Scouting the Crimson Tide


Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 5:53 a.m.

Last year

In the first season under coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide finished 7-6 overall and 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Highlights of the season included a 41-17 win over border rival Tennessee and a 30-24 win against Colorado at the Independence Bowl.

Tradition

Alabama has had a long and storied winning tradition that's included 12 national championships and 21 SEC titles. Much of the success came under icon coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, who led the Tide to six national titles and 12 SEC titles in 26 seasons.

Recruiting

The Tide already have 16 oral commitments for 2009, including Pensacola Escambia's Trent Richardson, considered one of the top running back recruits in the nation. Alabama's 2008 recruiting class of 32 commitments was ranked third nationally and has already produced impact freshman receiver Julio Jones and solid running back Mark Ingram.

How Alabama can win

The Tide can win the game by controlling the ball on the ground and keeping Tim Tebow and Florida's high-powered offense off the field. Alabama will need to limit turnovers and keep Florida from coming up with big plays on special teams while making a few big of its own.

Worry about this guy

Glen Coffee. The junior Alabama running back from Fort Walton Beach has rushed for 1,235 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Florida will need to stop Coffee, who leads the Tide's stable of talented running backs.

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Coachspeak

"This is an outstanding team. But I don't think you can expect to be in the SEC Championship game and not play an outstanding team," Alabama coach Nick Saban, on Florida.

Top 5 NFL products

5. Ozzie Newsome -- A three-time Pro Bowl tight end with the Cleveland Browns, Newsome finished his career with 7,980 receiving and 47 touchdowns. During his 12-year career, Newsome put together a streak of catching at least one pass in 150 straight games.

4. Don Hutson -- In 10 years as a receiver with the Green Bay Packers (1935-45), Hutson caught 99 touchdown passing while amassing 7,991 receiving yards. A two-time MVP, Hutson led the league in receiving in eight of his 10 seasons.

3 John Hannah -- Considered the best left guard of his era, the nine-time Pro Bowler played his entire 12-year career (1974-85) with the New England Patriots.

2. Joe Namath -- "Broadway Joe" led the New York Jets to the Super Bowl III upset to the Baltimore Colts that he famously guaranteed before the game. Namath passed for more than 27,000 yards with 173 TDs during his 12-year career.

1. Bart Starr -- Quarterback led the Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles and two Super Bowl titles. Passed for more than 24,000 yards and 152 TDs during his 15-year career.

-- Kevin Brockway

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