Communication Big To Defensive Play

You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out, you put your left hand in and you shake it all about. You do... Oh, wait. That's not Alabama's defense communicating schemes, is it?

Communicating is important to the Alabama defense, particularly when the Crimson Tide goes on the road, said sophomore inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. Mosley, who started last week at sweakside linebacker as Bama opened in a nickel package, and his Alabama teammates will be in a tough environment Saturday when the Crimson Tide takes on the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa.

Talk about your homefield advantage, Alabama received only 5,000 tickets for the game. Beaver Stadium seats 106,572, so odds are against on crowd noise.

Mosley, a 6-2, 234-pound sophomore, was in on three tackles and made a sack in Bama's 48-7 win over Kent State last week. He also had a pass break-up.

Mosley is having to catch up on his football studies this week. He said that as a true freshman last year he didn't play much against the Lions. He said he would spend time in the film room watching last year's game.

Mosley may not have played much against Penn State last year, but he had an excellent freshman season, ranking third on the team with 67 tackles. He's best remembered for his two interceptions for 76 total return yards and two touchdowns – one against Florida, one against Georgia State.

Mosley expects a good football atmosphere Saturday for the ABC telecast (3:30 EDT/2:30 CDT).

"I expect it to be the same atmosphere that we have here," Mosley said. "They're going to be home, having a white-out probably. So we've got to come prepared and be ready for the worst that could happen."

That puts a premium on communication, Mosley said. "It has to be great," he said. "When we practice, they'll have the speakers blasting like a loud crowd. That helps us to be prepared for it Saturday."

The preparation really started earlier than this week. Even during the summer workouts, players worked on their communication skills. That's partly because the coaches had worked on their communication skills with the players. "The coaches got on us about communicating during the summer and during the fall camp," Mosley said, "so we started off pretty well last game. Hopefully we can keep it going."

There are a number os ways to communicate during a game, Mosley said, but again it starts with preparation. There is preparation during practice and during meetings to learn the system. Then there is practice so that hand signals and communications from the sideline during the game go smoothly. Players also discuss situations after a play, Mosley said.

Before Alabama started on Penn State, there was a look back at the opening game against Kent State. Mosley said nothing "jumped out" in his look at the film. "Like I said the other day," he said, "about us getting to the ball and competing every play, you could kind of tell that was going on, everybody moving fast toward the ball. Hopefully, the coaches will point out something that we can just get better today and further down the week."

One thing that jumped out at a lot of people was Alabama holding Kent State to 90 total yards of offense, including minus 9 yards rushing.

"That's what this team is all about and what the defense is all about," Mosley said. "We come in with the mindset of we're going to stop the run first and the pass second."

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