Eddie Lacy and Jalston Fowler -- both behind Richardson on the Tide's depth chart -- had more yards Saturday, though Richardson scored a career-high three touchdowns in a 48-7 win against Kent State. Lacy ran eight times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Fowler ran four times for a game-high 69 yards and a 49-yard touchdown. "Everybody combines different styles," Fowler said. "Trent with the speed and power, Eddie with the moves. Me? I've just got power."
Alabama senior wide receiver Marquis Maze battled a minor foot injury in the 10 days leading up to the season opener. It was not serious, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Thursday night on his radio show, but it was very aggravating. Maze still compiled 253 all-purpose yards in a 48-7 victory over Kent State.
Made-for-TV neutral-site games seem to be the rage these days. Their rise could mean the fall of marquee nonconference games on campuses. Is that good or bad for college football? "I don't know if it's a good thing or bad thing," said Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose team hosted Penn State last season. "I think that probably a combination of those things is probably good for college football."
While rumors of Urban Meyer taking over for Joe Paterno in the near future fly around State College, Meyer's biggest coaching rival, Nick Saban, brings his Crimson Tide to Penn State with a team and scheme JoePa can relate to -- an old school blend of powerful running and unyielding defense. Last season, Bama back Trent Richardson subbed for an injured Mark Ingram and gashed State for 144 yards. Richardson had three casual touchdown runs (though only 37 yards total) in last week's blowout of Kent State. The Nittany Lions will prove a tougher test, led by a solid set of linebackers. Meanwhile, Alabama held Kent to -9 rushing yards, and there isn't a soft spot in the unit. Much will depend on whether Silas Redd, who looked good in his debut taking over from Evan Royster as PSU's feature runner, can get any traction against the Tide D. If he can't, Paterno's lousy record of late against elite teams (3-11 against Top 10 teams since 2000) will get worse. Neither team has a reliable quarterback yet, which could turn this one ugly in a hurry.
"My job was to open a hole so Mike Ramil could block it, but everyone was so gung-ho to block that kick, I knocked a man out of the way," Rayam said. "I found myself back there so deep, I just reached for the sky. Then I felt the ball hit my hand." It was something of a surprise that Rayam was even playing that day. He had injured his ankle the Monday before the game in practice when offensive lineman Charlie Dare, Rayam said, fell on his ankle for the second time that season. "We're talking about a sprain, a hairline fracture, the whole nine yards," Rayam said. "The tape job on that ankle was more like a cast, and the cleats I wore were more like boots. It was the sheer will of God that I could even get that kind of push off of it in the fourth quarter."
After an opening weekend marred by bizarre weather and scarred by uniforms ranging from gaudy (Georgia) to garish (Maryland), the only game matching ranked teams features unis from the timeless classic collection. Neither Alabama nor Penn State is particularly concerned about making a fashion statement. Make no mistake, statements will be made, but it will have nothing to do with the Nits' sweet blue jerseys or the numbers on the Tide's headgear.
After losing to Alabama in the second game of the 2010 season, Penn State left Tuscaloosa with a lot of haunting memories, perhaps the worst being watching its defensive players bounce off running back Trent Richardson like so many gnats off a windshield. "Our performance was kind of embarrassing," linebacker Michael Mauti said Wednesday.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno wants to be on the sideline for Saturday's game against No. 3 Alabama. His doctors, however, are advising against it, making it more likely that Paterno will coach Saturday's game from the Beaver Stadium press box, a person close to the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad.
Defending a proven rushing attack with an eight-man defensive front is textbook football strategy, and one that the University of Alabama offense has faced on a frequent basis. Consider Saturday's road test at Penn State the next such challenge. The factors that suggest the Nittany Lions would be wise to employ such a game plan are everywhere, and Alabama players appear to have a sense of what to expect. "Probably so," center William Vlachos said when asked if he expected an eight-man front. "I know Penn State, they're a team that says, 'This is what we do. Come and beat us.' We expect everybody to ?load the box on us. We've got to identify and get it blocked. Whatever they come out in, we've got to be ready for."
Mauti didn't tone down his opinion Wednesday when talking about Penn State's 24-3 loss at Alabama last season. The two 1-0 teams square off again Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 and ABC will televise. The Crimson Tide are 10-point favorites. "For us, I've watched last year's game so many times and I know I can speak for a lot of guys on our defense here,'' said the 6-2, 242-pound Mauti. "Our performance was kind of embarrassing.''
The Nittany Lions did not get the results they were looking for in 2010, losing 6 games, including the Outback Bowl against Florida. But they were a young team, starting a freshman quarterback for part of the season, and losing some close games. This year, Penn State returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense on a team looking to make some noise in the new Big 10. It opened the season ranked 25th in the coaches' poll, but has since climbed to No. 20.
"I started out at left tackle for the majority of the first half," Jones said of the victory over the Golden Flashes. "And then I moved to guard for just a few series so that I could play beside Cyrus Kouandjio when he first went in, so his first couple of series I could kind of guide him along there. "And then, after that, I moved to center so I could get some experience there in case, heaven forbid, William [Vlachos] would go down."
The Alabama coach said Monday that most of his new players dealt with some first-game jitters in a 48-7 win against Kent State last week. They’re going to need to shake them off before Saturday, he said, if they want to be successful in a packed Beaver Stadium. "It’s going to be a challenge for our players to go in there and be able to focus like we need to and what we need to do to play winning football," Saban said. "And to not be affected by the external factors of playing on the road or the crowd or any of those types of things."
WIth the Penn State offense expected to show some regular personnel (two backs or tight ends), we'll probably see more of Alabama's base defense this week, which means more reps for Nico Johnson and strongside linebacker Jerrell Harris. With running lanes tough to come by, look for Penn State quarterbacks Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin to go to Redd and Suhey, the son of former PSU fullback Matt Suhey, in the passing game. Suhey is listed as a running back but he's used more like an H-back.
Sure, the meeting of Alabama and Penn State in State College, Pa., is about as American as a sporting event gets, but Crawford and Williams add a little extra flavor to the apple pie and ice cream Saturday afternoon. For starting defensive ends at two of the proudest college football empires nationally, the pair got a predictably late start in the sport. "I can’t imagine what it’s like, because I’ve never experienced it," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I started playing football when I was 10 years old."
To say we were overwhelmed by the response from Crimson Tide fans this weekend would be an understatement. Our Alumni Office has been inundated with e-mails raving about the hospitality, generosity and extremely grateful attitude the Alabama nation displayed toward anyone wearing the blue and gold of Kent State. To top it all off, the standing ovation our team received upon entering the stadium Saturday morning gave all of us Flashes fans in attendance goose bumps. It was something unheard of at a college football game, and speaks volumes about the citizens of Alabama and Crimson Tide fans everywhere.
College football's much reviled postseason system isn't going away, but it could soon undergo a face-lift. The BCS is basically controlled by the six major conferences -- one of which might be going away and two of which might soon supersize. And the timing of the moves falls right in line with the BCS' next television contract, which is set to go to the marketplace a year from now. "Absolutely everything is up for discussion," said BCS executive director Bill Hancock. "By the end of the year, every commissioner is to talk to the folks on their campuses and find out what they want to do in the future. By the first or second quarter of next year the commissioners will come back, report on what they said and form a consensus."
Three months after Turner's diagnosis in May 2010, some Boston researchers reported a link between an ALS-type illness and the repetitive head trauma suffered by some athletes. Turner is now involved in research about the degenerative disease, which is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). It's believed to be caused by repetitive blows to the head, including concussions. CTE has been linked to depression, erratic behavior and early dementia in a number of former pro athletes. "We've always known boxers could become punch drunk," Nowinski said. "We never thought it could exist in other sports -- hockey, wrestling, soccer, football. The brain doesn't care what's hitting it. The brain is far more fragile than what we thought."
The Crimson Tide will face a local foe after receiving a scare from the same program a year ago. UA-Huntsville will come to Coleman Coliseum at 7 p.m. on Nov. 7 for a tune-up game.
18. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama A physical specimen, Richardson can be an absolute star. Explosive, he is powerful through the hole and bounces off tackles with ease.
Coming off the bench, starting - it doesn't change how Stephen Garcia prepares. The fifth-year South Carolina senior is once again the starting quarterback for the 12th-ranked Gamecocks after losing the job to Connor Shaw last week. Garcia's benching lasted until the second quarter against East Carolina; he entered game with the Gamecocks trailing 17-0 led them to a 56-37 victory.
Suspended LSU receiver Russell Shepard will be eligible to return for the No. 2 Tigers' fourth game of the season when the Tigers play at No. 19 West Virginia on Sept. 24, a person familiar with the situation said.
After leaving his post as University of Alabama head softball coach in June and then returning to UA less than a weekend later, UA trustees agreed Thursday afternoon to a new contract and a considerable raise for Patrick Murphy. Murphy’s new contract brings his salary to $225,000, a raise of 73 percent. The contract was effective July 1 and runs five years to June 30, 2016.
"Fall ball gives us a chance to put a lot people in different situations to see what they can do," Murphy said. "It's an opportunity for the freshmen to put on the jersey for the first time and perhaps get rid of some preseason jitters." The three home Fall Brawl events will provide the first chance for Alabama fans to see the 2011 signing class don the Crimson and White in Tuscaloosa. "We have some great opponents this year which will help us out next spring," Murphy added. "The chance to play the National Pro Fastpitch all-star team on October 9 is very exciting. We are hoping some Alabama alums are on the roster for the pro team."