Tide Defensive End Sees Improvement

Go fishing or go to work? For one Alabama football player, he'll be going fishing this weekend. But he'd rather be going back to work.

"No question," said Alabama defensive end Wallace Gilberry. "With the momentum we have from the Tennessee game, I'd rather be playing this week."

Instead, Gilberry and his Alabama football teammates have completed two of three practice days in a bye week. Last Saturday the Crimson Tide raised its record to 6-2 (4-1 in Southeastern Conference play) with a 41-17 win over Tennessee. Bama doesn't play again until hosting third-ranked LSU (7-1 overall, also 4-1 in the conference) a week from Saturday. That November 3 game will kickoff shortly after 4 p.m. CDT and be televised by CBS.

"I'm not going to watch college football on television this weekend," Gilberry said. He also didn't watch the LSU-Auburn game last Saturday night after Alabama had disposed of Tennessee.

"I'm going fishing this weekend," Gilberry said.

As for not watching the LSU game last Saturday night, Gilberry said, "I'm going to be watching them beginning Sunday (on videotape)."

Gilberry, a 6-3, 265-pound defensive end from Bay Minette, said this may be a bye week on the schedule, but it hasn't been an off week. "It has been helpful to work like we have," he said. "It has been a real good week. Back to basics. We've been able to give some young guys a lot of reps.

"We've had some hitting. We've worked on our hands. We've worked on tackling, and we needed that. We've missed a lot of tackles the last couple of weeks. We've worked on fundamental things that we may have forgotten when we are trying to get ready for a game.

"It has been helpful to a guy like me, working on where to line up, working on hands, working on get-off. We've had a chance to bring everything back into perspective.

"I think we've gotten better. Everyone."

He said that Wednesday's practice was in full gear with "everyone flying around."

"It's a bye week," he said, "but we're not sitting around eating potato chips and watching TV. We're using the week to get better."

Even though Alabama has not been working towards LSU, and even though Gilberry wanted to say he hasn't given the Tigers any thought, he said, "I'm not going to like to you. We haven't started preparing for LSU and we're not talking about LSU, and I'll really start thinking about them Sunday. I've thought about them because it's going to be a big game for them and for us, but I'm not thinking about them constantly this week."

Young defensive linemen may not be a major factor against LSU, but Gilberry said the newcomers have caught his eye. He mentioned noseguard Josh Chapman as being "very strong, even though he's sort of a small guy (he's listed as 6-1, 300)."

Gilberry also listed ends Luther Davis and Jeremy Elder and noeguard Alfred McCullough as freshman Bama players to watch in the future.

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