AP Honors Saban, Ingram, McClain

"But what about...?" That was the thinking as the 2009 Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team was announced and didn't include every Alabama player, or just about. But the Crimson Tide did bring home a lion's share of the honors from the AP after winning the SEC Championship and vaulting to number one in the nation with a chance to win the national championship next month.

Alabama took home three major awards and had 10 players selected to the All-SEC team on Monday, when the Associated Press released its All-SEC football team.

Nick Saban was named the 2009 SEC Coach of the Year, while sophomore running back Mark Ingram and junior linebacker Rolando McClain earned the Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Saban has guided the Crimson Tide to a number one Bowl Championship Series ranking and berth in the BCS National Championship Game after compiling a 13-0 record this season and securing the school's record 22nd SEC Championship. Alabama will face number two Texas on Thursday, January 7, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

In three years at Alabama, Saban has compiled a 32-8 (.800) overall record and has led the Tide to back-to-back SEC Western Division titles. The Crimson Tide has won 26 of its last 28 games, dating back to the 2007 season.

Ingram wrapped up SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors after shattering the Alabama single-season rushing record with 1,542 yards this season and 15 touchdowns. The sophomore averaged 118.6 yards per game and 6.2 yards per carry. He also added 322 receiving yards and three touchdowns, giving him 1,865 all-purpose yards and 18 touchdowns this season. He is a finalist for the Doak Walker Award, the Maxwell Trophy and the Walter Camp Player of the Year award. Ingram is also considered a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy.

McClain was named the 2009 SEC Defensive Player of the Year after leading one of the nation's top defensive units with 101 tackles, including 12.5 tackles for loss (-58 yards) and four sacks (-36 yards). He also added 14 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two interceptions (21 return yards) and forced one fumble.

He anchors a defense that leads the nation in scoring defense (11.0 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (88.81 rating) while ranking second in rushing defense (77.9 ypg) and total defense (241.69 ypg). The Tide is also seventh nationally in pass defense (177.82 ypg).

The Crimson Tide had seven players on the 2009 AP First-Team All-SEC squad on Monday, more than any other league school. Florida was next with six first-team picks, while Georgia and Mississippi had three each. Alabama and Florida led the way 10 overall selections (first and second team), followed by Georgia (7), Mississippi (6) and Tennessee (5).

Joining Ingram and McClain as first-team selections were senior offensive lineman Mike Johnson, senior kicker Leigh Tiffin, senior nose guard Terrence Cody, senior cornerback Javier Arenas and sophomore safety Mark Barron. Ingram, McClain and Cody were all unanimous selections.

Johnson led a rebuilt offensive line that helped clear a path for 215.9 rushing yards per game and 413.77 yards of total offense while surrendering just 1.15 sacks per game to rank 19th nationally. Tiffin is the school's career leader in scoring and field goals. He also holds the UA single-season record with 29 field goals this season.

Cody had 25 tackles and six tackles for loss and played a key role in the Tide's run defense this season. He also tied an Alabama record with two blocked kicks in the win over Tennessee. Barron was the Tide's second-leading tackler with 70 total stops this season. He had a team-best 17 passes defended, including an SEC-leading seven interceptions. Arenas is the Tide's third-leading tackler with 66 stops. He was also second on the team in sacks (5) and tackles for loss (12) this season.

Alabama's second team selections were junior offensive lineman James Carpenter, senior tight end Colin Peek and Arenas, who earned second-team honors for his special teams play this season.

Carpenter stepped in for All-American Andre Smith at left tackle and helped the Crimson Tide solidify its offensive front. The Crimson Tide offensive line was third in the SEC and 19th nationally in sacks allowed (1.15) per game this season.

In addition to his blocking skills, Peek caught 26 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns this season. Arenas is the SEC's career leader with 1,733 career punt return yards and seven touchdowns. He and needs just 29 yards to break Wes Welker's NCAA record of 1,761 yards.

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