Tide, Hogs discuss barn-burner
When Alabama's winning drive began the talk in the huddle, according to D.J. Hall, was "Score. That's all we could think about. Score. We do that (two-minute drill) every day in practice."
Hall became Bama's all-tme leader in receiving yards, surpassing a 30-year old record held by Ozzie Newsome. "I'm just blessed man," Hall said. "Ozzie Newsome (was) such a great player here at Alabama, a Hall-Of-Famer. I'm just blessed it happened." Hall now has 2,209 career yards.
Hall seemed to prefer talking about the breakout game his fellow senior receiver, Matt Caddell had. Caddell not only caught the winning touchdown pass from John Parker Wilson, but racked up nine grabs for 91 yards. "Matt's always been capable of making big plays," said Hall. "I'm just excited for him because he finally got a chance to show what he can do." As for the injured quad muscle that caused him to miss much of the second half, Hall proclaimed himself "good to go. I just need to get some treatment." Part of that treatment consisted of the ice bag taped to the muscle during interviews.
Caddell seemed happy just to be in the media room, and was eager to talk about his performance. One scribe asked if it was the best feeling he's had in crimson. "Probably for right now," the senior responded. "I plan to have many more.
"It was a great game. Thank God I capitalized on my opportunity when I needed to. You just have to go out and execute. I just want to thank our fans for all their support."
For Wilson, it was a night of ups and downs before the winning drive. "No pressure," said the ex-Hoover star. "We went out there, and I told the guys, ‘Let's go win it. Why not?' The guys kept their composure and kept their cool. There were some ups and downs, but we were able to keep our composure and finish it off."
Wilson said, "If we can't run the ball, then we're going to throw the ball. We've got a pretty strong offense. I just go out there and execute plays, he said, adding that winning touchdown toss "was man coverage. I got it up, and gave (Caddell) a chance. It was a read play. He wasn‘t the first guy. He was on down the progression."
Asked about Arkansas' coverages during the game Wilson said, "They changed some things as we started scoring. They didn't do anything we hadn't seen before." "
He said, "It was a team win. It wasn't just offense and defense."
"You can only stop them for so long," said Bama defensive back "Simeon Castille of the Hogs' running back tandem of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. "You can't shut them down completely. Our coaches showed confidence in us (before the last Arkansas drive), and we were confident that we could go out there and stop them and get the ball back." The Tide did just that.
Tide defensive end Wallace Gilberry said, "I'm speechless," but he wasn't. Gilberry went on to say, "To stop the number one Heisman candidate – not really stop him, but beat him. He probably went for two or three hundred yards tonight (Darren McFadden had 195 yards rushing against Bama). To take a win from him was awesome. It was definitely one of the biggest wins I've been a part of. I'm still gasping for words. This is one of those victories that you hope and pray for the best. Guys like McFadden are in a class by themselves. That we were able to come out and take care of this mjeans a lot for this team and this program."
It was also a team loss, for the visitors. "I just felt like we played well enough to win it.," said Hogs coach Houston Nutt of his squad‘s comeback from a three-touchdown deficit. "We showed a lot of heart, and a lot of character. I thought we started playing football like we know how to play it. I was real proud of our team. I really thought this was our game."
Nutt's players thought they were going to leave with a win, too. "I think their defensive front was getting tired," said Heisman Trophy candidate McFadden. " I felt better running the ball in the second half than I did the first half." McFadden notched 195 yards on 33 totes, and gained 107 of those in the final 30 minutes.
"All our backs showed a lot of heart," Nutt said. They were just playing their guts out. Darren McFaddden played extremely well. He earned every yard he got tonight."
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