Alabama Game Notes on Arkansas

What should be game four of the 2001 Alabama football season, will actually be game three when Alabama and Arkansas meet this weekend in a CBC televised game. Kickoff will be 2:30 pm (CDT). As has been well documented following last week's horrific terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., all college football games were postponed last week and neither the Alabama-Southern Miss nor the Arkansas-North Texas games were played. A rescheduled date has not been determined.

Alabama enteres the game with a 1-1 overall record and a 1-0 mark in Southeastern Conference action. Arkansas is also 1-1 on the season, but is 0-1 in league play.

When the Alabama-Southern Miss game was postponed last weekend, it marked the third time in Alabama history a game was postponed. The first postponement was during the 1963 season. In the summer of that year, CBS asked Alabama to move its Nov. 9 game with Miami to Dec. 7. Alabama agreed, but when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Nov. 22, CBS elected to televise the Army-Navy game on Dec. 7, thus postponing the Alabama-Miami game until Dec. 14. Alabama won that game, 17-12. In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert forced the postponement of Alabama's Sept. 17 game at Texas A&M. The game was rescheduled for Thursday, Dec. 1 and Alabama won 30-10.

Dennis Franchione took over the head coaching duties at Alabama on Dec. 4, 2000, and promptly pumped enthusiasm and excitement back into the program. He brought a proven track record as a winning coach, having turned around programs at every stop in his collegiate coaching career. Franchione revived programs at New Mexico and TCU, taking the Lobos' to their first bowl game in 36 years and the Horned Frogs to three consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history. He currently ranks 12th on the NCAA's list of winningest active coaches with a 139-66-2 career mark, good for a .676 winning percentage. Franchione's 139 career wins ranks 5th on the active career winning list behind Joe Paterno, Penn State (322); Bobby Bowden, Florida State (317); Lou Holtz, South Carolina (225) and Jackie Sherrill, Miss. State (171).

Arkansas has won three of the last four meetings with Alabama. The Crimson Tide's lone win in that stretch was a 35-28 win here in Tuscaloosa in 1999.

In the last two meetings, Alabama and Arkansas have combined for 112 points. Arkansas posted a 28-21 win last season in Fayetteville, while Alabama won a 35-28 shootout in 1999 in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama blocked two kicks in last year's loss to Arkansas. Victor Ellis blocked a 36-yard field goal attempt by Matt Swartz in the third quarter. Jarret Johnson blocked a Richie Butler punt in the second quarter.

Alabama recorded its longest scoring drive of the 2000 season in its opening drive at Arkansas (Sept. 23). The Crimson Tide took the opening kickoff and used a 17-play, 80-yard drive (8:29 TOP) to take a 7-0 lead. Brandon Miree capped the drive with a three-yard run.

Alabama completed its first touchdown pass of the 2000 season at Arkansas last year. Tyler Watts' 18-yard TD pass to Jason McAddley came with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter.

Alabama will try and make it two years in a row with a scoring "first" against the Razorbacks. The Crimson Tide enters this week's game with the Hogs looking for its first rushing TD of the 2001 season.

Last year's win was costly for the Razorbacks. Tailback Cedric Cobbs was lost for the season with a shoulder separation after gaining 60 yards on 18 carries. Receiver George Wilson was lost for the year with a shoulder separation and tailback Fred Talley was lost for three weeks with a broken left hand.

Arkansas has four Alabamians on its 2001 football roster, including outside linebacker Pierre Brown (Shades Valley HS - Birmingham), quarterback Tarvaris Jackson (Sidney Lanier HS - Montgomery), outside linebacker Michael Robinson (Jackson Olin HS - Birmingham) and nose guard Pat Winn (Holt HS - Tuscaloosa).

Alabama has no Arkansas natives on its current roster.

Arkansas receivers coach and recruiting coordinator George Pugh is an Alabama native and football letterman with the Crimson Tide. Pugh, who attended Sidney Lanier HS in Montgomery, later starred with the Crimson Tide (1972-75), where he was a member of the three SEC championship teams and one national championship squad. He played in four consecutive bowl games, including Cotton (1973), Sugar (1973), Orange (1975) and Sugar (1975).

Arkansas' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach John Thompson is a former Alabama assistant coach under Bill Curry. Thompson coached the Alabama outside linebackers in 1987. More recently, Thompson served as defensive coordinator at Southern Miss (1992-98), coaching against the Crimson Tide seven times.

Arkansas' Director of Football Operations Louis Campbell is a former Crimson Tide assistant coach. Campbell was a graduate assistant at Alabama under Paul Bryant from 1973-74. Campbell was then promoted to secondary coach for the 1975-76 seasons. After a three-year stint at SMU (1977-79), Campbell returned to Alabama to coach the defensive backs from 1980-84.

For the ninth straight year the Alabama-Arkansas game will be shown on television. CBS Sports will air the game to a national audience at 2:30 p.m. (CT). CBS also televised the Crimson Tide's 35-28 win over the Hogs in 1999. ABC Sports (1962, 80, 94), Jefferson Pilot Sports (1993, 195, 96, 97) and espn2 (1998, 2000) have also aired games in this series.


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