2002 SEC Football Preview- Alabama

Alabama will try to shake the effects of NCAA probation and contend for the SEC West Title. VandyMania takes a look at the Tide and makes a prediction.

COACHING

Head Coach: Dennis Franchione (Career rec: 145-70-2)
Offensive Coordinator: Les Koenning, Jr.
Defensive Coordinator: Carl Torbush

2001 Record: 7-5 overall (4-4 SEC)

2001 SEC/NCAA STATS RANKINGS

Total Offense: 5th / 39th (409.4)
Rushing Offense: 1st / 9th (226.4)
Passing Offense: 10th / 84th (183.0)
Scoring Offense: 6th / 52nd (27.6)
Total Defense:5th / 48th (361.1)
Rushing Defense: 4th / 16th (108.9)
Pass Efficiency Defense: 9th / 86th (131.6)
Scoring Defense: 5th / 24th (19.9)

2002 SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 MIDDLE TENNESSEE

Alabama defensive end Kindal Moorehead was named First-team All-SEC last season. He had 41 tackles with 10.5 of them behind the line scrimmage including 5.5 sacks. (AP Photo/Ann Williamson)


Sept. 7 at Oklahoma
Sept. 14 NORTH TEXAS
Sept. 21 SOUTHERN MISS
Sept. 28 at Arkansas
Oct. 5 GEORGIA
Oct. 19 OLE MISS
Oct. 26 at Tennessee
Nov. 2 at Vanderbilt
Nov. 9 MISSISSIPPI STATE
Nov. 16 at LSU
Nov. 23 AUBURN
Nov. 30 Hawaii

STARTERS RETURNING

Offense (7):

QT Wesley Britt (6-8, 313, So.)
QG Justin Smiley (6-3, 295, So.)
*C Alonzo Ephraim (6-4, 292, Sr.)
SG Marico Portis (6-3, 302, Sr.)
ST Evan Mathis (6-5, 281, So.)
TB Ahmaad Galloway (6-1, 225, Jr.)
FB Donnie Lowe (6-2, 249, Jr.)

Defense (8):

DT Jarret Johnson (6-4, 274, Sr.)
NT Kenny King (6-5, 277, Sr.)
*DE Kindal Moorehead (6-4, 288, Sr.)
SLB Cornelius Wortham (6-1, 216, Jr.)
ROV Brooks Daniels (6-2, 201, Jr.)
CB Gerald Dixon (5-11, 184, Sr.)
SS Waine Bacon (5-10, 190, Sr.)
CB Hirchel Bolden (6-0, 196, Sr.)

* All-Star Candidates

TEAM STRENGTHS

Offensive line, tailback, quarterback, defensive line.

TEAM QUESTION MARKS

Linebackers, wide receivers, defensive secondary.

KEY GAME

October 26 at Tennessee. It's been a long tiime since Bama has beaten the Vols. In order to bring back the glory the program once had under Paul "Bear" Bryant the Crimson Tide will need to overtake the Vols.

HEAD COACHES COMMENTS

"Three strengths are offensive line. They've gotten lot of preseason talk. Keep in mind that three of them have only 12 starts under their belts. It's still a developing offensive line. We have come a long way. The tailback position is a strength. We've got four guys who can play at that position. It has created opportunities to put two tailbacks on field at same time. Quarterback is a strength. Tyler is back, another year, more knowledgeable. We have some exciting young guys coming. Brodie Croyle is on the fast track to be pushing Tyler, and Spencer Pennington is right behind him. Brodie has lot of savvy and understanding how to play the game. They made tremendous strides in spring practice."

VandyMania Projection

Bama can't go bowling but they will still play 13 games. The athletic department got permission from the NCAA to add a 13th game on the schedule: at Hawaii. Incredible! Anyway, Bama is loaded with talent, even with the sanctions they've been busy stocking up with capable walk-ons. Alabama should win 7-9 games easily. They'll finish 3rd behind Ole Miss and LSU in the SEC West. They are still a year or two away from catching the Tigers at the top.


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