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September 4, 2012
Milliner gets his due
TUSCALOOSA | Dee Milliner's performance against Michigan Saturday drew another honor Tuesday, this time the Chuck Bednarik Award player of the week.
The University of Alabama cornerback was named the national defensive player of the week by the Walter Camp Foundation on Sunday, then earned Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors from the league.
"I came out and competed like I wanted to," Milliner said. "As a team I felt we did great, also, just to come out and compete and win like we did."
Milliner finished with five tackles, a career-high four pass breakups, and the interception.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson tested Milliner early and often, but was unable to complete several passes thrown to Milliner's man. Milliner broke up two quick slant patterns in the first quarter, and also made the first interception of the season for the Crimson Tide on a deep right sideline pattern. Milliner pushed the receiver out of bounds on the play, which created some message-board controversy among Michigan fans.
"It was a man (coverage) call, and he outside released," Milliner said. "I happened to get a good jam on him, and when I turned around, the ball was coming."
Milliner is a preseason candidate for the Bronko Nagursky Trophy, presented to the nation's outstanding defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club.
"I keep my shoes real tight, so when it comes off, I can't get it back on. I had the trainer do it for me, and it took forever. Coach was pretty (upset) about that. ... The trainer got ripped into, too." - guard Anthony Steen on having to come out of the game after losing his shoe on Alabama's second offensive series against Michigan.
The Crimson Tide ascended to the No. 1 position in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls Tuesday. The AP poll does not figure into BCS points standings, but the USA Today poll does. "We won our first game. That's really all this team has done," Milliner said. ... Freshman linebacker Reggie Ragland was withheld from contact at practice again Tuesday with an ankle injury. Other players who sustained minor injuries against Michigan, including Trey DePriest, Tana Patrick and Jesse Williams, all participated in practice. Milliner wore a brace on his hand at practice Tuesday, but said it was merely precautionary after bending his hand in the wrong direction against Michigan. ... Alabama's home opener against Western Kentucky Saturday begins at 2:30 p.m.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.