Shula Likes Guillon's Quarterbacking Qualities

Alabama Head Football Coach Mike Shula wants his team ready for business early Saturday morning. The Crimson Tide goes on the road to play Arkansas Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Bama's earliest kickoff of the season by three-and-a half hours. The game in Fayetteville will be televised nationally by CBS.

"We'll change our travel plans up a little bit," Shula said. "We'll leave a little earlier, go to the stadium and practice there.

"I think the biggest thing for us, having the early game is just getting ourselves ready to go earlier in the day," Shula said. "We've had a long time our first three games, to kind of wait around the hotel. The players have slept in a little bit. Now we're going to get up earlier. Once we get up we're going to be real busy. We're not going to have a break during the middle of the day.

"We're going to have a longer bus ride to get to the stadium. Those types of things we're going to talk to the guys all week about, just getting themselves ready to go as soon as they get up. And even before Saturday, even Friday once they get going. Our day is going to start earlier on Friday, too."

Shula made it clear that Marc Guillon will start at quarterback Saturday night. Shula said the biggest hurdle for Guillon to overcome would be the aspect of communication with coaches and with his teammates.

"Communication will be the biggest part," Shula said. "From getting a play from the sidelines, getting in and out of the huddle, making sure he's real, real loud in the huddle and clear. And then Getting up to the line of scrimmage and having enough time up there just to see what's going on in front of him. We did it last week with him in there, but it's going to be a lot tougher on the road. And just kind of getting comfortable with each play."

Shula said Guillon possesses several qualities that make him a good fit for the Tide's offense.

"He's got a quick release. He gets set up quick. He makes quick decisions," Shula said. "His accuracy, as he's shown in the scrimmages and in the game, has been good. He's got some mobility. He's a similar athlete to Brodie. He's bigger. He's taller. He's thicker. And the things that he's had reps on. Obviously, he hasn't had a lot of reps this year because Brodie's taken a lot of them, but the ones that he's had, we'll try to play to his strengths that way."

Along with the absence of Brodie Croyle, Alabama is battling injuries with it's top rusher and receiver. Starting halfback suffered what he called a mild concussion Saturday night. Hudson was limited in practice on Tuesday, but was confident that he would be ready for Saturday's game.

Freshman receiving sensation Keith Brown also thought he'd be ready after not playing a single snap Saturday against Western Carolina. Brown had his knee wrapped at practice on Tuesday afternoon.

"Ray is going to be limited (Tuesday) in practice, but hopefully tomorrow he'll be full-go," Shula said. He also said that he Keith Brown "could have played" last Saturday night, but that he's not currently at 100 per cent healthy."

The Tide's earliest game of the year will also be by far the most talented team the squad has faced. Shula said that on film, the size of Arkansas's offensive line isn't down much from a year ago, even with a new set of linemen.

"Arkansas is a team with a lot of size and a lot of speed. I remember saying the same thing last year about them. They're big up front again with the offensive line," Shula said. "Matt Jones is an incredible athlete. He makes a lot of plays. His statistics speak for themselves. He's a playmaker. He's going to be a guy our defense has got to somehow find a way to contain or slow down.

"Defensively, they've got very, very good team speed. They're quick up front and they're big up front. Yes, they've lost some starters but they've also had a lot of guys that are starting this year for the first time that have had experience because they've played a lot of guys last year, too. So it's by far our biggest challenge of the year."

Shula said he'd probably add some crowd noise into this week's practice, most likely for a segment in the indoor facility on Wednesday or Thursday. Shula hoped that taking his freshman to practice at the stadium on Friday might help them become accustomed to the setting. The squad rarely practiced at an opponents stadium a year ago, preferring to walk-through in Tuscaloosa before leaving town.

In an emergency situation, Shula said, Adam Thrash would be the quarterback if both Guillon and Spencer Pennington were unable to go, with Boaz's A.J. Milwee behind Thrash. Milwee was listed as a receiver, but he has played some scout team quarterback. Shula said Milwee did a good job simulating Michael Spurlock during the Alabama-Mississippi week.


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