Earlier in the season tailback Ahmaad Galloway had led the way for Bama's runners, but Saturday it was A-Backs Shaud Williams and Ray Hudson that shone. "In our case our tailback position is manned by committee," Franchione said. "Which is fine. We can keep fresh people in there. We have confidence in all of them. They all have certain attributes."
For his last two seasons at Texas Christian, Franchione enjoyed the luxury of coaching one of the top tailbacks in the nation--a very different situation than his current "tailback by committee" approach. "Believe me I always liked to have a LaDainian Tomlinson back there dotting the ‘I'," Franchione explained. "I had no problem with that. When you have a player like him, everybody knows who's going to touch (the football). But good teams have tendencies, and you have to stop them. We were in that category, and he made everybody better around him. He made our offense better, because of what the defense had to do with him.
"The difficult thing when you have a LaDainian is that if you keep giving it to him, you're going to do what you need to do. You can get conservative with utilizing the rest of your players. You can depend on him maybe more than you really should to be balanced offensively."
Like at running back, Alabama's receivers are almost taking turns this season. "Our receivers are stepping up and making plays," Franchione said. "We got the tight end involved in the offense; (Donald Clarke) made some plays. In the long run, for teams to defend us they have to defend a lot of things. You get better because of that reason."
"The beauty of what we're doing is we're just taking what the defense gives us," Franchione continued. "In the first game it was Triandos Luke. In the second game it was more Sam Collins. It was probably the tight end as much as anybody (Saturday) night. It's been different people at different times.
"I like where we're at with that, because we have unselfish players. They understand that some days they're going to be the guy that's going to reap the benefit and other days it'll be somebody else. But they're going to do their part and play hard."
In the opening game victory over MTSU, the Alabama defense played well in the early going, only to tire somewhat during an incredibly long second quarter. But against Oklahoma and last Saturday North Texas the Tide's veteran defensive line has led the way. "The last two weeks are more like we thought they would play," Franchione acknowledged. "They played a lot like that for a good bit of the time in the Middle Tennessee game.
"They have moved the line of scrimmage much better the last couple of weeks, taking away the run and pressuring the quarterback. I think our football team is a little bit like as the D-Line goes, so we go on defense."
Franchione revealed the various Players of the Week for the squad:
- Offensive back: Shaud Williams
- Offensive linemen: Justin Smiley & Donald Clarke
- Special teams: Anthony Madison
- Defensive back: Charles Jones
- Defensive lineman: Kindal Moorehead
- Offensive Scout team: Josh Smith
- Defensive Scout team: Juwan Garth, Hamid Haqq & P.J. Fletcher
A tough North Texas squad limited Alabama's number of knockdown blocks and "explosives." "We had 91 knockdowns, which is not as many as we should have had," Franchione revealed. "We did not do a good enough job blocking downfield at receiver or we would have had four more explosives. "We had 10 explosive runs and four explosive passes. With 14 total, we were plus 11 in that category."
Two changes debuted in the secondary's starting lineup Saturday. Charlie Peprah is now No. 1 at cornerback and Anthony Madison has taken over as first at nickel back. "We didn't give up a lot of passing yards," Franchione explained. "(North Texas) is not a team that normally is going to get a lot of passing yards, but we didn't let them hit us with the play-action or make hardly any big plays in that aspect of the game. They got 25-30 yards passing on that end-around where their guy made a heckuva play just to toss it to somebody. I think we all got a little flat-footed. We had him, and all of a sudden he shot-putted it the guy and they made a nice gain.
"Charlie (Peprah) is starting to give us a consistent performance week in and week out. We were pleased really with the entire group last night."
Carlos Andrews actually started at strong safety and played through the first quarter, but Waine Bacon would still be considered first string. "Carlos started due to a disciplinary measure with Waine," Franchione revealed. "But (Carlos) played well."
As Franchione has been hinting for several weeks, seniors Antonio Carter (receiver) and Atlas Herrion (offensive lineman) are headed for redshirt seasons. Franchione explained, "We have to make that decision now. Unless we were to get a lot of injuries and Antonio were to improve health-wise a great deal, we will redshirt him.
"Atlas is another guy that right now we are trying to redshirt., which is something that can help us alleviate some of those numbers (next year) that we are dealing with (due to NCAA sanctions)."
With Southern Miss arriving next week, the Tide will be playing its fourth straight out-of-conference game this season. "This will be an SEC-caliber type team coming in here that will be ranked--if not this week then before the season is over," Franchione said. "Our players have tremendous respect for Southern Miss and know that we're going to have to play well. We have to be tough and eliminate some mistakes."
Interestingly, even though Bama's SEC opener with Arkansas is still two weeks away, a Razorback beat writer was on the line getting quotes for a story this week. The reason is that like numerous other teams on Alabama's schedule, Arkansas has been "blessed" with an off week before their game with the Tide. Franchione commented, "Arkansas is going to have an open week before they play us, and in a lot of ways that's probably an advantage. It seems like a lot of people have open weeks before they play us this year. That's good scheduling on their part, an open week before their first SEC game."