Kines... Worried?

After two weeks with opponent's scouting reports and video tapes that were dated and limited at the best, preparing for a Steve Spurrier-coached offense will be old hat for Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines, who has faced Florida's Spurrier teams as a member of both the Georgia and Florida State defensive staffs.

He certainly had the personal perspective to call Spurrier, "one of the best offensive minds, I guess in America," on Tuesday.

"(Spurrier's offense is) pretty much the core things," Kines said. "Everybody leans to what people they have, but they have the base passing game, formations and all of the classic things he's done for years and years."

"The quarterback is going to put the ball where it's supposed to go. You can play a lot of people and you can hassle him a little bit and show them something, but they do a good job of throwing the ball to spots on the field that they need to throw it to. Training the quarterback is the thing he does probably better than anybody going.

In one way, Alabama's defense faces a similar challenge as in the previous two weeks – a pass-leaning team with an above average quarterback that struggles to run the ball. So getting to the quarterback and limiting the Spurrier/Blake Mitchell air attack will be key.

"I get scared to death every week, so this week ain't no different," Kines said. "We'll try to see if we can pressure a little bit, we'll play off a little bit and somewhere during the game see what's working."

"The thing they probably do the best job with is clearing out of an area or a zone and bringing somebody else in to catch the ball in that area or zone and catching the ball. He's really got a great feel for that and does a good job with it. It's an excellent, excellent offense."

Alabama has allowed just over 150 yards per game in the air and 21 rushing yards per game (aided by nine sacks). The Tide has not blitzed much to this point, probably as an effort to save some surprises for Spurrier and other future SEC opponents. Kines isn't giving anything away about his game plan this week.

"We just barely have got down what we're doing, we're not ready to change yet," he said. "We've got to get good at what we're doing… Saturday is going to come one way or the other, but what scares you to death is you go out there and slop around today or tomorrow you're struggling to catch up on Saturday and you certainly don't want to be catching up against this guy.

After having the number one pass defense in the country last year against less passing-able teams, the Alabama defense has shown susceptibility to the pass this year. All three touchdowns allowed by the defense have come through the air. Kines isn't having any mid-season holistic evaluations right now.

"I get asked all the time, 'Where are you, where are you, where are you?'" he said. "Today is all. We've just got to worry about today. We made enough mistakes to lose 15 ball games last week. We've got to go out there and see if we can't get those corrected, back to normal and then improve a little bit."

Ramzee Robinson's return in the secondary should help the pass coverage. After battling back spasms all season, Robinson played well against Southern Miss and had a nice pass break-up on third down. Kines said Robinson "came in and played a little bit better last week," but asked whether he would re-take the starting spot at cornerback, "It's way early in the week to worry about that."

Staring tackle Justin Britt has been affected by a shoulder injury and is questionable for Saturday, but last year's starter Jeremy Clark is not much of a drop off. J.P. Adams and Dominic Lee have both played adequately as back-up tackles as well. The only other injury concerns on the defense is back-up linebacker Terrence Jones, who was wearing an orange jersey on Tuesday and limping considerably. He looked likely to miss his second game in a row.


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