December 31, 2007

Gilberry spends night in backfield

SHREVEPORT, La. - Wallace Gilberry can't say Alabama's season ended the way he would have dreamed - bowl trips to Shreveport rarely do.

But the senior from Bay Minette couldn't have imagined a much better way to end his personal career. Gilberry tacked five more tackles for loss on his Southeastern Conference-leading total Sunday night, finishing with 27 on the year. He had sack of Colorado quarterback Cody Hawkins for minus-8 yards (his tenth sack of the year), and finished with eight tackles on the night. In all, his TFLs created 19 yards in losses for the Buffaloes. He also drew a second-half holding penalty.

"We finished the way we were supposed to finish," said Gilberry.

As Colorado mounted a slow but steady comeback from a 27-0 deficit, it was Gilberry who provided big plays on a consistent basis to help keep the lead safe. Most of those plays came in the second half, when Alabama's offense struggled and defensive stands were needed most. As a result, the Buffaloes mustered only three third-quarter points as the Crimson Tide maintained a two-score lead until the Buffaloes pulled within six points with 3:51 left.

"Gilberry's a great player," said Colorado senior tackle Tyler Polumbus. "Hopefully [I'll] see him again one day [in the NFL]."

One of the team's emotional leaders on defense, Gilberry closed his career with his best season, passing his previous career-high of six sacks as UA's only consistent pass rush threat.

Asked if Gilberry's effort played a key role, Saban said: "No question. Tackles for loss, pressure on the QB, affecting the quarterback, keeping the down and distance in your favor are all keys to playing good defense."


...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!