Quantcast

Even No. 1 Alabama needs help from role players - abc27 WHTM

Even No. 1 Alabama needs help from role players

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Dave Martin) (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Even a team loaded with talent like No. 1 Alabama needs lesser-known players to step up big sometimes.

Tana Patrick, Jalston Fowler and freshman tight end O.J. Howard delivered in a prime-time showdown with LSU, accounting for three touchdowns either prevented or scored in a victory decided by precisely that margin.

Only Howard seems likely to become a star among that trio.

Patrick, a senior reserve linebacker, came up with the biggest play of his Crimson Tide career when he stripped the ball from No. 18 LSU's fullback J.C. Copeland, who appeared headed for the end zone. It came when the game was still close and before Alabama (9-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference), which visits Mississippi State on Saturday, heated up in a 38-17 win.

"It made me feel really good, just to contribute to the team," Patrick said. "And to give us the momentum after that."

Sure, All-America linebacker C.J. Mosley had a huge performance in one of Alabama's biggest games, AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes and T.J. Yeldon ran for 133 yards and two TDs.

But the Tide almost certainly wouldn't have won so comfortably without the help of those players who are mostly unknown outside the state.

Patrick is one of the team's hardest hitters and plays mostly in goal line situations. He has 36 career tackles and, now, one forced fumble.

"Tana has been a guy that whatever his role has been here, he's been willing to play," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He never gets disappointed, never gets frustrated. He's always upbeat and positive. He's played for us all year on the goal line.

"That was certainly a huge play in the game early on when we weren't playing well. It made a huge difference in the outcome of the game, too, I'm sure. We're very excited and happy to see him make the play but it was great for our team as well."

Fowler, who even Saban calls by his childhood nickname "Nudie," is a formidable lead blocker who gets few carries but has scored on four of his five receptions this season.

He missed most of last season with a knee injury. McCarron has often found him slipping out of the backfield in goal line situations.

"We have some good play-action pass plays. Guys do a really good job of getting open, especially Nudie," McCarron said. "He's really good coming out of the backfield and gets lost a lot of times. That helps us out."

Then there's Howard, who seems to have the makings of a future star. The 6-foot-6, 237-pounder raced for a 52-yard touchdown against LSU, flashing impressive speed for his size.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said he "just watched him run away from LSU's entire defense on one play."

Veteran Brian Vogler has started every game, and Howard has three starts when Alabama opens with two tight ends. Howard was one of the Tide's most highly rated signees in the latest recruiting class and has 11 catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

"He's one of those guys when they first get here on campus you see what he does and you think, 'Okay, this guy is something special,'" Alabama left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said. "He's showing flashes of things that guys who have been here five years can't do. I am really proud of him for stepping up in the LSU game.

"I talked to him before the game and he was a little nervous. The big LSU game and he's just come from high school, a freshman, and he came out of his shell and did what he was trained to do, and we're all proud of him for that."

Saban said players like Patrick and Fowler also don't go unnoticed by coaches or teammates, even if they don't get much TV time. And sometimes they're involved in the handful of plays Saban always says can change a game.

"I think there's a lot of guys that do a great job on our team that don't get a lot of attention," the coach said. "Just because all of a sudden these guys do something that maybe deserves a little attention on their part, doesn't mean that they're not very well appreciated by all their coaches and all their teammates, because their role on the team is very much appreciated."

  • Auburn University SportsMore>>

  • Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Auburn QB Nick Marshall pays $1,100 in fines for marijuana possession, window tint violations in Georgia

    Thursday, July 24 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-24 19:33:03 GMT
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.More >>
    Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has paid the fines for possession of a small amount of marijuana and a window tint violation.
    More >>
  • CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    CB Chris Westry commits to Auburn

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:22:20 GMT
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
    Auburn added some size to the future of it's defensive backfield.Cornerback Chris Westry of Oakleaf High School in Florida committed to be part of the Tigers recruiting class of 2015. The 6-foot-4, 180 pound Westry is a three-star prospect according to 247Sports.Oakleaf High School announced the commitment on it's twitter page,2015 DB Chris Westry has committed to Auburn #WarEagle --Oakleaf Football ?, July 24 Westry is the 18th commitment for Auburn's 2015 signing class.More >>
  • Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Josh Donaldson nominated for MLB Heart and Hustle Award

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:37 PM EDT2014-07-23 22:37:43 GMT
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
    Josh Donaldson earned the Oakland A's Heart and Hustle Award. It's the second consecutive season Donaldson was chosen for the honor.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Samford picked to finish third in Southern Conference

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:38 PM EDT2014-07-24 00:38:39 GMT
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
    Coming off it's first trip to the FCS Playoffs, Samford was picked to finish third in the Southern Conference, the highest the program has even been picked in the preseason since it joined the league in 2008.More >>
  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Update: Man arrested after woman doused with gasoline and burned

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:57:16 GMT
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
    The Jefferson County Sheriff's department is looking for 48 year old Michael Kennedy. He's wanted on several charges after allegedly setting his ex-girlfriend on fire. Just after 2:30 this morning deputies respond to a report of a house fire in the 4400 block of Nellie Anderson Street. They arrived to find a 49 year old female victim with extensive burns to her head, arms, upper body and legs. She was transported to the hospital and admitted to a burn unit in serious condition. Investigators...More >>
  • Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Alabama farmers honored at the White House

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:52:40 GMT
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
    Two Alabama farmers are being honored at the White House. Bill Bridgeforth of Tanner and Lee Haynes of Cullman are among 15 people being recognized as "Champions of Change" in Washington on Tuesday. The the Agriculture Department honors people who are empowering and inspiring members of their local communities.Bridgeforth is a fourth-generation farmer in Limestone County. He's also a county chairman of the National Black Growers Association.Haynes is an egg farmer in Cullman County. After gra...More >>
  • Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Suspect dead, 2 marshals and cop wounded in NYC

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:45 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:45:02 GMT
    Authorities say a sex-assault suspect got in a shootout with law enforcement in New York City that wounded the suspect, two federal marshals and a police officer.More >>
    A California man who skipped town after being accused of molesting a child was killed and three law enforcement officers trying to arrest him were wounded in a daytime shootout inside a New York City smoke shop, officials...More >>
  • Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Deal to improve veterans' health care costs $17B

    Monday, July 28 2014 5:18 PM EDT2014-07-28 21:18:33 GMT
    After more than six weeks of sometimes testy talks, House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to fix a veterans health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records...More >>
    A bipartisan deal announced Monday would authorize about $17 billion to help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat veterans and make it easier to fire executives at the Department...More >>
  • FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    FAA proposes to fine Southwest Airlines $12M

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:19 PM EDT2014-07-28 19:19:17 GMT
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
    The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a $12 million civil fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with safety regulations related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners. Beginning in 2006, Southwest made "extreme makeover" alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners, the FAA said. An FAA investigation determined that Southwest's contractor, Aviation Technical Services Inc. of Everett, Washington, failed to follow proper ...More >>
  • Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Update: Body found in bakery truck, no foul play involved

    Monday, July 28 2014 11:28 AM EDT2014-07-28 15:28:15 GMT
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
    ABC 33/40 has confirmed that the body of 40 year old bakery employee Shane Landrip Caldwell was found in the truck. Police do not believe any foul play was involved.More >>
  • Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Nationwide manhunt for Ozark man accused of kidnapping, sexual assault

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:39 GMT
    David PittsDavid Pitts
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
    A 30 year old woman and 8 year old child are receiving medical treatment after they were kidnapped and sexually assaulted. A nationwide manhunt is now underway for the suspect.More >>
  • Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Attorney "getting conflicting stories about absentee ballots" in contested JeffCo race

    Sunday, July 27 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-27 23:08:43 GMT
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
    Jefferson County Commissioner Sandra Little Brown is expected to address the challenge to the District Two election results Monday. The contest was filed by one of her opponent's supporters. ABC 33/40 spoke with the attorney representing that supporter.More >>
Powered by WorldNow