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November 3, 2009

Notebook: Arenas named Thorpe semifinalist

TUSCALOOSA _University of Alabama senior cornerback Javier Arenas was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's best defensive back.

The criteria judges include performance on the field, athletic ability and character. The three finalists will be named Nov. 23.

"The credit really goes to my teammates on defense as well as our coaches," Arenas said in a release. "Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Kirby) Smart are the best defensive coaches in the country and put is in a position to be successful as a defense.

"I appreciate the Thorpe Award recognizing me and it's an honor to be named along with the other great players on that list, but our main goal is to be successful as a team. If you are, all of the other stuff takes care of itself."

The other semifinalists named Tuesday: Eric Berry, Jr., Tennessee; Barry Church, Sr., Toledo; Perrish Cox, Sr., Oklahoma State; Joe Haden, Jr., Florida; Brandon Harris, So., Miami; Taylor Mays, Sr., Southern California; Tyler Sash, So., Iowa; Darrell Stuckey, Sr., Kansas; Earl Thomas, So., Texas; Alterraun Verner, Sr., UCLA; and Kyle Wilson, Sr., Boise State.

Another Saban?
Arenas came up with a new way to describe junior linebacker Rolando McClain during on a conference call with LSU and national reporters Tuesday.

"He's smart, he's real smart," Arenas said. "He has all the features that a great linebacker should possess. He's smart, fast, he'll hit you. He's like Coach Saban out there on defense. Just picture Coach Saban being huge and able to play football, that's what it's like out there."

Even McClain had to chuckle a little at that answer and said he doesn't yell as much as his coach, but admitted there's an element of truth to it.

"We're somewhat similar," McClain said. "We're both perfectionists. I have a low tolerance for guys who don't know what to do. I think that's what makes us somewhat similar. He's obviously a guy who knows what to do and I'm trying to learn what to do, but being in my third year I pretty much know a lot about the defense, and we're both good leaders. I guess that's the comparison."

Said Ingram about McClain: "He knows everything that's going on."

Injury/practice report
Senior tight end Colin Peek (sprained knee) was in uniform, but went inside to apparently get something checked out when reporters were allowed into practice. He again wore a knee brace and was called day-to-day earlier in the week.

Junior running back Terry Grant and freshman cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were on exercise bikes and have to be considered doubtful for the LSU game if they don't practice Wednesday. Both have some sort of muscle pull that coaches don't want to turn into something more serious.

Demetrius Goode practiced in Grant's spot with the running backs. B.J. Scott, who coaches hope to redshirt, frequently shadows someone on the second unit but was working by himself Tuesday.

Sophomore Alfred McCullough appears to be entrenched as the backup right tackle, with redshirt freshman Tyler Love continuing to work at left tackle on the second unit. Sophomore John Michael Boswell was the backup left guard, with junior David Ross at center and freshman Chance Warmack at right guard.

Tide-bits
Ingram said on the conference call if he had a Heisman Trophy vote and could pick someone on his own team it would be McClain. "Just impact that he's had on our team, not just how he plays but from a leadership standpoint," Ingram said. McClain said he'd vote for Ingram or Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.

Senior guard Mike Johnson on if he's faced senior nose tackle Terrence Cody in practice: "Too many times, happens every week." His advice on facing him is, "to get on him before he gets on you. Once you get 350 pounds of momentum going, it's hard to stop the guy in his tracks. He's strong and agile and freak for his size."

The buzz around the locker room regarding Cody's blocked kick as time expired against Tennessee has mostly been on how high sophomore Julio Jones jumped in the rear. "I don't know, I haven't been tested in a while," Jones said about his vertical. "When I was in ninth grade I had a 42. I don't know what it is now." On if he would have made the block had Cody missed, Jones said: "I don't know, but I was going to try."

McClain on facing Ingram in practice: "It's not that bad. I go against him a lot but we have somewhat of an agreement, I won't try and kill him every time I hit him and he won't try and run me over."


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