Who Were Tide's Players Of Week?

Each week Scout publishers of Southeastern Conference sites have some group work to do. Each publisher is asked to pick the games of the upcoming week. That takes not much longer than the time it takes to type the names and numbers. Not much thought.

The other assignment is more difficult. It involves choosing the SEC offensive, defensive, and special teams player of the week. And each publisher is also asked to choose a newcomer of the week, either a freshman or junior college transfer in most cases.

The problem with that task is that a publisher can't select a member of the team he covers. I can't nominate a player from Alabama, the team I cover and know best.

I understand the reason for not being able to vote for a member of your own team. That's normal procedure when SEC coaches select an all-conference team or make pre-season predictions on final standings.

Monday we'll get the results of Alabama's coaching staff's selection of offensive, defensive and special teams players. The coaches have several advantages. One, they can choose as many recipients as they wish. It's not unusual for two or three players to be chosen Offensive Player of the Week (of Defensive or Special Teams). Another advantage they have is they get to look at the tapes and see how the players did in carrying out their assignments. I may see five good plays and select a player for those plays whereas the coach sees the five bad plays he had and doesn't consider him.

And, oh yeah, there is the fact that the coaches know about ten thousand times as much about it as I do.

With all that in mind, I still enjoy picking the men I expect to be honored by the Crimson Tide coaching staff. Sometimes I actually do it.

This week I would make the following selections of Alabama players of the week:

Offensive Player of the Week senior quarterback John Parker Wilson. The raw numbers are pretty good. Wilson completed 17 of 27 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns. He did suffer the first interception he has thrown this year, but he wasn't sacked. And he also had three rushes for 20 yards. Wilson gets my nod in great part because of the aggregate. In Bama's 41-7 win over Western Kentucky, Wilson became Alabama's all-time total offense leader, tied for the career record for touchdown passes thrown, and moved into second place in career passing offense.

The coaches could pick an offensive lineman who had an outstanding game, one of the running backs, a tight end or receiver and it wouldn't be a surprise.

Defensive Player of the Week junior safety Justin Woodall. We have been waiting for Woodall to show his famed athletic ability and he did against the Hilltoppers. He had key tackles, three primary and two assists; had a tackle for loss; broke up a pass; forced a fumble; and turned in a nice interception deep in Tide territory.

There were at least three other defensive backs who seemed to have very good games--Rashad Johnson, Kareem Jackson and Javier Arenas. And anyone watching Terrence Cody saw him cause a fumble and recover it and also cause havoc with the WKU offense despite double and triple teaming.

Special Teams Player of the Week freshman cover man Courtney Upshaw. The only coverage opportunities Upshaw had came on kickoffs because Alabama did not punt in the game. Upshaw was in on four tackles on kickoffs among the six tackles (one for loss) he was involved in on the night. This award almost always goes to a kicker or a return man, but Upshaw and Chris Rogers were outstanding on kickoff coverage and Upshaw gets the nod because he was in on one more tackle than Rogers and because he had a couple of very hard hits.

Alabama's coaching staff doesn't choose a Newcomer of the Week. Obviously, Upshaw would be a candidate for that spot. We're torn between two freshmen offensive stars, as we're likely to be every week, namely running back Mark Ingram (9 carries, 51 yards, two touchdowns) and wide receiver Julio Jones (team leading five receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown and a punt return for 10 yards. But our choice is a true newcomer, freshman offensive tackle John Michael Boswell, making his first appearance of the season and performing well at right tackle.

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