Sitdown with Shula

Alabama Head Coach took a little extra time to sit down with the media this week as he and his staff prepare to host undefeated Auburn (10-0 overall, 7-0 SEC) Saturday in Bryant-Denny Stadium. Here's what the coach had to say in the interview session:

How did team respond in practice Sunday night after the loss to LSU?

Shula: "It was good. They were disappointed, obviously. The toughest part was, we watched the tape, we got through the tape and we had a lot of corrections we wanted to get made. But by the time we got on the practice field, our upperclassmen especially, said they've moved on which is what we needed. We needed that done to move on to this week and focus this week. They understand, especially the seniors, this is their last shot in this game and they want to play their best and they want the guys around them to play their best."

Did Le'Ron McClain and Spencer Pennington practice Sunday night?

"They didn't practice, so we'll see how they are going to be Tuesday and just go from there."

Can you evaluate what Wesley Britt was able to do against LSU with his injury?

"Well he definitely wasn't the same Wesley Britt that's 100 percent healthy, but he did some good things, and he hobbled around a little bit. But just showing a lot of the toughness that he showed, a lot of guys wouldn't have played. Hopefully he can get some more treatment on it this week and he'll get better and he'll feel even better this week than he did last week and play better for us."

In your opinion, does a team with reduced numbers because of scholarship limitations have more of a tendency to be injured because there are more guys practicing more and more guys playing more?

"Possibly. You look at our defense, we've played more guys on defense this year. We haven't had that many injuries on defense. Our offensive line really has played as much as anybody - our backs – I don't know. When you don't have the depth that you'd like to have, then you get some guys injured, that sometimes makes it a lot tougher.

"To me, if it wasn't a premium on recruiting before it definitely is another wake-up call for recruiting and getting the depth. Ideally we'd like to as a team do what we've done defensively and play more guys. We haven't played maybe as many guys in the secondary as we'd like or on the offensive line. I think everywhere else we've rotated guys."

Can you clarify Spencer Pennington's injury?

"It's his ribs and his shoulder. I said yesterday, and I forgot... no one asked me, but he got hit on his shoulder and kind of landed on his ribs. So, that whole left side is going to be sore right now. Hopefully, just with some time in the next 24 to 48 hours, he'll be feeling better and ready to go. He's a tough guy."

Does Alabama routinely send tapes to the Southeastern Conference office for comment or for review?


Do you do that pretty much every week, or how often?

"Every week."

Auburn and what they do defensively with their scheme, similar to LSU?

"Schemewise, maybe. Not as much schemewise. I think they're both really fast. They are quick up front. Their corners have real good speed, good cover skills. Offensively both (LSU and Auburn) have great backs and good offensive lines. That's their similarities. The difference is that we're playing probably against an All-SEC quarterback this week. If he's not already he should be, right?"

Al Borges' affect on Jason Campbell in making high percentage throws:

"They do a good job with their scheme and they get the ball to their backs, but (Campbell) has been very accurate. I think just his comfort level is much higher that it was last year when you watch him on tape. He's relaxed, he's sitting in the pocket better – everything he does looks better – his mechanics, and I think because of that he's throwing the ball more accurately. And then you have some confidence and you continue to play with confidence."

Do Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown put pressure on the linebackers especially?

"Everybody really. Any time those guys have the ball we've got to get as many guys around them as we can, as fast as we can, because they're going to break tackles. They're good, they're strong. That's the thing, they're both so strong, and to have the kind of quickness they have, that's a tough combination – and I haven't had talked about their speed yet."

Not speaking specifically, but is there anything they do that jumps out that you can expose?

"There are certain things, but there are not many. I think the biggest thing is we've got to structure our game plans for what we do best and the tweak them. Every week you look at games your opponent has played – what things have worked, what things haven't worked – then you try to figure out how you can incorporate those with your on personality in all three of your game plans. This week is no different. Some things they do they make up for because of their talent, but they're very sound. That makes it tougher to attack."

Did going without pads last week help and will you do the same this week?

"We'll do it this week. For the most I think it helped, but there is a negative to it. You lose the speed. You go a whole week without hitting and getting as close to live work as you can get, and then it all of a sudden it happens out there on Saturday. The tradeoff is you want your guys fresh and I think we need that right now."

Will Tyrone Prothro's role as a quarterback be expanded?

"What do you mean, now is he going to throw it? I don't know, Maybe."

Would Prothro be an option at quarterback if something happened to Spencer?

"He would be an option, yes."

Is Marc still an option in an emergency?

"Marc would be an option, too. Not necessarily an option quarterback, but he'd be an option."

About the troubles at kickoff return against LSU:

"You can't let your mind wander. You've got to watch the ball in and not worry about anything else other than that first. Once you catch it, secure it and go run. Sometimes you you're pressing. You want to do things too much and you go to step two before step one is taken care of. I think that probably was the case in both situations. The first one was a tough bounce. The ball looks like it's going out of bounds and it bounces right to him. But you've got to learn from it and make sure you get yourself in good position so that doesn't happen again."

Will you go out Tuesday with a guy in mind or will it be open?

"We'll look at it and we probably won't make a decision until the end of the week."

How quickly did the staff shift attention to Auburn, was it more quickly than usual?

"Probably a little faster than normal… You have more games to watch obviously, later in the season. You want to make sure you cover all your bases in a situation like this. We worked late last night, and we have a few more interviews to do so we'll probably work a little later tonight while you guys are sleeping."

Are you enjoying the additional interviews?

"Yeah. It should be. This should be the game where we have a little more attention. It's fun – that's what makes it fun."

You knew it was going to be hard, has the past 18 months been what you expected?

"I try to make sure I expect everything, that way I don't ever get caught by surprise. It's always hard. One thing I've found, coaching is not easy, but it's very rewarding when it's done right and you win. There's no better feeling for sure. It's more exciting for me as a head coach and the fact that I'm back in college than maybe it was when I was an assistant coach in the NFL. And it's rewarding because you just look on these guys faces after a game. That's something that, as an assistant coach, you don't pay attention to. And in the NFL they're older guys, but these guys are still young, and they get a little more excited, too."

BamaMag Top Stories