Shula on Sunday

Defensive brilliance doesn't usually doesn't dominate headlines, and Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula's Sunday teleconference was focused mainly on the Tide's offensive struggles rather than Bama's dominating defense over the past five games.

Shula said that Saturday's game against Mississippi State, "exemplifies how this team has played throughout the year with good defense. The offense still has some work to do. We had some injuries with JB and Antoine Caldwell going down. We had some plays there but we weren't able to score except for the field goal."

"It seems like throughout the history of the game, offense creates the excitement and intensity, and all defense does it seems is win games for you," Shula said. "None of us on the offensive side were happy with the way the outcome was without getting a touchdown and feeling like we had a bunch of plays in the first half and the interceptions in the second half."

You'll hear more about how Alabama has scored just one touchdown in its last three SEC games than the fact that the defense has given up just one touchdown since September 24th, which is the main reason of Bama's perfect record.

"Trust me, everybody is happy about being 9-0," Shula said. "You look around the country and everybody is happy about that, but we recognize if we're going to get number 10 we're going to have to have a lot better execution."

Shula discussed the season-ending injury to center JB Closner and foot injury that could sideline left guard Antoine Caldwell. Shula said that true freshman Evan Cardwell "has been promising" in practice. He has worked with the scout team on Tuesdays and with the regular unit on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but will now be a backup option at center at the very least.

Shula didn't update Caldwell's status other than to say, "I know he's going to be sore this week. We're in the process right now of examining him. I hope to think that he will be able to play but at this point I don't know for sure."

Some national print publications were interested in Shula's take on being in the same position Auburn was last year with an undefeated team and ranked behind two other undefeateds.

"The biggest thing for me to respond to is what concerns us, and that's LSU right now," Shula said. "I know there's a lot of talk about what happened to Auburn last year and what's in front of us now, but we feel like everything's in front of us."

"Our guys, when you just deal with your own players and our team, have found a way to win nine games and they're doing what you're asking of them. You've just to find a way to win a 10th game and whatever happens after that happens."

Shula has not pinpointed any one source of the offense's troubles (with the exception of the Utah State homecoming game) since Tyrone Prothro went down late in the game against Florida other than to say it is a matter of, "executing a little bit better. When we've had some opportunities, just to take advantage of them. We haven't done that on offense."

With LSU coming to Tuscaloosa Saturday for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff the offensive staff will break down film Sunday and Monday to come up with specific answers for LSU's defense.

Shula said he was "concerned" about the lack of offensive productivity, "but what you've got to do is continue to attack the problems. If you go talk to your team and leave it at, ‘We've got to score more touchdowns.' that's not being a good coach."


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