News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Alabama, Auburn Notebook


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama athletics director Mal Moore received a $25,000-a-year raise Thursday, increasing his annual salary to $425,000.

The Compensation Committee of the Board of Trustees approved the raise, which was an increase of 6.3 percent. According to university officials, senior staff members salaries were examined, and Moore’s was the only one in the athletic department that was reviewed.

Moore, 67, received a $75,000 raise and contract extension in 2006 through 2010.

He has been Alabama’s athletics director since 1999 and has overseen a $150 million facilities upgrade.

  • Alabama’s defensive line has endured a tough year ... to a degree. First, head coach Nick Saban called it “thin” and “soft.” Now, the group is dealing with some issues involving bringing down opposing quarterbacks.

    The Crimson Tide ranks No. 103 in the nation in sacks with five. Alabama also ranks last in the Southeastern Conference. LSU is first with 18.

    Saban’s 3-4 defensive scheme hasn’t produced sacks like observers thought it would.

    “We have gotten pressure, but we’ve missed a lot of opportunities to make sacks. We’ve just got to make sure we get the quarterback on the ground, instead of just getting the pressure,” said Tide linebacker Ezekial Knight, who leads the Crimson Tide with two sacks. “You’ve got to give a little something extra.”

    Wallace Gilberry knows a thing or two about tackling the quarterback in the backfield. He had 61/2 sacks his freshman year, but as a senior, he has zero sacks so far.

    “Sacks come in bunches,” Gilberry said. “I figure once the ball gets rolling and once my pass rush starts working, it’s going to get better.”

  • Bart Starr will serve as grand marshal of Alabama’s homecoming Saturday. Starr played at Alabama during 1952-55 and was the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers’ two Super Bowl championship teams in 1967 and 1968.

    He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Receiver Rod Smith won’t assume anything.

    Smith has served as Auburn’s go-to pass-catcher the past few weeks. Sophomore Montez Billings joined him in that role last week against Florida, but nothing is certain with Auburn’s shuffled recruiting corps.

    “You never know what can happen,” said Smith, a junior who had nine catches for 102 yards against the Gators. “We’ve had three different starting receivers.”

    Try five.

    Five different wideouts have started for the Tigers in 2007. Smith is the only one to start every game.

    Billings, who emerged from spring practice as a starter, injured his hamstring a week before the season opener. He saw his first start of the season against Florida, catching three balls for 56 yards.

    Billings, Smith and slot receiver Robert Dunn are listed as the three receiver starters heading into Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt, but anything can change. Dropped passes and wrong routes have plagued Auburn’s young receiving corps.

    Against Florida, no passes were dropped.

    “We stayed after practice and worked on the little things,” Smith said. “It carried over to the game.”

    A Georgia native, Smith grew up a Florida fan.

    He walked on at Auburn in 2005 and had a breakout year last season.

    He’s on his way to another, leading all Auburn receivers with 20 catches and 355 yards, but he ignores the past.

    “You can’t dwell on the past,” Smith said.

    “You have to keep moving forward and keep getting better every game.”

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily Sports Writer

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