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November 23, 2012

Notebook: UA defense watchful of McCalebb

TUSCALOOSA | Nick Saban, it would seem, is more than ready to see Onterio McCalebb go.

After seeing Auburn's most explosive offensive player make his share of plays against the University of Alabama, the UA coach remarked on how long McCalebb's career seems to have lasted.

"That 23, man. He seems to me like he's been there forever and it seems like every year he does something to make a big play against us," Saban said. "Or I just remember a lot of big plays that he's made, a kickoff return last year and I see a lot of big plays he's making this year."

One of the few bright spots in an otherwise anemic Auburn offense, McCalebb has carried 91 times for 573 yards, an average of 6.3 yards per carry. That's more than some of the league's elite backs. And McCalebb's ability to make big plays with his speed -- he weighs only 173 pounds -- will be a challenge for Alabama's defense to contain the outside corner at the line of scrimmage.

"It's going to be really important that our players to a good job on the perimeter when he's in the game," Saban added.

Senior Day
The Alabama senior class of 21, including 12 walk-ons, will be honored Saturday in their final home game for Senior Day.

"This class has done a fantastic job of representing the University of Alabama and representing our program," Saban said. "They've contributed to a large degree the leadership and success that we've had in this organization and I think it's great to recognize them in our stadium for the last home game."

Quotable
"People argue that it's one of the greatest classes of all time. You have like seven or eight first rounders in that class alone. None of us knew it coming in, but we all came in with the same attitude of winning and changing the culture around this place." - Tight end Michael Williams on his signing class.

Tidebits
Injured defensive back John Fulton (turf toe) was able to participate in the practice week. Fulton did not play against Western Carolina last week. ... Kicker Jeremy Shelley is perfect on 63 kicks this season, 53 PATs and 10 field goals. ... Alabama's defense has allowed just 39 rushing touchdowns in the past six years, the lowest total in the NCAA by a margin of 13 (Ohio State). ... Alabama can clinch the SEC West title with a win over the Tigers.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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