Kines on the Tide Defense

Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines isn't taking Division I-AA Western Carolina lightly. Kines's job is to motivate his defense, and this week he sees some things in the Catamount offense that should make his squad aware.

"They stay within their offense. They're not going to re-invent the wheel," Kines said of the WCU attack. "They're a well-coached football team and they don't waste any plays. Their offensive line does the same thing nearly every play."

The thing that worries us is that this is a talented group at doing what they do," he said. "You probably can't line up with them and run the power play, but they can run the zone (running play) and reverse off the zone with anybody in the country."

Western Carolina has rushed for 93 times for 520 yards over two games, and has thrown for 313 yards on 39 attempts. Starting quarterback Bennett Swygert, a transfer from South Carolina, has completed 55 per cent of his passes, and thrown three touchdowns against one interception.

"They don't try to get fancy and do a lot of different things," Kines said. "They use the reverse play as a base part of their offense, and they're really good at running screens."

Alabama has allowed just 68 rushing yards per game in the first two contests, and is first in the league in rushing defense and total defense (allowing 229 yards per game).

WCU is led in rushing by Nicholas Wishart, who has totaled 149 yards on 30 carries through two games. Wishart has four of the Catamounts eight rushing touchdowns.

"If there's an empty gap it's just like water running down a hill," Kines said. "One guy out of seven can mess up and it will make the work of the other six not mean anything."

Kines said the number of blitzes for the Tide's defense is up slightly this year, because the defense has had success with it. Kines said that blitzing is not the main cause for the success of the defense, but disguising the defenses better has been the key.

"Someone a long time ago said defensive football is a lot like submarine warfare, if they find you they can blow you up," he said. "We've been trying to do a better job of not letting them find us."

Another thing the second-year defensive coordinator has been pleased with is the building depth on his defense. The defensive line, specifically, has had as many as 10 men see significant game action. Defensive ends coach Paul Randolph and tackles coach Buddy Wyatt have been working on the deeper rotation for a while, Kines said.

"If you sit back and look at it Coach Wyatt and Coach Randolph had a good plan," he said. "Instead of waiting they did a good job of playing them right off the get-go, and that helped us in the fourth quarter. You can practice until you're blue in the face but there's no substitute for playing."


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