-3 OL SO 6-2 OL SO 6-5 TE FR 6-4 WR JR 6-4 DE JR 5-11 LB JR 6-3 DE JR 5-6 WR FR 6-3 LB SR 6-1 DE SO 6-3 OL FR 6-5 RB FR 6-0 DE SO 6-2 DL JR 6-3 OL FR 6-2 OL SO 6-6

WT 207 228 235 210 172 269 255 263 291 225 184 232 181 230 300 163 310 306 279 237 237 240 172 340 221 236 179 194 282 191 186 181 184 260 213 231 260 172 193 227 215 335 238 258 301 235 220 199 232 156 214 232 190 335 212 206 274 277 304

HOMETOWN LAST SCHOOL Phenix City, Ala. Central Atlanta, Ga. Douglass Hendersonville, Tenn. Beech Mobile, Ala. St. Paul’s Rayville, La. Rayville Birmingham, Ala. Woodlawn Charlotte, N.C. Providence Columbia, S.C. Richland Northeast Northport, Ala. Tuscaloosa County Rossville, Ga. Ridgeland Birmingham, Ala. Vestavia Hills Florence, Ala. Florence Wetumpka, Ala. Wetumpka Birmingham, Ala. Air Force Augusta, Ga. Coffeyville CC Birmingham, Ala. Briarwood Christian Hoover, Ala. Hoover Huffman, Ala. Huffman West Monroe, La. West Monroe Hoover, Ala. Hoover Mobile, Ala. UMS-Wright Montgomery, Ala. Jefferson Davis Athens, Ala. Athens Foley, Ala. Foley Southlake, Texas Southlake Carroll HS Mobile, Ala. Vigor Manning, S.C. Manning Atlanta, Ga. Marist Prattville, Ala. Prattville LaGrange, Ga. Hargrave Academy Opelika, Ala. Opelika New Orleans, La. John Curtis Christian Norcross, Ga. Norcross SQ Mobile, Ala. McGill-Toolen Moundville, Ala. Hale County Gadsden, Ala. Gadsden City Lewisburg, Tenn. Marshall County Muscle Shoals, Ala. Muscle Shoals Gordo, Ala. Gordo Lawrenceville, Ga. Norcross Flint, Mich. Southwestern Academy Memphis, Tenn. East Andalusia, Ala. Andalusia Florence, Ala. Florence Memphis, Tenn. Evangelical Christian Germantown, Tenn. Evangelical Christian Foley, Ala. Foley Moblie, Ala. LSU Brentwood, Tenn. Brentwood Academy Mobile, Ala. McGill-Toolen Gadsden, Ala. Gadsden City Dove Canyon, Calif. Mission Viejo Gadsden, Ala. Gadsden City Beltsville, Md. DeMatha Catholic Geismar, La. Dutchtown Foley, Ala. Foley Pleasant Grove, Ala. East Mississippi CC The Woodlands, Texas The Woodlands Mountain Brook, Ala. Mountain Brook

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

NO NAME 29 Will Lowery 7 Keiwone Malone 32 Cody Mandell 33 Mike Marrow 4 Marquis Maze 24 Nathan McAlister 10 A.J. McCarron 52 Alfred McCullough 12 Greg McElroy 24 DeQuan Menzie 28 DeMarcus Milliner 56 William Ming 97 Brandon Moore 32 C.J. Mosley 66 Brian Motley 64 Kerry Murphy 46 Wesley Neighbors 83 Kevin Norwood 18 Morgan Ogilvie 53 Anthony Orr 2 Tana Patrick 39 Kyle Pennington 27 Nick Perry 3 Trent Richardson 74 David Ross 1 B.J. Scott 94 Darrington Sentimore 90 Jeremy Shelley 79 Austin Shepherd 18 Blake Sims 14 Phillip Sims 71 Allen Skelton 17 Brad Smelley 38 Petey Smith 92 Damion Square 61 Anthony Steen 47 Ed Stinson 46 William Strickland 47 Logan Thomas 51 Carson Tinker 26 Nick Tinker 87 Chris Underwood 41 Courtney Upshaw 73 William Vlachos 84 Brian Vogler 65 Chance Warmack 91 Alex Watkins 49 Ranzell Watkins 2 DeAndrew White 55 Chavis Williams 60 David Williams 20 Jarrick Williams 44 Jay Williams 63 Kellen Williams 89 Michael Williams 9 Nick Williams

P CLS HT DE JR 5-9 WR FR 5-11 P FR 6-4 RB FR 6-2 WR JR 5-10 WR FR 5-11 QB FR 6-4 OL JR 6-2 QB SR 6-3 DE JR 6-0 DE FR 6-1 DL FR 6-3 DL FR 6-5 LB FR 6-2 OL SR 6-3 DL SO 6-4 DE SO 6-1 WR FR 6-2 QB FR 6-0 DL FR 6-4 LB FR 6-3 DE JR 5-11 DE FR 6-1 RB SO 5-11 OL SR 6-3 DE SO 5-11 DL FR 6-3 PK SO 5-10 OL FR 6-5 A FR 6-0 QB FR 6-2 OL SO 6-1 TE JR 6-3 LB FR 6-1 DL SO 6-3 OL FR 6-3 LB/DL FR 6-4 WR JR 6-0 WR SR 6-3 ST SO 6-1 RB FR 5-10 TE SO 6-4 LB JR 6-2 OL JR 6-1 TE FR 6-7 OL SO 6-3 LB JR 6-3 DE FR 5-9 WR FR 6-0 LB SR 6-4 OL SO 6-3 DE FR 6-1 P FR 6-3 OL FR 6-3 TE SO 6-6 WR FR 5-10

WT 188 165 201 235 182 165 190 309 225 195 182 263 305 225 289 319 205 187 198 268 231 188 193 220 302 193 261 165 307 195 214 261 227 250 284 292 252 188 206 220 215 238 263 289 242 300 232 168 180 223 267 203 208 307 270 179

HOMETOWN LAST SCHOOL Hoover, Ala. Hoover Memphis, Tenn. Mitchell Lafayette, La. Acadiana Holland, Ohio Central Catholic Birmingham, Ala. Tarrant Russellville, Ala. Russellville Mobile, Ala. St. Paul’s Episcopal School Athens, Ala. Athens Southlake, Texas Southlake Carroll Columbus, Ga. Copiah-Lincoln CC Millbrook, Ala. Stanhope Elmore Athens, Ala. Athens Montgomery, Ala. Carver Theodore, Ala. Theodore Autaugaville, Ala. Autaugaville Hoover, Ala. Hargrave/Hoover Huntsville, Ala. Huntsville D’Iberville, Miss. D’Iberville Mountain Brook, Ala. Mountain Brook Madison, Ala. Sparkman Bridgeport, Ala. North Jackson Chatom, Ala. Washington County Prattville, Ala. Prattville Pensacola, Fla. Escambia Homewood, Ala. Homewood Prichard, Ala. Vigor Norco, La. Destrehan Raleigh, N.C. Broughton Buford, Ga. North Gwinnett Gainesville, Ga. Gainesville Chesapeake, Va. Oscar Smith Coker, Ala. Tuscaloosa County Tuscaloosa, Ala. American Christian Tampa, Fla. Armwood Houston, Texas Yates Lambert, Miss. Lee Academy Homestead, Fla. South Dade Tuscaloosa, Ala. Northridge Houston, Texas Cyrpress Creek Murfreesboro, Tenn. Riverdale Ralph, Ala. Tuscaloosa County Vestavia Hills, Ala. Vestavia Hills Eufaula, Ala. Eufaula Birmingham, Ala. Mountain Brook Columbus, Ga. Brookstone Atlanta, Ga. Westlake Brownsville, Tenn. Haywood Charlotte, N.C. Independence Houston, Texas North Shore Dora, Ala. Dora Duncanville, Ala. Hillcrest Mobile, Ala. Blount Thomasville, Ala. Thomasville Lawrenceville, Ga. Brookwood Reform, Ala. Pickens County Fort Lauderdale, Fla. St. Thomas Aquinas


VOLUNTEERS

Tennessee Football Roster NO NAME 3 Zach Allen 36 Anthony Anderson 60 Carson Anderson 47 Jerod Askew 65 Joseph Ayres 39 Ben Bartholomew 86 Willie Bohannon 94 Minor Bowens 27 Nick Branum 8 Tyler Bray 17 Brent Brewer 50 J.R. Carr 23 Jacob Carter 40 Chris Cates 54 Keensen Chambers 89 Greg Clark 5 Tyler Coombes 45 Kevin Cooper 29 Dorian Cozart 50 Raiques Crump 84 Jeremy Curtis 3 Matt Darr 96 Chad Cunningham 33 LaDarius Denson 5 Tyler Drummer 41 Sam Edgmon 12 Chris Eggert 82 Cory Eichholtz 25 Art Evans 72 Zach Fulton 38 C.J. Fleming 90 Steven Fowlkes 43 Savion Frazier 46 Channing Fugate 68 Jacob Gilliam 73 Darin Gooch 24 Eric Gordon 59 Nick Guess 76 Daniel Hood 93 Montori Hughes 11 Justin Hunter 15 Janzen Jackson 97 Malik Jackson 44 Martaze Jackson 21 Nick Jackson 70 Ja’Wuan James 54 Travis James 95 Arthur Jeffery 39 Grant Jessen 40 Austin Johnson 4 Gerald Jones 8 Chase Ketron 48 Greg King 34 Herman Lathers 90 Ben Lehning 67 Caleb Leonard 26 Daniel Lincoln 85 T.J. Marrs 99 Ben Martin 18 Myles McKee

P DB DB OG LB DT TE DE DT DB QB DB DS WR QB DE DT DB FB LB LB WR P P/PK LB WR FB WR WR DB OL DB DT LB FB OL C DB DS OT DT WR DB DE LB DB OT OL DT LB LB WR DB LB LB TE OG PK DS DE QB

CLS HT WT SO 5-9 183 JR 6-0 185 SO 6-2 280 FR 5-11 230 FR 6-3 262 JR 6-1 247 SO 6-3 238 SR 6-3 293 FR 5-10 180 FR 6-6 210 FR 6-2 205 FR 5-10 215 FR 6-0 175 SO 6-0 184 SO 6-6 240 FR 6-3 300 FR 6-0 175 SR 6-0 242 FR 5-7 195 FR 6-2 215 FR 5-11 184 FR 6-2 215 SR 6-2 210 JR 6-0 245 SO 6-1 165 JR 5-11 237 JR 5-10 205 JR 5-8 183 JR 6-0 185 FR 6-5 315 JR 5-10 173 SO 6-5 253 SR 6-0 221 FR 6-2 244 FR 6-4 255 SO 6-3 305 SO 5-10 186 JR 6-2 215 FR 6-4 275 SO 6-4 305 FR 6-4 183 SO 6-0 187 JR 6-5 265 FR 6-2 225 SO 5-11 199 FR 6-7 313 FR 6-3 336 FR 6-3 294 SO 5-11 223 JR 6-2 231 SR 6-0 195 FR 5-11 200 SO 6-1 222 SO 6-0 217 JR 6-1 236 FR 6-3 265 SR 6-0 210 JR 5-10 206 SR 6-3 251 FR 6-1 178

HOMETOWN LAST SCHOOL Knoxville Farragut Knoxville Austin-East Florence, Ala. Florence Chesapeake, Va. Oscar Smith HS Knoxville Chattanooga McCallie Nashville Montgomery Bell Academy Mobile, Ala. Blount Memphis Tennessee State Knoxville Knoxville Catholic Kingsburg, Calif. Kingsburg Tyrone, Ga. Sandy Creek Lomita, Calif. South Torrance Nashville, Tenn. Ensworth Knoxville Christian Academy of Knoxville Greenville, S.C. Dean College Warner Robbins, Ga. Northside Leebanon Wilson Central Chattanooga Baylor Knoxville Catholic Birmingham, Ala. Minor Memphis Fairley Bakersfield, Calif. Frontier Dawsonville, Ga. Dawson County Delray Beach, Fla. Alfred State [N.Y.] JC Powell Cumberland Univ. Pulaski Giles County Knoxville Univ. of the Cumberlands Knoxville Bearden Lakeland, Fla. Evangel Christian Homewood, Ill. Homewood-Flossmoor Richmond, Va. Highland Springs College Park, Ga. Banneker Woodbridge, Va. Gar-Field Jackson, Ky. Breathitt County Farragut Farrgut Reno, Nev. Butte JC Nashville Hillsboro HS Knoxville Farragut Knoxville Catholic HS Murfreesboro Siegel HS Virginia Beach, Va. Ocean Lakes Lake Charles, La. Barbe HS Van Nuys, Calif. Southern California Demopolis, Ala. Demopolis Memphis Central Suwanee, Ga. North Gwinnett Mascoutah, Ill. North Central College Sarasota, Fla. Booker HS Cordova St. George’s Hickory, N.C. Hickory Oklahoma City, Okla. Millwood Seymour Seymour Memphis Melrose HS Baton Rouge, La. Scotlandville Nashville David Lipscomb Knoxville Halls Ocala, Fla. Forest Bluefield, Va. Graham Cincinnati, Ohio La Salle Arden, N.C. Fork Union [Va.] Military Academy

NO NAME P 5 Ted Meline DB 80 Corey Miller DE 80 Matt Milton WR 37 Nigel Mitchell-Thornton LB 6 Denarius Moore WR 7 Nash Nance QB 20 Rajion Neal RB 35 Robert Nelson LB 27 David Oku TB 12 Naz Oliver DB 66 Marques Pair OL 17 Tyler Page QB 1 Michael Palardy PK/P 78 Chase Phillips OG 28 Tauren Poole TB 77 Cody Pope C 51 John Propst LB 29 Stephaun Raines DB 14 Doak Raulston QB 56 Nick Reveiz LB 30 Shane Reveiz LB 63 Kevin Revis OG 47 Chip Rhome P 81 Mychal Rivera TE 21 Da’Rick Rogers WR 83 Zach Rogers WR 41 Dontavis Sapp DB 75 JerQuari Schofield OG 74 Jarrod Shaw OG 7 Mandela Shaw DB 2 Matt Simms QB 89 Brent Slusher TE 55 Jacques Smith DE 88 Luke Stocker TE 64 James Stone OL 53 Jake Storey LB 24 Deanthoine Summerhill TB 43 Dakota Summers TE 98 Rae Sykes DT 10 Marsalis Teague DB 71 Dallas Thomas OT 52 Victor Thomas C 42 LaMarcus Thompson LB 30 Jaron Toney TB 96 Ellis Turner DL 9 Daryl Vereen LB 23 Prentiss Waggner DB 84 Chris Walker DE 58 Marlon Walls DT 86 Matt Wegzyn TE 80 Dylan West WR 28 Joey Windler DB 22 Rod Wilks DB 19 DeMario Williams WR 57 Gerald Williams DE 33 Toney Williams RB 26 Tyler Wills DB 18 Tyler Wolf DB 26 Robert Yonce DB

CLS HT WT FR 6-2 183 FR 6-3 255 FR 6-5 220 SO 6-0 230 SR 6-1 194 FR 6-3 215 FR 5-11 215 FR 5-11 200 SO 5-10 195 FR 5-11 183 FR 6-6 275 FR 6-1 190 FR 6-0 170 FR 6-3 275 JR 5-11 213 JR 6-6 290 FR 6-1 220 JR 5-10 182 FR 6-2 190 SR 5-10 224 JR 5-9 218 FR 6-2 285 JR 6-3 200 JR 6-4 240 FR 6-3 215 SO 6-0 178 FR 6-3 205 FR 6-6 331 SR 6-4 331 JR 6-0 193 JR 6-3 217 SR 6-4 254 FR 6-2 248 SR 6-6 253 FR 6-4 295 JR 5-10 219 FR 5-9 189 FR 6-3 228 JR 6-4 270 SO 5-10 178 SO 6-5 295 SR 6-3 293 SR 6-1 228 FR 5-9 171 SO 6-1 258 JR 5-11 221 SO 6-2 181 SR 6-3 245 SO 6-3 278 SO 6-2 234 FR 6-1 178 FR 6-1 188 SO 6-0 211 SO 6-1 178 SR 6-3 250 FR 6-1 214 FR 5-11 179 SR 5-11 202 JR 6-0 187

HOMETOWN LAST SCHOOL Miami, Fla. North Miami Senior Wellford, S.C. Byrnes Mascoutah, Ill. Mascoutah Stone Mountain, Ga. Stephenson HS Tatum, Texas Tatum Calhoun, Ga. Calhoun Tyrone, Ga. Sandy Creek Stone Mountain, Ga. Stone Mountain HS Midwest City, Okla. Carl Albert HS Jersey City, NJ Saint Peter’s Prep Sumter, S.C. Sumter Candler, N.C. Asheville Coral Springs, Fla. St. Thomas Aquinas Knoxville South Doyle HS Toccoa, Ga. Stephens County Julian, Calif. Cathedral Catholic Hoover, Ala. Hoover Dalton, Ga. Coffeyville [Kan.] CC Fort Worth, Texas LouisianaTech University Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Evansville Rhea County HS Christiana Austin Peay State Univ. Valencia, Calif. College of the Canyons Calhoun, Ga. Calhoun Nashville David Lipscomb HS Valdosta, Ga. Valdosta Aiken, S.C. South Aiken HS Lafayette, La. Northside Memphis East Franklin Lakes, N.J. El Camino [Calif.] CC Pineville, Ky. Auburn University Ooltewah Ooltewah Berea, Ky. Madison Southern Nashville Maplewood Titusville, Fla. Astronaut Deshler, Ala. Deshler Camden Central Alcoa Alcoa HS/Coffeyville CC Paris Henry County HS Baton Rouge, La. Scotlandville Olive Branch, Miss. Olive Branch Lithonia, Ga. Redan HS Alcoa Alcoa Atlanta, Ga. Carver Charlotte, N.C. North Mecklenburg Clinton, La. Clinton Memphis Christian Brothers Olive Branch, Miss. Hargrave Military Academy Northville, Mich. Northville Oneida Oneida Marietta, Ga. Walton Smyrna Smyrna Culleoka MiddleTennessee State Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. City Col. of San Fran. Alpharetta, Ga. Milton HS Russellville Morristown East Cookeville Cookeville Wytheville, Va. George Wythe

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Opposing Team

Third Week

New quarterback and underdog linebacker sh

#2

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

Matt Simms

T

ennessee’s Matt Simms arrived at Knoxville ready to jump on the field in 2010. He played the 2008 season with Louisville and came from El Camino Community College in California this past January. Football is not an unfamiliar sport in the Simms’ household. His father is a former New York Giants quarterback, and his older brother was quarterback for Texas. In the 2009 season Simms completed 159 of 269 passes for El Camino. He had 2,204 yards and 17 touchdowns under his belt last season. Simms stepped into the quarterback position after the Vols lost Jonathan Crompton at the end of last season. The junior quarterback weighs in at 217 pounds and 6-foot-3-inches. Simms threw 9 of 13 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs. He was sacked a total of four times and threw one interception. So far this season, he has thrown 88 of 154 for four interceptions, 1,136 yards and 7 touchdowns. His best game came against the UAB Blazers. He went 19-of-34, passing for 245 yards and 3 touchdowns. He connected with wide receiver Denarius Moore for a 25-yard touchdown pass in the second overtime. He elaborated on the play in the post-game conference. “He [Denarius Moore] was my first read on the play, came off the play action, the safety flat footed there for a split-second and that was all the time I needed to make my decision,” Simms said. “I just tried to put it in a place where he could go up and get it and jump over the corner and that is exactly what he did." PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH OLIVIER, UT ATHLETICS


in October

hine in preparation for Tide’s trip to Knoxville Jennifer Gorham

Nick Reveiz

W

eighing in at 224 pounds and standing 5-foot-10-inches, senior linebacker Nick Reveiz is a Tennessee native and shines for the Vols. He went from underdog to star player within a few years at Tennessee. In 2006 he was redshirted, but made a name for himself in 2009. Last season he was UT’s first walk-on team captain since 1992. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 he was named Academic All-SEC. Reveiz finally snagged a scholarship in 2009 and the position of starting middle linebacker. He asserted in the UT-UF post-game conference that they went into the game

and played a full 60 minutes. “That [competing hard the entire game] was something we took personally as a defense,” Reveiz said. “I didn't feel like we competed all 60 minutes last week [against Oregon]. As a leader and a senior, that's disheartening. I really felt like this week we really went out there and put it all out on the line. Really, that's all you can ask but we have to be better." He leads the Vols with 54 tackles this season. His best game came against UAB and he elaborates on what UAB managed to do to inconvenience the Vols. "I just think it was a combination of not tackling and not getting lined up

right,” Reveiz confessed at a post-game conference. “Quite honestly, I felt like we came out flat. You can add up a lot of those things. We weren't really matching up routes well. They were doing a lot of crossing routes and we were having trouble with it. We were into some man-to-man and getting picked. The screens were just killing us. You can go on and on about how bad we played on defense but at the end of the day I'll give you this. We competed. All 11 guys on defense out there competed. I know the offense competed too. By God's mercy, we got a win." The Vols hope to repeat that spirit of competition as they host the Tide this week after a bye last weekend.

#56

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23


The Lowdown

Larry’s

LOWDOWN

Larry Burton

Trouble in Tideland

What the team must do to get back on top

T

hough the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Ole Miss Rebels last week as expected, few fans and far fewer coaches were pleased with the win. The dynamic duo of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson’s running threat has ground to a halt. Since being proclaimed by Gary Danielson of CBS Sports as “Fast and Furious,” the two have looked more like “Flat and Flabbergasted.” The offense can’t finish drives, the team still gives up turnovers and the defense still gives up the big plays. In addition, injuries, which have heretofore passed by the Crimson Tide, have finally caught up to the Tide. The Tide has six banged-up starters nursing one kind of ailment or another. There is still some soul-searching going on within the team for answers that can pull this team from the doldrums and return them to championship form. By this time of year, playing a schedule as tough as Alabama has played, of course there is the chance that this team is both mentally and physically tired, but they still have a game to go before they get a bye week. The timing may be perfect, as they’ll need a rest before playing out the final stretch of tough competitors in LSU, Mississippi State and

24

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

Auburn. All three teams are capable of beating Alabama, and each has momentum on their side at this point. Only a game with Georgia State before the Auburn game will give the Tide any room to breath between their bye week and the end game of the regular season. Wins against all of those teams will put Alabama back in the national spotlight and title talk again, but before they can count on that, they have to contend with themselves. Alabama is simply not playing up to their potential right now and, if the truth be told, are simply not playing very well at all. Unless Nick Saban can find a way to get this team to the next gear, there will be no winning out, no title talk and no BCS bowl, in all likelihood. Is this team capable of winning out? Judging by talent, yes. Will they win out? That is a question soon to be answered as the season plays out.

What will it take?

1.  Make the running game a feared commodity once again.

Alabama’s backs were once averaging anywhere from six to eight yards a carry, but that production has dropped to barely four in their


BOT County Platt Book Ad.indd 1

last game against a weak opponent. They have to not only step up the production again, but regain the fear factor.

2. Get the defense to stop giving up the big play and be consistent. South Carolina exposed the weaknesses in Alabama’s defense and others are sure to watch that game film and try and copy that blueprint.

3. Get the offense to finish drives with touchdowns.

Nothing is more demoralizing than moving the ball up and down the field but coming away with little or nothing to show for it on the scoreboard. Since Nick Saban’s arrival at the Capstone, the most consistent theme has been “Finish.” But even against a really down Ole Miss team this past weekend, the offense couldn’t finish drives and failed to put away a team that can be dangerous if left “just hanging around.”

8/10/10 11:58 AM

4. Be consistent.

In every game this year, Alabama has had flashes of greatness, then regressed. To be champions, they have to play like champions. There can be no off days, no coasting, no taking a series off every once in awhile. Every down must be played like it is the most important one of the game. This is something the Tide just hasn’t done so far this year.

5. Get over the injuries.

Alabama has one of highest-quality benches in the entire college football world. Use them and get over the injuries. Have faith in the back ups. Most would start at other schools. Don’t let injuries affect the focus. Every team has injuries.

If the Tide can accomplish these things, the trouble in Tideland will be over; if they fail to do so, the talk will turn to next season. touchdownalabama.net |

25


Catching Up

Catching Up With

Martin Houston

By Donald F. Staffo

A

Fullback on 1992 National Championship Team Now a Preacher

labama won a national championship in 2009, and is this season ranked No.1 in the nation and competing for another BCS title. However, prior to last year, the Crimson Tide’s last national championship was in 1992. Martin Houston was the fullback on that ’92 national championship team. Today, Houston, after a brief stint in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a short career as a manager with BellSouth/ATT, is Director of Public Relations and a spiritual leader with PraiseFest Ministries. He is also the lead pastor in the start-up of Catalyst Community Church, which will launch on Easter Sunday 2011. Also a public speaker, Houston, in a talk to the Tuscaloosa Quarterback Club entitled “The Return to Prominence,” shared his five-step philosophy to success by relating Bama’s climb back to the top of the football mountain. “The first step is that you have to have a plan, a clear vision and direction for the future,” stated Houston, who also played on SEC Championship teams in 1989 and 1992 and rushed for over 1,000 yards with the Crimson Tide. “You have to know what you want, and how you’re going to get there.” Houston believes Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore had a plan to get Alabama through the tough times the program experienced prior to the arrival of Nick Saban. “This (1997 through 2006) was a down time in Alabama football, and I think that Mal Moore believed that Nick Saban was the coach that could get us through that, and he was going to go after Saban. “Step two is perspective,” explained Houston. “Even though we had just gotten beat by Florida 35-0 and were two games removed from the ‘The Fiasco Bowl’ (a 34-7 loss to Louisville in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl), we were still Alabama. We had a players’ meeting in which we stated, ‘We’re Alabama, so let’s play like Alabama. The tradition says it can be done, so let’s go out and do it.’ From that point on we won 28 straight games, 23 when I played, and five more after I graduated.” Houston said the third thing is dealing with pressure. “It can make you or break you. When you’re down, part of that pressure comes from resistance. You can either fold up shop, or get stronger because of the resistance. “In 1992 throughout the season (critics) were saying we were the worst 5-0 team in the country, the worst 7-0 team

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

PHOTOS FROM BRYANT MUSEUM


in the country, the worst 10-0 team in the country. But after we won the national championship Coach (Gene) Stallings stated, “We may be the worst 13-0 team in the country, but we’re the only 13-0 team. “You also have to be able to overcome adversity, like this year’s team did against Arkansas. Beating Arkansas helped us beat Florida because the team knew what it meant to fight back. When you’re pressured and squeezed, the potential will come out.” The fourth step is the process. “That simply means that you have to stay the course. You can’t abandon your plan when the going gets tough. Mal Moore refused to give up in trying to get Saban to come here.” Houston then used Saban as another example of sticking to his plan and his well-documented process. “People forget that a few years ago we got beat by Louisiana-Monroe. People forget that Saban only won six games his first year here. But Coach Saban adjusted,” said Houston. “He had a plan, stuck to his plan, and didn’t let resistance or adversity stop him from following and working his plan.” Houston said that you can have all of the above, but you still need the people to pull it off. “You have to have the right people, in the right place, making the right decisions at the right time,” he said. “We’ve got a great coach, a great coaching staff, great players and great supporters of the program. Most programs could not have weathered what happened to Alabama (NCAA sanctions and other on and off-the field problems) during the down years. Alabama was down, and we came back to prominence,” Houston said in concluding his message. Houston then compared this year’s team with the 1992 team. “The two teams are a lot alike (with the philosophy) that we’re going to hit you in the mouth, we’re going to knock you down, and by the fourth quarter you won’t want to be playing Alabama. But this year’s team is more explosive, they have got more weapons than we had. I love everything about our offense. I love the style they play.” Houston also mentioned that his organization is presenting the initial Heroes of Faith Award this year. The first recipient is Siran Stacy, a star running back for the Crimson Tide from 1989 through 1991 who on November 19, 2007, tragically lost his wife Ellen and four of his five children when a car driven by a drunken driver smashed into the side of the Stacy van. “The award goes to someone who, through his faith, chooses to be a victor rather than a victim,” Houston explained. “Siran, through his faith and the way that he has responded to the challenges that he has faced, has impacted the lives of so many people.”

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27


Pro Connections

DeMeco Ryans Bama’s leading linebacker from 2005 still calling shots

F

Troy Farsoun

ans may remember the bittersweet highs and lows of the 2005 Alabama football season: the return of a healthy Brodie Croyle, “The Catch” made famous by wideout Tyrone Prothro, his subsequent injury in a blowout victory over Florida, the Tide’s undefeated record up to the heartbreaking losses to LSU and Auburn. But most will always remember the punishing 2005 defense which so resembled the veteran squad of last year’s national championship team, ranking in the country’s top 10 in nearly every category. And at

28

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

PHOTOS BY HOUSTONTEXANS.COM


the heart of it was outside linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Finishing his senior year at Alabama with 76 tackles and 9.5 tackles for a loss, Ryans was the first pick in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft, picked up by the Houston Texans. After a huge showing in the preseason, the Texans moved him into the middle linebacker position, where he then started every game of the regular season. Ryans made an immediate impact on the Texan’s defense, which had been struggling for years. In his first game alone, he recorded 12 solo tackles, a league high. In fact, for most of the 2006 season, he led the entire team in tackles, eventually winning the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He finished the year with 155 tackles. After another dominating performance in 2007 in which he led the team in tackles for a second year in a row, DeMeco Ryans was named the starting linebacker for the 2008 Pro Bowl. Ryans always credited his preparedness for the NFL to former Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines. In an interview with Bama Magazine in 2006, he told the publication, “Coach Joe Kines did a good job of preparing me, technique wise. The linebacker position is all about learning how to run a defense and learning all about defense. [Kines] did a great job of teaching me.” Ryans is reported to have signed a six-year $48 million contract extension through the 2015 season, making him one of the highest paid linebackers in the league. Displaying the same leadership he showed throughout his career with Alabama, Ryans is also the defensive captain on the Houston Texans’ squad, and has been calling the signals from the inside linebacker position since his rookie season. He was named to a second Pro Bowl in 2010 as his contributions to the team led the Texans to their first winning season at 9-7. Ryans has made over 100 tackles in each season of his NFL career, and seems to be well on his way to another as he has recorded 47 total tackles just five games into the regular season.

In his first game alone, he recorded 12 solo tackles, a league high.

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1 2

How many career victories did Paul “Bear” Bryant amass? a. 303 c. 323 b. 312 d. 333

3

Which post-season bowl games have been affiliated with automatic tie-ins to the SEC? a. the Independence Bowl, the Music City Bowl, and the Liberty Bowl b. the meineke Car Care Bowl,the Alamo Bowl, and the Sun Bowl c. the poinsettia Bowl, the Las Vegas Bowl and the Emerald Bowl d. the Gator Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, and the Humanitarian Bowl

4 5

The 1965 Orange Bowl, played between Texas and Alabama, was the first played____________.

Joe Namath went by what nickname? a. “Alabama Joe” b. “Broadway Joe”

c. “Joltin’ Joe” d. “Hollywood Joe”

What jersey number did Joe Namath wear at Alabama? a. 10 c. 12 b. 11 d. 13

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My First Game

A Memorable Moment:

Fan witnessed The at her firs

O

Jennifer Underwood

n September 10, 2005, a moment happened in Alabama football that will never be forgotten. While losing 21-10 to Southern Mississippi in the first half, with 25 seconds left before halftime, quarterback Brodie Croyle threw a Hail Mary pass to Tyrone Prothro. Prothro reached behind defender Jasper Faulk’s head, caught the ball, and held it tightly against Faulk’s shoulderpad while both players tumbled to the ground. They landed in the end zone. Although the referees eventually called Prothro’s knee down at the one yard line, the Tide scored on the next play. This reception deemed Prothro the “Pontiac Game Changing Performer of the Year,” and he was awarded a 2006 ESPY. Videos of this classic play, known as “The Catch,” are scattered all over the internet. Even now, five years later, it is still talked about often. Although it is a memorable moment for Alabama fans everywhere, it is considered especially significant to those who were actually in the stadium that day. One of those fans is Debby Faught. Faught is a junior at the University of Mobile, where she is majoring in communications and inter-cultural

32

studies. Growing up in Greensboro, Ala., less than an hour from Tuscaloosa, Faught experienced Alabama football her entire life. Her stepfather, Greg Bryant, is actually a former Alabama baseball player. “My stepdad’s family tailgates, so

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

I went to the game with them,” she said. “Little did I know, it was going to be an unforgettable game.” Faught described the game as being very intense. “The entire game was really awesome…especially Prothro’s catch. I did not sit down much because it


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st game was so exciting,” she recalls. “You could not help but to get into the game with the surrounding Alabama fans.” Faught describes her experience at that game as being unforgettable. She said, “I remember watching it happen and going, ‘Did he really just catch that? Wow!’ Now, every time I see the clip it takes me back to that game, that end zone, that Crimson Tide moment!” Every Alabama fan will tell you that they had a memorable first game. In fact, for many, their introduction to the Tide occurred during the reign of Bear Bryant, or while Joe Namath played on the field. To some, there may not have been anything in particular that made their first game special, but just being the stands with their fellow fans was enough. However, for some, like Debby Faught, their first game will live in the back of their minds forever. The night that Tyrone Prothro made this impossible catch will never be forgotten. People everywhere will remember the catch that has been integrated into Alabama tradition. Prothro will certainly never forget an extraordinary play so highly celebrated. However, there are those select few who will have this instant seared into their memories forever. Debby Faught is one Alabama fan who will never forget her first game. As she hears people discuss this moment, or views videos online, she will always remember that she was in the stadium, under the big screen, screaming “Roll Tide” as “the catch” was made.

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Tailgater of the Week

Tailgating from two perspectives:

Father-son duo, Ole Miss Alumnus Share the Quad

S

Jennifer Gorham

ome Tide fans celebrate a game by tailgating beforehand with friends, but some choose to spend the day with family. For Riley Geary, 14, and his father John Geary, nothing is sweeter than spending a birthday on the Quad. John, an alumnus of the University, celebrated his birthday with son Riley last week. He graduated from UA with a degree in corporate finance and now resides in Atlanta, Ga. Although the Iron Bowl is their favorite game to watch together, celebrating his father’s birthday and watching Ole Miss get a “beat down” will go down as one of Riley’s favorites this season.

34

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA

“I guess since this is my dad’s birthday, I will have to say Ole Miss [is his favorite game],” Riley said. This was Riley’s first time at the Capstone and he plans on attending UA after high school. As for the Geary’s game day neighbor, Banks Shephard visited from Oxford and enjoyed the festivities Tuscaloosa had to offer. For many reasons, he hasn’t been able to venture to Tuscaloosa every season, but he has made an appearance six or seven times. “The problem has always been rush,” Shephard confessed. “It [Tuscaloosa] is a great town for football.” Shephard graduated from Ole Miss

in 2009 with a marketing and communications degree. While the Quad crawls with fans dressed to the nines in shades of crimson, he takes notice of the large crowds and compares it to the Grove at his alma mater. “Tuscaloosa has modernized [compared to Oxford] and the amount of people is impressing,” he admitted. “People come to Tuscaloosa as a spectacle. They come to see football.” He readily admitted that Alabama has had more success than Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa. But, regardless of which team they pull for, fans are treated with respect on the Quad, and fun follows those who come out to support their team. PHOTOS BY MATT GASTON


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Homecoming P


Parade Pride

PHOTOS BY MATT GASTON


Recruiting

Mike Parker

Future Tide Stars Take in Game

Crowell

A

Gulledge

Atmosphere has Huge Effect on Recruits

labama’s blow-out win against the Florida Gators, 31-6, dramatically affected recruits throughout the country. That weekend was the biggest recruiting event the University of Alabama has probably ever experienced. Some of the Tide’s clear-cut targets were in attendance that night: Isaiah Crowell, running back from Georgia, along with his teammate, Gabriel Wright, Tony Steward, the No. 1 linebacker in the country, athlete Quan Bray, offensive lineman Xzavier Ward, defensive end Xzavier Dixon, offensive tackle Bobby Hart, top tight end Nick O’Leary,

38

Calloway running back Buck Allen, and literally over thirty 2012 prospects. Nick Saban probably spent as much time with the 2012 prospects as he did with the 2011 ones, especially since the Tide has anywhere from five to eight spots left in that class, having already secured 19 commitments. It is safe to say that the crowd, game day atmosphere and Alabama’s stomping of the Gators swayed many prospects in attendance towards the Crimson Tide. One player the Tide has made a priority is Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell, from Carver-Columbus High School. So far, Crowell’s recruitment has been a two-way race between Alabama and

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

Georgia, with Saban pitching the idea that Crowell could be the next back in Bama’s running back rotation after Mark Ingram goes pro. Georgia coach Mark Richt has tried to keep Crowell in-state by telling him that Georgia wants to get all the top prospects, called the “All-Star” team, in the state to go with the Bulldogs. With the combination of the Alabama vs. Florida game atmosphere and Georgia’s being off to one of its worst season starts in recent memory, not only has the Tide taken the lead with Crowell, but its lead seems to be growing every week. Following the game, Coach Saban could not have given Crowell a better compliment than when he said if he had PHOTOS BY RIVALS.COM


to pick one player in the country at running back, it would be Crowell. With the recent decision by Demetrius Hart, whom the Tide did not seriously pursue, to commit to Michigan, look for the Tide to put a full-court press on Crowell. Crowell is a different kind of back than those the Tide has had in recent years; he has lightning break-away speed, but will have to put on some weight to run effectively for the Tide’s system. The Tide should not lose out on Crowell, but never count Mark Richt out of a race for the signature of an in-state Georgia prospect…he will fight to the end. Should Bama lose out on Crowell, it will be interesting to see if the Tide will go for the bigger back, Buck Allen, or wait to pick up a pair of running backs in 2012. A much more physical runner than Crowell, Allen resembles Eddie Lacy, the current third back for the Tide.

Over the Florida game weekend, the Tide got its second commit for 2012 and a top in-state kid in Caleb Gulledge, who got his recruitment over quickly by pledging to Saban before Alabama and Florida took to the field. Gulledge, at 6-foot-4-inches, 265 pounds, and only 16 years old with room to grow, will start out playing defensive end for the Tide’s defense. Gulledge joins Eddie Williams from Panama City, Fla., as the first two commits in the class of 2012. A HUGE get for the Tide, Williams, who already stands 6-foot-4-inches and weighs in at 200 pounds, is projected to play an extremely gifted safety for the Tide. Probably the No. 1 prospect out of the state of Florida next year, Williams’ recruitment to Alabama had to put a bad taste in Urban Meyer’s mouth. The Tide also gained ground on another top 2012 target, Reggie Ragland.

SUPER SENIOR SEASON

At 6-foot-4-inches, 250 pounds, Ragland is being recruited by the Tide as a jack linebacker. After the game, Ragland’s exact words were, “If it got any louder, it would have hurt everyone’s ears. It was insane!” Ragland watched Courtney Upshaw very closely during the game and said of him, “That dude is a straight-up beast.” Reggie Ragland is sure to be a priority for the Tide. The in-state crop in Alabama for 2012 looks like it could possibly be as good as the 2008 class, which included such outstanding players as Julio Jones, Mark Barron, Courtney Upshaw, Tyler Love, Gerald Harris, Marcel Darius, and Robert Lester…and the list goes on and on.  Mike Parker hosts Crimson Cover each Saturday on the radio, 8-10 a. m. on 99.1 the Goose, and on TV, 10-10:30 a.m. on WVUA. Contact Mike at (205) 799-2137 or mwparker1@bama.ua.edu.

2011 Bama recruit having fantastic year!

B

rent Calloway, who committed to Alabama in June 2009, is having a monster senior year rushing the ball. The linebacker for Russellville High School in Russellville, Ala., has some big games under his belt, like when he rushed 28 times for 226 yards and two touchdowns against Walker. Another big break-out game for Calloway had was when he rushed for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a dominant 35-14 win over East Limestone. Calloway’s coach, Doug Goodwin, talks about Calloway’s outstanding abilities:

TDAL: Let’s talk a little bit about Brent Calloway and what a season he’s having. How is your season going? DG: Pretty good. Other than one game [49-28 loss to Walker], we are doing alright. TDAL: I know Calloway is having a great season as a running back, but is he playing any defense? DG: Not quite as much as he did last year. He is such a big part of our offense, we can’t put him on the field as much on defense as we’d like. TDAL: How would you describe the way he runs the ball? He’s pretty fast and physical as well. At least that’s the way he looks on film. DG: He’s a great talent. He’s big, and he has a lot of power. He’s also got a lot of athletic speed. He’s kind of a slasher-type runner, but always going up-field. TDAL: Now, with Calloway projected to play linebacker, and with his having such a huge season as running back, does that make him think twice about what position he will play at the next level? DG: I don’t know about that. But, I don’t think he really cares which position he plays. TDAL: What do you think Brent’s greatest asset as a football player is? DG: He’s got an unreal amount of natural talent. He’s a good kid, very conscientious about what he wants to do with the amount of ability the good Lord’s given him. touchdownalabama.net |

39


News

Coe Robbins

40

LSU at Auburn 2:30 CBS Auburn feels as if they were in a heavyweight boxing match against Arkansas, as both teams combined to score 108 points, the most ever scored in a regulation SEC contest. Quarterback Cam Newton continues to impress Heisman voters, as the JUCO transfer accounted for 70 percent of Auburn’s total offense, throwing for 140 yards and rushing for 188. LSU extended the nation’s longest non-conference win streak to 32. The Bayou Bengals are 7-0 for the first time since 1973 after having a tune-up game with McNeese State and defeating the Cowboys 32-10. Quarterback Jarrett Lee finished the day 9-of-16 for 75 yards, while freshman Michael Ford rushed for 86 yards on 10 carries and a pair of scores. This contest will pit, arguably, the best offense against the best defense in the conference. Auburn is leading the SEC in total offense, while LSU boasts the best total defense. The key to the game may be special teams, as Auburn is next-to-last in the conference in net punting, whereas LSU is second in punt return yardage.

South Carolina at Vanderbilt 6:00 Fox Sports South South Carolina became the fourth-straight squad to beat the No.1-ranked team then lose the following week. The Wildcats, down 28-10 at the half, scored 21 unanswered points to defeat the Gamecocks 31-28. Garcia did throw a career-high 382 yards and 2 touchdowns, but four turnovers turned out costly in the outcome of the game. The loss threw the door wide open for a race for the Eastern Division crown. Vanderbilt is coming off a 43-0 drubbing by the Georgia Bulldogs, which would have been the largest margin of victory in the series if it weren’t for a missed field goal in the fourth quarter. The Commodore offense could only gain 140 yards total and was 1-of-11 on third down conversions. South Carolina’s defensive front is very good, ranked second in the country in sacks and second in the conference in rushing defense. It just all depends on which Stephen Garcia shows up, a question which has frustrated coach Steve Spurrier all year long. South Carolina looks to get a win over Vanderbilt in pursuit of their first Eastern Division crown.

Ole Miss at Arkansas 11:30 SEC Network The newly-adopted Rebel Black Bear mascot at Ole Miss did not get off to the best of starts, as the Rebels suffered a 23-10 loss to Alabama during the Crimson Tide’s homecoming weekend. Transfer Jeremiah Masoli was 18-of-40 for 110 yards, a touchdown and a pick, while the Rebel offense managed 133 yards rushing. Ole Miss came into the game ranked the best team in the conference in penalties and points per game. Both of those fell by the wayside as Ole Miss was flagged 12 times and only scored 10 points. The Hogs suffered a heartbreaking loss to Auburn, and even more importantly lost Ryan Mallett for the rest of the game with a concussion. Backup Tyler Wilson came in and did not miss a beat, completing 13 straight and four touchdowns. A late fumble, however, seemed to unglue the offense, and Wilson threw back-toback interceptions to seal their fate. Arkansas edges the overall win column with a 29-26-1 record. Last year’s contest gave Ole Miss a convincing win, defeating Arkansas 30-17. Arkansas will look to get revenge in this game with a potent passing attack and a very susceptible Ole Miss secondary.

Other SEC Games:

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

Game Alabama at Tennessee UAB at Mississippi State Georgia at Kentucky

Time 6:00 6:00 6:30

Station ESPN ESPNU CSS

Injury Report

Alabama offensive lineman D.J. Fluker remains questionable and will be day-to-day after suffering a strained groin during the South Carolina game. Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett suffered a concussion during the Auburn game and will be monitored to determine if he will have to miss any games. Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins left the game against Mississippi State with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for their contest on Oct. 30 against Georgia. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore rolled his left ankle early in the second half against Kentucky. Lattimore will be day-to-day to determine if he is ready to go against Vanderbilt


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1. Oregon 2. Boise State 3. Oklahoma 4. TCU 5. Auburn 6. LSU 7. Alabama 8. Michigan State 9. Utah 10. Ohio State 11. Wisconsin 12. Iowa 13. Nebraska 14. Stanford 15. Oklahoma State 16. Missouri 17. Florida State 18. Arizona 19. West Virginia 20. So. Carolina 21. Arkansas 22. Texas 23. Virginia Tech 24. Mississippi St. 25. Miami (FL)

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Traditions

BIG AL The EVOLUTION of a MASCOT

Troy Farsoun

T

• TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • TIDE TRADITION • he sight of Big Al is so commonplace at University of Alabama events that fans would find it far stranger if they did not see their beloved mascot ambling throughout the crowd, posing for pictures and delighting the public. But how did the Crimson Tide mascot come to be? The image of an elephant storming the field was first conjured in the minds of Tuscaloosa sports fans in 1930 when a writer by the name of Everett Strupper described the Alabama football team in

44

the Atlanta Journal as, “a typical [Alabama head coach Wallace] Wade machine, powerful, big, tough, fast, aggressive, well-schooled in fundamentals, and the best blocking team for this early in the season that I have ever seen. When those big brutes hit you I mean you go down and stay down, often for an additional two minutes. “Some excited fan in the stands bellowed, ‘Hold your horses, the elephants are coming,’ and out stamped this Alabama varsity.” The Tide won the national title that year, and from then on

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA October 23, 2010

the elephant became both a mascot and a symbol for Alabama prowess. Big Al officially made his costumed debut in 1979, when Paul “Bear” Bryant and his elite Crimson Tide squad took on Joe Paterno and the Nittany Lions in the infamous Sugar Bowl that gave Bryant his fifth national title. Over the years the costume has changed with the times, sporting various eye sizes, different jerseys, floppier trunks, but never losing the energy and spunk fans from around the nation have come to love.


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Touchdown Alabama Magazine - Tennessee 2010