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Alabama’s Premier College Football Magazine

February 2010

The Tide Rises To The Top

TOUCHDOWNALABAMA.NET

Volume 3, Issue 1 $3.00

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E N N I W ram N A Ing M IS ark E H M


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February 2010 | Volume 3, Issue 1

In This Issue 8

President/Publisher

The Next Step

10

Mark Ingram

14

Defense Delivers

18

Season in Review

23

Marcell Dareus

26

Recruiting Success

30

Bama Fans

Staff

Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Photography

Bennie Bice Mike Lacy Jessica Temple BDL Mark Lent Matt Gaston

Creative Director Graphic Design Chief Information Officer Website Designer

Jenifer McCormick Cassandra Johnson

Public Relations

Eric Hudson Katelyn Clark Drew Franklin Christopher Wilson

Brian LaShomb Carey Landon

Advertising Director Advertising Sales

Herb Neu Ron Bush Leslie Housely Alex Schroyer

Contributing Writers

Troy Farsoun Jennifer Gorham Anthony Johnson Amanda Kelly Mike Parker Coe Robbins

Reporters

Jordan Eichenblatt Angel Hufham Victoria Sheehan

M U L T I M E D I A Next Issue • Our 2010 season starts with the A-Day issue!

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.


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Saban Raises the 2010 BCS National Championship Trophy

Coach Saban and the team celebrated their victory over Texas in the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game and UA’s 13th national title in Bryant-Denny Stadium on January 13. About 38,000 fans joined them for the event. Photography by Matt Gaston.

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.”


Letter from the Editor: In 2007, about the time the real estate market bubble busted, I made a decision to leave Illinois after working in the civil engineering field there for 10 years. After looking at the job market and losing my father and mother the previous years, I was searching for something different in life. It was also about that time Nick Saban was hired to take over the reins at Alabama. A diehard Crimson Tide fan my entire life, I knew he was a coach that could turn the program around. Upon hearing the news, I came down to University of Alabama and applied to enroll that following fall semester, working towards an additional degree. Once here, I immediately got involved with the Crimson White, the student newspaper, as a photographer. Prior to working in the civil engineering field, I worked as a photographer while I was attending University Nevada, Las Vegas as an undergraduate. While going to school, I worked for The Rebel Yell Newspaper and the Las Vegas Magazine. So, one day on campus at the Capstone in 2007, I read a blurb in the Crimson White that a student had started a magazine. I was inquisitive and set up a meeting with Bennie Bice. Looking at the magazine and talking to him about it, I realized that I could possibly help him out. We both loved Alabama football and we were in the engineering field. Bennie looked at my background and asked if I could help out. Cordially, I obliged. Given the opportunities and challenges associated with this magazine, I have been gracefully accepted by the people of Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. I want to thank the many people who consulted with this magazine and our web site (Touchdownalabama.net). Moreover, my thanks goes to every staff member who put in the long hours, week in and week out, working on our publication during last year’s football season. Unprecedented, we published on time a weekly magazine from September to December, covering the University of Alabama’s football team. I asked a lot from each department and received more than I expected. This, of all my endeavors in life, has been the most rewarding and I am grateful to be a part of this staff! Yes, it is not a five person

Twitter:

2010 National Ch a mpions

Unprecedented Season in More Ways than One!

operation; it is a collaboration of people, ideas and their hard work that has to come together at an exact time each week for it to become successful! Furthermore, coming from a large family, I am very grateful to make many new friends along the way. It has been a very memorable experience for me. Finally, and to the point, It has been a pleasure covering, supporting and finally watching the University of Alabama’s football team bring home a National Championship in my tenure. Above all though, we would have not been able to put this together this season if it were not for the support of our readers and advertisers. Roll Tide Roll!

Mike Lacy Editor-in Chief

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

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The

Next Step

Troy Farsoun

E

ven the most rabid Alabama fan will admit that seventeen years is a long time to wait for a national title. The wait was an eternity for those who remember the days of Paul “Bear” Bryant, who brought national championships and conference titles to Tuscaloosa with numbing regularity. Gene Stallings was the last to bring home the title in 1993, and the years that followed brought— among other things—the incorporation of the BCS system, a variety of NCAA infractions that crippled the Alabama program and drove Stallings into retirement, and multiple coaching changes that sent recruits looking elsewhere. Fans watched as Tennessee, LSU, and hated Auburn garnered national attention for their top programs while Alabama fell into the depths of mediocrity as it posted one disappointing season after another. As Coach Mike Shula’s 2006 team fell for the fifth time against Auburn at Bryant-Denny Stadium, the time for a change was no longer a fleeting desire to satisfy the grumblings of a program with questionably high standards. It had become a necessity. Three years after the hiring of Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide now resides in a familiar place at the peak of college football, returning pride to a program nearly two decades removed from an epic Sugar Bowl victory over Miami. With six 2009

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

All-Americans—including Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram—the nation’s top defense, and most of the starters returning for 2010, there is little doubt that the program has taken a positive turn since going 6-7 in 2006. “It makes me feel very proud to add to the great tradition of the University of Alabama, something significant in this time, and we feel like there’s a tremendous responsibility and obligation to having a high standard of excellence in terms of what we do and how we do it,” Saban told Tuscaloosa News, “Because of that tradition, it makes me feel very good that we’ve been able to contribute to that in a positive way.” After producing an undefeated season, a Heisman trophy winner, and a national championship, it may be hard to top the accomplishments of 2009. With the departure of nose-guard Terrance “Mount” Cody and Butkus award winner Rolando McClain to the NFL, Saban will have his work cut out for him in rebuilding a stingy Alabama defense that allowed an average of only 11.7 points per game. Fortunately, he’ll have defensive coordinator Kirby Smart remaining on staff after turning down the same job at Georgia. Another top-tier recruiting class should also aid in the process and further Alabama’s hold on the SEC. The reigning national champions will face their share of challenges in the 2010 season. After the PHOTOGRAPHY BY Matt GASTON


2010 National Ch a mpions

opener against San Jose State, the Tide will face the legendary Joe Paterno and his Penn State Nittany Lions on September 11th in a non-conference clash of old foes. The two teams haven’t faced one another since 1990, which ended in an Alabama shutout. History plays a part in this game as well: Paterno stalked the Penn State sideline during the infamous goal line stand of the 1979 Sugar Bowl against Coach Paul Bryant. Bama leads the all-time series 8-5. As always the 2010 schedule is loaded with SEC powerhouse opponents, including a Florida team sure to be hungry for revenge after an embarrassing loss at the SEC championship game. The Gators will be without quarterback Tim Tebow, however, and possibly without Coach Urban Meyer, who took an indefinite leave of absence after the 2009 season. Also, Arkansas could prove the sleeper team of the year as the Razorbacks return the

strong-armed Ryan Mallet, who could become a top NFL prospect if head coach Bobby Patrino can bring a set of sure-handed receivers to round-out his offense. Lane Kiffin seems to have his Tennessee team on the rise, as Alabama needed a blocked field goal to seal their undefeated season this year. Les Miles may be coaching for his job at LSU next season, and beating Nick Saban may be the boost he needs to keep it. The SEC’s biggest surprise, however, could be the Auburn Tigers, who led the Crimson Tide until the final minutes of the fourth quarter in this year’s Iron Bowl. A difficult road lies ahead for Alabama. To repeat as national champions would set the Tide on par with Bear Bryants’ teams of the ‘60s and ‘70s. But—as the 2009 season could attest—a single misstep could spell doom to Alabama’s perfect record. And there is no harder fall than from the top.

“It makes me feel very proud to add to the great tradition of the University of Alabama.”

- Nick Saban

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Amanda Kelly

Mark

Ingram A Championship Run

T

he Crimson Tide’s first Heisman Trophy winner may be a yankee, but no one seems to mind. Sophomore running back Mark Ingram has become the center of attention for a fan base that has patiently waited for the rise of the Tide. Although he has been pretty well known amongst football fans, Ingram says that his popularity soared after he won the award. “Everywhere you go somebody recognizes you, or wants you to take a picture, or wants you to sign something,” he said after winning. “It just comes with it.” The third straight sophomore to win the coveted award, Ingram seemed shocked, yet grateful, as he first hugged his mother and grandparents, and then Coach Saban as he made his 10

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

way to the stage at the trophy presentation ceremony. Slow to begin speaking, he received encouraging words such as “It’s alright, take your time,” and “Welcome to the family!” from the previous Heisman winners already on stage. “Good evening everybody,” Ingram finally started. “I’m just a little overwhelmed right now, I’m sorry. It’s a great honor to be a member of the Heisman fraternity. I’m just so excited to bring Alabama their first Heisman winner.” Ingram was forced to pause again as the emotion took him over, and the crowd filed the silence with cheers. He seemed in awe of what was happening. He had just won the Heisman Trophy. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Matt GASTON & BDL


After joining the team, Ingram proved he would be able to Ingram hasn’t always been so well known. Born and step in and fill the spot that would eventually be left open by raised in Michigan, Ingram grew up in a football family. His Glenn Coffee. He began playing as a true freshman and father, Mark Ingram, Sr., played football at Michigan State recorded impressive numbers right away. Half way through University and went on to win a Super Bowl with the New the season, Ingram seemed to be getting as much, if not more, York Giants in the NFL. Unfortunately Ingram, Sr. was notice as popular, true freshman receiver Julio Jones. arrested for bank fraud and money laundering. After being Jones was considered the top recruit in Alabama’s 2008 sentenced in 2008, he failed to report to jail to serve his signing class, but once they both arrived at Alabama and time. He was a fugitive for nearly a year before he was began playing, some of the spotlight shifted to Ingram. In fact arrested in a Flint, Mich., hotel room. When asked why he as their second season with the team progressed, many were went on the run, Ingram, Sr. stated he had wanted to watch questioning why Jones was not being utilized more. Jones his son play in the 2008 SEC has no problem sharing the spotlight Championship Game against the with his teammate, however, whom he Florida Gators. “Everywhere you go praised for bringing some of the glory A CBS interview with the father and back to Tuscaloosa. somebody recognizes you, or son highlighted the lessons both have “I knew all along that he was going learned from Ingram, Sr.’s ordeal. to win (the Heisman),” Jones said. “I wants you to take a picture, “He used to be so hard on me all the was hoping he would anyway.  It’s great time, so rough on me and I didn’t really that Mark won and brought in the first or wants you to sign someunderstand it, and he always said that I Heisman Trophy here.  I am really would love him for it later,” the younger happy for him.” thing,” he said after winning. Ingram said during the interview. “Now that I’m getting older, I kind of underA Charging Elephant “It just comes with it.” stand it.” One of Ingram’s most impressive “He has to be his own person, be his talents has been his ability to gain yards own man, take and learn from what I’ve after initial contact. Nearly half of his done by the mistakes that I’ve made,” rushing yards for the season came after Ingram, Sr. said. the first defender made contact. Ingram’s skill, speed and Following his father’s words of advice, Ingram went on to strength have made him nearly impossible to bring down. become a breakout star in high school. He ran for ran for A recent segment of “Sport Science” featured on ESPN’S 1,700 yards and 24 touchdown his senior year. Ingram set “College Football Live” highlighted the technical reasons single-game city records for total rushing yards (377) and behind Ingram’s success. During a breakdown of an imprestotal touchdowns (7). He also received a number of MVP and sive run against South Carolina, the show highlighted All-America honors locally and gained national recognition as Ingram’s ability to gain yards after contact. Once he has started running, they demonstrated that it would take force of a recruit. Ingram was one of the nation’s top recruits when he nearly 1,000 pounds to bring Ingram down, a nearly imposagreed to play for Nick Saban at Alabama.

In the Beginning

2010 National Ch a mpions


sible task for a solo defender. Other Ingram skills highlighted during the piece included quick eyes to scan the field for defenders and holes, and an ability to make quick cuts at high speeds. These, combined with his elephant-like charge, make him a force to be reckoned with.

Teamwork

As much as credit is given to Ingram, equal praise is deserved by the Tide’s offensive line. Ingram himself praised them during his acceptance speech, thanking the offensive line for their help all season. Left guard Mike Johnson felt the excitement of the day of the ceremony while keeping in touch with the rest of the offensive line. “We were all separated, but we were all texting and calling each other,” Johnson said. “When it came down to it, we were all calling and texting right there when it happened and you wouldn’t have seen a happier group of guys than what we were.” With the questions surrounding the offensive line pre-season, Johnson’s excitement at Ingram’s win is understood. Having to fill a number of empty slots, including one left by Outland Trophy winner Andre Smith, the Tide started the season with an untested offensive line and a lot of work to do. “We just came in and did a lot of work in the offseason, and a lot of work throughout the year to just keep getting better,” Johnson said. “Just to see it kind of pay off in that one moment for Mark, we couldn’t be more proud of him. He is a class act and he gives all the credit to the offensive line a lot and we appreciate that from him and he has been a pleasure to block for.”

Heisman Curse

After a disappointing game against bitter rival Auburn, during which he spent a lot of time injured on the sideline, many 12

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believed Ingram was out of the Heisman race. During the SEC Championship game that followed, however, he played as if he had a point to prove. He totaled 191 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the Tide’s 32-13 victory over the top ranked Florida Gators. To many, his performance in the SEC Championship won Ingram the Heisman. The doubters did not jump on the Ingram bandwagon after the Heisman presentation, however. There were whispers of the dreaded Heisman curse following Ingram to Pasadena. Before him, six of the last seven Heisman winners that played in the big game had lost. But that streak ended with Ingram. Never was his strength more on display than against the Texas Longhorns during the BCS National Championship Game. After a slow start, the Tide’s offensive pulled together to score 31 points in the victory over Texas. Ingram was chosen as the Offensive MVP of the game after rushing 22 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns, despite suffering leg cramps. “He was cramping up a little bit in the game,” Coach Saban said afterwards. “He’s a great competitor and he certainly wanted to go back in the game and we certainly needed him to. It worked out for us.” With Ingram and his teammates playing their hardest, the Tide was able to bring home their 13th National Championship. To Ingram, the crystal ball is the best trophy he could bring home all year, including his Heisman. “The Heisman was kind of shocking and something I never really expected coming into this year,” Ingram said.”It was a great honor to win the trophy but it was more than just a trophy, too. It was overcoming adversity. A lot of the emotion came from that. This national championship was more everybody. I was so happy to leave my heart out there for the team, and blood, sweat and tears.” PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY EVANS


S

ophmore defensive end Marcell Dareus was named defensice MVP for the 2010 Citi BCS National Championship Game. Just four minutes into the game, Dareus made the play that arguably determined the outcome of the event. Assisted by Cory Reamer, Dareus made a hit on Texas quarterback Colt McCoy that took McCoy out of the game. “I just heard a thump when I hit him,” Dareus said. “I did lay it down pretty hard. I didn’t try to, but it felt great.” The hit injured the quarterback’s shoulder. He lost feeling in his arm and spent the rest of the night on the sidelines.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY BDL

Backup quarterback, freshman Garrett Gilbert, played the rest of the game for the Longhorns. At the end the second quarter, Gilbert gave up the second of four interceptions he allowed during the game. Dareus made the catch and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown, giving the Crimson Tide a 24-6 lead at the half. This was Dareus’s first score of the season, and his first interception as well. Dareus, out of Huffman, Ala., was not widely recruited out of high school, but has made a place for himself with the Tide. He has 33 tackles, including 19 unassisted, and 6.5 sacks for a total loss of 44 yards on the season.

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2010 National Ch a mpions

MARCELL DAREUS Most Outstanding Player


Coe Robbins

Defense DELIVERS Strong Defense, Consistent Running Gives Alabama Its First BCS Title

I

t’s been the same plan all year long. Play good defense and run the football. Jan. 7 was no different for Alabama as they defeated Texas 37-21 to claim their first BCS national title and the school’s 13th overall national championship. “It’s real special (to win it) for our entire team and our entire organization,” running back Mark Ingram said. “Since we lost to Utah last year, Coach said what do you want to be remembered as? Well, we had our mind set on going undefeated and winning the National Championship and winning the SEC Championship. Just the fact that we went out there and we worked every day and we had a common goal that we wanted to accomplish, it’s real sweet that we’re here and we took advantage of the opportunity.” The first possession did not start off well for the Tide as the offense managed to go three-and-out and a failed attempt at a fake punt gave the Texas offense great field position at Alabama’s 37 yard line. It was the fifth offensive play for Texas when Heisman finalist Colt McCoy ran an option to the left side and Alabama’s Marcel Dareus hit McCoy in his throwing arm, causing McCoy to come out of the game with an injury. Coach Nick Saban said that when McCoy went down, the game plan didn’t change but adjustments were needed. “They ran two speed sweeps to number 26 that were both big plays in the first half, and we really hadn’t prepared for that,” Saban said. “We weren’t in good position and contained on either one of those plays, so we made some adjustments at halftime.” Both Dareus and McCoy were surprised by the injury. “I really didn’t know that Colt was hurt,” Dareus said. “(I didn’t realize) he wasn’t playing anymore until I got to the sideline a couple plays after.” 14

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

“I’ve taken a lot of hits my whole career,” McCoy said. “He just caught me in the right spot. They told me it was a nerve injury. I had no feeling in my arm.” At the 10:54 mark in the first quarter, McCoy’s absence brought in freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert who had managed to play mainly clean up for Texas this past season. A goal line stand, an on-side kick and a three-and-out after McCoy was sidelined gave the Crimson Tide’s defense a lot of confidence to hold the limited Longhorn offense to two field goals in the first quarter. Gilbert finished the first half with -4 yards passing and an interception. It was in the second quarter that Alabama took control of the game, scoring 24 unanswered points. The first score came from a two-yard run by Ingram to give the lead that they would never relinquish. “I was so happy to leave my heart out there for the team, and blood, sweat and tears. We were out there running 110 sprints in 110 degree heat. We were like, why are we doing this?” Ingram said. “Tonight was what it was all for, and just to know all the hard work paid off, it was more of just togetherness and a family and a feeling of all our brothers just being able to accomplish this together was real sweet for all of us.” Ingram finished the day with 116 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He became the sixth player in college football since 1950 to win the Heisman and the National Championship in the same year. But Ingram had some help from freshman Trent Richardson when two drives after Ingram’s TD, Richardson scored on a 49-yard scamper to extend Alabama’s lead 14-6. “We just thrive off of each other, and even in practice,” Ingram said. “When somebody is working hard and running sprints, we push each other and it helps us tremendously to PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON


third quarter and saw the lead shrink to three when Gilbert connected from 44 yards out to receiver Jordan Shipley in the third quarter and again from 28 yards in the fourth with a successful two-point conversion. “I think we got tired on defense in the third quarter,” Saban said. “They’ve got a great team, a really competitive team, and you’ve got to give their team a lot of credit for the heart that they showed in coming back in the game and had a chance to win the game. They had the ball and down three points, they had a chance to come back and win the game.” The key play came with 3:08 left on the clock when senior Eryk Anders came from the blind side untouched to sack Gilbert and force a fumble recovered by Courtney Upshaw at the Texas three. It was all cruise control from there as Alabama finished the game with two more touchdowns and two interceptions to seal the win. Even though Saban becomes the first SEC coach to win two national titles at two different schools, it doesn’t change the fact of whom this is all for. touchdownalabama.net |

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2010 National Ch a mpions

“I think that our fans, our players, our coaches, to have the opportunity to experience this at this time, I know it means a lot to a lot of people because of the passion that they have, and that’s what makes the University of Alabama a unique place.” - Nick Saban

elevate our games to different levels. It’s going to be nothing but headaches for defense next year, next year or two.” After Leigh Tiffin hit a 26-yard field goal with 29 seconds to go in the half, making the score 17-6, a bizarre sequence unfolded just before halftime. On a second down play, Gilbert attempted a shovel pass to their running back when it was bobbled and fell into the mitts of Marcel Dareus who proceeded to stiff arm Gilbert and spin off another defender to rumble 28 yards and score another touchdown with just three seconds left on the clock. “They tried to shovel pass and Brandon Deaderick caught the running back while he was fumbling it, and my first reaction was grab the ball,” Dareus said. “And then after that I blanked out, and all I was thinking about is Mark Ingram and Javier (Arenas) and just doing moves I didn’t think I could do. I was like, ‘I can’t believe I pulled off that screen.’ I saw that lineman coming for my legs, and my first reaction was to spin. I looked to my left and I saw Eryk Anders, I knew it was a touchdown. I could not wait to get to the end zone.” “Coach called a run play and then called that little shovel play just to see if we could bust something open,” Glibert said. “I forced the ball in there and needed to make a smarter play on that one.” In the second half, Texas began their march back into the game. The Tide offense managed zero first downs in the


2010 National Ch a mpions PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON


Season in

REVIEW What led the team to the title?

The path to Pasadena laid out game-by-game 18

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010


Alabama defense held the Mean Green to seven first downs while the offense scored five touchdowns. The Tide passed for 264 yards and rushed for 260 yards. The team started off with a turnover, then Greg McElroy started the scoring with a two-yard scramble to put seven on the scoreboard. After that, they had three straight touchdown passes. Marquis Maze caught a 34-yard pass and Trent Richardson rushed 38 yards into scoring territory. Mark Ingram gained 108 yards and had a 29-yard reception to end the first half. Star Jackson gained valuable playing time as quarterback during the last possession of the first half and completed 5-of-6 passes for 30 yards.

Florida International No. 4 Alabama went into their home opener and dominated the Florida International Golden Panthers with more than 500 yards of offense. Mike McCoy scored the first touchdown and Leigh Tiffin kicked to tie his father’s record of 59 yards and to tie for third place in Alabama history for career field goals. True freshman Trent Richardson made his debut on hometown turf with two rushing touchdowns in the second half. Javier Arenas had a 49-yard punt return and Terry Grant rushed for a 42-yard touchdown to total 275 yards for the Tide. The final score ended up 40-14 for the Tide’s domination.

Arkansas

The Tide was ranked fifth in the preseason and went into the first game against the No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies, only to play a back-and-forth game. The Hokies were in the lead at halftime with a 17-16 score. During the fourth quarter the Tide jumped ahead with a 10-point lead. Mark Ingram ran his career-best 150 yards during this game and Greg McElroy made his first start for the Crimson Tide and completed 13-of-18 passes. Leigh Tiffin made four field goals and Roy Upchurch scored the first touchdown on a 19-yard run. The Crimson Tide pulled off the win with a score of 34-24 in the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

North Texas

This was the second straight game that the Tide rolled out 500 total yards in a game, as they defeated the Mean Green with a score of 53-7. The

Jennifer Gorham

Virginia Tech PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON, MARK LENT & BDL

This game was the beginning of the SEC battles that would take place in Bryant-Denny Stadium this season. The third-ranked Tide dulled the Razorback’s edge with a win of 35-7. Greg McElroy had a career-high 291 yards during this game. He completed 17-of-24 passes and threw for 80, 50 and 14 yards without interceptions. Alabama’s rushing game was not left out, with Trent Richardson carrying 9 times for 65 yards and Mark Ingram finishing the game with 71 yards and two touchdowns. Alabama’s defense was key in the first half, allowing only 101 yards of total offense for the Razorbacks, resulting in punts on every possession they had. Javier Arenas led the pack with four tackles, three for a loss of at least 25 yards. He had two consecutive sacks for the first time in his career.

Florida Intn’l

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2010 National Ch a mpions

Virginia Tech


North Texas

Kentucky

This game was the Tide’s first test against an SEC team on the road, but the Tide pounced on the Wildcats with a 38-20 victory. This was the fifth time Alabama scored over 30 points during the season. Rolando McClain led the defense with 12 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Colin Peek had six catches for 65 yards and a touchdown while Courtney Upshaw recovered a fumble for a score. Mark Ingram scampered ahead of the team with 140 yards on 22 carries for two touchdowns.

Mississippi The Tide taught the Rebels to behave with a score of 22-3 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Leigh Tiffin kicked five field goals, which left him trailing the school record holder, Philip Doyle, by 11. The Tide’s defense stood strong for the first half, only allowing 19 yards of total offense for Ole Miss. Kareem Jackson had the 10th-longest interception return with 79 yards. Mark Ingram led the 355 yards of total offense with 190 yards on his own, and also scored the only touchdown of the game

Arkansas

for a career-high 246 yards on 24 carries, the most yards ever held by an Alabama back at Bryant-Denny Stadium. He carried the ball for six plays that led the team 68 yards for the winning touchdown. Greg McElroy threw two interceptions and lost a fumbled snap before halftime. Lorenzo Washington forced a 50-yard field goal after sacking Stephen Garcia, the Gamecock’s quarterback, on South Carolina’s final play of the fourth quarter. Alabama’s defense had five sacks, with Tyrone King leading the team with 1.5. The Tide sealed the deal with 356 total offensive yards and completed 10-of-12 passes for 92 yards

Tennessee This game proved to be a true test for Alabama’s defense. The Tide pulled off the win against the Vols with a score of 12-10. Terrence Cody blocked his second field goal as time expired to seal the deal. The No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide kept the undefeated season alive with this win. The end was near when the Vol’s safety Eric Berry stripped a fumble on Ingram and recovered, leading the Vols down the field for an 11-yard touchdown reception and South Carolina shrinking the gap to two points. Tennessee The Gamecocks came equipped to shut was forced to go for an onside kick, which the Tide down on their own turf for they recovered and eventually set up field homecoming, but fell short of the task. The goal range. There was not a touchdown No. 2 Alabama team came away with a 20-6 made during the game, but Leigh Tiffin win. This game proved to be a defensive added points to the board with four field battle, with the only touchdown made by goals. Javier Arenas led the game on Mark Ingram late in the game. He rushed defense with 13 tackles, one sack and 3.5

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Tennessee | TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

LSU

Kentuc

for loss. Mark Barron had eight tackles and one interception. This game proved to be the Tide’s toughest competition at home thus far

LSU

The Tide slipped to No. 3 just in time to take on the No. 9 Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The Tide’s 24-15 win over the Tigers sealed the SEC Western Division title and a second trip to the SEC Championship game. This game was a change of pace, with the Tide trailing in the fourth quarter. McElroy hit Darius Hanks with a 21-yard pass to put the Tide on top with a score of 10-7. McElroy was tagged with intentional grounding in the end zone to cut the lead to 10-9. Ingram carried the ball eight of 11 plays and gained 53 yards to set Leigh Tiffin up for a 20-yard field goal. That changed the lead to 15-13 with 12 minutes on the clock. Julio Jones scampered down the sideline for a 73-yard touchdown. The Tide went for a two-point conversion and handed the ball to Trent Richardson, who ran straight to the end zone to make the lead 21-15. Tiffin added a 40-yard field goal. Alabama’s defense held the Tigers by not allowing a first down to be made. Ingram carried 22 times for 144 yards and had five catches for 30 yards to end the game. Jones had four catches for 102 yards. Marquis Maze proved to be the Tide’s best offensive player in the first half with six catches for 88 yards. Rolando McClain led the team with nine tackles and Marcel Dareus had two of the Tide’s three sacks

Mississippi


Mississippi

ky

As the Mississippi State Bulldogs pulled out a blackout for the Tide on their own turf, they couldn’t pull off the win. While the Tide was faced with a record crowd of 58,103 fans in Davis-Wade Stadium, it didn’t shake their ability to bring their “A” game. Ingram rushed for 149 yards on 19 attempts with two touchdowns. His second touchdown was a stunning 70-yard, one-play touchdown drive. Greg McElroy threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns for the night. He completed 13-of-18 passes. The Tide’s receivers managed more than 40 yards including two for touchdowns by Julio Jones and Darius Hanks. On the defensive side, Rolando McClain racked up 10 tackles including three for a loss while Mark Barron had a pair of interceptions late in the game. The final score was 31-3.

Tennessee-Chattanooga

The final game for the Tide at home proved to be a good one. The Tide rolled over Chattanooga 45-0, with Javier Arenas scoring his seventh career punt return touchdown to break the SEC record. The Crimson Tide scored five touchdowns on five straight possessions in the first half. Greg McElroy connected with Julio Jones on a pass of 44 yards to set running back Mark Ingram up for a 25-yard touchdown rush to the end zone. Arenas darted into the end zone on a 66-yard rush in the second half, which gave him the SEC

State

record. He also intercepted a pass and returned it for 22 yards to keep the Mocs at bay. Star Jackson saw playing time as quarterback while Leigh Tiffin matched his own single-season field goal mark of 25 and tied the record for field goals at 78. The rest of the game proved to be a defensive domination as Roy Upchurch scored the final touchdown with a 21-yard rush. He carried 17 times for 70 yards. Demetrius Goode had 11 carries for 70 yards and Rolando McClain had seven tackles in the shutout

being first down passes. On the thirdand-goal from the Tiger’s four, McElroy aligned with Roy Upchurch to create one of the most memorable plays of Iron Bowl history

Florida

The game that paved the Tide’s way to Pasadena took place at the Georgia Dome when the No. 1 Florida Gators fell to the No. 2 Crimson Tide, with a final score of 32-13. This game gave the Tide its first league title since 1999 and left Alabama with a perfect season. Alabama now has Auburn an SEC title for every decade since Alabama took on their bitter rival, the winning the league’s first title in 1933. It Auburn Tigers, in the Iron Bowl at was the first time in the history of the Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tide came out SEC Championship Game that both on top with a 26-21 victory. The game teams came in undefeated. The Tide was the Tide’s most challenging road trip racked up 490 yards of total offense. Greg of the season, with the winning score McElroy threw for 239 yards and a coming with only a minute and 24 touchdown on 12 completions. He was seconds left on the clock. The Tide didn’t named the game’s most valuable player. have a first down until Greg McElroy Mark Ingram rushed for 113 yards on 28 connected with Darius Hanks for a carries. He was pronounced the Tide’s 15-yard gain late in the first quarter. all-time-single-season rushing leader with McElroy also connected with Colin Peek 1,542 yards. He was the first rusher to go on a 33-yard touchdown pass that set up over 1,500 yards in a single season. He Leigh Tiffin for an extra point that tied had three touchdowns that tied an SEC the game at 14-14. He kicked for another Championship Game record. Marquis three points putting the Tide ahead Maze had five catches for 96 yards. Mark 21-17. Mark Barron intercepted the ball Barron had seven tackles, Kareem and returned it to the 35-yard line. The Jackson had six tackles and Rolando Tide fell short but Tiffin made his second McClain finished it up with five tackles. field goal of the game. Julio Jones drove Alabama’s 22 championships ranks first 78 yards down on 16 plays with four in SEC history.

Tennessee-Chattanooga

Auburn

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2010 National Ch a mpions

Mississippi State

South Carolina


What Might Have Been…

Anthony Johnson

T

Colt McCoy’s painful ending

exas senior quarterback Colt McCoy had waited his entire life for this moment. He wanted, better yet, he demanded one more chance to add the BCS crystal trophy to his legacy in Austin. He came to a crossroads one season ago where he made the painstaking decision of whether to declare for the National Football League, or forgo the chance of a lifetime, and take a risk of being injured by returning for his senior season in Austin. McCoy vehemently denied that his return to the Longhorns was about anything other than winning a national championship. He had been denied the Heisman Trophy one season ago, losing to Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, but not even the Heisman Trophy mattered to McCoy. It was about redemption from the ‘08 season, when the Longhorns’ BCS title hopes were denied to rival Oklahoma, based on a tiebreaker. But this year, McCoy had successfully navigated his team to an undefeated season and a trip to Pasadena, Calif., for the right to play for all the marbles. The Longhorns had gained their one second back from the ‘08 season, when a loss to Texas Tech ended all hopes of a BCS title shot. McCoy’s dream and final chance was staring him in the face, and it came to a painful end after five plays. With Texas driving deep into Crimson Tide 22

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

territory in the first quarter, sophomore defensive end Marcel Dareus laid a bone-jarring hit on McCoy that reverberated throughout the Rose Bowl. Texas fans sat stunned with hands cupped over mouth, praying that it wasn’t real. Slowly, but surely, McCoy worked his way off of the turf, grimacing as he held his right shoulder. Moments later, wide-eyed and untested true freshman quarterback Garrett Gilbert trotted onto the field for the biggest moment of his life. He had attempted a mere 26 passes in his short career, undoubtedly, none of those throws as pressured as the ones he was about to attempt against one of nation’s premier defenses, in a game to determine the national champion. Expectedly, the Longhorns played the rest of the first half close to the vest in an attempt to ease the young quarterback into the intense situation. But as run play after run play was called by the Longhorns’ staff, it had become clear that the Texas offensive strategy had taken a giant step back. Gilbert, despite his best and most valiant effort, was no McCoy. He lacked the confidence and poise that had become the epitome of the Longhorns’ starting injured quarterback. As the first half drew to a close, head coach of the Longhorns Mack Brown called for an inside shovel pass to speedster DJ Monroe, a reasonably safe play, in an effort to put the Longhorns into PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON


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scoring position as halftime approached. What ensued, however, was the game-changing play that ultimately dug the grave of Texas, and sent a resounding message to the Longhorn faithful that Alabama’s defense was too ferocious for an inexperienced quarterback to handle. Dareus, who was named the defensive MVP of the National Championship, intercepted the bobbled pass and scampered 26 yards for a score, and the Tide had taken an 18-point lead into halftime. Along with that 24-6 lead, Alabama had taken the air out of the sails of the Texas players--or so they thought. As chants of “SEC! SEC! SEC!” boomed from the Alabama fans, the Texas players jogged to the locker room needing a small miracle to pull the upset. But when the Tide took the field for the second half, things were different. The Tide offense was sluggish and ineffective. Texas seemed to be gaining confidence. Fans wearing burnt orange began screaming louder and louder. The same untested quarterback who seemed lost

and hopeless in the first half found a rhythm in the Texas locker room at halftime, and torched the Tide secondary in the final 30 minutes. Gilbert, the ‘08 Gatorade Player of the Year, matured up in a hurry. Gilbert quickly learned to get the ball into the hands of proven playmakers, connecting with All-American wide receiver Jordan Shipley for two critical touchdowns to pull the resilient Longhorns within three points with less than four minutes to play in the game. Suddenly, the 18-point lead had evaporated. Now Tide fans sat stunned, hands cupped over mouth, praying it wasn’t real. Longhorn fans began chanting “Gilbert! Gilbert! Gilbert!” The blowout had become a game, and it all happened with the winningest quarterback in NCAA history sitting on the sideline cheering on his freshman backup. It was a BCS Championship for the ages, and certainly, was anything but tainted. touchdownalabama.net |

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| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010


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Recruiting Mike Parker

26

Success

Javier Arenas

Mark Barron

Terrence Cody

Marcell Dareus

Mark Ingram

Nico Johnson

Barrett Jones

Julio Jones

| TOUCHDOWN ALABAMA February 2010

Trent Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT GASTON, BDL, MARK LENT


Past recruiting classes lead

ick Saban is quite possibly the nation’s top recruiter. What he has accomplished at Alabama is nothing short of a miracle. Over the last two seasons, the Tide has closed with the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. This year Alabama has a shot at going for its third No. 1 class. When Saban arrived at Alabama, the Tide’s roster did not hold the type of athletes required to run Nick Saban’s physical, aggressive style of game. The following is a look at some of the recruits Saban has picked up who have changed the Crimson Tide’s national image. Julio Jones, former 5-star No. 1 wide receiver in the country, has lived up to every bit of the hype that he received coming out of high school. He’s big, strong and a great play-maker- all qualities that make Jones the complete package. Barrett Jones, the 6’5”, 285 lbs red-shirt freshman, is the starting right offensive guard for the Tide. A former 4-star recruit, he has played exceptionally well this season. Mark Ingram, the 5’10”, 215 pound true sophomore, was hand-picked out of Michigan by Nick Saban to be the back of the future Crimson Tide. Obviously, Ingram has lived up to Saban’s every expectation, and more, as he has become the Crimson Tide’s first Heisman Trophy winner. Nick Saban reloaded just as strongly with his recruitment of Trent Richardson, the 5’11”, 225 pound, 5-star beast. Saban, who grabbed this number one player out of Florida and away from Urban Meyer, has watched Richardson play sensationally for the Tide as a freshman. It

Individual Statistics: Julio Jones Mark Ingram Trent Richardson

573 yards 1542 yds 642 yds

Marcel Dareus Terrence Cody Nico Johnson Mark Barron

19 solo tackles 32 total tackles 11 solo tackles 25 total tackles 16 solo tackles 27 total tackles 38 solo tackles 70 total tackles 7 interceptions for 125 yds and one TD

Tide

2010 National Ch a mpions

N

to immediate turn-around of the

should be a joy to watch Trent Richardson on the field for the remainder of his career. Next up is Marcell Dareus, the 3-star, 6’3”, 280 pound true sophomore. Although he does not start, Dareus is the Tide’s top weapon against opposing quarterbacks. Strong, and with an exceptionally quick first step, Dareus should be one of the best defensive players in the country next season. Terrence Cody, our 3-star, 6’5”, 355 pound senior, is the perfect nose tackle in Saban’s 3-4 scheme and demands constant double teams. Perhaps no recruit that Saban has secured so far has made a bigger difference in Alabama football than Cody. Nico Johnson, the 5-star, 6’3”, 225 pound true freshman linebacker, showed what he was made of when Dont’a Hightower went down with a season-ending injury. Someone had to step up to take Hightower’s place, and Johnson out-played sophomore Jerrell Harris to earn the starting position. Johnson has played exceptionally well to have been thrown into the fire so quickly. Last up is 4-star, 6’2”, 215 pound true sophomore Mark Barron, the Tide’s starting safety. When Rashad Johnson went pro, it was thought that this position would be one of the weakest links in the Tide’s defense. However, Barron has turned into one of the best safeties in the country, leading the Tide and SEC with 7 interceptions. Barron, as pure an athlete as you will find, comes up with bone-crushing hits when the Tide needs them most. He will be one of the leaders of the Crimson Tide’s defense next year.

4 TD’s 42 catches 15 TD’s 6 TD’s 9 tackles for a loss of 49 yds 6 tackles for a loss of 11 yds 4.5 tackles for a loss of 18 yds 2.5 tackles for a loss of 17 yds

6.5 sacks (loss of 44 yds) 2 blocked kicks 1 sack (loss of 15 yards) .5 sacks (loss of 2 yds)

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Looking Ahead

2010 Recruiting T

hese are just some of the big recruits Nick Saban has brought in to turn Alabama’s program around. The Crimson Tide is ranked second in the team recruiting rankings this season, with an extremely fast class. Look for commitments such as Keenan Allen, 6’3”, 195 lb athlete; Alfy Hill, 6’4”, 225 lb defensive end; DeMarcus Milliner, 6’2”, 180 lb defensive back; and last, but certainly not least, Phillip Sims, 6’2”, 220 lb quarterback; to make similar impacts in the future of the Crimson Tide. John Fulton, the 4-star, 6’, 180 lb cornerback from Manning, SC, is the Tide’s newest recruit, having picked Alabama over South Carolina while recently playing in the Army All-American All-Star game. The “sleeper” will be Deion Belue, the 3-star, 6’, 175 lb cornerback from Tuscumbia, Ala.

Mike Parker

With its outstanding recruitment class for next season, Alabama has positioned itself for a 3-peat with its third straight No.1 recruiting class. Be watching the recruitments of tackles Arie Kovandjio, 4-star, 6’6”, 315 lbs, from Hyattsville, Md., and James Stone, 4-star, 6’5”, 300 lbs, from Nashville, Tenn. The Tide is also looking good in the recruitment of C.J. Mosely, 4-star, 6’2”, 225 lb linebacker from Theodore, Ala. The Tide is on the outside looking in on most of the following recruits: Ahmad Dixon, 4-star, 6’1”, 200 lb safety from Waco, Texas; William Gholston, 6’7”, 240 lb defensive end from Detroit, Mich.; and Chris Dunkley, 4-star, 5’10”, 160 lb wide receiver from Pahokee, Fla. Don’t be too shocked if there is a surprise or two on Signing Day, which is right around the corner!

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Crimson Tide Recruiting Commits Pos DB DB WR K RB DB RB DE DE TE DT OL DE WR DB LB DB OL QB TE WR DB K

Stars                       

Ht 6-3 6-0 6-0 6-1 6-0 6-10 5-10 6-4 6-7 6-4 6-3 6-3 6-4 6-1 6-2 6-2 6-2 6-4 6-2 6-7 6-0 6-2 6-4

Wt 195 175 180 215 240 180 186 222 227 230 275 307 235 165 180 212 195 316 209 248 170 205 220

40 4.56 4.51 4.5 - 4.8 4.43 4.4 4.59 - 4.8 - 5.4 4.8 4.4 4.45 4.5 4.49 5.5 4.8 4.67 4.4 4.6 -

RR 6.1 5.6 5.7 5.4 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.9 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.6 5.6 5.8 6.1 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.9 5.9 5.3

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Player Keenan Allen Deion Belue Ronald Carswell Cade Foster Jalston Fowler John Fulton Corey Grant Alfy Hill Adrian Hubbard Harrison Jones Brandon Lewis* Chad Lindsay Wilson Love Keiwone Malone DeMarcus Milliner C.J. Mosley Nick Perry Austin Shepherd Phillip Sims Brian Vogler DeAndrew White Jarrick Williams Jay Williams


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