Players Recognized For Play Vs. Hogs

It has been pointed out that a coaching staff has several big advantages over fans and sportswriters when evaluating performances of players. The coaches get to watch the videotape. And the coaches know the assignments on each play.

Not to mention the coaches know a lot more about football.

Sportswriters who cover Alabama football play a little game each week, predicting which Crimson Tide players will be selected as Players of the Week by the Bama coaching staff.

This week we got most of them right. But we didn't get them all correctly. Eight Alabama players earned player of the week honors following the Crimson Tide's 49-14 victory at Arkansas, Coach Nick Saban announced Monday after the staff had a chance to grade film from Saturday's game.

Junior tailback Glen Coffee, who ran 10 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including an 87-yard gem, was an easy choice. So was the man he ran behind, junior left tackle Andre Smith. Sportswriters got those two without having to look at the tape.

It was the second straight week that Smith and Coffee were selected for the Bama coaches' honor.

Additionally, Smith was selected the SEC Offensive Player of the Week. The SEC said that Smith was Alabama's top-grading offensive linemen with key blocks on three rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. The league said he did not allow a sack or a pressure as Alabama rolled up 402 yards of offense and averaged 8.0 yards per play.

The coaching staff added another offensive player to the honor list, citing tight end Travis McCall as a key blocking contributor to an Alabama ground game that totaled 328 yards.

The Tide leads the SEC and ranks 14th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 236.8 yards per game.

Alabama's secondary turned in four interceptions, a quarterback hurry, and a sack against the Razorbacks. Two of the interceptions were returned for touchdowns. But defensive backs weren't on the list of Players of the Week by the Alabama coaching staff.

Defensively, a pair of linebackers led the way with top grades against Arkansas. Sophomore Rolando McClain and junior Brandon Fanney were the team's leading tacklers Saturday, finishing with eight and seven, respectively. Fanney also added two tackles for loss. McClain is UA's top tackler with 29 stops through four games.

Alabama limited the Razorbacks to 92 yards on the ground and the Tide now ranks eighth nationally in rush defense (55.0 ypg).

After he didn't have to punt against Western Kentucky the previous week, P.J. Fitzgerald had his best game of the season with an average of 45.2 yards on five punts at Arkansas. Fitzgerald had a long of 56 and two punts inside the 20.

Robby Green and Tyrone King also earned player of the week honors for their work on special teams. Green had three tackles on punt and kickoff coverage while King had one special teams tackle and forced a fumble on kickoff coverage.

Coffee (Clemson, WKU & Arkansas) and McClain (Clemson, Tulane & Arkansas) are the only two players to be selected as players of the week by the coaching staff three times this season.

Alabama is 4-0 overall and 1-0 in SEC games and ranked ninth in the nation. This week the Crimson Tide goes to Georgia to take on the third-ranked Bulldogs. Kickoff is at 7:45 p.m. EDT (6:45 p.m. central) with national television coverage by ESPN.

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