Q&A with Carl Torbush

For the first three games, Alabama's defense has performed as well (or better) than expected, holding a powerful UCLA offense in check, keeping Vandy out of the end zone entirely and basically limiting Arkansas to one successful drive. But up by 12 points late in the game, the Tide defenders let one slip away. <br><br> Defensive Coordinator Carl Torbush explained; "There was nobody that was more disappointed or frustrated than our football team, especially our defensive guys."

"We had our chances the last two drives at the end of the game, and we didn't get it done."

Under the direction of Coach Torbush, the Alabama defense has worked feverishly this week to correct the problems that led to last Saturday's one-point loss. Following is a question and answer session BamaMag.com conducted with Torbush about the game.

Is the defense discouraged?

There are no excuses. The players understand what we expect out of them. If we didn't think we could get better than what we're doing, then it would be different. But we can improve. It's not like we're playing with bad players or guys that can't get the job done. We just have to do a better job of it.

Did the defense just have a bad day versus South Carolina?

You can't have bad days. You've got to make plays. You look at 51 of the plays and say ‘Boy, we did pretty good.' Then you look at six plays and say, ‘We couldn't have played any worse.' Those six plays are the ones that matter to me.

There was only one when we didn't do what we were supposed to do. On the rest of them, we just didn't make plays.

Is the defense playing with as much enthusiasm as you'd like?

We're making some bad plays, and we're not where we need to be. But if you take away some of the bad plays, we're improved. Quite honestly the hurry-up offense (that South Carolina ran late) takes a little out of you, because you've got to get (yourself) back over there ready to play again. You can't be whooping and hollering, because if you do they'll be snapping the ball before you can get your call in.

But a lot of (enthusiasm) comes with making plays. If you make those five plays that we didn't make the other day, then there is a lot more whooping and hollering.

What about giving up the big play?

Five plays added up to almost half their offense, in fact I think it was over that. Actually, it was 206 yards on six plays and 150 on the other 51 plays. That's not real good. If you look at the film, you think you would have won if you pull those six plays out. But they don't let you do that. We can't be what we need to be defensively and give up those kind of big plays. It finally caught up with us.

What we've done in the last couple of weeks is give up a couple in each game, but when they got in the red zone we kept them out. We didn't do that against South Carolina. They hit a couple for touchdowns, and we can't let those happen.

Was a matter of defensive breakdowns?

There were at least three plays against South Carolina that we knew we had chances to make plays. It was basically a one-on-one situation. They made the play. We didn't. We've got to get better. We had a chance to make a play on three balls while they were in the air, and we didn't make those either. They led to touchdowns. There's no question technically we can get better.

Are schemes the problem?

People ask if you were playing man or zone, but when you go deep man is zone and zone is man. You've got to make the play. On a couple we were in man defense and a couple we were in zone. But once they go deep, any kind of zone coverage becomes man. Whether it's man or zone, once they get 15 yards down the field you're in man-to-man coverage.

What about Bacon's almost interception?

He had a chance, and he's had a couple of chances. We've got to catch those balls. He knows that. I don't mean it in a funny way, but positive. But most of the defensive backs don't have the hands of wide receivers--otherwise they'd be playing at wide receiver.

You've got to make plays on those kind of balls. Because you don't get many of those chances. We've had three or four that we've had a chance at. We had a couple of fumbles (against South Carolina) that we had a chance to jump on. We just didn't get them, and those could have been the difference in the ball game.

What about Wortham starting ahead of Ellis at strongside linebacker?

Vic played just as much against South Carolina as he did the previous week, but at the same time we want to reward the guys that are producing and being the most productive each week.

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