Franchione on the state of the Tide

During Sunday afternoon's teleconference, Tide Head Dennis Franchione noted several positives about the Alabama offense, including the emergence of several new playmakers. <br><br>"Right now we are at a point offensively where we are able to spread the ball around and take what the defense gives us," he said. "We don't have to focus on any one player."

Before the season began, most fans were worried about wide receiver. But at this point Sam Collins, Triandos Luke and Dre Fulgham have all contributed to the offense. "We've found a lot of playmakers at receiver," Franchione said. "Sam Collins had six catches for us this week. Triandos Luke had a big week last week. Dre Fulgham has made some big plays. Our tight ends have made some big catches. We're fortunately deep and moving the ball around fairly well."

So far at least, A-Back Shaud Williams hasn't had many chances to show off his skills. Franchione commented, "He's played several offensive snaps, but he doesn't have a lot of yards gained or passes caught yet. I don't know how glittering his stats are going to be. I think he is a help. Is he going to have days when he has more rushing yards and more receptions? Yes, he is. We'll need to continue looking for those situations for Shaud."

Triandos Luke has stepped up at wide receiver.

Late in Saturday's game, Alabama trailed by three points and appeared to be driving for at least a game-tying field goal. But when the football slipped out of Tyler Watts' hand, Oklahoma scored on the fumble return to salt the game away. "Tyler is a tremendous competitor," Franchione said. "You can't pin (the loss) on one play. Everybody had the feeling that we were going to have the chance to kick a field goal at least. But it did not work out that way.

"Tyler is the kind of person that's going to take a lot of personal responsibility for that play. You don't have to put it on him. If anything, you have to alleviate some of the pressure he puts on himself."

One of the highlights for Alabama was an impressive performance by the defensive line. Franchione commented, "I'm not willing to call the Oklahoma offensive line a great one, yet. Time will tell that. But I thought our front (four) controlled them most of the game. We did what we had to do. We rotated a lot of people, keeping fresh people out there. That was important."

Despite yielding several big plays, Franchione had praise for the Bama D. "Our defense played aggressively and fast," he said. "One of the positives in the game was that we got ourselves off the field defensively. We ran 80 (offensive) snaps to Oklahoma's 61 and had a thirteen and a half minute advantage in time of possession. Their offense is not geared quite to dominate time of possession. But to handle warm days like that it was certainly a benefit."

Kindal Moorehead and Jarret Johnson both played well versus Oklahoma.

Alabama went into the halftime locker room trailing by 20 points, but Franchione and his coaches kept the squad calm and focused on the game plan. He explained, "One of my comments to the team today will be that at halftime the coaches showed confidence and belief in you. Just do the things that we know how to do. I think our football team believed that at halftime."

Franchione sees progress, but he remains concerned about his squad's consistency. "In college football, if you have three plays that you take off---three bad plays---that's 21 points," he said. "There is just not a time that you can let down. You have to remain focused. And we did that. Even in the Middle Tennessee game we were challenged and we responded. And for the most part I thought we responded (Saturday)."

Franchione listed the award winners for the week:

  • Offensive back: Ahmaad Galloway,
  • Offensive line: Alonzo Ephraim
  • Special teams: Lance Taylor
  • Defensive back: Gerald Dixon and Charles Jones
  • Defensive line: Kenny King
  • Offensive scout team: Josh Smith, Nic Luke, Will Hold, Matt Miller
  • Defensive scout team: Kyle Tatum and Juke King

Termed "explosives," the Tide staff keeps track of how many times the Bama offense achieves big plays during the game. "We had two run explosives and three pass explosives on offense," Franchione related. "That's only five, which is a little down for us and was a factor in the game. We gave up six, so we were minus one in that area of the game. We did have some kicking game big plays both ways, too."

Marico Portis turned in 11 knock-down blocks versus the Sooners.

Offensive line production is difficult to track, so Coach Helduser counts the number of so-called ‘knock-down blocks' in the game. "We ended up with about 80 knock-down blocks," Franchione said. "That's a little bit down, but when you have 35 passing plays, you're going to be a little down. Alonzo (Ephraim) had 16, and Marico Portis had 11. Our receivers did not do a good job of getting knockdowns in this game. Theo Sanders had eight. Wesley Britt and Justin Smiley both had 10."

Several young players, including Anthony Madison and Charley Peprah, saw extensive playing time versus Oklahoma. But for now at least, no changes have been made in the starting lineup. "It's a little early to announce any (depth-chart changes)," Franchione said. "We'll take some time and let this (game) soak in and think about it for a day or so."

No. 2 tailback Santonio Beard turned in a couple of good plays. But after Beard fumbled late in the second quarter, Ray Hudson got most of the back-up tailback snaps the rest of the game. Franchione commented, "When you turn the ball over as a tailback, there are other backs back there that are pretty good players. Those guys deserve opportunities.

"Certainly the turnover was a very costly play. We can have a discussion on whether it was or not, but it was left up to the discretion of the officials and they said it was."


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