Shula Knows Two-Minute Drives

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula had plenty of experience in two-minute drives as a player. He led famous game-winning drives against Georgia and Auburn in his career, and had other less famous two-minute drives at the end of first halves.

He knows what it takes to move the ball in that situation, and he liked what he saw from Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle as the senior signal-caller was preparing for his own first two-minute come-from-behind game-winning drive.

"Didn't' change a bit from first play of the game to last play," Shula said, asked about Croyle's emotions just before the last drive. "It was the same as it is, same dimeanor in practice and meetings. He's just really, really calm."

Croyle led Alabama downfield just as he does on a good practice or scrimmage day, with an added scramble where he took a big hit to pick up a needed first down.

"Brodie's not an outspoken rah-rah guy," Shula said, "but when he talks… everyone's listening. He really managed the game well, I thought throughout the game. Especially there at the end."

Shula said Saturday's 13-10 win over Ole Miss was a "Great win, and a great way to win the ballgame."

"Did we play as good as we're capable of? No. We can't turn the ball over in some crucial situations. We didn't execute like we should have. We talked to our team at halftime and said we've got 30 minutes to find a way to win the football game. And that's the best thing about it; we found a way."

Shula said his offensive game plan without the versatile Tyrone Prothro in the lineup change "a little bit, but not a whole lot. We still felt with Keith Brown and Matt Caddell, those guys in the game they knew what they were gonna do. They could make plays."

"Matt Miller, I thought did a great job playing a lot of different positions when he hadn't played a whole lot. Of course, he had to go in there at the end and be the holder."

DJ Hall hurt his back in the first half, and tried to return to the game after X-rays taken were negative. "We'll see how bad he's going to be this week but hopefully he'll be ready," Shula said.

Alabama tried to catch Ole Miss in blitzing situations, but most of the game the Rebel zone blitz didn't yield big plays. Kenneth Darby's career long 48-yard touchdown run was an exception.

"The touchdown run was against a blitz, obviously that was a big play for us. They're fast up front and we knew they were with fast athletes and they did a good job."

Shula said he would have been willing to attempt the game-winning field goal from beyond the 30-yard line, but that was the range where he felt comfortable with Christensen's ability. "If it was outside the 30 we probably still would have tried to kick it," he said.

Shula tried to set the tone in the first quarter with Bama's short yardage package featuring Tim Castille as the ball carrier twice on third and fourth down with one yard to gain. "The decision to go for it, we felt like we could get some momentum in our two tights package and we just didn't execute too well in that particular play. They did a good job. They've got some good defensive lineman and unfortunately we couldn't keep them pinned down in there."

Both teams were hit with delay of game penalties on Saturday. Head official Jeff Roberson was setting the ball for play quickly.

"You have to get a feel for each set of officials. They are each a little bit different. Some guys are faster than others. And I think (Ole Miss) would agree, those guys were pretty fast. I'm not saying those guys were wrong. I'm saying they were fast. You've got to adjust to that."

Shula was excited after Jamie Christensen's game winning field goal, but got outran by his team to congratulate him. "I think I may have been the first one out there only because I was the furthest out on the field. But I got passed up in a hurry on the way to Jamie," he said.


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