October 1, 2007

Top Ten Tiders

Each Monday, BamaOnline's Matt Scalici lists his top 10 Tide performers. In effect, the list serves as a week-to-week ranking of Alabama's most valuable players.

1. DJ Hall Last Week: 1
Despite a somewhat muted 46-yard performance against Georgia, Hall was a factor throughout the night forcing the Bulldog defense to gameplan around him. Hall found himself open for at least two touchdown catches that ended up overthrown and the senior wide out continues to prove his value to the team by playing a role on every snap regardless of whether or not he touches the ball.

2. Terry Grant Last Week: 2
Grant's 80 yard rushing total against Georgia doesn't speak to the production the freshman had on his 11 carries. The former Mr. Football from Mississippi is averaging 6.6 yards per carry this season and has broken big plays both in the running game and as a receiver in each game this season.

3. Darren Mustin Last Week: 3
Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Mustin's palpable absence on the field against Georgia showed just how valuable the former walk-on has become to the Alabama defense. In addition to recording four tackles in both SEC games he's played in this season, Mustin's leadership on the defensive front has been a major plus for the often overmatched unit and it was clear that without him, the Tide had more trouble than usual finding their assignments.

4. Antoine Caldwell Last Week: 5
The Tide's junior center has faced monstrous defensive tackles in back-to-back weeks and has performed admirably limiting pressure up the middle on John Parker Wilson and creating holes for the Tide running backs to explode through. Caldwell remains one of the steadiest leaders on the Tide offense.

5. Rolando McClain Last Week: 6
Castille has yet to pull down an interception this season but that's most likely due to the fact that opposing quarterbacks are simply avoiding his side of the field altogether. Castille's disciplined play has limited the passing attacks of each team the Tide has faced and he continues to provide key run support racking up 5 total tackles against Georgia.

6. Ezekial Knight Last Week: 9
Few true freshmen can come in and start in the SEC at any position but McClain has shown an impressive capacity to handle both the mental and physical tasks of playing middle linebacker in the nation's toughest conference. Four games into the season, McClain leads the team in tackles with 32 and continues to play with the intensity that Nick Saban demands of his defensive starters.

7. Simeon Castille Last Week: 4
The rollercoaster ride continues for the Tide's junior quarterback who both underwhelmed by missing his throws on several big play opportunities while also looking impressive with another gutsy two-minute touchdown drive at the end of the game. Wilson has shown he has the guts and skill to win game but must improve his consistency for the Tide offense to reach its potential.

8. Andre Smith Last Week: 6
The big man at left tackle might be unparalleled in his physical dominance at the position but mental errors led to a few drive-stalling penalties as well as a couple of breakdowns in pass protection. Smith's run-blocking skills remain among the best of any offensive lineman in the SEC.

9. John Parker Wilson Last Week: 8
After three big games in which Arenas proved his prowess as a return man, the Georgia Bulldogs cut down on his effectiveness by refusing to kick in his direction whenever possible. Despite his limited opportunities, Arenas continued to make good decisions and force the opposing team to be at their best in kick and punt coverage.

10. Javier Arenas Last Week: FRINGE
The sophomore wide out enjoyed a breakout game against Georgia this week hauling in 6 catches for 47 yards and proving to be a reliable possession receiver for the Tide in medium-range passing situations. McCoy has stepped up to his job as the number two man on the receiving corps and should force defenses to respect him and spread themselves a little thinner.

SIX ON THE FRINGE: WR Mike McCoy, RB Glen Coffee, WR Keith Brown, LB Prince Hall, S Rashad Johnson, OG Justin Britt

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