'BAMA Newsletter: Week 5

The 'BAMA: Inside the Crimson Tide Newsletter

‘BAMA Newsletter

Number  5 -

September 29, 2005

 

Inside this Newsletter:

- Editorial: Tide Looks to Be in Better Place

- Tide Slips Past Hogs

- Scouting Report: Florida

- Coach Shula says

- Season Statistics (PDF Version Only)

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Printable Newsletter PDF (size 1.5 MB)

Tide Looks To Be In Better Place

One area of media focus this week as Alabama prepared to host

fifth-ranked Florida is that Bama has never beaten a top five team in

Bryant-Denny Stadium. That is primarily a factor of Alabama having played

very few top five teams in Tuscaloosa.

  

Rest assured, Alabama football teams have beaten more than their fair

share of top five teams. And in many, many years it was Bama that was the

top five team, and not many times has Alabama lost when ranked in the top

five.

  

But Alabama's wins over top five teams have come at Legion Field in

Birmingham, where Bama played most of its big games before Bryant-Denny

Stadium was expanded; in bowl games, where Alabama has played and won more

than any other team; and in the home stadiums of teams unlucky enough to

have their top five seasons ruined by a visit from the Crimson Tide.

  

Still, it would be nice for Alabama to get a win over a top five team

this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

  

As one grows older, there are more and more obligations to commiserate

with friends and loved ones that someone is in what we hope and believe to

be "a better place." That is not the better place Alabama football is

looking for (though it is the place the NCAA Infractions Committee tried to

put it a few years ago).

  

Alabama football has fought back from a very bad place, a non-competitive

place only a few seasons ago. Bama's current place is better. The Crimson

Tide is given a chance to upset one of the nation's top football teams this

week.

  

The better place Alabama wants to be is by taking the next step, back

where Crimson Tide football was for many, many years. That is the place

where occasionally the opponent is given a chance of upsetting Bama.

  

Just beating Florida won't accomplish that. It will take some number of

successes balanced against a fewer number of failures in the arena of the

highly-ranked before Alabama is in that better place. It means wins with

some regularity over the Floridas and Tennessees and top intersectional

opponents in major bowl games.

  

A win over Florida would be a meaningful step in that direction.

  

Alabama is in that place where a win over a top five team is a bigger

step forward than a loss to a top five team is a step back. A loss to

Florida won't necessarily mean that Alabama Coach Mike Shula's rebuilding

job is not on schedule–as if there is a schedule beyond "as fast as

possible."

  

So far this season Alabama has defeated two teams that it did not defeat

last year. But even that is not much of a yardstick. Those aren't the same

teams. They just have the same names, South Carolina and Arkansas.

  

No one really needs a yardstick to know that Alabama is a better football

team this year than it was at the same time last year. This year's team has

Brodie Croyle at quarterback,  and that more than makes up for not having

some offensive linemen. It has a defense that is as good as last year's and

maybe a bit deeper in important areas.

  

There have been growing pains. But almost everyone who cheers Crimson and

White sees better days ahead. Maybe beginning Saturday.

–Kirk McNair

 

 

 

Tide Slips Past Arkansas To Run Record To 4-0

Arkansas would surely say Alabama is not as good as number one ranked

Southern Cal. The Razorbacks might even say the Crimson Tide isn't as good

as Vanderbilt. But, of course, Arkansas didn't see all of Alabama. The

Razorbacks on defense certainly didn't see the play that sealed the win, at

least not until it was too late. Bama was good enough Saturday to defeat the

Hogs, 24-13.

  

Alabama improved its record to 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Southeastern

Conference games with the win at Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday. It was the

third consecutive loss for Arkansas, which fell to 1-3, including 0-2 in the

SEC. The Hogs were upset by Vandy in Fayetteville, 28-24, on September 10,

and dismantled by USC, 70-17, the previous Saturday.

  

There had been speculation that Alabama players might be looking ahead.

Now all eyes will be on fifth-ranked Florida. The 15th-ranked Crimson Tide

will host the Gators Saturday.

  

Last year in Fayetteville, Coach Houston Nutt's Razorbacks were throwing

for the end zone late in the game, but that was just an attempt to run up

the score against an out-manned Alabama team in a 27-10 Arkansas win.

  

This year it was Alabama that threw to the end zone late. With just over

two minutes to play and Bama holding on to a 17-13 lead, the Tide was at the

Arkansas five-yard line with a third down play. The call was for a run that

would either score or set up a field goal opportunity. But after an Alabama

time out, the Tide went to the line of scrimmage. Wide receiver D.J. Hall

was left uncovered. Quarterback Brodie Croyle and Hall made eye contact, and

Croyle snapped a pass to Hall in the end zone for the points that clinched

the victory.

  

Looking back, it can be seen why the Arkansas defense missed Hall. Bama

had been in a two-tight end set before taking a time out. When Alabama

returned from the time out, the Tide went back to "regular personnel," which

means one tight end and two wide receivers. The man who should have been on

Hall was inside, where he saw the tight end.

  

Arkansas was passing for the end zone as the game ended, but the effort

was incomplete and Alabama had ended a two-game losing streak at the hands

of the Razorbacks.

  

The Croyle-to-Hall combination also worked for Alabama's first touchdown.

After a lethargic first quarter, Bama trailed by 3-0 on the strength of Hogs

placekicker Chris Belseiro's 34-yard field goal midway through the second

quarter.

  

On a third-and-five play, Alabama split four men and the Razorbacks left

the middle of the field open. Hall crossed and Croyle hit him. Hall showed

uncharacteristic speed in sprinting away from the defense and completing a

43-yard touchdown play.

  

Alabama did not trail again.

  

It looked like Bama might have put the game away with a strong third

quarter. Alabama has not allowed a point in the third period this year, and

held the Razorbacks scoreless. But that wasn't all the defense did.

  

On Arkansas' first series after intermission, Hogs quarterback Robert

Johnson was hit by Simeon Castille and fumbled. DeMeco Ryans recovered the

fumble at the Arkansas 19.

  

The offense didn't take great advantage of that opportunity, but Bama did

get a 36-yard field goal from Jamie Christensen to extend the lead to 10-3.

  

Alabama didn't score another point in the third quarter, but the Crimson

Tide did everything necessary to get a touchdown. When the third quarter

ended, Bama was at the Arkansas two-yard line with a first-and-goal.

  

Kenneth Darby had 47 yards in the 78 yards gained before the end of the

third quarter, but by now Darby knows that he needs to get it into the end

zone, not close. Darby's final run of the quarter was a beauty, 24 yards to

the two-yard line.

  

Darby got to stand on the sidelines and watch Bama's Jumbo Package of Tim

Castille at halfback behind LéRon McClain get the touchdown. It took two

plays, but with 14:15 to play Bama had a 17-3 lead and seemed in control to

wrap up the win.

 

But not so fast! Arkansas' speedy halfback Darren McFadden went through a

couple of missed tackles for 70 yards and a touchdown, a "drive" that took

just 46 seconds.

  

On Bama's next possession, Jeremy Schatz–who had punted well–was

victimized by a blocking miscommunication and had a punt blocked.

  

There is a long and inglorious history of SEC officials having a negative

effect on Alabama in the series against Arkansas. Although it was not the

fault of the officials, a penalty against Arkansas was of great benefit to

the Hogs. On a third-and-eight play from the Alabama nine-yard line, Wallace

Gilberry forced and fumble and Ryans (who had an outstanding defensive game

with six solo tackles and nine assists) recovered for the Tide. But an

Arkansas player had moved, a dead ball foul that was a five-yard penalty

only. The Razorbacks kept the ball and got a 27-yard field goal that closed

the margin to Alabama 17, Arkansas 13 with just under 10 minutes to play.

 

While that penalty helped Arkansas, both teams had penalties that were

detrimental.

  

Bama was unable to keep the ball on its next possession and had to punt.

But with 5:50 to play, the Tide got the ball back with Juwan Simpson turning

in an interception at the Arkansas 40.

  

The Tide got it down to the Arkansas five-yard line with a 12-yard run to

a first down by Darby. It looked like Bama might have to settle for a field

goal when it was still five yards to go on third down, but the Razorbacks

failed to cover Hall and Croyle's pass got Bama to the final margin of 24-13

with just over two minutes to play.

  

Arkansas made a good effort to drive down to the Alabama goalline, but

the march resulted in no points, ran out the clock, and served merely to pad

the Razorbacks' offensive statistics.

  

Tide Notes–Jeremy Schatz may have been a bit of a surprise. DeMeco Ryans

was a no-brainer. Both were honored as Southeastern Conference players of

the week Tuesday morning. Senior linebacker DeMeco Ryans and senior punter

Jeremy Schatz were picked as SEC Defensive Player of the Week and SEC

Special Teams Player of the Week, respectively, after Bama's victory over

Arkansas.

  

Ryans led all tacklers with 15. He also recorded two tackles for loss

(minus nine yards) including a sack (minus five yards). He recovered a

fumble, returning it for two yards, broke up a pass and recorded a

quarterback pressure. He was also instrumental in the Tide defense allowing

only 81 passing yards against the Hogs.

  

Although it was not a factor in his selection as Defensive Player of the

Week, it is interesting that Ryans has totaled 52 tackles in his career

against the Razorbacks.

  

Schatz won his honor despite suffering a blocked punt against the Hogs.

That miscue (which was not his fault) aside, Schatz had a career day punting

the ball in the Tide's victory over Arkansas. He nailed two punts inside the

20, but the highlight of his day was a career long 72-yard punt that ranks

as the 10th longest punt in Alabama history. He finished with a career high

275 yards and a career best average 45.8.

  

The honor was a first for both athletes and the fourth this season for

the Crimson Tide.  Tyrone Prothro was named the league's Special Teams

player of the week on September 12 and running back Kenneth Darby was named

the SEC Offensive Player of the Week last week (September 19).

  

Is Alabama ever going to throw to the tight end? Would you believe on the

first play of the game? Croyle connected with Nick Walker (who had lined up

outside the left tackle) on a quick pass over the middle and Walker turned

his first college reception into a 24-yard gain. On the day, Walker had

three catches for 34 yards. Alabama had not completed a pass to a tight end

in its first three games.

 

When Croyle looked across the line of scrimmage and saw 11 defenders, he

knew that unless Arkansas had 12 men on the field (okay, that is a

possibility) that no one was on wide receiver Hall. Croyle and Hall made

quick eye contact and then connected on the final touchdown of the day,

assuring Bama's victory. Croyle and Hall had seen that situation earlier

this year. In the first scrimmage of the year Hall was unguarded on the left

side and Croyle hit him for about a 70-yard touchdown.

  

The game was the first in his college career that sophomore Hall has had

two touchdown receptions.

  

Prothro made his first reception in the third quarter. The junior

finished with three catches for 48 yards and extended his streak to 22

consecutive games with at least one reception. That is the longest streak by

any active Southeastern Conference player.

  

When Ryans recovered a fumble in the third quarter, it marked the 21st

consecutive game Alabama has forced a turnover by the opponent. Bama forced

two turnovers and the Tide turned them into 10 points. Alabama did not have

a turnover

  

Alabama has started the season 4-0, the first time Bama has opened a

season with four consecutive victories since 1996 (when Bama went 7-0 to

start the year). And the Crimson Tide has started the season 2-0 in the SEC

for the first time since 2001. It is the 37th time in Alabama football

history the Crimson Tide has opened the season with at least four

consecutive victories.

  

Among prospects visiting for the Arkansas game were defensive end

Reginald Stokes of Montgomery Carver and offensive linemen David Ross of

Homewood, Bryan Motley of Autaugaville, and Taylor Pharr of Birmingham

Shades Valley. Motley and Pharr are committed to Bama, while Stokes has been

announced as a commitment to UCLA.

-Kirk McNair

 

 

 

Depth Chart Vs. Arkansas

Alabama was able to dress 95 players with 80 designated as eligible to

play for its Southeastern Conference home game against Arkansas Saturday,

and 58 of them saw action. (An SEC visiting team is limited to 70 players

dressed.) There were no first time starters in Bama's 24-13 win over the

Razorbacks. Tyrone Prothro, who is considered first team but who does not

usually start, got his second consecutive starting opportunity at flanker.

Sophomore Eric Gray, who has been hampered by injury, made his 2005 debut

with some special teams play. Junior Kyle Bennett made his first appearance

of the year as a member of the kickoff return team, and was the return man

(13 yards) on a squibbed Arkansas kickoff in the second quarter. Defensive

tackles Justin Britt and Dominic Lee returned to action after having missed

a couple of games. Alabama used 21 on offense, 21 on defense, and 16 just on

special teams. Here are those who played with starters listed first. The

number in parenthesis is the number of plays, and if there are two numbers

the second is the number of plays on special teams.

 

OFFENSE

 Split End–Keith Brown (34), Zeke Knight (12-17), Matt Caddell (20)

 Left Tackle–Chris Capps (59-5), Cody Davis (4)

 Left Guard–Antoine Caldwell (63-5)

 Center–J.B. Closner (63)

 Right Guard–B.J. Stabler (58), Taylor Britt (5)

 Right Tackle–Kyle Tatum (63-5)

 Tight End–Nick Walker (47-5), Travis McCall (11-9), Charles Hoke (2)

 Quarterback–Brodie Croyle (62)

 Fullback–LéRon McClain (46-12), Tim Castille (22)

 Halfback–Kenneth Darby (38), Glen Coffee (4)

 Flanker–Tyrone Prothro (51-11), D.J. Hall (28-4), Brandon Brooks (1)

 

DEFENSE

 Right End–Mark Anderson (56-1), Keith Saunders (11)

 Tackle–Jeremy Clark

 Nose Tackle–Rudy Griffin (37-1), J.P. Adams (9), Dominic Lee (12)

 Left End–Wallace Gilberry (54), Chris Harris (14), Bobby Greenwood (7)

 Strongside Linebacker–DeMeco Ryans (67-8)

 Middle Linebacker–Freddie Roach (64-1), Matt Collins (7-12)

 Weakside Linebacker–Juwan Simpson (69-8), Demarcus Waldrop (6-15)

 Right Cornerback–Anthony Madison (29-2), Simeon Castille (60-4)

 Left Cornerback–Ramzee Robinson (70-4)

 Strong Safety–Charlie Peprah (71-5), Jeffrey Dukes (35-12)

 Safety–Roman Harper (71-8)

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 Placekicker–Jamie Christensen (10, 2 FG, 3 PAT, 5 KO)

 Punter–Jeremy Schatz (7)

 Snapper–Drew Lane (12, 2 FG, 3 PAT, 7 P)

Holder–Matt Miller (2 FG, 3 PAT, 13 other)

Coverage and Returns–Marcel Stamps (11), Jimmy Johns (5), Cory Reamer (9),

Lionel Mitchell (5), Marcus Carter (4), Chris Keys (15), Eric Gray (6), Juke

King (8), Kyle Bennett (4), Rashad Johnson (22), Justin Moon (5), Theo

Townsend (11)

 

    Scouting Report: All The Talk Is About Gators' Offense

Florida has outstanding talent on both offense and defense. Quarterback

Chris Leak and receiver Chad Jackson are among the best players in the

Southeastern Conference regardless of position, and the Gator defense ranks

at or near the top in every statistical category.

  

Florida's depth is a questionable. The second-team offense was held

scoreless and second-team defense gave up four touchdowns and 226 yards last

week against Kentucky before the starters were re-inserted.

 

OFFENSE

  

Urban Meyer's newfangled offense has broken up the monotony of the SEC,

which typically used very few option plays, two backs, and a 60/40 run-pass

mix of smash-mouth style to which we have become accustomed.

  

The jury is still out on the long-term prospects for Meyer's

spread-option running game and wide open passing attack, but one thing is

certain–Leak and Jackson make the Gator offense move, and would make most

offensive schemes look good.

  

Leak, 6-0, 210, has unquestioned arm strength and accuracy, and decent

speed. Leak is a rushing threat, but also a sack target. He has gained 94

yards this season on rushing plays, but lost 95 yards, all but two of which

came as a result of 14 sacks allowed by the Florida offensive line.

  

Leak has completed 81-of-114 pass attempts (71.1 per cent) for 1,037

yards. In his third season at Florida, he is the SEC's career active leader

in completion percentage (.61.1) and touchdown passes (54), and he's second

to Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler in every other quarterback stat.

  

Jackson (6-1, 205) could be the SEC Player of the Year. He leads the SEC

and is fifth in the nation with eight receptions per game, averaging 100

yards receiving per game. He has six touchdowns among his 32 receptions and

is averaging 12.5 yards per catch.

  

Jackson will be the focal point of Alabama's secondary, especially with

the Gators' loss of Andre Caldwell, who started opposite Jackson before

breaking his femur in the Tennessee game. Caldwell is expected to miss the

remainder of the season.

  

Senior Dallas Baker (6-3, 204) started five games a year ago, and has

starts in all four Florida games. With Caldwell out, Baker is the

second-leading receiver with 15 receptions for 158 yards

  

As a result of Caldwell's injury, Junior Jemalle Cornelius (5-11, 190)

rose to the starter's spot for Florida's last game against futile Kentucky,

catching eight passes for 138 yards.

  

Florida is one of only two schools in the nation to have a running back

rank in the top 10 in rushing touchdowns and wide receiver rank among the

top 10 in receiving touchdowns (Washington State is the other). DeShawn Wynn

ranks tied for tenth and Chad Jackson is tied for second nationally. Wynn

(5-11, 230) is averaging just 65 yards per game rushing, but has scored five

touchdowns. Wynn is also a receiving threat with four catches for 72 yards.

  

Tailbacks Marcus Manson (6-0, 210 from Tuscaloosa) and Skyler Thornton

(5-11, 209) average 24 yards per game and Kestahn Moore, listed second on

the Florida depth chart, has picked up 17 yards per game.

  

Like Alabama's offensive line, Florida's men up front have had their

issues–giving up a league-leading 14 sacks to opponents and leading the

middle-of-the-pack rushing attack to 149 yards per game. Each of the massive

linemen tops 300.

  

Center Mike Degory (6-6, 304) is on several award watch lists. He, left

tackle Randy Hand (6-6, 310), right tackle Lance Butler (6-7, 315) and

senior left guard Tavares Washington (6-4, 320) have seen action in 123

games combined and have started 106 games between them. Soph Drew Miller

(6-5, 310) is at right guard.

  

Washington moved from left tackle where he was a back-up to left guard,

and moved to the bench for the Kentucky game to make way for freshman Jim

Tartt (6-3, 315). Florida has thrown to tight end Tate Casey (6-6, 242) just

twice for a total of 21 yards.

 

DEFENSE

  
Co-Defensive Coordinators Charlie Strong and Greg Mattison will play an

in-your-face style of defense, pressing receivers and often putting eight

men in the box to either stop the run or pressure the quarterback.

  

The Gator defense has been dominant, leading the league in total (223

yards per game allowed) and pass defense (144 ypg), while ranking second in

run defense (79 ypg).

  

Florida has recorded 10 quarterback sacks, three behind league-leading

Alabama.

  

Junior Ray McDonald started the first three games at defensive end, but

suffered a knee injury against Tennessee and is out for another month or so.

But the Gators have experience at the position, as Junior Joe Cohen (6-2,

275) stepped in. Cohen started every game at defensive end a year ago

opposite senior Jeremy Mincey (6-4, 265). Mincey is the leading tackler

among the defensive linemen with 17, including four for loss and half a

sack.

  

Juniors Steven Harris (6-4, 281) and Marcus Thomas (6-3, 285) start at

tackle and have a combined 12 stops and a half sack. Sophomore middle

linebacker Brandon Siler (6-2, 239) has 20 tackles on the year, tied for the

team lead with diminutive cornerback Vernell Brown (5-8, 165).

  

Junior left cornerback Demetrice Webb (5-11, 190) has a team-leading six

pass break ups. Webb has seven tackles on the year. Senior safety Jarvis

Herring (5-11, 205) ranks fifth for Florida in tackles with 15 (10 solo).

  

Weakside linebacker Earl Everett (6-2, 231) has two interceptions to lead

the team, and along with Herring, is on the Bednarik Award Watch List for

the nation's best defensive player. Everett is an all-around player with 15

tackles, a sack and a pass break up to go with the two picks.

  

Fifth defensive back Reggie Nelson (6-1, 175) has recorded 14 tackles on

the season, including the team leading two sacs for a loss of 17 yards. Free

safety Kyle Jacskon (6-1, 200) has 13 tackles and an interception through

four games.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

  

Junior placekicker Chris Hetland has converted all five field goal

attempts with a long of 47.. His long came from 47 yards. He has made 15 of

17 PAT attempts. Freshman James Smith is the snapper and Nick Fleming the

holder.

  

Eric Wilbur kicks off and punts for the Gators (Florida has kicked off

more than it has punted.) Alabama should have a chance to return some kicks.

Wilbur has two touchbacks and has kicked out of bounds twice in 21 attempts

on the year.

  

His punting average is 40.9 yards per kick with a long of 55. He has had

one punt blocked, and four have landed inside the 20.

  

Cornelius and Tremaine McCollum serve as the kick return men, while Brown

is the Gator punt returner. Caldwell was the leading kickoff return man

before his injury, and Cornelius has two returns for a total of 40 yards.

The Gators have had just six kick returns all year. Brown has 14 punt

returns for an underwhelming 4.3 yard per return average. His long was a

22-yarder.

–Mitch Dobbs

 

 

 

 

Coach Mike Shula Says

There is a tendency to make it all about Florida. After all, it is the

Gators who are ranked fifth in the nation. It is Florida that has the flashy

new coach in Urban Meyer. The Gators have athletes galore.

  

But Alabama Coach Mike Shula is concentrating on his own team as the

Crimson Tide, ranked 15th in the nation, prepares to host Florida Saturday.

Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m. CDT with national television coverage by CBS.

Both teams are 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Southeastern Conference games.

  

Shula can't make the game about Alabama in the pre-game hype. And, of

course, he can't ignore the tremendous talent of the Gators. Alabama's

preparation this week has to be better than it has been, and Shula

acknowledges that. But, he said in his regular Tuesday press briefing, "We

want our guys playing the way they have in the first four games. Now, we

want to correct the mistakes. But we don't want to try to do something

different."

  

He said, "The kids are more excited. Last week's game made this one

bigger. We have to be focused. Each week in the SEC as you win, the games

get bigger. There are a lot of things you can't control. But you can control

your meetings, your practices, and how you play on Saturday."

  

Shula said upperclassmen must provide leadership for a big game. "That

means attention to detail and intensity," he said. "When the game kicks off,

our players' motors will be running."

  

Shula said Alabama's chance for success Saturday depends in great part on

quarterback Brodie Croyle. He said, "I think the biggest thing mentally is

that Brodie not feel like he has to win the game by himself. He has to make

good decisions; continue to do the things he's been doing. Physically, we're

going to have to adjust to a defense that's got more speed that we probably

have ever seen. We saw a defense (Arkansas) with pretty good speed last

week, but I think overall the way Florida blitzes with their linebackers and

the way they cover in their secondary, Brodie has got to make sure that

we're not trying to force things; we're not late with the football. And we

need to continue to be accurate."

  
He also said Croyle is a good man to have in that place. "He's

experienced," Shula said. "He's an accurate passer. And he's a leader, the

ind of guy who keeps the younger guys going. And he's gotten better each

week. He is definitely a key for us."

  

Shula also said that Alabama would not ask Croyle to run the option. "At

least, we won't let Florida know about it." Croyle, despite a couple of nice

scrambles against South Carolina two weeks ago, is not considered a runner,

and because of past injuries is urged to not run.

  

Shula added, "His pulse kind of slows down during the course of the game

when others' start racing."

  

Alabama has not had success against ranked teams in recent years. Last

year the Tide played close games against some good teams. Did Shula expect

this year's team to be a championship contender? Shula said,  "Looking back

at last year, we didn't do a good enough job. Maybe I don't think that we're

that far away. But I don't think we've arrived, either."

  

Shula said Florida "is a very talented team: real good size, good speed.

We're going to have our hands full in all three areas. Our coaches now are

finishing up on our game plans. We're seeing a lot of different things from

Florida. They're versatile in all three aspects, so we're going to have to

really make sure our preparation is thorough."

  

On the injury front, Shula said, "We're probably as healthy as we've been

in a while. We made it through the game in good shape. Hopefully we'll get

some guys back like (linebacker) Terrence Jones this week and possibly

(guard) Mark Sanders."

  

Shula said that Florida's defense includes a number of blitzes. He said,

"They bring linebackers, nickel; defensive backs; they bring corners; they

bring safeties. And they do it a lot. If they're not bringing it from one

side, they're usually bringing it from the other. We've seen a lot of

blitzing already this year in all types of situations. We've got to do a

better job picking it up. Our receivers have a huge challenge this week

against some very talented corners that like to play bump and run and

aggressive style defense. But we just have to go out and play our game and

do the things that we do well."

  

As good as the Florida defense is, it is the offense which draws the most

interest. Shula said, "They give you a little bit of everything. Out of the

shotgun they give you the running plays and then the misdirection off the

running plays and then the option off a fake run and the misdirection with

the option with the quarterback and a back coming out the back side. They've

got misdirection passing game with their receivers they do a good job of

getting certain guys open in all areas of the field. They'll throw it deep.

They throw it short and underneath. They've got guys that when they catch it

that they do a good job after the catch. So there are a lot of things for us

to have to look at and cover. But again, defensively, we've got to make sure

we play our game and don't try to do more than what our coaches are asking

our players to do and yet be aggressive to the football and know that

they're going to be some talented players carrying the ball."

Shula said, "The linebackers played as good a game as they have played

collectively. They all have good speed. All of them have motors that run

hard. Usually when a linebacker gets to the football fast, good things

happen. Hopefully it will continue to happen."

  

Shula wanted to make sure everyone understood that Arkansas has a good

team. After the Razorbacks lost a home game to Vanderbilt, then were

humiliated by number one-ranked Southern Cal the week before the Bama game,

Shula thought some may have underestimated the Hogs. He gave assurances that

Alabama coaches and players expected Arkansas to be good.

  

"We didn't play as well as we could, but Arkansas was a good team," Shula

said in his regular weekly teleconference with sportswriters. "We came up

with some big plays and some big drives to get the ball in the end zone. It

was good to win.

–Kirk McNair

 

 

 


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