I know it sounds silly now, but the coolest thing growing up was to have a favorite number. As individuals, we truly have had our share of ups and downs with numerical figures. For many of us who had older siblings growing up, they planted the seed of loving numbers in our minds at a young age. With playful hand games such as Mrs. Mary Matt, bubble gum in a dish and I don’t want to go to Mexico no more (Shame, Shame, Shame), learning about numbers became inevitable. The craving to learn more about these long-lasting digits only intensified when it came to school. From preschool to sixth grade, we obtained the skills to multitask and master numbers. Our mental capacity grew from playing hand games for fun to doing actual graded work as we begun to add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers. The greatest joy for numbers came when we were teenagers. Most of us received our first cell phone at the age of 16. It didn’t matter if the mobile device came from Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Apple, just the happiness and joy when that sleek design tool hit our hands was good enough for us. We couldn’t wait to call, text or instant message our friends and family because after getting our driver’s license at 16, having a cell phone was like climbing the corporate ladder for a teen. As far as guys are concerned, the greatest joy they get from numbers is when it comes in the form of getting a girl’s seven digits. The ability to obtain a female’s number is an accomplishment for guys because it provides them with the opportunity to get to know them more.
Like a coin, numbers have two sides. In the same way they make us happy and smile, they can also disappoint and aggravate us. Going back to our youth, if the Mrs. Marry Matt game made us smile than the enemy of that was guess what number is in my mind. Guessing games were a thorn in the flesh for us growing up, especially if we weren’t the best guesser in the world. Guessing games caused us to lose three things in our youth: money, candy and toys. When we got our first car as a teenager, we were happy. The number that took away the happiness came in the form of price. Gas prices can be a pain to deal with at times. When it’s low, you feel like you can drive all day. When it’s high, it cleans your wallet out. The same goes for school, when you score 80 or above on an assignment, you go on an emotional high. After an assignment with a grade of 60 or below hits your desk, you want to press the reset button and start over.
Let’s face facts, numbers are here to stay and there is no getting rid of them. For college football fans, numbers are more enlarged in their eyes because they not only portray a role in their lives, but also in the success of their favorite team. We have heard the saying “Three times is the charm,” and have seen people stick three-leaf clovers in their socks, shoes and hats for good luck. Yes, the number three is important, but for Alabama another number has taken the throne. Of all the superhero action movies that I’ve seen, my favorite one is Fantastic Four (2005) starring Jessica Alba and Chris Evans. I like this movie because it consists of four extraordinary people wanting to achieve one dream: saving the world. One thing you should know about music is that with each year there is one song that captivates the attention of the audience. Whether it’s the lyrics or the artist themselves, there is always that one catchy song that embodies the year. In 2006, we got one of those songs. When Stacy Ann Ferguson-Duhamel (Fergie) released the single “Fergalicious” off her debut album The Dutchess, it became a No.1 hit. The ladies loved the lyrics. The guys loved Fergie’s body, but the point of getting our attention as the audience was reached.
The thing that I liked about the song was when Fergie starts counting down from four in Spanish. This brings us to the main course of our story on the number four. For the Alabama Crimson Tide, the No.4 has played a vital role in its success. The heralded number has come up huge for Alabama whether it’s been through players that have worn the number, big plays that have happen in the fourth game of the season or the fourth quarter, Heisman Trophies that have been won from players that have worn this number and so on. This article is dedicated to all things No.4 and how it has helped the Crimson Tide. Here are some of the fascinating things that the number four has done for Alabama. I even put in some basic math to keep the story interesting.
THE NO.4 AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO ALABAMA
o Mark Ingram, Jr (#22, 2+2=4)
§ Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy Winner (2009)
§ Guided the Crimson Tide to an SEC and BCS title (2009)
§ Set the freshman record in rushing TD’s (12)
§ Rushed for over 1,000 yards (1,656 yards) in his freshman season
§ Totaled 3,261 yards rushing for his career
§ Totaled 42 rushing TD’s for his career
§ Four TD receptions for his career
§ A very dynamic player in any formation you put him in.
§ A lot of pressure was taken off John Parker Wilson and Greg McElroy when this guy was in the backfield
· Marquis Maze (#4)
o Totaled 1,844 receiving yards for his career
o 8 TD receptions for his career
o Made his mark on Alabama as a slot receiver and a return specialist more so than a deep threat
o SEC and BCS title (2009)
o In the 2009 SEC Championship Game, he had five receptions for 96 yards.
o He has one passing TD in his career (2010: a 19-yard TD pass to Michael Williams against Florida)
o In the 2011 Capital One Bowl, he led the Alabama receivers with 77 yards
o Led all players in NCAA FBS with 195 punt return yards after the first three games of the 2011 season
o In the 4th game of the 2011 season, he returned four punts for 125 yards including an 83-yard return for a touchdown against Arkansas. This was when Maze’s ability to weave through a defense, use his vision to set up his blocks and cutbacks and change speeds on a dime really came in handy.
o He was a very special player, receiver, return specialist and person
· Tyrone Prothro (#4)
o Totaled 672 yards receiving for his career
o 4 TD receptions for his career
o In both 2004 and 2005, he averaged over 10.0 yards per catch (2004-13.9, 2005-19.1)
o 645 total return yards for his career including a 100-yard kick return for a TD in 2004.
o He had the potential of being one the greatest receivers in Crimson Tide history, but a compact leg injury ruined the opportunity.
o His TD reception against Southern Miss will always be remember as one the greatest plays in the history of college football. Just pure athleticism, timing and concentration on the football.
· Eddie Lacy (#42)
o There is a 4 in the No.42 and Eddie Lacy represented the number well.
o Totaled 2,402 yards in his career. His rushing yards improved each year with the Tide.
o 30 rushing TD’s for his career
o SEC title (2012)
o BCS titles (2011, 2012)
o He was giving the nicknames “spin cycle” and “circle button” for his devastating spin and juke moves.
o He played well with Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram, but he really blossomed when he became the No.1 back
o He endured many injuries, but still possessed the capability to get back up and keep fighting
o His spin move abused Georgia LB Jarvis Jones in the SEC title game and Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o in the BCS title game
· John Parker Wilson (#14)
o Totaled 7,894 yards passing for his career
o Tossed 46 TD passes for his career
o For half of his career, Wilson struggled to find his game in college football at the quarterback position.
o He began to break out in his junior season, when he passed for over 2,000 yards (2,846 yards) and 18 touchdowns (a school record at the time)
o He led the team to an undefeated season in 2008, but lost in the SEC title game to Florida and the Sugar Bowl to Utah
· Amari Cooper (#9)
o I understand that Cooper is wears jersey No.9 for the Crimson Tide, but he has done some incredible things that include the No.4
o He had four games in which he amassed over 100 yards receiving in the regular season last year (Tennessee: 162 yards, Texas A&M: 136 yards, Auburn: 109 yards and Georgia: 128 yards)
o Against Florida Atlantic, Cooper caught four passes for 65 yards and averaged 16.3 yards per catch
o Out of his 11 TD receptions, four of them came against stiff competition (Ole Miss: 2 TD’s, Texas A&M: 1TD and Georgia: 1 TD)
o His breakout game was against Ole Miss, he caught eight passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns.
o In the 2012 SEC title game against Georgia, Cooper made an incredible 45-yard catch. He was able to high point an underthrown pass from AJ McCarron and took the ball away from Bulldogs DB Bacarri Rambo.
o SEC title (2012)
o BCS title (2012)
· Julio Jones (#8)
o Like Cooper, Julio Jones may not the No.4 jersey, but that didn’t stop him from accomplishing some amazing things that involve the No.4
o In his freshman year, Jones had 924 yards receiving and 4 TD’s
o As a sophomore, he had 596 receiving yards, 4 TD’s and averaged 14.0 yards per catch
o In his junior year, though he had 7 TD’s, he averaged 14.5 yards per catch
o Jones was a physical beast on the field in his time with Alabama. He made huge plays on the field and was known as the “go get it” receiver.
o SEC title (2009)
o BCS title (2009)
· Kevin Norwood (#83)
o Once again, we have another player that though he may not have the No.4 jersey, he has made huge plays that surround the number four
o He totaled 461 yards receiving last year and caught 4 TD passes
o In the game against LSU (2012), he caught four passes on the final drive to set up the game-winning screen pass to TJ Yeldon.
· TJ Yeldon (#4)
o This young man really exploded on to the scene this past season
o Totaled over 1,000 yards rushing (1,108 yards) and 12 TD’s (ties Mark Ingram’s freshman record)
o Yeldon had 4 games in the regular season in which he rushed for 100+ yards (Michigan: 111 yards, Missouri: 144 yards, Tennessee: 129 yards and Georgia: 153 yards)
o He had four rushing TD’s combined against Tennessee and Missouri (Tennessee- 2, Missouri-2)
o He averaged a little over 4.0 yards per carry in three games last season (Western Kentucky: 4.2, Arkansas: 4.2 and Auburn: 4.8)
o Courtney Upshaw (#41)
§ If you want to talk about a physical freak of nature defensively, let’s talk out Courtney Upshaw No.41
§ He had four solo tackles in his first career start with the Tide in 2009 against Kentucky.
§ In his junior season, Upshaw totaled 14.5 tackles for loss and forced four fumbles.
§ He made his presence felt defensively on the field for the Crimson Tide.
§ He is a 2x BCS National Champion (2009, 2011)
§ SEC title (2009)
§ He was the 2012 BCS National Championship Game MVP.
§ For his career at Alabama, Upshaw totaled 140 tackles, 17.5 sacks and six forced fumbles.
§ He recovered the fumble in the 2009 BCS title game against Texas that sealed the win for the Tide 37-21.
o Terrence “Mount” Cody (#62: 6-2=4)
§ This guy right here played like a man amongst boys in his time with Alabama.
§ In the 34-10 victory over Clemson in 2008, Cody made a huge impact recording 4 tackles.
§ When he came to Alabama, Terrence Cody weighed 400 pounds. With the helped of coach Saban and Tide, Cody dropped to 349 pounds.
§ The reason why “Mount Cody” is on this list is the Tennessee Game in 2009. He kept Alabama’s undefeated season and BCS hopes alive by blocking two Daniel Lincoln field goals. The Tide would have lost the game 16-12 if Cody hadn’t come through. The two field goals would have made a four point differential (field goal= 3 points). Instead Alabama won by two 12-10 and two is half of four.
§ SEC title (2009)
§ BCS title (2009)
o Rashad Johnson (#49)
§ He was a tough, hard-hitting safety who made plays for Alabama.
§ Totaled 215 tackles for his career, including 94 tackles in 2007
§ 11 total interceptions in 2007 and 2008 (including 3 against LSU in 2008)
§ In 2007, Johnson had six interceptions for 64 yards.
§ SEC West Crown (2008)
o Jessie Williams (#54)
§ Totaled 24 tackles in 2011
§ SEC title (2012)
§ BCS title (2012)
§ He was a huge factor in stopping the run for the Tide along with playing fullback a few times to help Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon find the end-zone
§ As a nose guard, he gave the opposing centers fits just with his size and strength.
· SEC Championships
o Alabama has 23 SEC Championships
o The Tide won 13 SEC titles under Paul “Bear” Bryant
o They won four SEC West Division crowns with coach Gene Stallings (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1996)
o They won two with Nick Saban (2009, 2011)
· BCS National Championships
o Alabama has 16 national titles
o They have won three (2009, 2011 and 2012) in a four year span
o The Tide can accomplish four titles in a five year span if this year can go smoothly.
Well there you have it, the No.4 is indeed a number to be reckon with. From childhood and adulthood to watching movies and listening to Fergie songs, we can’t get numbers out of our heads. The best thing that we can do as human beings is get the numbers to work for us like Alabama has done. The only accomplishment left that the number four has to prove lies on the shoulders of Nick Saban and AJ McCarron. If the Crimson Tide can stay the course and win the BCS title this season, it will give Nick Saban his fourth national title as a coach with the Tide and McCarron his fourth as the quarterback (third as the starting QB). The question is can the No.4 continue to be the number of blessing for the Crimson Tide?