Alabama not taking Arkansas lightly

Arkansas lost an overtime shocker to Louisiana-Monroe last week and may have lost its starting quarterback in the process, but Alabama isn't approaching its matchup with the Razorbacks any differently, and expects to get its SEC foe's best performance.

Arkansas may be without its starting quarterback Tyler Wilson, but that doesn't matter to anyone at Alabama.

The Razorbacks were shocked by Louisiana-Monroe last week, losing 34-31 in overtime, but that doesn't matter to anyone at Alabama, either.

"Nobody here should be feeling warm and cozy about the other team's circumstance or situation," Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We need to be thinking about what we need to do to be successful, regardless of who plays in that game.

"Whoever prepares to play in their system is probably going to be a pretty effective player that we're going to have to do things correctly to be able to stop."

Wilson, who Saban described as a "great player," left Saturday's game at the end of the first half with a head injury. The All-SEC quarterback is currently listed as day-to-day, but the Tide are preparing for him anyway, as well as backups Brandon Allen and Brandon Mitchell.

"We're going to practice like he's playing or not playing, whatever," said linebacker Nico Johnson. "They've got good backups so we're going to prepare the same way we prepare for any other team and keep rolling."

But if Arkansas doesn't have Wilson Saturday, the top-ranked Tide could be in luck. Before leaving the game, Wilson completed 11 of 20 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and an interception, and had his team up 21-7 heading into halftime. Allen, a redshirt freshman, took over in the second half and completed just six of 20 passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. That's 14 attempts gone awry. He also threw an interception and rushed twice for a net of -20 yards.

The statistics don't lie.

But again, Alabama isn't thinking about that.

"They had a very difficult misfortune in the last game that they weren't able to overcome," Saban said. "But we still have to expect that we're going to get their very best performance, and we need to have our very best performance."

All the talk surrounding the will-he or won't-he-play Wilson, the Tide aren't forgetting about Knile Davis and Arkansas' running game. Davis, who missed last season with a knee injury, only ran for 62 yards on 16 carries against ULM's defense. But he was averaging 101.7 yards per game in 2010, so Alabama isn't sleeping on him.

"He's an SEC running back," Johnson said. "Probably a first-round running back, I'll say. Every game, if we go in and stop the run and make a team one-dimensional, we should be OK."

Johnson said that after watching film of Davis, he looks "completely 100 percent."

Saturday marks the start of SEC play for Alabama and Arkansas and despite what's happened to both teams in these first two weeks, conference games take on a whole new meaning.

"It's pretty much like a rivalry type of atmosphere," Johnson said. "It's going to be intense…We'll take them as if they're highly motivated and ready to roll. They're going to want to bounce back."

Added wide receiver Kevin Norwood: "This is the SEC and that's different. They might still have the opportunity to go to the national championship or whatever, so they're going to play their hardest. They're going to bring everything."


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