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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2007
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Alabama Report

Dorsey tough matchup

TUCALOOSA — Glenn Dorsey was not the easiest guy to block for Alabama in a 41-34 loss to LSU on Saturday.

The Tigers’ giant defensive tackle finished with seven tackles, including a sack.

At one point in the first quarter, Dorsey went down and appeared to be re-injuring his knee. However, he bounced up and trotted off the field.

“I said, ‘Why don’t we run the other way because we can’t block him?’ ” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We obviously didn’t do a very good job of scheming, and we didn’t do a very good job of executing the (blocking) scheme.”

Arenas’ big day

Javier Arenas saw his first major action of the season on defense Saturday. Arenas, who was recruited to Alabama by former special teams coach Dave Ungerer as a return man, appears to have found a role in Saban’s defense as a defensive back.

Arenas had four tackles, but his play on defense wasn’t his most important time in the game — he also had a 61-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that gave Alabama a 34-27 lead.

It was his third career punt return for a touchdown. David Palmer (1991-93) holds the Alabama career record with four.

“The field was just open, man, from the blocking,” Arenas said. “I just saw green. It wasn’t spectacular moves or nothing — I just took it. I saw the seam and just took it. It wasn’t much to it at all.”

Lowe at running back

Jonathan Lowe hasn’t carried the ball all year as a running back, but on Saturday, Alabama featured its kick return specialist in the backfield.

Lowe led Alabama in rushing with 10 carries for 31 yards. According to Lowe, it was the first time he played running back since 2005.

“I am thankful for my opportunity and being able to contribute to the team. I enjoyed my whole experience,” Lowe said. “That was a challenge for me. The biggest thing I wanted to do was step up to the challenge and prove to a lot of people that I am capable of doing it.”

With running back Glen Coffee suspended as the Tide looks into a textbook problem, Alabama is short of running backs.

Tide coach Nick Saban said he used Lowe to give a different look from Terry Grant and Roy Upchurch, two of Alabama’s available running backs.

“He has been a very effective player,” Saban said. “We just haven’t been able to get him on the field because he has been hurt. We thought that this might be an opportunity where he can get a little boost and he did a decent job.”

Brown plays big

It has been an up and down year for Keith Brown. His number was called on Alabama’s final drive against Arkansas earlier in the year, and he had three catches for 73 yards against Georgia, but besides those games, Brown hadn’t done much.

Until Saturday’s game against LSU.

Brown had two catches, but they were two big grabs, both being for touchdowns.

Brown dropped the final pass of the game for Alabama, but was hit hard by an LSU defender.

“Keith had a great game,” Saban said. “He had a chance to make a big play at the end of the game that would have given us a chance to score. He got popped pretty well and the ball fell.”

Jackson impresses

Saban’s well-known policy of not letting freshmen talk to reporters may have to change if Kareem Jackson keeps up his current pace.

Jackson once again had a stellar outing for Alabama. He grabbed an interception with 1:07 remaining in the second quarter, which led to an Alabama touchdown. On LSU’s next drive, Jackson blocked a field goal attempt.

Jackson now has three interceptions on the year, second to safety Rashad Johnson, who has four.

Reversals all around

Replay official James Allison got quite a workout on Saturday. Overall, six plays were reviewed and four reversed.

This led to quite a lengthy game. The total elapsed game time was four hours, 13 minutes.

Dean plays?

There was a small mistake in the press box on Leigh Tiffin’s 21-yard field goal in the second quarter.

The announcer said Decatur High graduate Trent Dean was the holder, when actually it was punter P.J. Fitzgerald.

Dean was dressed out the sidelines, wearing his familiar No. 37. Fitzgerald wears No. 97.

Bama grad leads flyover

Navy Lt. Wrenn Landers watched his first Alabama game in more than a year Saturday.

Landers, a 2002 Alabama grad, piloted the lead jet in the flyover before the game. Landers returned from a deployment to the Middle East earlier in the year, and when Alabama contacted the Navy about a flyover, Landers jumped at the opportunity.

Not just because the Macon, Ga., native wanted to see the Alabama game as a fan, but also to see his brother-in-law, special teams player Forress Rayford.

“This is the first flyover I’ve done,” Landers said before the game. “This is a big year. I wanted to do a flyover because my brother-in-law is a fifth-year (senior). It’s his last year playing for the Tide. I thought it would be neat to have family there on the team the year I did a flyover.”

Hello, Gino

An old “friend” was in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Gino Torretta attended the game as part of a national radio broadcast crew.

Torretta was the Miami quarterback in 1992 when Alabama defeated the Hurricanes 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl to win the national championship.

Grading the CrimsonTide

Decatur Daily Sports Writer Josh Cooper grades Alabama’s performance in Saturday’s 41-34 loss to LSU, giving the CrimsonTide a letter grade from A+ to F in four categories.

OFFENSE: C

Alabama couldn’t move the ball when it needed to do so. The Crimson Tide had 275 yards and was bailed out by a ball-hawking defense.

DEFENSE: B

Don’t look at the stat sheet for this one. Causing Matt Flynn to throw three interceptions outweighed the 475 total yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A

It’s a wonder why anyone would kick the ball to Javier Arenas. A 61-yard punt return put Alabama ahead and almost was the difference. Leigh Tiffin was perfect in field goals and extra points.

THE BIG PICTURE:B+

Alabama fought the No. 3 team in the country until the very end. It may be a loss in the history books, but you can’t win them all, and this one counts in the moral victory department.

Best and worst

Best T-shirts: Got to hand it to the LSU and Alabama fans. Many of the logos on the T-shirts aren’t printable on this page, but they were still hilarious. The “We love Les” shirts worn by Tigers fans were pretty solid.

Best road crowd: The split must have been 65/35 in favor of Alabama fans to LSU fans outside the stadium before the game. Inside was a little different, but those Louisianans sure do travel well.

Worst hello: Les Miles waving at the Alabama fans when he walked into Bryant-Denny Stadium was downright bizarre. When was the last time you saw a coach taunt the opposing fans?

Worst loss: A fumble with time running out to end a tough, hard-fought game. It’s tough to think of a more difficult way to go down for Alabama.

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Josh Cooper
Josh Cooper
DAILY Sports Writer

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