Coffee Named Alabama's MVP
Alabama Coach Nick Saban addressed the crowd of Alabama players, coaching staff, administration and support staff following the awards session. The Crimson Tide coach recapped the 2008 regular season in which Alabama was 12-0 and ranked number one in the nation for much of the year. Bama lost to Florida, 31-20, in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in Atlanta Saturday night.
Saban said, "I'm very proud of what our football team was able to accomplish."
He added, "Football is a lot like life. You get what you expect, and these guys had a high standard for how they competed and how they played."
He said the legacy of the 2008 Alabama seniors is that they be remembered as "the team that brought a lot of pride back to The University of Alabama, to the football program, and to the people of the state of Alabama who support it."
Alabama's players elected permanent team captains, including center Antoine Caldwell and safety Rashad Johnson, who were also captains in 2007, and quarterback John Parker Wilson. Caldwell and Johnson join S.B. Slone (1894, 1896), W.E. Drenne (1900-01), W.S. Wyatt (1903-04), Al Clemens (1921, 1923), and Jarret Johnson and Tyler Watts (both 2001-02) as Alabama's two-time captains.
Junior running back Glen Coffee was named the team's Most Valuable Player after posting the fourth highest single season rushing total (1,347 yards) in school history. Wilson and junior left tackle Andre Smith shared Offensive Player of the Year honors. Wilson set every Alabama passing record and in his third year as a starter quarterbacked the tide to a 12-1 record going into the Sugar Bowl. Smith, a junior and three-year starter, allowed only one sack this season.
Johnson and sophomore linebacker Rolando McClain shared Defensive Player of the Year honors. McClain led the Tide with 91 tackles and 11 and a half tackles for loss. Johnson was second in tackles with 82 and led the Tide with five interceptions and 11 pass break-ups.
Junior Javier Arenas, P.J. Fitzgerald and Leigh Tiffin won Special team Player of the Year honors. Arenas led the Tide in punt returns and kickoff returns and had two punt returns for touchdowns. Tiffin was the team's leading scorer with 101 points (44-45 extra point kicks, 19-26 field goals). Fitzgerald averaged a career-best 41.1 yards on 55 punts.
Unsung Hero: Kareem Jackson, Nikita Stover, Nick Walker, Justin Woodall.
Outstanding Senior Scholar: Bobby Greenwood
Commitment to Academic Excellence: Charlie Higgenbotham, Greg McElroy, Charlie Kirschman.
Iron Man: Drew Davis, Marlon Davis, Cory Reamer, Roy Upchurch.
Most Inspiring: Antoine Caldwell
Pat Trammell: Bobby Greenwood, Travis McCall
Outstanding Defensive Performer: Rolando McClain, Rashad Johnson
Up-Front: Brandon Deaderick, Brandon Fanney, Mike Johnson, Andre Smith
Defensive Achievement: Terrence Cody, Dont'a Hightower
Offensive Achievement: Mark Ingram, Julio Jones
President's Award: Javier Arenas, Antoine Caldwell, Glen Coffee, Rashad Johnson
Jefferson County Distinguished Alumnus: Bart Starr
Special Teams Player of the Year: Javier Arenas, Leigh Tiffin, P.J. Fitzgerald
Offensive Player of the Year: Andre Smith, John Parker Wilson
Defensive Player of the Year: Rolando McClain, Rashad Johnson
Most Valuable Player: Glen Coffee
Captains: Antoine Caldwell, Rashad Johnson, John Parker Wilson
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