Eight Tide Players Win Coach Honors
Senior center Antoine Caldwell, junior right tackle Drew Davis and freshman wide receiver Julio Jones were recognized by Alabama coaches on offense.On defense, Rashad Johnson, Rolando McClain and Brandon Deaderick were the team's top three players in terms of production points Saturday. P.J. Fitzgerald and Ali Sharrief were the team's top special teams performers in the win over the Tigers.
Caldwell and Davis earned the top grades for an offensive line that did not allow a sack and cleared the way for Glen Coffee to rush for 126 yards. The Crimson Tide scored three rushing touchdowns in the game – one by Coffee and two by quarterback John Parker Wilson.
Jones led all UA receivers with a season-high 128 yards on seven catches. His 24-yard catch on Alabama's first offensive play in overtime set up the game-winning score. He was Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.
Johnson had a huge day, tying an Alabama record with three interceptions in a game. He brought his first pick back 10 yards to the LSU 15, which set up UA's first touchdown. Johnson returned the second interception 54 yards for a TD and the third came in the endzone on LSU's first overtime possession. Johnson added four tackles and a half tackle for loss. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week and was named National Player of the Week by the Walter Camp Foundation.
McClain totaled eight tackles, with 2.5 TFL and an interception. McClain (66) and Johnson (62) rank first and second on the team in tackles this season. Deaderick came through with eight tackles and a QB hurry.
Fitzgerald punted seven times for 295 yards for an average of 42.1 on the day. He had a long of 53 and pinned LSU inside the 20 three times. Sharrief was credited with three special teams tackles by the coaches. He also had a pressure from his defensive back position that led to a McClain interception.
McClain (8) and Johnson (7) have been named to the coaching staff's player of the week list more often than any other players. Glen Coffee, Antoine Caldwell, John Parker Wilson and Julio Jones lead the offense with four appearances each. Chris Rogers is tops among special teams performers with four weeks. At his Monday press briefing, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "We had some outstanding performances in the game. Antoine Caldwell did a really good job. Drew Davis did an outstanding job against some really good players up front. Julio Jones was very, very productive and was also (SEC) freshman of the week again, in terms of not only his catches, but his attitude and effort and running after the catch. Defensively, Rashad Johnson is the Walter Camp National Player of the Week, but Rolando McClain had a good game and Brandon Deaderick also had a very good game from a point-production standpoint. Specialteams-wise, P.J. (Fitzgerald) did a good job punting the ball and really changed the field position in the game and helped us tremendously and Ali Sharrief did a really good job of playing on teams."
Although he was not a Player of the Week, regarding quarterback John Parker Wilson, Saban said, "John Parker is also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Award, which I think is great for him and being one of the top senior quarterbacks.
Alabama, 10-0 overall and 6-0 in Southeastern Conference play and ranked number one in the nation, faces Mississippi State at 6:45 p.m. Saturday. The game from Bama's Bryant-Denny Stadium will begin at 6:45 p.m. CST and be televised by ESPN. Mississippi State is 3-6 overall and 1-4 in SEC games, but has a two-game winning streak against Alabama.
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