Tide Seniors Leave On High Note
It could not have been scripted better as Alabama completed its home schedule for 2009 with the easy win. A preliminary count showed 77 players seeing action for the Crimson Tide Saturday.
Senior linebacker Cory Reamer got an interception that brought back some pleasant memories.
"It felt good," the fifth year linebacker said of his first quarter pick and 8-yard return. "I was playing like a free safety, like back in (Hoover) high school. It was awesome to get a pick on your Senior Day. To end on that kind of note was definitely exciting."
Reamer said he and his fellow seniors will miss the atmosphere of a sold-out Bryant-Denny and it's 92,138 screaming fans. He walked of the field for the final time with mixed emotions.
"It was exciting and sad, at the same time. We're going to miss this place," he said. "Our fans have been great. I'm sure it will hit me some time this week.
"You never forget the last game (of your career) in Tuscaloosa. Everybody that was a senior had a moment to go out on."
And so they did.
In addition to Reamer, Justin Woodall and Javier Arenas had interceptions, with returns of 9 and 22 yards, respectively. Arenas returned a punt 66 yards for six points. Little-used walk-ons like safety Hampton Gray (who had a tackle on the final kick-off), wide receiver A.J. Walker, and fullback Jacob Vane saw action, and all that was by design.
"Every senior on the team got to play in the game. We tried to (do that)," said Tide coach Nick Saban.
So, things went according to script, right?
"We just wanted to come in and play our best. I wouldn't' say there was a script," said senior right tackle Drew Davis. "I was around for the Louisiana-Monroe game (an upset loss at home on Senior Day, 2007). There was supposed to be a script that day, too, and it didn't work out that way. I'll just say the game went well, today."
One reason it went well was the first-half only appearance by Heisman candidate/sophomore tailback Mark Ingram, who ripped the hapless Mocs for 102 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. There's a lot to be said for a half-day's work, according to Ingram.
"It was good to get a light day's work, then let some other guys get some carries," Ingram said. "It was real important to a lot of players to get the playing time they got today."
Examples: Senior Roy Upchurch (70 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown), Demetrius Goode (70 on 11 carries) and Trent Richardson (60 yards on nine totes and a touchdown).
Chattanooga defenders in the game for Ingram's first touchdown won't soon forget the way the 5-10, 212-pounder treated them on his first touchdown, a 25-yarder.
"It was an inside zone play," said Ingram. "The (offensive) line bent them back, (senior wide receiver) Mike McCoy made a good block downfield, and I drug a guy into the end zone."
In other words, pure Ingram. As for McCoy, he was another senior who went out on a good note. In addition to his afore-mentioned stalk-blocking on running plays, he added two catches for 11 yards in his home finale.
Other notable stats for departing seniors included Arenas' three tackles, a pair by cornerback/special teamer Chris Rogers, and two stops each by defensive ends Brandon Deaderick and Lorenzo Washington. Nose guard Terrence Cody added two tackles in just two quarters of play. Ali Sharrief and Tyrone King made a stop each, as did Woodall.
Offensively, Colin Peek caught a pass for eight yards. Special teams wise, snapper Brian Selman was again perfect, and punter P.J. Fitzgerald only was needed twice, but he had a 39-yard average.
Now, it's on to Auburn and a Friday kick at 1:30 at Jordan-Haire
Stadium on the Tigers' Senior Day.
"It means a lot to me," Sharrief said of the grudge match known as the Iron Bowl. "It's a rivalry between two in-state teams that don't like each other. They're going to come out and try to destroy our dreams.
"Nothing really changes. We just have to go in and do what we do best, execute and play hard."
Said Reamer: "If you win the state (championship), it makes or breaks your season. I'm excited. It's my last time to play Auburn. It's a big game for us, and it's a big game for the state."
Inevitably, Ingram was asked about the post-Georgia game remarks by Auburn's Ben Tate proclaiming himself the "best back in the state."
Ingram took the high road.
"Everybody's entitled to their opinion. He's a great back.
"I'm just going to let the way I play talk for me."
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