Gilberry Prepares For Option

Alabama's football players and coaches got a little break from preparation after Friday morning's workout. The team was to gather in Shreveport Christmas eve and resume practice Christmas Day. Break or no break, thoughts of the option are never far from the minds of Bama defenders.

Alabama will meet Oklahoma State in a battle of 6-6 teams in the Independence Bowl on Thursday. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. CST with national television coverage by ESPN.

For the second consecutive year, Alabama is facing a high-powered offense in a bowl game. Last year the Crimson Tide shut down Texas Tech in a 13-10 Bama win in the Cotton Bowl. This year most of the attention has been on the balanced offense of the Cowboys, averaging over 200 yards per game passing, over 200 yards per game rushing, and over 35 points per game.

The Tide is particularly aware of Oklahoma State's 6-3, 230-pound sophomore quarterback Bobby Reid.

"They have some weapons," said Wallace Gilberry. Gilberry, a 6-4, 260-pound junior, is in the hot seat against an option offense. He's Alabama's left defensive end.

"They can put six (points) on you if they catch you out of position," Gilberry said. "You have to be in position and you have to be prepared."

Gilberry said, "We're much further along than we were two weeks ago. But that doesn't mean there isn't more work to be done. I'd say we're at 85 per cent and we'll have to use the time in Shreveport to get it done."

Alabama Interim Coach Joe Kines said the option of Oklahoma State "means our guys have to be in a certain place. They have worked hard."

"Be Prepared" is the motto of the Boy Scouts. But in the case of Alabama's football team, the scouts are helping get others prepared.

Gilberry said one thing that has helped Bama's defense in preparation is the work of the scout team offensive line. "It's important to recognize, and the scout team has given us great looks," Gilberry said. "That has been vital. Those guys are growing up and getting better."

Gilberry had particular praise for freshman offensive tackle Mike Johnson, Taylor Pharr and Brian Motley.

Gilberry said, "Our spirits are high. We're anxious to get down to Louisiana and show what we can do."

As for himself, he said, "I try to give 100 per cent on every play. I'm going to come to work every day.

Gilberry was the top tackler among Alabama defensive linemen in 2006 with 39. the 12-game starter had 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, and 10 quarterback hurries. He also broke up a pass and caused a fumble.

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