Eight-Man Football For Alabama?
Technically, the Alabama coaches recognized only seven Crimson Tide players. Javier Arenas was cited for both his defensive play at cornerback and for his performance as a kick return man on special teams.
Wide receiver Julio Jones and tight end Colin Peek were recognized for their play on offense.
Arenas was joined in defensive recognition by linebackers Rolando McClain and Eryk Anders.
In addition to Arenas, the coaches cited punter P.J. Fitzgerald and cover and return team man Ali Sharrief.
Jones caught a career-high nine passes for 83 yards with four of his receptions coming on Alabama's game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Three of those receptions resulted in first downs, including two third down receptions.
Peek caught three passes for 53 yards, including a 33-yard reception for a touchdown.
McClain, who was Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, led the Tide with 12 tackles and had a critical sack just prior to Bama's winning touchdown drive. The sack prevented Auburn from punting Bama into a hole, setting up the 79-yard march that ended with quarterback Greg McElroy passing four yards to tailback Roy Upchurch.
Anders had seven tackles, three quarterback hurries, and a team best a3.5 tackles for loss (16 yards). He sacked Auburn quarterback Chris Todd, causing a fumble, then scrambled over Todd to make the recovery for Bama.
On defense, Arenas had seven tackles and a sack. As a return specialist, he returned two punts for 67 yards, including a 56-yard return, and also returned his only kickoff opportunity 46 yards to set up an Alabama score. Arenas became the SEC record-holder in career punt return yardage.
Fitzgerald punted five times for a 45.2 yards per kick average. He had a 55-yard effort that was his longest of the season and put two punts out of bounds inside the Auburn 20. Sharrief was honored for his work on kick coverage and kick return teams.
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