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November 15, 2010

Notebook: Tide begins crash course for next game

TUSCALOOSA _ The University of Alabama football team may have felt like it went through a time warp and jumped ahead a couple of days as it began its crash course for Thursday night's game against Georgia State.

"Today is like Wednesday," Coach Nick Saban said in terms of the team's preparation on Monday.

The condensed week will have Alabama holding shorter practices and players working in shells instead of pads on Tuesday and Wednesday. Basically, the Crimson Tide will have to skip most of their regular fundamental work.

"I always wondered how someone could play on a Tuesday or Thursday, things like that," junior running back Mark Ingram said. "I know it's difficult just have a short week."

Ingram, who like many of his teammates was a little dinged up after Saturday's 30-10 victory against Mississippi State, probably needs the regular recuperation time period more than anyone else but doesn't think having four days instead of seven will be a factor.

"Sunday you're a little sore, Monday you
run around and get the kinks out, and you really start feeling good by Tuesday," he said is how it usually goes after facing an SEC opponent.

"When you're on that field, everything needs to be crisp and sharp," junior nose tackle Josh Chapman said. "We don't have time to make any kinds of mistakes."

Jones named Biletnikoff semifinalist

Junior wide receiver Julio Jones was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver by the Tallahassee QB Club Foundation.

Jones has 58 receptions for 799 yards, which both rank third in the SEC, to go with four touchdowns.

Here's the rundown:

Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Julio Jones named semifinalist. Finalists named Nov. 22.
Butkus Award (linebacker): Dont'a Hightower named semifinalist. Finalists announced Nov. 23. Nico Johnson was on watch list. (Rolando McClain reigning winner).
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
William Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): Greg McElroy finalist. Winner announced Dec. 7.
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 6 (Mark Ingram reigning winner).
Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Marcell Dareus was named to the watch list. Midseason list to be announced in November.
Manning Award (quarterback, includes bowls): Greg McElroy on watch list. Finalists named Nov. 29.
Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower and Robert Lester on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 18.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): James Carpenter and Barrett Jones on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 22.
Paul Hornung Award (most versatile): Trent Richardson on watch list. Finalists announced in early December.
Rimington Trophy (center): William Vlachos on watch list. Finalists announced Dec. 6.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Mark Barron on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 22.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Greg McElroy named finalist. Winner announced in December.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Mark Ingram named semifinalists. Finalists announced Nov. 22.
Burlsworth Trophy (walk-on): Nominees announced Nov. 17.
Wuerffel Trophy (community service with outstanding achievement): Greg McElroy finalist. Winner announced Dec. 7.
Sports Illustrated's Sportsmen of the Year: Greg McElroy nominated. Winner announced Nov. 29.

No one from Alabama being considered

Lott Trophy (defensive impact player): Mark Barron was a quarterfinalist.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Greg McElroy were all on the watch list.
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower were all on the watch list.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Greg McElroy was on watch list.
Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): James Carpenter, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower were all on the watch list.
John Mackey Award (tight end).
Lou Groza Award (kicker).
Ray Guy Award (punter).

Lester honored

Sophomore safety Robert Lester was named the SEC defensive player of the week after tallying two interceptions and four tackles against Mississippi State. His seven pickoffs this season are tied for the national lead, and the Crimson Tide is tied for the team lead with 17.

"Being the right spot at the right time," Lester said.

Junior receiver Marquis Maze was an honorable-mention selection for SEC offensive player of the week.

Both players were recognized by the coaching staff as well. Maze shared the offensive honor with guard Chance Warmack, junior safety Mark Barron did likewise defensively and the special-teams honor was split between Eddie Lacy, Cade Foster and DeMarcus Milliner.

"I do think that special teams made a difference in the game in terms of field position," Saban said.

Injury report

Sophomore guard Barrett Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Georgia State. Redshirt freshman Anthony Steen will likely start at right guard, with junior Alfred McCullough getting some looks in practice to add depth.

Defensive lineman Kerry Murphy (knee) is questionable.

Cornerback B.J. Scott is expected to have surgery the next couple of days to fit a lingering tendon issue in his ankle.

Sophomore running back Trent Richardson (knee) is expected to practice this week.

Broadcast schedule

Despite facing a first-year program in Georgia State on ESPNU (6:30 p.m.), Thursday's game will have one of the top broadcast crews with Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews.

Meanwhile, the rest of the SEC's schedule as of Monday evening:

Saturday, Nov. 20
Troy at South Carolina, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network
Appalachian State at Florida, 11:30 a.m., Pay-per-view
Ole Miss at LSU, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 6 p.m., ESPN
Tennessee at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m., CSS

Friday, Nov. 26
Auburn at Alabama, 1:30 p.m., CBS

Saturday, Nov. 27
LSU at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m., CBS
Kentucky at Tennessee, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network
Mississippi State at Ole Miss, 6 p.m., ESPNU
Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, 6:30 p.m., CSS
Georgia Tech at Georgia, 6:45 p.m., ESPN
Florida at Florida State, 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., ABC, ESPN or ESPN2
South Carolina at Clemson, noon, 2:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., Raycom, ESPNU, ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

Tide-bits

Saban's assessment of Saturday's game was "good intangibles" and effort, but too many mental errors. "The ball has been on the ground in the last two games more than it's been all year," he said. "That's something that we need to address in practice and practice those things so that they become the habits that carry over in the game."

Chapman doesn't think the increase in sacks the past couple of games have been a coincidence. "We're been more emphasis into it at practice like we should have been doing it at the get-go. Instead of stopping the run when teams aren't going to come in and try and run the ball all the time." Chapman has also had 14 tackles during the last two games, but isn't ready to be a linebacker. "I like it down there (on the line)."

Although he may not play, Georgia State quarterback Star Jackson knows the Alabama defense pretty well after running the scout team last year. "Star is my boy," Chapman said. "I hosted him on one of his recruiting visits. He's an old friend of mine. I've played against people I know a lot this year. Star's the next one."

Saban yelled at redshirt freshman quarterback A.J. McCarron for attempting the deep pass to Julio Jones when another player was uncovered. "I didn't feel his hip pad," he said, smiling. "You need to ask him what he felt. He told me we made ESPN, huh? Just to share with you, I love A.J. and the challenge with A.J. has never been about his talent, it's always been about staying in what you're supposed to do." Saban also added: "It was a good opportunity to teach and it was a good opportunity for him to learn."

Although he has a tendency to use it when he doesn't need to, Ingram is impressed with redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy's spin move. "Eddie Lacy has one of the best sin moves I've ever seen, really. He knows when to spin and it's quick. You don't catch him out of the spin.

Saban on reserve senior center David Ross: "David Ross is probably the guy who plays the least but contributes the most. He's really into what's going on. It's like having an extra coach with the offensive line."

Players liked the Nike Pro Combat jerseys
they wore against Mississippi State, saying that they were lighter and a little more flexible. "I loved the gloves," Ingram said. "They added the little 'pride, commitment, toughness, effort' all that to the fingers. That was cool too."


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