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2009 Alabama Football Preview

Alabama football helmet

If you are looking for our 2007 Alabama Football page, check out 2007 Alabama Crimson Tide football.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off a fine 2008 campaign in which the team showed tremendous balance and depth, both of which led the team to a BCS berth. The team managed a 12-2 record overall, and a perfect 8-0 record in the Southeastern Conference. However, the 2008 season did end on a sour note, as the team fell 31-17 in its Sugar Bowl appearance to Utah.

The Alabama defense is going to be the single most important and valuable unit for Crimson Tide football in 2009, as it returns a number of significant contributors from the 2008 squad. LB Rolando McClain is one of the key cogs returning to the Crimson Tide defense in 2009. He amassed 95 tackles over the course of the 2008 campaign. DE Brandon Deaderick is also going to be expected to step up his game play in 2009. He managed 4.0 sacks in 2008, but it is hoped that this number will grow in 2009.

In addition to McClain, the Crimson Tide also return a number of other linebackers that are expected to bolster a corps that is widely considered to be one of the top in the SEC. Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Fanney, and Cory Reamer are key components of that unit. The Crimson Tide also return a deep secondary, featuring safety Justin Woodall, considered by many to be the leader of the team's defensive backfield, as well as cornerbacks Javier Arenas and Kareem Jackson.

Alabama Football Warmup
Alabama Football Warmup
Thanks to mrsbalentin at flickr.com for the picture

The team may find itself struggling somewhat offensively in 2009. One of the most significant developments that the offense will need to overcome and compensate for is the loss of quarterback John Parker Wilson. His departure means that the solid, steady signal-calling is also gone, and now, the Crimson Tide turns their hopes and fortunes to junior quarterback Greg McElroy.

McElroy does not have a lot of real time game play behind him, but he is still widely regarded to be an intelligent player who can more than capably lead the team on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how quickly McElroy is able to develop relationships with his wide receiving corps, including 2008's leading WR, Julio Jones. Also key to the development of McElroy, and the advancement of the offense in general, is the success of the team's running game, led primarily by Mark Ingram.

Bryant-Denny Stadium
Bryant-Denny Stadium
Thanks to mrsbalentin at flickr.com for the picture

In addition to its typically strong SEC schedule, the Crimson Tide has a strong, although not overwhelmingly difficult, non-conference schedule. The season opens with a difficult non-conference game in which the Crimson Tide face off vs. Virginia Tech in a game played in Atlanta. However, aside from that game, the remainder of the non-conference schedule is somewhat meager, featuring matchups vs. Florida International, North Texas, and Chattanooga.

That said, despite a difficult schedule, and some questions on the offensive side of the ball, the Crimson Tide should once again be one of the best 2 teams in the Southeastern Conference, however, a perfect regular season record will be a tough feat to repeat.

2008 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Schedule
Aug. 30 vs. Clemson (Atlanta)
Sept. 6 Tulane (Tuscaloosa)
Sept. 13 Western Kentucky (Tuscaloosa)
Sept. 20 at Arkansas (Fayetteville)
Sept. 27 at Georgia (Athens)
Oct. 4 Kentucky (Tuscaloosa)
Oct. 18 Ole Miss (Tuscaloosa)
Oct. 25 at Tennessee (Knoxville)
Nov. 1 Arkansas State (Tuscaloosa)
Nov. 8 at LSU (Baton Rouge)
Nov. 15 Mississippi State (Tuscaloosa)
Nov. 29 Auburn (Tuscaloosa)

2008 Alabama Crimson Tide Football Roster

According to an entry on Wikipedia, the following 2008 Bama players made 9 starts (or more) in 2007. These will likely be the key players for Alabama this season:


Antoine Caldwell (Senior Offensive Lineman)
Terry Grant (Sophomore Running Back)
Mike Johnson (Junior Offensive Lineman)
Mike McCoy (Junior Wide Receiver)
Andre Smith (Junior Offensive Line)
Nick Walker (Senior Tight End)
John Parker Wilson (Senior Quarterback)

Kareem Jackson (Sophomore Defensive Back)
Rashad Johnson (Senior Defensive Back)
Ezekial Knight (Senior Linebacker)
Rolando McClain (Sophomore Linebacker)
Lorenzo Washington (Junior Defensive Line)

Special Teams

Javier Arenas (Junior Kick/Punt Returner)
P.J. Fitzgerald (Junior Punter)
Jonathan Lowe (Senior Kick Returner)
Brian Selman (Senior Snapper)
Leigh Tiffin (Junior Place Kicker)

Sports Information Directors (SID's) from each SEC school voted Alabama's Offensive Lineman Andre Smith and Safety Rashad Johnson into their 2008 SEC Preseason 1st Team All-Conference Team. Also, Center Antoine Caldwell was named to the All-SEC 2nd Team by the SID's.

Head Coach: Nick Saban (2d year at Alabama) (98-48-1 .670)

Stadium: Bryant-Denny (92,238), Tuscaloosa, (77 years old)

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