Coffee, McClain Are Consistent Honorees

Alabama's football coaching staff has had a few surprises in its weekly selections of top players on offense, defense and special teams. There are also picks that are not one bit surprising.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban recognized seven players on Monday afternoon for their performances during the Crimson Tide's 17-14 win over Kentucky.

It was not a surprise that junior tailback Glen Coffee was selected; or that sophomore middle linebacker Rolando McClain was on the list. Even if one had not seen their performances against Kentucky, they were favorites to be named. It was the fourth time in Alabama's six games that Coffee has been named and the fifth time that McClain was honored.

On the other hand, it was a bit of a surprise that defensive end Bobby Greenwood was not selected. Earlier in the day Greenwood had been announced as the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week. It was the second consecutive week the Alabama coaches did not select a player who had been honored by the SEC. Last week quarterback John Parker Wilson had been named by the SEC as offensive player of the week for his performance in a win over Georgia, but was not selected by the Tide staff.

Coffee, who earned honorable mention SEC honors this week, rushed for 218 yards with a 78-yard touchdown burst in the first quarter that gave the Tide an early 7-0 lead. Senior center Antoine Caldwell was also honored after leading the push up front as the offensive line cleared the way for 282 yards on the ground. He had the key block on Coffee's long TD run. Freshman wide receiver Julio Jones was also honored after catching three passes for 52 yards (17.33 yards per reception). All three catches resulted in first downs with one reception coming on third down.

On defense, McClain was honored for the third straight week after being involved in10 tackles and recovering a fumble and returning it four yards for a touchdown. Junior jack linebacker Brandon Fanney also earned the distinction on defense with three tackles, one solo stop, half of a tackle for loss (-1)m and a quarterback hurry.

Junior punter P.J. Fitzgerald consistently flipped the field for Alabama, averaging 43.2 yards on six punts. He booted a long of 48 yards against the Wildcats and has averaged 44.2 yards on 13 punts in three SEC games this season. Junior defensive back Marquis Johnson also earned the honor against Kentucky with outstanding play on special teams. He registered one tackle as a gunner on the punt coverage team and another on kickoff coverage that prevented a big return.

McClain (Clemson, Tulane, Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky) leads all Alabama players with five player of the week honors while Coffee (Clemson, WKU, Arkansas abd Kentucky) is close behind with four selections.

Alabama is 6-0 and ranked second in the nation. The Tide is 3-0 in SEC games. Alabama is off this week, then hosts Ole Miss on October 18.

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