Shula Discusses Tide Loss

Alabama's 16-13 loss to Tennessee Saturday night in Knoxville will be a second guessers delight.

Never mind that Alabama was a double-digit underdog, and the most optimistic forecasts said the only way Alabama could overcome UT's might offense was by outscoring the Vols. If prognosticators had to be any more accurate than a 10-day forecast they would all be fired, and then who would criticize the coaches.

Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula called it, "a heartbreaking loss for our team."

"We felt like we'd done what it was going to take to win the game, played three and a half quarters of pretty good football," he said. "I thought our defense did some real good things with big plays and turnovers. Having the lead in the fourth quarter that we were going to find a way, unfortunately we couldn't. They made the plays in the fourth quarter and had a nice drive there, and we couldn't come back and overcome that. It's a tough one to swallow."

Some questioned the decision to kick a point-blank range field goal instead of going for it on fourth and one from the one yard line.

"We thought about going for it but I think it was important for us to have the lead going into halftime," he said. "We had two drives down there were we didn't get touchdowns and that hurt.

"Not get any points out of it if we had gone and not gotten it, that would have been really a downer. Going into the half we wanted to have the lead. We ended up in the second half where we went up 13-6, had the lead again in the fourth quarter and couldn't hang onto it."

Alabama got the field position when Simeon Castille intercepted a pass and returned it to the Tennessee eight yard line.

"It's frustrating because the field position there," Shula said. "We didn't get anything on first down and then on third and long I thought we were going to have a chance to get the ball in the end zone."

There were other tough decisions in the game, like choosing to put on fourth and 10 with 2:12 to play in the game. In the end, Alabama got the ball back with 1:19 left and couldn't score.

"It was fourth and ten and we had made zero yards on three plays," Shula said of the choice to punt there. "We had three timeouts. If we hadn't had the three timeouts we probably would have gone for it there."

Shula said Jimmy Johns had practiced all week, and downplayed the notion of his injury limiting his playing time. Johns had 3 carries for 37 yards, while Kenneth Darby had 14 for 26.

"We're going to try to play him and KD," Shula said. "He practice all week and had a couple of nice runs there. I really thought we would be able to (run better). We hit a couple of runs but it was too few and far between."

On the failed two minute drill, when Tennessee recorded two sacks to salt away the game, Shula said, "We had some pressure. We had a lot of long yardage situations. I really thought at the end of the game we had a couple of completions over the middle and we were moving it. You get sacked in the two minute drive without any timeouts it's a tough deal, and then we got sacked again. They're a good defense and they made the plays in the fourth quarter when they had to."


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