Tiders Talk Defense

Several senior Alabama football players met with the media in Dallas to talk about the job they will have to do defending against the high-powered offense of Texas Tech in Monday's Cotton Bowl game.

Alabama and Texas Tech will kick off at 10 a.m. CST Monday in the Cotton Bowl from Dallas. Fox will televise the game, which is considered one of the featured bowl games because of the highly-ranked Texas Tech offense going up against Alabama's highly-ranked defense.

Here are some thoughts of some Alabama defensive players:

Defensive End Mark Anderson:

On defensive adjustments to counter Texas Tech's style of quick passes and hot routes:

"When you play a team like Texas Tech that throws the ball real quickly, the main thing is to try to get good penetration and get your hands up because the ball is coming right now. The best thing to do is to get your hands up. I may have to alter my game a little bit into more of a quick game. But the best thing to do is to get your hands up."

On never facing a team with this offensive style in career:

"This might be a special team. I've never played a team like this. The splits are so wide. It is just different. It is going to be a challenge, come next Monday. My main focus is to get to their quarterback. I will have to play pass and run. Getting to the quarterback will be my main priority."

On how big win in AT&T Cotton Bowl would be for program:

"It would be real big. Ten wins is a nice number. That is what we are shooting for. We had two losses at the end of the season. We want to bounce back and get those 10 wins."

Safety Roman Harper:

On Texas Tech offense:

"It is a monster. That is the best way to describe it. They do a lot of different things. They throw it every which way. You don't see too many teams with three or four guys with 50 or 60 catches on the same team in college football. Just knowing that everyone is going to get the ball, so you just have to be aware of your man at all times.

"It is very unique. I haven't seen one like it. I've been playing football for a while. I've never seen anything like this. They dink it around and throw it around a lot. Then they give the ball to the running back. He is probably going to touch the ball the most out of all of them. They have great players and a great coach. They get the ball to their playmakers."

On speed of Alabama defense:

"We have a lot of speed. They have plenty of speed too, though. Their receivers, numbers wise, everyone doesn't think they are as fast as they are. Looking at them on film, they seem like they run really well. They run their routes well. They know what they are doing. They seem like they have been in the offense for a while. They are pretty crisp in their offense. If you can run around and try to take these guys throw as many bodies at them as you can, I think that is your best chance."

Linebacker Freddie Roach:

On the importance of sound tackling against Texas Tech:

"We have emphasized tackling all week. When you have to tackle in (open) space it makes it that much more difficult. But all you can do is practice and hopefully prepare for it. We have great guys on defense that can make plays in the open field. We've got to be able to get them down somehow."

On the difference of Texas Tech's offensive style vs. the styles of SEC offenses:

"They just throw the ball around. The most throwing team we have seen (this year) was Florida. They don't throw it near as much as (Texas) Tech. It is a whole different ball game. But that is the best thing about a bowl game is that you are going to get something that you aren't used to seeing or something unusual. We played Hawai'i two years, obviously that was something different. It probably is about the same situation."

On whether aggressive approach of defense changes because of unique offense:

"Not really. I don't think. You can't really change the style. You have to do what you do best and that is put pressure on people. When you change your style and try to do something that you aren't very good at then you are playing their kind of ball."

On Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines and his impact on the defense:

"He has done a remarkable job. When he came in, he had to first of all win us over. It is always difficult for a coach coming in, but once everybody understood what he was trying to do and he explained himself we did a remarkable job. Now he is able to sit back a little bit and knows everybody knows what is going on. He is able to be himself and not yell as much as he used to."

Cornerback Anthony Madison:

On challenge to Alabama secondary playing a prolific passing team like Texas Tech:

"First of all, we are going have to play with a lot of urgency. We have to play fast. Obviously, we haven't played a game in a few weeks so we are going to have to make sure we get back in the rhythm of playing fast. Pertaining to their offense, the kind of offense they have and just their scheme in general, we are just going to have to execute our technique and do what the coaches have been telling us to do all week and we will be fine."

On how winning this game would put a stamp on his career:

"It would. I tell you why. First of all as a cornerback or anyone in the secondary and you are up for a challenge, what better team to play than Texas Tech? They pass the ball on nearly every single play so you are going to have ample opportunities to make plays. In the SEC, you don't get that a lot. You are tackling more and you don't have as much to do in pass coverage. This team will throw it. We are going to have a lot of opportunities to make plays on the ball and while the ball is in the air."

On getting back on the field and trying to finish the season on a good note:

"It means a great deal. Our team has really talked about having a 10-win season. It would be nice, especially for the seniors, to leave on a good note. It would be nice for us to leave with a winning taste in our mouths."

Safety Justin Ballard:

On what it would mean for your career and time at Alabama to go out with a win:

"We have had some rough times the last couple of years. We have been down. We have been struggling a little bit. We've turned it around this year. It would be outstanding to go out on top with a 10-win season and put The University of Alabama back where it needs to be."

On Defensive Coordinator Joe Kines:

"He is a great coach. Everyone loves him, especially on defense. Everything he does, no one asks any questions. He brings a new dimension to the game. It is easy for everyone to believe in him."

On how a win in the Cotton Bowl could leave a legacy for younger players:

"If you can get that 10th win, hopefully that would put us back in the top 10 this year to finish out the season. That would put us back on top and get everybody fired up about next season."

Linebackler DeMeco Ryans:

On individual season and accomplishments:

"It couldn't have been a better year. I give credit to the coaches and surrounding people because it is not just me. My teammates have done a great job and everyone is doing their jobs. One person really doesn't have to go out and try to do everything. If you do your job, they are going to do their job and everyone makes plays."

On whether Texas Tech's offense dictates changes in defensive approach:

"We just need to do what we have been doing. We don't try to do anything that we aren't used to and going to make our guys uncomfortable. We just want to be comfortable knowing what to do, running around and having fun. That is all we want to do."

On importance of tackling:

"We have to get them down when we are out there. We are going to be in the open field a lot. We just have to break down and make the tackles. It is nothing new from what we have been doing all year long."

On what has happened with the team since the Auburn loss:

"We have seen a lot negative stuff out there mostly about our offense. Guys are fed up with that and everyone has a different attitude. They want to send the seniors out with that 10th win. That 10th win would mean a lot to this program and a lot to our guys. We can go out on a three-game losing streak. It would hurt our season. Everyone is motivated to go out with a win."


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