Terry Grant Puts Team First

It seems as if everyone is talking about Terry Grant. Everyone except Grant, that is. Two years ago Grant burst on the scene, setting an Alabama record for rushing by a freshman. But he was hurt and fell behind and has little on-the-field success since.



As a result, Terry Grant has elected not to interview, at least not until he has made what he considers a tangible contribution to this year's Alabama football team.

Grant's standards notwithstanding, the junior's head coach and his teammates have a very high opinion of Terry Grant.

After being injured as a true freshman in 2006, Grant led the Tide in rushing as a redshirt freshman in 2007 with 180 carries for 891 yards, both records for Alabama freshmen. He had three 100-yard games, including 24 rushes for 173 yards against Vanderbilt.

Last year Grant was nicked up and had only limited action on offense. He turned his attention to the help he could give on special teams and was a leader for Bama. This year he has two kickoff returns for 44 yards.

Alabama has great depth at tailback this year. As a result, it was decided to give Grant work at wide receiver. But last week with Mark Ingram ill and Roy Upchurch going out early in the game against Florida International with an ankle sprain, Grant was back at the tailback position midway through the fourth quarter. He took a handoff at left tackle and sprinted 42 yards to a touchdown.

On Monday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, "We want Terry to have success because he has certainly given his all to the team. There is a sign downstairs that says ‘out of yourself and into the team.' For a guy that was a star player a couple of years ago and has had a minimized role in the last year and couple of games that started out due to injury, he has been as positive a force with his teammates and also in terms of his own attitude in what he tried to do to help the team, himself individually and collectively with other people."

The coach said that Bama wanted to work Grant at receiver, but when Ingram got sick Grant didn't get the repetitions he needs. Saban said, "Now Roy (Upchurch) has an ankle (injury) and he is probably going to be out most of practice this week and maybe even beyond that, so it gets more and more difficult to try and make the transition with Terry and try and get the reps in practice, so he can increase his role as a guy we can use as a receiver. It's nice to have a guy that has enough, sort of experience, knowledge, resource of information, to be able to do a little bit of both and still be effective. He was really effective for us in the game and probably could have played a little more late in the game and probably would have been even more effective, but we wanted to use as an opportunity to give some other players an opportunity to play as well."

Bama receiver Mike McCoy, the star of last week's receiving corps with five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown, has been working with Grant as a wide receiver. "He runs good routes," McCoy said. "He asks a lot of questions."

It's understandable those questions would be directed at McCoy, a former roommate of Grant. They are members of the same prayer group. McCoy said Grant believes that "Anything good that happens is worth the struggle."

Grant is smaller than the competition at running back. He's 5-10 and 190, compared to Roy Upchurch at 6-0, 205; Mark Ingram, 5-10, 212; and Trent Richardson, 5-11, 220.

Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy said, "Terry is a team-first guy. I wish nothing but the best for him at all times. He really is an unselfish player. And the thing about Terry is that he is incredibly good. He really is. He is a change-up back. We've tried to do some different things with him. He really has a good attitude about it.

"He's had a couple of lingering issues with some injuries that have limited him the past couple of years, but he's ready and he's healthy now. And you can tell by the way he's playing."

One thing Grant has is speed.

McCoy, from Rankin, Miss., and Grant, from Lumberton, Miss., competed in track meets in high school. "Terry is a different kind of fast," McCoy said. "I hated to see him at high school track meets."

McCoy said he's guess Grant and wide receiver Marquis Maze are Bama's fastest players.

"I told Terry I was going to beat him," McCoy remembered a race. "We were going across the field and he was in front of me getting smaller and smaller."

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