Mosley Works Hard To Be Number One
The Mount Cody nightmare for the Vols was a dream come true for Alabama, and it also made an impression on a linebacker at Theodore High School.
C.J. Mosley said, "I had always heard about the (Alabama-Tennessee) rivalry, but seeing the '09 game – the blocked field goals – really set the tone for me."
Mosley, now a 6-2, 232-pound junior, has been a menace in his own right against the Volunteers. As a freshman in Knoxville in 2010 he led the Tide with nine tackles in a 41-10 Bama victory. Last year in Tuscaloosa Mosley had a team-high eight tackles in Alabama's 37-6 win.
Mosley and his Alabama teammates will challenge Tennessee again Saturday night at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. EDT (6 p.m. central time) with television coverage by ESPN.
Bama is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in Southeastern Conference games and ranked first in the nation in all polls. The Vols are 3-3 with all three losses coming in SEC play.
There has been much talk about the coaches in the game because Tennessee Coach Derek Dooley once coached under Alabama's Nick Saban. Also, last year Dooley hired Sal Sunseri from Bama's staff to be defensive coordinator for the Vols, and Saban replaced Sunseri with Lance Thompson, hired from Tennessee.
Mosley said he wouldn't be concerned with seeing Sunseri on the other side of the field. "I'll be too busy trying to stop their offense," Mosley said. "He was a great coach when he was here. I'm pretty sure he's doing a great job there. But my job is to focus on their offense and what they are going to do."
So far, Mosley has doing his job pretty well.
Last week he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Week as he had 12 tackles in a 42-10 Bama win at Missouri. He has been named a player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff after each of Bama's six games.
For the year he has been in on 51 tackles, one short of twice the number of runner-up Nico Johnson, who has been in on 26. He has 31 primary stops and 20 assists. Mosley has been in on three sacks, broken up a pass, had a quarterback pressure, a fumble recovery, and an interception which he returned 16 yards for a touchdown against Michigan in the season opener. It was his third career interception for a touchdown.
Mosley said that Tennessee week is only slightly different than any other in preparation.
"Every week is about the same," he said of Crimson Tide practices. "When we play Tennessee it's a big rivalry game, so the coaches come in a little more up-tempo, so as a player you've got to be ready for a physical and tough practice. Things just start boiling up and you've got to be ready for those type games."
Mosley said, "Right after the game against Mizzou, Coach Saban gave us a heads up about this game."
Mosley said that Thompson was able to offer information about the team he helped coach last year. "He's got a little intel," said Mosley, "but we've still got to prepare. We've got to take precautions, do the right thing.
"Every time we've played Tennessee there's always been some different things that they've done. We've just got to be ready for everything they throw at us."
Alabama seems to have what it takes to be ready. Bama is number one in the nation in rushing defense, pass defense, total defense (naturally), pass defense efficiency, scoring defense, and turnover margin.
What does Saban say about that? There's room to improve.
Mosley was asked where there could be improvement.
"There's always room to improve," he said. "Even though we're highly ranked in those things, we still have given up plays here and there. We've got to do right in practice, because we're not perfect every day in practice. In order to stay at that level, we've got to practice at that level.
"We've got to practice like we're the No. 1 team in the country."
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