Utah State is 2-4 and coming off back-to-back losses–to Fresno State by 53-21 and to Boise State by 45-21. The Aggies of Head Coach Brent Guy will be Alabama's homecoming opposition Saturday. Kickoff will be at 2 p.m. CDT at Bryant-Denny Stadium with the only television coverage Pay-Per-View.
Coach Guy and selected players met with the media earlier this week.
Regarding Alabama, Coach Guy said, "It is going to be a great experience for our team. It is going to be as big a crowd as we have played in front of and as loud of a crowd that we have seen." (Note: Utah State's largest home crowd this year was 12,992 last week, but the Aggies played in front of 44,639 in the opener at Utah and against 42,701 at Fresno State. There will be over 80,000 in Bryant-Denny Stadium.)
Guy said, "They have the best defense we have seen. Their defense is in the top 10 in three major categories: total defense, scoring defense, and passing defense. (Note: Also rushing defense and pass defensive efficiency.) We still have to go down and learn to execute in a tough environment.
"Offensively, they have Brodie Croyle, who has not thrown an interception this season, which is amazing. (Note: Also not quite true. Croyle has thrown two interceptions in his 190 pass attempts. He had thrown 154 consecutive passes without an interception and has thrown only two in his last 267 attempts.)
"We can't make mistakes that will allow them to win the game. If they are going to beat us, we have to make them make a play to beat us. We can't go and play any differently because we are playing a team that is ranked in the top 10 or in the Southeastern Conference. We can't go act or be a different team or think we have to do something different. We need to go down and execute, run our offense, and get better at what we do.
"Defensively, we need to create some turnovers somehow and shorten the field to give ourselves a chance to compete against this SEC team. They haven't been a real explosive team except against Florida. They are pretty much a typical SEC team with their ball control. Most of the time they are going to get in a two-back set and run the football, play pass out of it, and run three-man routes like most the teams do down there. They are a very physical defense and they can close very quick. They do some pressure stuff and their defensive ends close real hard and fast on the football. A play that looks like a guy in the open field is going to make a 10-15 yard gain makes a 4-5 yard gain. They are big and fast. We haven't seen guys this big and this fast."
Regarding last week's Boise State game, Guy said, "I don't feel like physically we were run over or run through. We were able to stop the run and didn't get run over a lot. If you want to measure the stick, it was the stick of execution that got us because Boise State capitalized on our mistakes. We didn't make many mistakes. We had two penalties and one turnover, but that was enough for them to capitalize and get the momentum and win the football game."
"We are seeing some improvements in some areas. (Quarterback) Leon (Jackson) made some good decisions at times. In the first half he went nine for nine and executed the game plan. He didn't force any throws and that is encouraging. We still have to find a running back to help him (Leon) run the football."
Cornerback Jarrett Bush was asked about playing Alabama. He said, "The best thing for an athlete is to look up and see a big crowd like that and be able to play in that kind of environment. At first it is overwhelming, but then you have to get your mind set and block it out to get ready to play. Even though they may be a higher prestige than you, you have to keep fighting the battles to let them know they can't just run over you."
Offensive lineman Donald Penn, who has accepted an invitation to play in the Hula Bowl at the end of the season, said, "This is a great opportunity for the team. We need to see if we can get things straight. The past few games we have lost the game, but we have beaten ourselves. If we can come with a complete game, start doing things right, and come together and have everyone on the same page, I think we can make it a good game and give them a run for their money·"