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October 18, 2010

Notebook: Tide recovering from unusual, physical game

TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama football players and coaches spent part of Monday answering questions about some unusual incidents during the 23-10 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

For example, senior quarterback Greg McElroy seemed as surprised as anyone that he didn't break a bone in his throwing hand when 320-pound nose tackle Jerrell Powe stood on it following the second sack by Ole Miss.

"I don't know, that thing hurts," said McElroy, who still has a large bruise. "It was pretty swollen yesterday. That hurt pretty bad."

Junior defensive end Marcell Dareus said his ankle is recovering well after freshman left guard Patrick Junen appeared to deliberately dive into the previously injured area while he was engaged with another Ole Miss player.

"You really can't do anything when you're in the middle of a play," he said. "I can only think of I should have kept my feet moving. I look it as my fault."

Meanwhile, Coach Nick Saban was asked if an Ole Miss player grabbed junior wide receiver Julio Jones by the arm and possibly squeeze his broken hand just before being pulled.

"That wasn't the issue," Saban said.

Alabama did X-ray his hand again and there was no further damage.

"He's fine, he's practicing today and he's going to do everything this week in practice," Saban said. "What happened is he got hit on his index finger (by the ball) which stretched the stitches."

More injury news

Saban listed four players as being "dinged up," who might be limited during Monday's practice, but should be ready for Saturday's game: junior cornerback DeQuan Menzie, redshirt freshman Eddie Lacy, freshman cornerback DeMarcus Milliner and junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw.

Only Lacy, who was part of a big collision on a kick return, and redshirt freshman tackle D.J. Fluker, wore black jerseys during Monday's practice, which was just a 90-minute session in shorts and helmets. Lacy was sporting a brace on his left knee while Fluker (groin) is "very questionable" to play at Tennessee.

Milliner was wearing a sleeve on his right leg while Menzie was moving a little gingerly.

Coming off a high ankle injury, Upshaw is one of many players who figures to benefit greatly from next week's open date.

"It's not real hard," Upshaw said about trying to play through it. "I come in with the mindset that I just have to do it. It's just pain, I can make plays and if I can just move I can make plays."

Weekly awards

Junior wide receiver Marquis Maze was named the co-SEC special teams player of the week along with Kentucky kicky Ryan Tydlacka.

Subbing for Jones, Maze returned six punts for 125 yards, which ranked third on the Alabama single-game list for punt-return yards.

"The guy out-kicked his gunners, which gave me a lot of room to work with," Maze said. "My protection gave me a lot of room."

Junior safety Mark Barron was an honorable-mention selection for defensive player of the week after having seven tackles, including four for a loss, and an interception.

Both players received weekly honors from the coaching staff as well. Sophomore running back Trent Richardson and junior right tackle Alfred McCullough shared the offensive award, Barron and freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley did on defense, while Maze, freshman Cade Foster and junior Alex Watkins split on special teams.

Richardson was also one of seven players named Paul Hornung's Most Versatile Performances of the Week. The Hornung is a new national award for college football's most versatile player of the season.

Maze still hadn't seen Watkins' hit to take to two players when he talked to reporters but, "heard the crowd. I'm looking forward to seeing it."

Next round of awards

The John Mackey Award midseason list for tight end of the year was announced Monday and didn't include any Alabama players (none were on the watch list either). It's the first announcement of semifinalists for the national awards.

Here's the rundown:
Bednarik Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Fred Biletnikoff Award (wide receiver): Julio Jones named to watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 15
Butkus Award (linebacker): Dont'a Hightower and Nico Johnson named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 21 (Rolando McClain reigning winner).
Walter Camp Award (Player of the year): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 16.
William Campbell Trophy (scholar-athlete, formerly known as the Draddy Trophy): Greg McElroy named semifinalist. Finalists announced Oct. 28.
Heisman Trophy: Finalists announced Dec. 6 (Mark Ingram reigning winner).
Ted Hendricks Award (defensive end): Marcell Dareus was named to the watch list. Midseason list to be announced in November.
Rotary Lombardi Award (lineman): James Carpenter, Marcell Dareus and Dont'a Hightower named to the watch list. Semifinalists named Oct. 28.
Lott Trophy (defensive impact player): Mark Barron on watch list. Quarterfinalists expected to be announced in October.
Manning Award (quarterback, includes bowls): Greg McElroy on watch list. Finalists named Nov. 29.
Maxwell Award (outstanding player): Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists named Nov. 8.
Bronko Nagurski Award (defensive player): Mark Barron, Marcell Dareus, Dont'a Hightower and Robert Lester on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 18.
Davey O'Brien Award (quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists announced Oct. 25.
Outland Trophy (interior lineman): James Carpenter and Barrett Jones on watch list. Finalists announced Nov. 22.
Paul Hornung Award (most versatile): Trent Richardson on watch list. Finalists announced in early December.
Rimington Trophy (center): William Vlachos on watch list. Finalists announced Dec. 6.
Jim Thorpe Award (defensive back): Mark Barron on watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 1.
Unitas Golden Arm (senior quarterback): Greg McElroy on watch list. Semifinalists expected to be announced in November.
Doak Walker Award (running back): Mark Ingram named to watch list. Semifinalists announced Nov. 11.
Burlsworth Trophy (walk-on): Nominees announced Nov. 17.

No one from Alabama on watch list
John Mackey Award (tight end): Finalists announced Nov. 12.
Lou Groza Award (kicker): Semifinalists announced Oct. 29.
Ray Guy Award (punter): Semifinalists announced Nov. 12.

Coaching awards
Paul "Bear" Bryant Award: Watch list TBA.
Broyles Award (assistant coach): Finalists announced Nov. 29 (Kirby Smart reigning winner).
Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year Award: Finalists TBA (Nick Saban reigning winner).
George Munger Award: Semifinalists announced Nov. 8.
Home Depot Coach of the Year: Finalists TBA.
Joe Paterno Award: Semifinalists announced Nov. 8.
Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year: Finalists TBA.
Eddie Robinson Award: Finalists announced Nov. 24.
Amos Alonzo Stagg Coach of the Year Award: Finalists TBA (Nick Saban reigning winner).
Walter Camp Coach of the Year: TBA.
AFCA Coach of the Year: TBA.
Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year: TBA.

TV times

The SEC announced next week's television lineup (Oct. 30):
Tennessee at South Carolina, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network;
Florida vs. Georgia, 2:30 p.m., CBS;
Auburn at Ole Miss, 5 p.m., ESPN2;
Kentucky at Mississippi State, 6 p.m., ESPNU;
Vanderbilt at Arkansas, 6 p.m., Fox Sports Net.

According to sources, Mississippi State at Alabama on Nov. 13 will likely be an evening game on one of the ESPN networks. CBS could have a tough choice that weekend with South Carolina at Florida, Georgia at Auburn and the Crimson Tide game, especially if the Bulldogs beat Kentucky next week.

Tide-bits

There was a reason why Dareus was called for being offside three times against Ole Miss, which had a freshman center, Evan Swindall. "He had a little twitch and I just took off. I was just trying to do the best I could, to give my team its best advantage possible."

Although Saban essentially gave players last Monday off to recover some, he also believes it may have hurt the team's execution some against Ole Miss. "I think we should have gone ahead and done what we need to do," Dareus said. "The bye week is coming up and we can fight through it."

Although Saban regularly tells players "They don't make them like they used to," they aren't necessarily buying it. "He told me, 'When I was a player I broke my leg in three places and I still ran off the field,'" Dareus said. "I said if I break my leg in three places you all can bring a stretcher." Responded Maze, "They don't really because those guys were slower than we are."

Before his town-hall style meeting at Bryant-Denny Stadium, to promote the use of alternative sources of energy, billionaire entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens visited the football facilities just before the Tide practiced. It's estimated that he's donated more than $300 million to Oklahoma State athletics over the years.

Saban was asked if he had a chance to watch his wife help host the homecoming parade Saturday: "No. ... I hope you're not getting me in trouble."


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