Dareus Gets Ready For ‘Little Battle'
Alabama, 9-2 overall and 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play and ranked ninth in the nation, hosts Auburn, 11-0 and 7-0 and ranked second in the nation, at 1:30 p.m. Friday at Bryant-Denny Stadium. CBS will televise the game.
Crimson Tide defensive end Marcell Dareus, a 6-4, 306-pound junior from Birmingham, has been in big games. In the BCS National Championship Game against Texas at the Rose Bowl last year, Dareus was the Most Valuable Defensive Player as Bama won its 13th national championship.
Dareus knows a challenge when he sees one, and this week he sees "a big challenge. We've got to try to contain Cam. We don't want to let him get out. He's a great player. You can't just stop him. You've got to contain him. We've got to keep him East and West. It's pretty hard to do, but we're going to try to buckle down and do it."
Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton has proved to be a slippery guy, which isn't often said of one who is 6-6 and 250 pounds. He is one of the nation's top rushers and top passers and has led the Tigers to the top of the heap in SEC scoring offense at over 42 points per game and in total offense at over 500 yards per game.
Dareus said Alabama fans have pointed out the assignment. He said that ever since Auburn and Newton started doing well, fans have told the players, "'Y'all got to stop them up front; y'all got to stop 'em. They've got this quarterback. Y'all got to shut him down.'"
Alabama-Auburn is a different kind of week for the players. "The week before the game, you know you've got to focus in, no matter how your season went," Dareus said. "It's bragging rights, man. It's all about who wants it most. No matter how your season went, you know the team's going to bring their ‘A' game. They're going to play hard. They're going to do the best they can. That's what we've got to do, too."
Dareus doesn't have to go back to last season to think of big challenges. "We've had a lot of challenges this year," he said. "Ryan Mallett (Arkansas quarterback) was real hot at the beginning of the year when we had to play him, and he was hot while we were playing him. We've had to overcome those obstacles. No matter how good a player one is, there's always one way to slow him down. We can't stop him all the way around, but we're going to try to slow him down."
Dareus, who has been on 28 tackles, including eight for loss, and who has been in on three sacks and broken up four passes, said there is an element of caution in playing against Newton.
"You need to be a little more cautious, but you can't take the aggressiveness out of you," he said. "You still have to play hard and play sound football. Don't give him a lane. Play the best you can and seal him off."
Newton is not a one-man team, Dareus said. He is impressed with Auburn's veteran offensive line.
"They're real solid," he said. "They're really sound on fundamentals. They are seniors, veterans, and they know what they are doing. They know how to run their plays. They are real crisp. They open up things for him. Without the front, he wouldn't be doing half the things he does.
"We'll have a little battle on our hands."
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