Tide Players Pleased With Performance
"Like Coach (Nick Saban) said in the locker room, this is what we've been practicing for," said senior Alabama safety Rashad Johnson, who finished with seven tackles, tied for the team lead with cornerback Javier Arenas. "That's what we've been playing these (first) three games for: its all to get ready to play in the SEC. I think we've learned some good lessons, and its time to get it on."
When asked if he was prepared to get into SEC play, cornerback Javier Arenas put it this way: "I was ready the night we played Clemson."
Rashad Johnson missed a tackle on the Hilltoppers' only touchdown of the night in the second period, a fourth down pass to a wide open Tristan Jones. "We made a mistake," Johnson said. "A guy slipped out on the backside on us. I'll take full responsibility for that, and he actually got in the end zone and scored on us."
That was the first offensive touchdown allowed by the Tide this season after holding its opponents out of the end zone for nine consecutive quarters. "You can't dwell on it. You've got to let it go," Johnson said, "You've got to keep playing ball, and not let it affect the way you play the rest of the game."
All in all, Johnson seemed happy with the defense, which allowed but the seven points and only158 yards of offense. "We came out, and we played a dominant game," he said. "We physically just dominated our opponent, and for the entire game, for 60 minutes, we never let up. We played hard the entire game. At practice coaches let us know that we needed to do a better job of executing on defense. I think we did a lot better coming out and staying focused the entire game. We knew what they were going to do. There really wasn't anything that they lined up in that was much different than we practiced against. We were really just ready for them."
Arenas agreed. "We practiced what we thought they were going to do and they did it," said the junior. "They did the things we thought and we executed. We knew what we had to do that's why we were so successful."
Junior tackle Andre Smith, a man of few words, had a smile on his face after hearing the final stats. "I was excited to put up over 500 yards of total offense (557, to be exact)," he said. "That was a great thing we did. We're just going to use it as a stepping stone to get prepared for next week.
"The preparation was better this week. We were really focused and paid attention to detail. We just really worked hard and focused on being physical from the first snap of the game to the last.
"I felt like we dominated like we were supposed to. We just went out there and competed. We took proper steps and had proper footwork. We were just able to dominate pretty much all night."
Quarterback John Parker Wilson was full of praise for the men up front.
"They came in and just wanted to dominate the line of scrimmage," he said. "They really came in frustrated from last week's performance, so tonight they really wanted to come in and establish the run. That really opened up the passing game as well. The whole game they were blowing off the ball and creating paths for the running backs. They just got a good push all night, and the running backs were able to break tackles and get some long runs down field."
Among those long runs were a 51-yarder by Glen Coffee, an 18-yarder by Terry Grant, and a 36-yard scramble by Wilson himself. "We've got to just keep perking along," Wilson said. "We executed (tonight). We came out, and, unlike last week (against Tulane) were able to sustain drives and pick up some third down conversions."
Bama converted nine of 14 times on third down, and on fourth down that number was a perfect 3-3.
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