Ball Security Part Of Tide Success

As Alabama started practice for the BCS National Championship Game, Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban enumerated the fundamentals work that will take place in the first five days before the team breaks for Christmas after Saturday's practice.

In addition to the importance of blocking and tackling and conditioning, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "Ball security is always something that we want to have a lot of focus on."

Whatever Bama has been doing, the Crimson Tide should continue.

Alabama has protected the ball better than any team in the country over the past five seasons. In the past 67 games, the Tide has turned the ball over only 72 times (42 fumbles, 30 pass interceptions) for 1.07 turnovers per game, better than second place Ohio State's second-best 1.23 (79 turnovers in 64 games).

Since 2009, that mark is even better as the Tide has turned the ball over only 53 times in 53 games. Since 2009, Alabama starting quarterbacks have thrown only 17 interceptions in 1,262 attempts (1 interceptions in every 74.2 passes attempted).

Dating back to the 2009 season, the top two running backs in the rotation have lost a fumble only seven times. Over that span, the Tide's top two runners have recorded 1,407 touches, one lost fumble for every 201 touches.

Junior A.J. McCarron has thrown eight interceptions in 662 career attempts and is on pace to set school and Southeastern Conference records for quarterbacks with at least 600 pass attempts. The SEC record is held by Florida's Tim Tebow, one interception every 62.2 attempts from 2006-09. McCarron is averaging one interception every 82.8 attempts in his career. In 2012, McCarron has thrown an interception every 95.3 attempts (three in 286 attempts), which is on pace to best the SEC record set by Tennessee's Peyton Manning in 1995 (one every 95 attempts) with a minimum of 200 attempts.

Alabama enters the BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame (to be played Jan. 7 at Miami Gardens, Fla.) tied for 12th nationally in turnover margin at plus one per game. The Tide has forced 28 turnovers (17 interceptions and 11 fumbles) while giving up only 15 possessions.

Alabama has converted its 28 turnovers into 149 points. The 15 turnovers by Bama have resulted in only 24 points for opponents. High water mark for this year's Tide was getting five takeaways against Arkansas and turning them into 35 points in a 52-0 win.

Ball security is part of the reason that Alabama has a 60-7 record since the start of the 2008 season, which is most wins in the nation over that period. For a four-year period, 2009-12 (with one game to play), the Tide is 48-5. The 48 wins is tied for second in college football history (with, among others, the four-year record established by last year's Bama seniors) and is one win behind the all-time record of Nebraska (1994

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