Sunday, September 7, 2008

TIde learning to rely in Ingram

TUSCALOOSA — With 4:41 remaining in the third quarter, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban ditched his running back rotation and went with freshman Mark Ingram as the feature back.
The move proved fortuitous, as Ingram rushed for 39 yards on the drive, including a touchdown run where he swept to the left, found a hole and ran in for the 15-yard score.
“He certainly made some outstanding runs when there wasn't much there,” Saban said. “Mark has probably been our most consistent guy with the ball in his hands and hopefully he can continue to improve.”
For the second consecutive game, Alabama primarily used Ingram, who led the Tide with 63 yards on 11 carries, and Glen Coffee who had 55 yards on nine carries. Saban said that he tried to use running back Terry Grant more, but couldn’t after Alabama got out of its gameplan. Grant had one reception for nine yards.
• Offensive line gets makeover: Alabama played Saturday’s game against Tulane with three new offensive linemen. Well, that’s not really the case, but that was the way Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban saw it.
With starting left tackle Andre Smith injured, Alabama began the game with Mike Johnson at left tackle, David Ross at left guard, Antoine Caldwell at center, Marlon Davis at right guard and Drew Davis at right tackle.
Then when Marlon Davis went down in the first half with a hamstring injury, Saban moved Ross from left guard to right guard and inserted Brian Motley at left guard.
“We had Motley playing a different place, David Ross playing a different place and Mike Johnson playing a different place, so you actually had three different people playing from what we were last week,” Saban said. “We kind of lost our continuity on the offensive line.”
• Newcomers show their stuff: Those looking for a big game out of freshman wide receiver Julio Jones were disappointed. One week after his four catch, 28-yard performance against Clemson, Jones made one catch — a 13-yard grab — against Tulane.
Jones might be the most recognizable member of the freshman class — his introduction Saturday elicited the loudest cheers from the fans — but several other newcomers played roles in Alabama’s win against Tulane. Linebacker Don’ta Hightower finished with 10 tackles and Mark Barron filled in at Alabama’s extra defensive back slot after cornerback Javier Arenas went out with a head injury in the third quarter.
• Tide jump up two spots in AP poll: Alabama moved up two spots in the Associated Press poll and one in the USA Today Coaches Poll on Sunday.
Alabama went from No. 13 to No. 11 in the AP poll and from No. 17 to No. 16 in the coaches poll.
— Josh Cooper

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