Tide Must Be Ready To Adjust To Vols

A college football team is limited in the amount of time it can prepare for an opponent each week. Earlier this season, Alabama Coach Nick Saban pointed out that a team can only prepare for what it has seen. If something else happens, the coaches and players have to adjust. One of those adjustments could be coming this week.



Alabama goes to Knoxville this week to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. Kickoff Saturday at Neyland Stadium will be at 7:45 p.m. EDT (6:45 p.m. central time) and the game will be televised by ESPN.

Following Alabama's Wednesday practice, Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban was asked about the possibility of Tennessee's all-star safety, Eric Berry, seeing action on offense in a scheme similar to the Ole Miss "Wild Rebel" offense that puts a non-quarterback skill position player taking the direct snap in spread (shotgun) formation.

Saban said, "They've used number 4 (wide receiver Gerald Jones) at that position. We heard they used number 14 (Berry) in the spring. They may do something different. If they do, we'll have to adjust.

"I have a lot of respect for Eric Berry. We know what he did (on offense) in high school and he's a great defensive back. I'm sure he'll do well whatever they do with him."

Saban said the Tide has had good practices this week and the team's "energy level" has been good.

"We are obviously getting ready for a very physical game and the players have practiced well and had a good energy level," Saban said following Wednesday's practice. "This is a difficult preparation on both sides of the ball. They are a very good defensive team. They do a lot of things and have a lot of different pressures. They have changed offensively a little bit, but there are still some things that they have done in the past. So, we are kind of working on both sides of that.

"It is going to be very important for our players to focus on the task at hand. This is a very challenging game for us to go on the road in a difficult place to play. Tennessee has a lot of good players that are capable of making plays, so it will be very challenging for us and everybody has a responsibility to do their role and do their job and do it at their full capacity. And play to that capacity for 60 minutes and every play that they are called on to do it.

"We understand the rivalry and tradition here and I think our players have done a good job of that. I think it's also important that the leadership on this team continues to reinforce and support all the players. We have all kinds of different players with different roles on this team, different ages, young guys, old guys, hurt guys, guys that aren't playing as much as they would like and I think it's very important that everybody keeps a positive attitude about their role and knows how important they are in helping the overall success of the team."

Saban said sophomore wide receiver Earl Alexander (sore foot) has practiced the last two days after sitting out Monday's practice. Saban also said that junior nose tackle Terrence Cody (who suffered a sprained MCL last week and is out for this game) rode the stationary bicycle on Wednesday and "was making good progress and doing as well as could be expected."

The coach mentioned Josh Chapman, who has been alternating with Cody this year, and Lorenzo Washington, who was the Tide's starting nose tackle last season, but who has been at defensive end this year, as replacements for Cody. "Hopefully, both of those guys will take advantage of the opportunity they have."

BamaMag Top Stories