Ragland talks Hoover and more

Reggie Ragland, five-star linebacker from Madison-Bob Jones, Ala., has helped his team to an undefeated season. Bob Jones lost a close game a to Hoover a year ago in the final game of the season to finish 9-1. They went on to lose in the first round of the playoffs. Andrew Bone talked with the Tide commitment about their game with the Bucs and Alabama's season.

"We have to come out and play hard," Reggie Ragland said of this week's game. "We have to keep them from blocking a punt or making a big play on special teams. I think we will be all right."

The loss last year during the regular season may have affected their mentality going into the playoffs. Ragland is working to keep his team focused beyond this one game.

"This year we are mentally tougher," he said. "If we win we win. If we lose we lose. We know this isn't the most important game. Next week when we play Tuscaloosa County at home in the playoffs is the game that matters the most.

"The difference between this year's team and last year's is we have more experience. Everyone who started last year on defense it was their first year. This year everyone is flying to the ball. We are gang tackling."

Ragland returned to Tuscaloosa this past weekend for the Tide's game against Tennessee.

"I thought it was a good game," he said. "We started off kind of slow like we always do. They came out in the second half fired up. They took care of business.

"I thought the defense did really good. Dont'a [Hightower] really showed me a lot this game. He was making big plays. Courtney [Upshaw] was doing what he always does, wreaking havoc."

The nation's No. 1 middle linebacker is excited about the Alabama/LSU game November 5th.

"I think it's going to be a real close game like 10-7," he said. "I don't think there will be a lot of scoring. I think maybe 14 points at most.

"Alabama's defense and special teams are key. If Trent [Richardson] can keep doing what he is doing on offense we will be fine. All it takes is one big play. Trent, [Darius] Hanks or [Marquis] Maze can make a big play down the field for the difference."

Ragland will participate in the Under Armour All-America game in January.

"It's a real big honor," Ragland said. "I will be able to play against big name guys I always hear and read about. I want to compete with those guys and show them that I can compete."

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