2007 Media Days: Legge's Look at Alabama

BIRMINGHAM – Here's a look at the day Alabama Head Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide had at the SEC's annual Media Day event. Alabama finished tied for third in the SEC West last season and went to the Independence Bowl.

Last season: 7-6
Last game vs. Georgia: 26-23 OT loss
Series Record: Alabama leads 35-25-4
Most memorable Georgia win: 1964 Flea-flicker
Most memorable Georgia loss: 1984 Mike Shula's game-winning drive
Starters returning: 13

Best player: Andre Smith
Biggest Weakness: Overall talent in the program – not what it once was – Also, not what Bama fans are used to
2008's big question: Can Saban get it turned around in year two?

Inside the numbers vs. Georgia (as seen in the Dawg Post Season Preview):
Alabama allowed the opposition to score 89.5% of the time in the red zone – the worst in the SEC. The Tide defense may have only allowed the opposition to get inside the 20-yard line 38 times last year (or three times a game), but when they did they scored a touchdown 76% of the time – only Kentucky's lowly defense was more porous inside the red zone.

Recruiting Implications:
Becoming very important. Nick Saban has identified Atlanta as a place he wants to be for recruiting – a smart move. Talent overflows in the metro area, and Alabama is not that far away. Georgia can't sign every single kid in the Atlanta area… even if they wanted to they would have to wrestle top players from the Peach State capital away from the usual suspects: Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee and Georgia Tech. Adding Alabama to that mix makes things just that much more difficult for the Dawgs. Georgia has always been able to pick a player or two from its neighbor to the west, but that's never really been the program's recruiting focus. The winner of this game won't get a massive recruiting edge, but both programs have to stay near the top of the SEC if they want to be relevant in Atlanta recruiting. Still, recruiting is a zero-sum game: for every winner there is a loser. My guess is that if Alabama is up in the Atlanta area, then Auburn will be down. Time will tell. The Bulldogs are not pumped up about Alabama and Clemson playing their season opener in the Georgia Dome – score one point for Saban and Tommy Bowden. Notable Georgians on the Alabama Roster: 11 of the 18 players from Georgia on Bama's roster in 2007 were freshmen or sophomores. Notable Alabamians on the Georgia Roster: Ben Jones and Jonathon Owens.

Last year's prediction: Match Bama's intensity. Playing at Bryant-Denny is difficult – adding Saban to the mix gives Bama a legitimate shot at being good now. You can't get lulled to sleep on the road in the SEC, and that's what happened five years ago.
The 2007 game between these neighbors looked a lot like the 2002 game. Georgia got comfortable out in front of the Tide, and then let them back in the ball game in the second half. Matthew Stafford, however, teamed up with Mikey Henderson to end the game on Georgia's first snap of overtime.

Legge's must-win game: Auburn
Legge's projected SEC finish: 4th SEC West
Legge's All-SEC Tide players: Andre Smith

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