Seniors Realize Bama's Situation

Calling all defensive prospects! Alabama defensive coordinator Joe Kines wasn't talking recruiting Tuesday afternoon, but responding to a question about avoiding a letdown, he listed reason after reason why there won't be one on defense this week and why Alabama will miss so much after the season.

"This team has a good base," Kines said. "I think DeMeco Ryans, Roman Harper, Freddie (Roach), Juwan (Simpson), Charlie (Peprah), the front, Mark (Anderson); they've held their focus good. I don't think they're a flighty bunch. I think they'll go to work and see if they can't get better today."

Five of the six individuals Kines named are seniors, as is starting quarterback Anthony Madison. Simpson, a linebacker, is a redshirt junior. They will lead the Crimson Tide through four more regular season games and, with luck, two post-season contests in the SEC Championship game and bowl game-hopefully without letdowns.

"I think being old helps a little bit. We've got some guys that have quite a few snaps under their belt and we have to draw on that this week. We can't go out there and slouch around for three or four days," Kines said.

"You just play ‘em as they come. We've played well at times; we've played hard all the time. I think that's been one constant all year. The games we didn't play well, we played hard."

What the Tide truly must avoid post-Tennessee hangover, Kines called the forced fumble by Harper that turned the game in the fourth quarter, "At the time, the best play we've had all year as far as the results that the play got. He did a great job of getting his hat on the ball. Lucky for us it rolled through the end zone."

Kines said his defensive unit had nicks and bruises, but was "about as healthy as anybody this time of year. Everybody's beat up a little bit, but we're no worse than anybody."

Kines' theme for the week is getting back to basics. Alabama tackled better last week, something he said they had to improve on to beat Tennessee. Several players around the ball gang-tackling helped. This week will be a focus on tackling and other fundamentals, like bottling up quarterback Leon Jackson, who leads Utah State in rushing and passing.

Kines called the USU offense, "one of the most unique offenses we've seen on film. It looks like the Notre Dame box at times… We've got to go back to some basic things. We're playing an excellent quarterback. They have a wide receiver, (Tony) Pennyman, who's as quick as anybody we've seen. They do a great job getting the ball to him downfield."

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