Belue Ready To Go Against Kentucky

One of the stories of college football, seemingly more this year than in others, has been the rash of injuries, and it has affected Alabama to some extent. There have been other factors in the turnover of the starting lineup in the Crimson Tide secondary, but it was injury that took out a returning starter at cornerback.

Deion Belue came to Alabama last year from junior college and started all 14 games at cornerback in the Crimson Tide's national championship season. But this year he suffered a toe injury and was held out of Bama's game against Colorado State. He was back in the starting defensive backfield last week and said that his injury is "getting better every day."

Belue finished last year with 40 tackles, two interceptions, seven passes broken up, and he picked up a fumble and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown against Western Carolina.

This year he has few measurables, only two tackles and two passes broken up in his four starts at right cornerback. And that's likely because opponents have wanted to try their luck against less experienced defensive backs.

Bama has started with John Fulton and Eddie Jackson at left cornerback and also has tried Cyrus Jones at that spot. Last week Bama had Landon Collins at safety in place of suspended HaHa Clinton-Dix.

When Belue was held out of the Colorado State game, Bradley Sylve – a converted wide receiver -- took his place.

Belue sees the silver lining in having missed playing time with his injury.

He said, "On the point of me being out and them getting experience, it's been great, because in a long season, you never know what might happen so whenever they get a chance, they know what to expect and the game speed. So it was an all-win situation."

The top-ranked Alabama football team practiced for two hours on Tuesday at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields, continuing its preparations for this week's Southeastern Conference matchup at Kentucky. The game is at 6 p.m. CDT on Saturday and will be televised by ESPN2.

Saturday's game in the Bluegrass State is the Crimson Tide's first against an SEC East opponent this season. Alabama won the last meeting, 38-20, at Commonwealth Stadium in 2009. The Tide holds a 35-2-1 advantage in the series and has won four straight dating back to a 40-34 overtime win for the Wildcats in 1997. Both of Kentucky's wins in the series have come in Lexington, but Alabama boasts a 15-2 record in the state of Kentucky (14-2 in Lexington and 1-0 in Louisville).

Belue sayid that Kentucky has "a good offense. They have a good quarterback – two good quarterbacks -- and their wide receivers are real skilled, so they have a good team."

The two quarterbacks are billed as having different skill sets – Jalen Whitlow, who is the leading rusher for the Wildcats, and Maxwell Smith, considered the better passer. Belue said the Tide has to have a scheme that suits both. "The dual threat Whitlow, you have to respect him because he can throw as well. He can throw as well as the drop-back passer and then the other quarterback can also run. You really have to prepare for both of them the same. You can't group the one as just passing and the other just running. You have to prepare for them the same."

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