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By: Larry Burton Volume 2, Issue 14 $3.00


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Our

tide is a winner, too.

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5908 Thomas Drive, Panama City Beach, FL . 877-808-4323 . OaseasResor ts.com/rolltide

Cabana Cay . Emerald Isle . Grandview . Ocean Ritz . Shores of Panama . Village of South Walton Beach . Watercrest


December 5, 2009 | Volume 2, Issue 14

In This Issue 8

President/Publisher

Pregame Preview

10

Rosters

12

Heisman Watch

18

Offensive Line

19

Championship Weekend

22

Recruiting

24

A Conference Divided

27

Larry’s Lowdown

30

Traditions

35

Bama Fans

Staff

Editor-in-Chief

Mike Lacy

Managing Editor Photography

Bennie Bice

Jessica Temple BDL Mark Lent Matt Gaston Rivals.com University of Florida Athletics

Creative Director Graphic Design Chief Information Officer Website Designer

Jenifer McCormick Cassandra Johnson Tramayne Wright Jessie Landon

Public Relations

Eric Hudson Katelyn Clark Drew Franklin Christopher Wilson

Brian LaShomb Carey Landon

Advertising Director Advertising Sales Contributing Writers Reporters

Herb Neu Ron Bush Leslie Housely Alex Schroyer

Larry Burton Jennifer Gorham Anthony Johnson Amanda Kelly Katie Koenig Brad Lake Lauren Moranor Mike Parker Jordan Eichenblatt Angel Hufham Victoria Sheehan

M U L T I M E D I A Next Issue • Mark Ingram • Year in Review • Crimsonettes

Web Content • Post-Game Interviews • Game Footage • Press Conferences from Nick Saban • More From Larry Burton

Weekly Radio Show

• Coming Soon!

All content is the property of Touchdown Alabama Magazine. Touchdown Alabama Magazine reserves all rights to content in both the print and online (www.touchdownalabama.net) versions of the publication. No image or text may be reproduced without written consent from Touchdown Alabama Magazine.


Letter from the Editor: Hello, Bama Nation! The regular season is over and The Crimson Tide has done it again! For the second year in a row, we are 12-0 going into the conference title game. Auburn gave us all a scare, but the Tide pulled through and if they can do the same this week, we’ll be on the way to Pasadena to contend for Alabama’s 13th National Championship. Touchdown Alabama will be making the trip to Atlanta as well as to the bowl game, so keep an eye out for our photographers during your pregame activities and you may end up on our website or in print! Since this has been such an outstanding year for Alabama football, we have

ON THE COVER #8 Julio Jones

Sophomore

Wide Receiver

decided to print a limited edition issue for the bowl game. Subscribers, this is our gift to you to cap off this amazing season and thank you for supporting Touchdown Alabama.

Roll Tide!

Send Letters to: PO Box 3251 Tuscaloosa, AL 35403-3251 205-701-1211 publish@tdalabama.com Advertising: ads@tdalabama.com

Jones leads the Tide in receiving yards, with 545 yards in 40 receptions. He’s averaging 13.6 yards per reception and has has broken 100 yards in four games this year. He has four touchdowns on the season. Photography by Matt Gaston.



| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA December 5, 2009

MISSION STATEMENT

“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 12 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-to-date, 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.”


INDEX Alabama xxxxx. and Florida will be competing in a game for the ages to determine their bowl destinies. Both teams are defensive powerhouses and >>Winner: Alabama have talent on both sides of Bennie the ball. This game will be won team with the Biceby-the Publisher strongest desire and will to win. My bet is on the Tide.

Last xxx.week, the Crimson Tide showed the fans they can come back when trailing. Psychologically, this is very >>Winner: Alabama important to the players. Look for the Tide to get the ball Mike in the running moving Lacy early. They must department get control of Florida’s - Editor-in-Chief defensive line to have a successful outcome. Also, Greg McElroy will have to work at getting the ball to his receivers. I would like to see 3-5 deep passes thrown during this game. Defensively, the Tide will have to play solid ball on 3rd downs. This will be the biggest factor in the game.

These two areare as close These twoteams teams as as can as be can in many The close be instats. many main difference stats. The mainis place kicking, where we beat them difference is place badly. Overall season stats kicking, whereis we beat show Alabama doing much them better badly. than theOverall 2008 team season stats show that almost beat the Gators Alabama is doing much and the same stats show that this Gator team muchteam less that almost beat the better than theis2008 potent than Plus, that in head-toGators andlast theyear’s sameversion. stats show this Gator head competition, Alabama out year’s on top by team is much less potent comes than last beating common opponents by more than Florida version. Plus, in head-to-head competition, did. Larry’s pick - Alabama 27- Florida 23. Alabama comes out on top by beating common opponents by more than Florida did.

>>Winner: Alabama Bennie Bice - Publisher

>>Winner: Alabama Mike Lacy - Editor-in-Chief

>>Winner: Alabama 27- 23 >>Winner: Alabama Bennie Bice - Publisher Larry Burton

touchdownalabama.net |

7


Pre-Game Preview

Showdown in A-town Pregame Preview T

Brad Lake

his Saturday the No. 1 Florida Gators meet the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide in Atlanta, Ga., for a showdown of monumental proportions. The Gators are hoping to repeat their BCS Championship victory from last year as well as their SEC victory over the Tide. Alabama, after being beat out in the fourth quarter of last year’s SEC championship, is hoping to get the sour taste out of their mouths by rewriting the story with a “W” in their column this year against the favored Gators in the Georgia Dome. Heisman Trophy hopefuls Mark Ingram and Tim Tebow will be facing off in their last showcase before the winner is selected. The Heisman nominees will be facing off against, arguably, the two best defenses in college football. While Alabama’s defense will be concentrating on not giving up big plays and tackling Tebow, Florida’s will be hoping to both stop Ingram from running up the middle, and force Greg McElroy into some predictable passing downs. One of the biggest challenges Florida will face coming into the SEC game is the fact that one of their most valuable players, Junior Carlos Dunlap, has been suspended indefinitely due to his arrest on a DUI charge early Tuesday morning. Dunlap is a 6-foot-6, 290 pound defensive end, who is projected to be a first round draft choice. Selected as the defensive MVP of last year’s BCS Championship, Dunlap is leading the team with 7 sacks and has 35 tackles on the season. Although Florida has faced other distrac-



| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA December 5, 2009

tions this year, such as the Brandon Spikes eyegouging incident, this has come at the worst possible time for the Gators. The Florida defense is used to running at offenses with two talented defensive ends in Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham. Look for Alabama to pound whichever side Cunningham is not lined up on. Although Florida will miss Dunlap’s powerful presence, they will still be a very competitive team. The Gators did not have their star receiver, Percy Harvin, in last year’s SEC Championship and still managed the win. Both teams have struggled a few times this year in their pursuit of a perfect season, but neither has faltered and they are both on a collision course that promises another classic battle between the two teams. Some key players for the Tide will be Javier Arenas on defense, who will be trying to get good pressure on Tebow early. The success of Arenas depends on his capability to actually tackle Tebow. Arenas has not faced a quarterback such as Tebow all season and arm tackles aren’t going to work on him. If the Tide is planning on winning this year, they are going to have to make sure and hit Tebow low and wrap his legs up. If the Tide fails to do that, we are going to see a lot of broken tackles and another victory for the Florida Gators on Tebow’s shoulders. This game promises to be a low-scoring defensive game and probably the biggest game of the season. Whoever wins this matchup will be ready to win the national championship game. PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK LENT


touchdownalabama.net |




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Achievements

Heisman Watch

Mark Ingram Mark Ingram

6RSKRPRUHUXQQLQJEDFN0DUN,QJUDPRXWRI)OLQW0LFKKDVWKHSRWHQWLDOWREHFRPH$ODEDPD¡VĂ€UVW+HLVPDQ winner. Here are a few of his accomplishments:  ‡ DOOSXUSRVH\DUGVLQ Running back Mark Ingram is still in the running for Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy. After emerging as a leader in ‡ )LIWKQDWLRQDOO\DQGĂ€UVWLQWKH6(&LQJURXQG\DUGVSHUJDPHDYHUDJLQJ the race the previous week, Ingram’s numbers against Auburn were the lowpoint of the season. He is still a strong  ‡ /HDGVWKHQDWLRQLQUXQVRIDQG\DUGV contender, with a big chance to showcase his abilities this week against fellow hopeful Tim Tebow and the rest of the No. 1 Florida Gators. If Ingram brings home the trophy, he will be only the third sophomore to win the award, ‡ %URNHUXVKLQJ\DUGVLQJDPHVWKLV\HDU following sophomores Tebow, in 2008, and Sam Bradford last year.  ‡ &XUUHQWO\VHFRQGLQ$ODEDPD¡VVLQJOHVHDVRQUXVKLQJ\DUGVUHFRUGZLWK Here ‡ 2QO\KDVRQHIXPEOHLQFDUHHUWRXFKHV are some of Ingram’s accomplishments to date: • ‡1,429 Midseason CBSsportsline andyear Sporting News rushingAll-American yards and 246by receiving yards this • ‡156HPLĂ€QDOLVWIRUWKH0D[ZHOO$ZDUG touchdowns in 2009 – 12 rushing and 3 receiving • ‡Semifinalist Candidate for forthe Doak Walker Award Maxwell Award  ‡Midseason CandidateAll-American for First-Team All-America honors • by CBSsportsline and Sporting News  ‡Candidate SEC Offensive Player of the Week (VT, USC) • for Doak Walker Award • forfor First-Team honors  ‡Candidate Candidate HeismanAll-America Trophy • SEC Offensive Player of the Week (VT, USC)

12

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA December December5,5,2009 2009


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n August 2, 2008 photographer Michael E. Palmer captured this image of a lightning storm over the Coach Paul W. Bryant statue on the Walk of Champions at Bryant-Denny Stadium. As a University of

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13


Pre-Game Preview

“I don’t think you really can replace guys like those.” - Nick Saban


The Boys up Front Tide Finds Offensive Success

T

Anthony Johnson

raditionally, the Alabama Crimson Tide has been a power running, three-yards-and-acloud-of-dust type offense, dependent upon a stout rushing attack, ball control and the offensive mentality to wear down opposing defenses into submission. One of the critical elements in order for this type of offense to have success starts up front in the trenches, with the guys known as “the big uglies.” Last season, the Tide found offensive success in relatively simple ways: run behind left tackle Andre Smith and dare the defense to stop it. And it worked—quite well, actually. Alabama coasted to Atlanta with a perfect 12-0 record behind the hard-nosed running of Glen Coffee. Coffee made it look all too easy as he gashed defenses for almost 1,400 yards in his junior season en route to being selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the ’08 National Football League Draft. But some of the guys who made Coffee’s job so easy ended their Tide careers after the Sugar Bowl loss last season, leaving fans wondering if the Tide would enjoy the same continued success in ’09 without two all-American linemen paving the way. Alabama needed to replace 112 combined starts among the three vacancies on the offensive line coming into this season, including Outland Trophy winner Smith, and all-SEC center Antoine Caldwell, who now plays for the Houston Texans. “I don’t think you really can replace guys like those guys,” Nick Saban said. “I think they were outstanding players. Certainly Smith performed well and had a lot PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK LENT

of consistency in his performance, and Antoine Caldwell was not only an outstanding player at his position, but he was an outstanding leader on our football team. “I think how this new group develops will affect — especially early on in the season — how our offensive team functions.” The Tide found its replacements in a hurry, starting with touted junior college transfer, James Carpenter; junior center, William Vlachos; and redshirt freshman right guard, Barrett Jones. The line, flanked by preseason all-SEC left guard Mike Johnson, has flown somewhat under the radar this season, because there hasn’t been a drop off in terms of offensive production from last season. Alabama has increased its numbers in almost every offensive category, and has given up fewer sacks. At this point last season, the Tide had thrown for 1,854 yards and eight touchdowns passing, and rushed for 2,184 yards and 27 touchdowns. In ’09, the Tide has 2,334 yards passing and 16 touchdowns, with 2,555 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Along with increased production offensively, the Tide has a Heisman candidate running back in sophomore Mark Ingram, who has been quick to attribute his success this year to the men in the trenches. “I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for those guys,” Ingram said. “We lost three great players on the line last year, but we just had three more guys waiting on an opportunity, and they are great players as well. They have come in and taken full advantage of the opportunity they were given. “ touchdownalabama.net |

15


SE

CHAMP


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PIONSHIP

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON


Exclusive

Championship

BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

T

#3 TEXAS V. NEBRASKA

he Big 12 Championship brings No.3 Texas against Nebraska. Both teams are playing for some kind of BCS birth. Texas comes in to the game looking for a ticket to Pasadena. A win would have the Longhorns walking into the National Championship game, having gone undefeated in the regular season. A win for Nebraska would give the Corn Huskers a BSC bowl game bid and a big upset for the season. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy has Heisman hopes. He will look to have a big game and boost his stats in order to lock down a possible Heisman trophy. The senior was nominated the previous year as well. The championship will be showcasing Texas’s No. 1 scoring offense in the Big 12 against Nebraska’s No. 1 scoring defense in the Big 12. McCoy, who KDVWKHEHVWSDVVHIÀFLHQF\LQWKHFRQIHUHQFHZLOOEHORRNLQJ to hook up with fellow senior Jordan Shipley in order to put points on the board. Shipley will need to be prepared to meet Nebraska’s top pass defense who will need to stop Shipley and

218 | | TOUCHDOWN TOUCHDOWNALABAMA ALABAMA

December December 5, 5, 2009 2009

JHWWKHLURIIHQVHEDFNRQWKHÀHOG1HEUDVND¡VGHIHQVHLV averaging 4.5 sacks this season and will try and put as much pressure on McCoy as possible. Nebraska will be led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is the anchor of this defense. Suh has 39 tackles on the season, 25 of those being solo tackles. The Longhorns have the No. 1 rush defense in the conference and will hope to stuff Nebraska’s top rusher, Roy Helu Jr. Hvelu has 1,057 yards on the VHDVRQDQGZLOOORRNWRVXFFHHGDWÀQGLQJDQ\KROHVLQWKH7H[DV defense. The Corn Husker offense, which struggled early in the season, will need to stay in a groove in order to match the high-powered offense of the Longhorns. Texas has been slated to be in the National Championship game for most of the season, and an upset by the Corn Huskers could be one of the biggest of the season. If not, the Longhorns will march right into Pasadena and the National Championship game.


Weekend

Lauren Moranor

ACC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

CLEMSON V. GEORGIA TECH

T

he ACC Championship game will be a showdown between two of the best running backs in the nation. C.J. Spiller of Clemson and Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia 7HFKOHDGWZRERRPLQJRIIHQVHVWKDWZLOOKRSHWREHRQÀUH during this game and gain a BCS birth. Spiller, a Heisman Trophy candidate, set an NCAA record for kickoff returns for touchdowns in the Tigers loss against South Carolina. He has 2,066 yards on the season and leads the ACC’s No. 1 scoring offense. Dwyer leads the No. 2 scoring offense in the ACC. He has 1,203 yards on the season with 11 touchdowns. The two offensive stars will each receive a true test in this Championship game, as each will be going up against an ACC WRSÀYHUXVKGHIHQVH Clemson is the No. 5 rush defense in the ACC, while Georgia Tech is the No. 4 rush defense. Georgia Tech’s defensive end Derrick Morgan leads the ACC with 12.5 sacks and will need to put pressure on the Clemson quarterback and

keep the Tigers from having a balanced offense. Georgia Tech quarterback Josh Nesbitt, who has 16 touchdowns on the season, will need to keep an eye on Clemson’s DeAndre McDaniel. McDaniel has eight interceptions on the season and will try and steal the ball out of the air in order to get the Tiger RIIHQVHEDFNRQWKHÀHOG&OHPVRQ·VGHIHQVHZDVH[SRVHG during the rivalry game with South Carolina. Georgia Tech will QHHGWRÀQGWKHKROHVLQWKHLUGHIHQVHDQGJHWWKHUXQJDPH going. The Yellow Jackets have the No.12-ranked pass offense in the ACC and will rely heavily on the running game to get points on the board. Expect Clemson to take advantage of Georgia Tech’s poor passing game and try to make as many turnovers as possible. The ACC Championship game, while it does not offer national title implications for either team, still holds a BCS bowl game on the line. Both teams hope to get that title to top off a successful season.

touchdownalabama.net touchdownalabama.net | | 19 3


PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON


The

Recruiting

Mike Parker

Finishing Touches In his past two recruiting classes, Nick Saban has closed extremely well, bumping the Tide to the #1 recruiting class both years. Saban has maneuvered Alabama into a similar position for 2010. With 22 commits thus far, the Tide can take up to six more commits for 2010 before maxing out its num ber of scholarships. Since this has been one of the weaker years in Alabama for high school football talent, Saban has had to go out-of-state much more in his recruiting efforts. Fourteen of Alabama’s 22 commits are from out-of-state, with prospects from Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and, finally, Mississippi. So far, Saban has secured his two running backs. Jalston Fowler, the Tide’s larger running back at 6’, 240 lbs, is a real bone-crusher. To compliment Fowler, Alabama got RB Corey Grant, who, at only 5’10�, 185 lbs., can take it to the house at any second. To land the Tide’s future quarterback, Saban traveled to Chesapeake, Va., to secure Phillip Sims, arguably the best QB in the country. Alabama also finished out its special teams with two kickers committed, both of whom will have great opportunities to start next season.

Devonta Bolton is Alabama’s sole linebacker commit. Though Bolton signed with the 2008 class, he has been playing in junior college. At 6’4�, 230 lbs., Bolton, who has very good speed, should be ready for immediate playing time. The Tide’s offense, based on a two tight-end set, has secured two of the best TE’s in the country. Harrison Jones, little brother of Barrett Jones, is more of a receiving tight end. The other TE is Brian Volger, a physical freak at 6’7�, 250 lbs. A player with decent speed, Vogler is more a Collin Peek-type, in that he does both blocking and catching well. Vogler should be one to watch, as he is one of the most highly-touted tight ends in the country. Alabama has two defensive end commits. One is Wilson Love, Tyler Love’s little brother, who plays with a mean streak. The other DE commit is Alfy Hill, a huge steal for Saban out of North Carolina. Hill, the perfect Jack linebacker at 6’4�, 225 lbs, has an exceptional first step and a knack for getting to the quarterback. The Tide’s defensive back commits rank second to none in the country. Nick Perry, a 6’2� safety with 4.45 speed, is out of the powerhouse, Prattville, Ala. Then, there is DeMarcus

20 22

|| TOUCHDOWN TOUCHDOWNALABAMA ALABAMA December December 5, 5, 2009 2009

Team Rankings for Recruitment Commits 

School Total 7H[DV  Alabama 22 3HQQ6WDWH  /68  )ORULGD  2NODKRPD  7HQQHVVHH  $XEXUQ  *HRUJLD  86&  1RWUH'DPH  0LDPL 

Milliner, the top player in the state who is rated the #1  cornerback in the country. With  breath-taking speed, Milliner  also has great ball skills and instincts. Milliner will be hard to   keep off the field next season.  Alabama has only two  offensive line commits: Austin  Shepherd, a 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;4â&#x20AC;?, 315-pounder  from Suwanee, Ga., and Chad Lindsey, another 300 pounder  from The Woodlands, Texas. The Tide, who is looking for more offensive linemen, is in great shape to land a couple, Arie Kovandjio and James Stone. Both are highly-recruited offensive tackles who could both be great additions to this class. At defensive tackle the Tide has the lone commit of Brandon Lewis, who was also a member of the 2008 class and has been in junior college in Mississippi. The Tideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wide receiving unit got a huge boost with the recent commit of 5-star Keenan Allen. At 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;3â&#x20AC;? and 200 lbs., Allen can make every play on the field. Allen is yet another incredible steal out of the hands of North Carolina. The Tide also has a verbal commit in Ronald Carswell, a 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 180 lbs. prospect out of Macon, Ga. Next on the list is 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;1â&#x20AC;?, 165 lbs. Keiwone Malone. The only thing Malone seemingly lacks is the ability to put on weight. Malone is a human lightening streak and catches everything thrown his way. In high school, Malone has enjoyed a huge senior season. His commitment to the Tide has been questioned by some, as he will take visits down the stretch. So far, however, Alabama has managed to hold on to him. Last, but not least, is DeAndrew White, another recent commit who is a huge steal out of Texas. At 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 170 lbs., White is built a lot like Malone, but is probably the faster of the two. When it comes to throwing the ball down the field, there is no one in the country who is better at making the play. White can be compared to Marquis Maze, only taller. The last two commits are dubbed as â&#x20AC;&#x153;athletes.â&#x20AC;? First, there is Blake Sims, dual threat quarterback out of Gainesville, Ga., who also has enjoyed an exceptionally strong senior season. He is difficult to tackle and has unusual quickness. Sims will either be a wide receiver or defensive back for Alabama, possibly in the wildcat. Deion Belue is one of the biggest sleepers in the South. At 6â&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 175 lbs., from Tuscumbia, Ala., Belue did not garner the recruiting success with scholarship offers that most of the class received. However, what he lacks in scholarship offers, Belue makes up for on the field. Originally recruited as a cornerback, Belue might be given a second look by the Tide on the offensive side of the ball. Belue is one of the best in the country at returning punts and kicks, and he is sure to have his shot at that position next season as Javier Arenas moves to the NFL. With his last two recruiting classes, Nick Saban has gone after size and physical strength. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s class is filled with what is probably the only missing link in the Tideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entire roster: phenomenal speed. Alabama presently sits in the #2 position in the team recruiting rankings, with room still to add up to six more prospects. Look for the Tide to close this recruitment class as strong as it has for the past two years. 3+272*5$3+<%<5,9$/6&20


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A Conference

DIVIDED O

Amanda Kelly

ne of the most debated sports topics year after year is over which conference is the best in college football. Many claim the SEC as the strongest conference from top to bottom, producing the last four BCS National Champions. But what about within the SEC? Which division is superior? When it comes down to East versus West, things stack up very differently.

SEC EAST

Overall: 42-30, vs. SEC West: 7-11, vs. Non-Conference: 20-4 The SEC East had four teams finish the regular season 7-5. Florida won the division with a perfect record, and Vanderbilt had the worst record in the conference, finishing 2-10. The east was 21 against ranked nonconference teams, beating the then-ranked No. 7 Ga. Tech and No. 18 Clemson, but losing to No. 9 Oklahoma State.

Florida

Overall: 12-0, vs. SEC West: 3-0, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Gators havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t lost since the Rebels beat them 31-30 in the Swamp last fall. They worked hard this season to make sure no other team would get that lucky. Their scores against nonconference teams have been a combined 21722, including a strong finish against ACC foe Florida State. They played close games against SEC West teams Arkansas, LSU, and Miss State, however, with combined scores of 65-42. They have yet another chance to play in a BCS National Championship game, as long as they can hold off one more SEC West opponent.

24

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA December 5, 2009

Georgia

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC West: 2-1, vs. Non-Conference: 3-1 Despite playing with an untested quarterback, Georgia started the season with high expectations. They dropped their first game to a top ten Oklahoma State team, but rebounded with three straight wins. Since then, however, their season has been a roller coaster ride. Including Oklahoma State, the Dawgs have played four ranked teams this season. They lost to Florida 41-17 and to LSU 20-13. They managed a season-saving victory at Georgia Tech, beating the No. 7 Jackets 30-24. Their combined scores against nonconference opponents have been 98-65. After losing to LSU, the Bulldogs beat their other SEC West opponents Arkansas and Auburn, bringing their combined scores against the West to 96-85.

Kentucky

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC West: 1-2, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 With Georgia and Tennessee both playing inconsistent football this year, the path looked open for Kentucky to become a contender in the East. They ended up as one of six teams to finish 7-5 in the SEC, and locked their fourth consecutive bowl bid. Three of their five losses were to ranked opponents, including the top two teams in the country. In their four wins against nonconference teams, the scores totaled 146-52. The Wildcats faced stiff competition in the SEC West, losing to both Alabama and Mississippi State. They beat the Auburn Tigers, however, bringing their overall score in games versus the West to a close 65-83.


South Carolina

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC West: 1-2, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Gamecocks started their season strong, and were 5-1 when they faced the SEC West defending champions. After losing to the Crimson Tide, however, South Carolina went 2-3. Besides Alabama, the Gamecocks had to face Arkansas and Ole Miss from the West. With an early season win against the No. 4 Rebels, they made a statement, and had a combined score of 38-63 against the west. They managed to run through their early nonconference schedule as well, beating North Carolina State, Florida Atlantic and South Carolina State by a combined 83-33. In their last game of the regular season, the Gamecocks managed to upset No. 18 Clemson in a surprising 34-17 victory.

Tennessee

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC West: 0-3, vs. Non-Conference: 3-1 Considering the comments coming from their new coach at the end of last season, it seemed the Vols expected at least one more win this year. Unfortunately, they failed to beat the top-ranked Gators, as Lane Kiffin had hinted would happened. In nonconference play, the Vols beat Western Kentucky, Ohio and Memphis by a combined 153-58, but lost a surprising game 19-15 to UCLA. In SEC West play, Tennessee lost to Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss by a combined 49-80; but finished their season on a high note, beating division rival Kentucky 30-24 in overtime.

Alabama

Overall: 12-0, vs. SEC East: 3-0, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Crimson Tide finished their regular season perfect, despite a close Iron Bowl. Fortunately they rallied to beat the Tigers, winning their closest game since they held off Tennessee at the last second with a blocked field goal. Against SEC East teams Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, Alabama ran up a combined score of 7036. Alabama started the season with tough ACC opponent Virginia Tech. With that victory, as well as wins against Florida International, North Texas and Chattanooga, the Tideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s score against nonconference teams was 172-45.

Arkansas

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC East: 1-2, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Razorbacks played well this year despite a tough schedule. Their quarterback, Ryan Mallet, helped them to a winning season. They beat nonconference opponents Eastern Michigan, Missouri State, Texas A&M and Troy by continued on next pagea

Vanderbilt

Overall: 2-10, vs. SEC West: 0-3, vs. Non-Conference: 2-2 The Commodores managed two impressive victories over Western Carolina and Rice this season. They scored over 35 points in both games, despite losing every other game this season. Nearly all of their losses were by 10 points or more, and against SEC teams they struggled to put points on the board. The 16 points they scored against Tennessee were the most they managed against an SEC opponent. The combined scores of their losses to SEC West teams LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn were 19-61.

SEC WEST

Overall: 48-24, vs. SEC East: 11-7, vs. Non-Conference: 22-2 The West finished strong, with three teams having eight wins or more. Alabama won the division title with a 12-0 record. The worst record belongs to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, who finished 5-7. The west was 1-1 against ranked nonconference opponents, beating No. 7 Va. Tech but losing to No. 25 Ga. Tech. touchdownalabama.net |

25


combined 214-76. They did not fare well in the SEC East, however, with two of their three opponents being ranked when they met. They beat South Carolina 33-16, but lost to Florida and Georgia by a combined score of 61-75. continued from previous page

Auburn

Overall: 7-5, vs. SEC East: 1-2, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Tigers played well their first season with a new head coach, pulling out a winning record despite some tough losses. They were perfect in nonconference play, beating Ball State, Furman, Louisiana Tech and West Virginia, by a total of 195-104. The Tigers did not fare well in SEC East play however. They beat Tennessee 26-22, but lost to Kentucky and Georgia by a combined 38-52. Their most impressive win this season was a 33-20 victory over No. 25 Ole Miss, which was the Tigers only victory against a ranked opponent this season.

LSU

Overall: 9-3, vs. SEC East: 2-1, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 The Tigers finished second in the SEC West, beating out Arkansas in overtime to secure their spot. They also have the third best record in the SEC, behind undefeated Alabama and Florida. Two of their three losses came to the top two teams in close games. The other loss came at the hands of Ole Miss, a team that started the season ranked in the top ten. The Tigers were perfect against nonconference teams Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Tulane, and Washington. The combined scores of those wins totaled 128-42. Despite their 13-3 loss to Florida, LSU handled SEC East opponents Vanderbilt and Georgia, winning both games 43-22.

Mississippi State

Overall: 5-7, vs. SEC East: 2-1, vs. Non-Conference: 2-2 Mississippi State fared well their first season with Head Coach Dan Mullen. Although they had a

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA December 5, 2009

number of losses, but they played teams close, with the overall scores of their games totaling 307-321. They lost to nonconference teams Georgia Tech and Houston, but beat Jackson State and Middle Tennessee State by a combined 72-13. They also beat SEC East foes Vanderbilt and Kentucky, and lost a close game to Florida 29-19. A 41-27 victory over instate rival Ole Miss was a season-ending highlight.

Ole Miss

Overall: 8-4, vs. SEC East: 2-1, vs. Non-Conference: 4-0 Although they started the season ranked high, Ole Miss failed to be a SEC West contender like many had predicted, going 2-3 in the division. Ole Miss played impressively against nonconference opponents, winning all four games by a combined score of 183-47. They lost early in the season to SEC East opponent South Carolina, but pulled off wins against Tennessee and Vanderbilt. They finished their season with a disappointing 41-27 loss against Mississippi State, ending a lack luster year.

Conclusions:

Head to head the SEC West beat the East 11-7, which to many would be enough to call them superior. The fact that weakest team in the East, Vanderbilt finished 2-10 while the weakest team in the West, Mississippi State, finished 5-7 is also something to be considered. However, the East is the home of the defending National Champions and a Heisman trophy winner. They also played more ranked nonconference opponents than the West, and held a winning record against those teams. It a race that is almost too close to call, and will be ultimately be decided this Saturday in Atlanta as top-ranked Florida and Alabama battle it out in the SEC Championship Game.


The Lowdown

Larry’s

LOWDOWN The Musts and Must Nots of a National Champion

T

Larry Burton

here is a school of thought that this game for the SEC Championship may actually decide the National Championship as well. For much of the season, these teams have been one and two, and while no one would discount the Texas Longhorns, that game could prove anti-climatic in comparison. These are the two best defenses in all of college football and the rankings, both in statistics and reality, prove it. These are both teams that are physical and used to exerting their will and physical conditioning on the other. It will be a war in the trenches. Though Florida is full of good athletes, one man is key for Alabama to stop and that is Heisman-winning quarterback Tim Tebow. Alabama has a much more diverse offense and has many great weapons to throw at the Gator defense. Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy and Julio Jones are all game-changers that can be used. Going up DJDLQVW$ODEDPD·VRIIHQVHLVOLNHÀJKWLQJDZDURQWKUHHRUIRXU fronts. The forth front is the deep threat of Marquis Maze. Florida may successfully stop one aspect of the Alabama offense only to see the others spring open and light up the scoreboard. Given the relative ease the SEC Champion has had in recent years dispatching whatever team is thrown against it in a BCS Championship, is it really too far-fetched to see this as the real National Championship battle? These two teams could very well end the season ranked one and two, even after one suffers a loss. While watching this game, keep in mind that each team has a short list of things they must do, and must not do, in order to win their way to Pasadena.

out of bounds or risk catastrophe. They must not forget about Alabama’s deep ball. Alabama’s percentage of completing long balls of 40 yards or more is among the highest in the nation. Maze has world class speed and can get a step on any back Florida puts against him. Jones makes doubling this threat a real nightmare. They must not allow Alabama to get the running game going. This only sets up a passing game that is even deadlier when the play calling is balanced. Lastly, they must not allow Alabama touchdowns in the red zone. This has been a struggle for Alabama all season and Florida should QRWDOORZWKHPWRÀQGWKHFXUHWKLVZHHNHQG

The Florida Musts They must make the passing game work because the running game won’t. Everybody thinks they have the team that can run against Alabama and yet nobody has, so the passing game must work. They must let Tebow be Tebow. Don’t force him into a game plan that he’s not comfortable with; let him run the offense. After all, hasn’t he proven he IS the offense? They must cover Julio Jones with two men. Jones can turn an eight yard out into a 45-yard touchdown because he’s hard to bring down one on one. They must pressure Greg McElroy. He is virtually unsung outside of Alabama fandom, but, if given time, McElroy can be one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in all of college football. Teams that sell out to stop the run have found this out for themselves.

The Alabama Must Nots They must not give too many cracks to Jeffrey Demps, that’s all he needs to bust one to the end zone. Doing this for four quarters will be as tough a task as Alabama has faced all year. Alabama must not give up punt and kick returns to give Florida JRRGVWDUWLQJÀHOGSRVLWLRQ7KLVWHDPLVGDQJHURXVHQRXJKZKHQ starting from the 20, and Alabama has shown a tendency to let the coverage teams dig them a hole. They must not sell out in wholesale blitzes without leaving one man to contain Tebow, should he avoid the initial rush. Tebow kills teams more with his feet and third down conversions running than his passing. Alabama must not let Florida jump out to an early lead while they start in their usual lethargic manner. Alabama can not count on wearing Florida down as they have other teams. Finally, as football fans, there is one thing we all must not do: we must not miss a minute of this game. It has all the makings of a great one.

The Florida Must Nots They must not let Javier Arenas beat them, and he’s perfectly capable of doing so in a close game. Kick away from him and kick

The Alabama Musts They must be patient with the run. Florida wears down on defense and with Alabama’s ability to keep pounding with fresh backs they must keep the defense honest and keep running. McElroy must bring his “A” game. He has already seen some of the best defenses in the country this year, now he sees the best not in Crimson uniforms. It helps that he can practice against one just as good, but he needs to relax and look for second and third option receivers, as Florida is sure to blanket Jones. Alabama must designate a defensive player on every play that will follow Tebow everywhere but the Florida sideline and bathroom. They must stop Tebow from being a running back. Alabama must score touchdowns in the red zone, as this will be a close game and every point scored could make a difference.

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IN W O IRT! T ER T-SH T EN EE R AF

TIDE TRIVIA 1 4 5 2 3 Through the 2008 season, how many National Championships has Alabama won? 6 c.12 b.10 d.15

The last of those championships was won in________. a. 1979 c.1992 b.1984 d.1994

During the 1992 National Championship Game, the Alabama defense picked off which Heisman-wining Miami quarterback three times? a. Vinny Testaverde b.Gino Torretta c.Charlie Ward d.Ryan Clement

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December 5, 2009

What jersey number did Brodie Croyle wear? a. 7 c. 12 b. 10 d. 15 Bear Bryant is the only coach in Division 1 history to win_____. a. back-to-back national championships twice b. national championships in three different decades c. three straight national championships d. four straight national championships

Contest Rules

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Traditions

Black, White and Crimson

ALL OVER

Amanda Kelly

W

KHQWKH7LGHSOD\VDWKRPHIDLWKIXOIDQVĂ RFNWR Bryant Denny Stadium to cheer their team on. Watching before kickoff, one can see the stadium VORZO\VWDUWWRĂ&#x20AC;OOZLWKDVHDRIFULPVRQZKLWHDQGKRXQGVWRRWK DVIDQVWDNHWKHLUVHDWV$QGDVWKHWHDPWDNHVWKHĂ&#x20AC;HOGWKRVH proud fans stand up and let out a roar for their Crimson Tide. A fashionably dressed Southern Belle is rumored to be the reason for the shade of red we know as the University of Alabamaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s crimson. According to a 1950 story in the Birmingham News, in 1885 Mary Fern was sponsoring a competition in New Orleans. UAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Company E cadets were to participate in the drill competition, and Fern asked what their team colors were so she could dress to match. When she heard the cadets wore a uniform of black, gray and white, it is rumored she replied, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Black is too funeral, and gray is too neutral.â&#x20AC;? She donned a crimson, gray and white dress for the competition instead.

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When the University started its football program in 1892, the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uniforms were crimson stockings, white pants and a white sweater with a large crimson â&#x20AC;&#x153;U of A.â&#x20AC;? With the teamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early success, it was decided the colors would be kept. An early student publication called â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Journalâ&#x20AC;? said in an editorial, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cheer for the white and red boys as you would for Dixie.â&#x20AC;? In the â&#x20AC;&#x153;History of the University of Alabama,â&#x20AC;? by James Sellers, it LVVDLGWKHVFKRROZDVSUHVHQWHGZLWKD´à DJRIWKHFROOHJH FRORUVÂľE\DORFDOODZĂ&#x20AC;UPLQFHPHQWLQJWKHSODFHRI crimson and white in the traditions of the Tide. +RXQGVWRRWKĂ&#x20AC;UVWEHFDPHDVVRFLDWHGZLWKWKH8QLYHUVLW\ because of Paul â&#x20AC;&#x153;Bearâ&#x20AC;? Bryant and his famous hat. He wore the houndstooth fedora during many games while he was the Tideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head coach. Although fans considered Bryantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s headgear his trademark, it was noticeably absent during 1975 Sugar Bowl. It ZDVWKHĂ&#x20AC;UVWWLPHWKHERZOJDPHKDGHYHUEHHQSOD\HGLQWKH Louisiana Superdome. When asked after the game why he 3+272*5$3+<%<%'/


hadn’t worn the hat, Bryant said, “My mother always taught me not to wear a hat indoors.” Fans began wearing the replicas of the iconic hat in honor of their beloved coach. Over time, the pattern has spread to all types of attire. Houndstooth dresses, skirts, shoes, headbands and other items have become popular accessories. Their appeal is not limited gameday wear, as houndstooth has recently become a popular pattern in fashion. No matter the trends, however, Bama fans will always bleed crimson, white and houndstooth.

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Opponents

Views From the Other Side

T

N

Jennifer Gorham

umber 51 on the Gator’s defense is Brandon Spikes. He is a senior linebacker weighing in at 258 pounds with a 6foot-3 stature. Spikes will have his competition cut out for him, battling against Rolando McClain in the SEC Championship game, according to Rivals.com. He had some minor setbacks earlier in the season because of an Achilles-tendon injury and strained groin, and he was also required to sit out against Vanderbilt after an eye-gauging incident against the Georgia Bulldogs. Spikes has 53 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions so far this season. He has made 35 appearances with 27 starts as a linebacker. In his first three seasons, Spikes had a total of 239 tackles with 142 solo. He has totaled 25 tackles for loss with 3.5 quarterback sacks. As far as this season goes, Spikes has forced one fumble, recovered three fumbles, has four interceptions returned for 93 yards and has two touchdowns. Nick Saban commented on Spikes’ defense coming into the SEC Championship game. “He’s big. He’s fast. He’s very athletic and he is very instinctive,” Saban said. “He is sort of their leader on defense and he understands very well what and how they do what they do. He’s an outstanding play maker, but he is a physical, tough guy. I think he does a good job at directing their defensive team and being the leader of their team, as well as being the guy that has outstanding ability to make big plays. He makes a lot of them.”

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he University of Florida’s senior quarterback, Tim Tebow, has been compared to Superman, because he has proven to be outstanding on and off the field. Not only is he known for being a gridiron star, he is also known for his strong Christian values and morals. He wears the number 15 jersey for the Florida Gators. In 2007, Tebow was the only sophomore to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, the Davey O’Brien Award, the Maxwell Award and the Sullivan Award. Besides those awards, he has more under his belt, including the Disney’s Wide World of Sports® Spirit Award, the Manning Award and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year Award for the 2008 season. This season he is again a Heisman candidate and a finalist for the Manning Award. He is the only player in NCAA history to rush and pass for at least 20 touchdowns in a season. He threw for 6,390 yards and 67 touchdowns in his first three seasons, while gaining 2,037 yards on the ground with 43 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers landed him with a school record. He is also the only quarterback in the Gator’s history to rush for 100 yards in three games, and he did so in both 2007 and 2008. Rolando McClain commented on facing Tebow for the second year in a row. “He’s just a fierce competitor and that’s something I admire in him,” McClain said. “Whether it’s on Florida’s offense or defense, he always finds a way to pick either side up and that’s big, especially for a quarterback. That’s something I admire in him. Last year it was tough game and in the fourth quarter I think his leadership put them over the edge. In the end they got the victory.” Throughout his career, Tebow has piled up 8,556 yards and 84 touchdowns, with 2,166 yards and 17 touchdowns this year alone. In last Saturday’s game against Florida State University, Tebow made 17 of 21 passes for 221 yards and scored three touchdowns in his final game in the Swamp. PHOTOGRAPHY BY University of Florida Athletics


Players

Player Spotlight:

Leigh Tiffin W

Katie Koenig

ith championship-caliber teams come championshipcaliber players. Most of the hype surrounding potential award winners on this year’s squad has centered on Mark Ingram’s Heisman campaign, but there are several other outstanding players deserving of praise and prizes. One such player is Alabama’s kicker, Leigh Tiffin. Senior Tiffin is a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, which goes to the country’s top place-kicker. “I wanted to have a good year and be at least 80 percent,” Tiffin said. “Being a Groza finalist wasn’t really one of my main goals.” A “good year” is putting it mildly. Tiffin is currently 27-of31 for attempted field goals with an 87 percent success rate, according to ESPN.com. He is also 36-of-38 for extra point attempts and has scored a total of 117 points so far this season. While being a finalist may not have been Tiffin’s goal for the season, he is aware of the incredible numbers he and the team have been putting up. “You hate to say you were expecting it, but I mean I wasn’t really surprised by it because we’ve had a good year and tried so many kicks,” Tiffin said. Getting ready to play in big games like the upcoming match against Florida is something Tiffin is used to by now. Rivalry games such as last week’s against Auburn are a taste of the atmosphere the team can expect in Atlanta. “It’s great,” Tiffin said. “It’s always fun to be part of an atmosphere like that and something people are passionate about because that’s what makes it important. The tension and the anxiety and all that are what make it fun. If that wasn’t there then nobody would really care.” Tiffin had big shoes to fill when he came to campus, and he has done so in a remarkable manner. Tiffin’s father, Van Tiffin, was the placekicker at the University from 1983 to 1986. While Van Tiffin was playing for the Crimson Tide, he set a few records, including the school record for longest field goal of 57 yards and never missing an extra point attempt, with a total of 135 extra points. The younger Tiffin has been busy making his own records at Alabama in the past few years. Tiffin became the all-time leading scorer for the University during the LSU game when he kicked a field goal to bring his total to 350 points. He had to surpass his father’s record at Alabama along the way. Playing the same position at the same school can leave some players in the shadow of their father, especially one as notable as Van Tiffin, who is known for making a 52-yard field PHOTOGRAPHY BY BDL

“Being a Groza finalist wasn’t really one of my goals.” - Leigh Tiffin

goal at the end of regulation in the 1985 Iron Bowl to give Alabama a 25-23 victory over the Tigers. Tiffin said he has had a chance to discuss one of the biggest moments in Alabama history with his father. “I’ve talked to him about it before,” Tiffin said. “He told me it was basically the only kick ever where he felt like he was almost having an out of body experience. It just kind of happened so fast it was a blur.” Tiffin said he has never been jealous of his father’s special moment, though. “I don’t envy him at all,” Tiffin said. “I’m proud for him. That’s a great something, that’s what he’ll always be remembered for. That’s what you want.” Tiffin won’t have to worry about being remembered by the Tide faithful. Alabama fans have countless standout moments from Tiffin’s college career to choose from, and with two more games to go, his most-remembered kick may be yet to come. touchdownalabama.net |

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Touchdown Alabama Magazine - Florida 2009