Scouting Alabama

The Ole Miss Rebels and Crimson Tide of Alabama will butt heads today at Bryant-Denny Stadium at 2:30 p.m. (central) in an important SEC matchup for both teams. The Rebs need to keep building on their momentum gained from the Vandy game last weekend.

The Ole Miss Rebels go on the road Saturday for the third time this season to a place where they have experienced very little football success over the years, Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The Rebels' first trip to Alabama was in 1900, losing that first game 12-5, but it was not until 88 years later and 14 more trips to Tuscaloosa that the Rebels came home a winner, 22-12 in 1988. Since then, Ole Miss has lost seven additional trips to the Capstone.

Alabama holds a commanding lead in teh series with 42 wins, 9 losses and two ties over the 103 years this series has existed. Ole Miss won the initial game of this series over Alabama 6-0 in 1894.

A unique thing about the Ole Miss-Alabama series is the fact games between the two have been played at nine different locations, four in Alabama (Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile), four in Mississippi (Oxford, Jackson, Greenville, Tupelo) and once in New Orleans.

Last year, the Crimson Tide Won the game in Oxford 13-10 on a 31-yard field goal by Jamie Christianson as time expired. The Rebels' last win came in 2003, when Eli Manning led the Rebs to a 43-28 victory.

The Crimson Tide opened the 2006 season with consecutive home wins over Hawaii 25-17, Vanderbilt 13-10 and UL Monroe 31-7. The Tide traveled to Fayetteville, losing in double overtime to the Hogs 24-23, then on to Florida for a 28-13 loss to the now number two ranked Gators. Alabama returned home last Saturday to get their fourth win of the season over Duke 30-14. Neither Alabama nor Ole Miss enters this week's game ranked in the national polls.

Mike Shula is in his fourth year as head coach of the Crimson Tide. Shula, son of former NFL great coach Don Shula, is a 1987 graduate of Alabama where he played quarterback for former Tide head coach Ray Perkins. Shula finished his career as the Tide's sixth best passer in history, throwing for 4,069 yards. Shula spent time coaching on NFL staffs at Chicago, Tampa Bay and Miami before answering the call to return to Alabama in 2003.

Offensively, Alabama employs more of a two-back or pro-style offense but will line up in the shotgun from time-to-time. Dave Radar is the Tide's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Radar coached Shula during his years as an Alabama player so when Shula returned as the head coach, he convinced Radar to give up his 11-year head coaching position at Tulsa and return to Bama as his offensive coordinator.

The Tide is averaging 24.2 points per game while gaining an average 366.8 yards per game, rushing for 135.5 yards and passing for 231.3 yards per game. The Crimson Tide converts third down opportunities at a 45% rate. Their offensive line averages 301 pounds per man and Radar will likely start two seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen against the Rebels.


- QB # 14 John Parker Wilson, So., 6-2, 207 - 102-169-1373 yards, 60.4% 9 tds, 5 ints, Rushed for 32 yards

- RB # 34 Kenneth Darby, Sr., 5-11, 205 - 109-424 yards, 3.9 ave, 0 TD, long 20 yards, has 11 receptions

- FB # 19 Tim Castille, Sr., 5-11, 236 - Short Yards runner, 19-63 yards, 2 tds

- RB # 10 Jimmy Johns, So, 6-2, 227 - 32 carries for 142 yards, 4.4 ave

- WR #81 Keith Brown, Jr., 6-3, 192 - 36 catches for 503 yards, 14.0 ave

- WR # 22 D.J. Hall, Jr., 6-3, 190 - 24 catches for 484 yards, 20.2 ave

- LT # 71 Andre Smith, Fr, 6-5, 315 - True freshman starter at left tackle.

The Crimson Tide lost a big playmaker to injury, split end Tommy Prothro

Defensively, the Crimson Tide is a 4-3-4 team that likes to zone blitz and create havoc for their opponent's offense. Joe Kines is the defensive coordinator. Kines is in his second tour of duty as the Tide's defensive coordinator. He is a graduate of Jacksonville State and has coached at four SEC schools, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Kines left Alabama with Ray Perkins to go spend four years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Bama only returned four starters for last year's defensive team, yet they will start six seniors and five juniors. The defensive line weighs an average of 277 pounds per man. Their linebackers have good speed and their secondary is aggressive trying to creat turnovers.


- SS # 3 Jeffery Dukes, Sr., 6-3, 199 - 21 solo tackles, 15 assist, 36 total, 2 interceptions, from Oxford, MS

- OLB # 42 Juwan Simpson, Sr., 6-3, 226 - 19 solo tackles, 17 assist, 36 total, 1 interception

- MLB # 21 Prince Hall, Fr., 5-11, 255 - 17 solo tackles, 11 assist, 28 total, 2 sacks & 2 fumble recoveries

- RCB # 2 Simeon Castille, Jr., 6-1, 189 - 16 solo tackles, 9 assist, 25 total, 3 interceptions

- OLB # 55 Terrance Jones, Sr., 6-0, 222 - 10 solo tackles, 12 assist, 22 total

- LDE # 92 Wallace Gilberry, Jr., 6-4, 264 - 12 solo tackles, 7 assist, 19 total.

Special Teams -

Punter # 11 P.J. Fitzgerald, rFr. - 15 punts for 38.0 ave

Punt Return # 28 Javier Arenas, Fr. - 9 returns for 54 yards, a 6.0 ave

Placekicker # 86 Jamie Christensen, Jr. - 4-5 PATs, 3-5 FG, long 37 yards

KO Return # 28 Javier Arenas, Fr. - 9 returns 193 yards, 21.4 ave

Also... # 22 D.J. Hall, Jr. - 5 returns 110 yards, 22.0 ave.

THOUGHTS - The Rebels have to build on the Vanderbilt win. Must contain Darby. Find a way to Pressure Wilson and not let Wilson throw over the top to Hall and Brown. Must get Brent Schaeffer going in the passing game and continue getting good special teams play.

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