Keeping perspective

After witnessing the birth of his second daughter and staying at the hospital all night with his family, Tide Head Coach Mike Shula might have been a little tired and in need of a shave. But he made a point to be at Sunday evening practice to work with the team.

Saturday's three-point overtime loss to Arkansas was another bitter disappointment, but Shula doesn't believe in self-pity. "You have to keep it in perspective and not panic," he said. "That's important for us as coaches and for the players."

Senior Lance Taylor (#39) was the Special Teams Player of the Game.

Instead of wasting energy complaining about what could have been, Shula wants his players to see how close the team is to success. The Razorbacks entered the game ranked ninth in the nation, and they certainly played like a Top 10 team.

Shula commented, "You can look at about 10 or 15 plays. A certain play here or a certain play there and the game's won, and we're all feeling good about what we did against a pretty good team."

For the second week in a row Bama's players have to bounce back after a tough loss, but Shula liked what he saw on the practice field.

"(The attitude) was good," he said. "It's similar to last week. It is and it isn't, because (this time) we had a lead and somehow found a way to lose the game."

Shula recalled what he said to the players Saturday night. "We had a long talk in the locker room afterwards. ‘We dug a little bit of a hole. To get back, we've got to all be together and practice the way we've been practicing. We're very close.'"

"You have to look at it (positively)," he continued. "We're a few plays from being 4-1 or even 5-0. The downside is we're not, but the upside is we're close. We've just got to find a way to get over the top. Make the one or two plays that will make the difference."

Shula listed Bama's players of the game:

Closner had a good game at center.

"J.B. Closner on offense had his best game," Shula noted.

One reporter asked Shula about the gutsy play-call at the start of the third quarter. Faced with a third and one on its own 29-yardline, instead of running the football Shula chose to go up top for what turned out to be a 71-yard touchdown pass to Dre Fulgham.

As Shula explained, the Tide coaches had spotted something in the Razorback defense. "We were thinking about calling it on (earlier) third-downs in the game, but we got a little bit nervous just because of where the ball was located on the right hash. We hadn't practiced it on that hash. We scored on that drive anyway.

"(In the third quarter) we saw the look again. We knew if we got in that situation again, we'd call it. (Brodie Croyle and Fulgham) did a great job executing."

Talking about Bama's recent spate of injuries, Shula said linebacker Derrick Pope and defensive end Antwan Odom would both be "tough calls. We're not sure about those two. I don't know how much they're going to be able to practice."

It's not unusual for banged-up starters to sit out Sunday practice, but both players watched last night in street clothes.

Shula said he expected that defensive tackles Ahmad Childress and Jeremy Clark, neither of whom played Saturday, would both be ready for Georgia. Running back Kenneth Darby also sat out last Saturday. Shula said he was "nicked up a little bit," and indicated the redshirt freshman was nursing some bruised ribs.

Childress should play next week.

Without question Alabama is a bruised and battered team, but Shula isn't using any excuses.

"Injuries are something you deal with every year," Shula said. "From the start you talk to your players about the problem. Two things have to happen when guys get hurt. The other guy has to step up. It's a chance for other guys to become great players, and that's happened a lot of times.

"The other thing is the guys that are in there have to pick it up a little more. I don't think injuries were the difference in the (Arkansas) game."


BamaMag Top Stories