SABAN: Jones Has Bruised Knee
"Bruised knee," Alabama Head Coach NIck Saban said when asked for the official report on Julio Jones' injury suffered on the fifth play of Saturday night's game. "I'm not the doctor. I'm sure we'll do every test we can think of to make sure he's okay, but on the little reverse we ran he got hit in the knee."
"We'll do everything we can to check him out to make sure he doesn't have any issues," Saban said. "We don't know what the prognosis is. We'll probably know that tomorrow."
Mike McCoy proved to be a more-than-adequate substitute for the injured star. McCoy had five catches for 100 yards and one touchdown, including a 35-yard reception in the second quarter which set up the Tide's go-ahead touchdown.
"Most of what he caught was what was intended for number eight," Saban said.
The news regarding defensive lineman Damion Square, who had tackle-for-loss and a quarterback hurry in his most extensive playing time of the year before injuring his knee in the third quarter, was more ominous.
"Damion Square had a knee injury that looked pretty serious," Saban said. "We won't know for sure until we do an MRI but we think it is a knee injury that will require surgery."
The final injury Saban noted was one to oft-injured running back Roy Upchurch. Upchurch, who suffered cramps last week against Virginia Tech, and has had a career that has included surgery to both feet and a shoulder, sprained his ankle early in Saturday night's game, according to Saban. He also said that senior defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick could have played in an emergency situation, but did not because he missed practice this week due to a death in his family and was still coming back from being shot two weeks ago.
Saban said he was "certainly pleased with the way our team came out and played, especially in the second half."
"I wasn't happy with energy and enthusiasm our team came out with in the first half," he said. "The focus in a game like this is to improve. FIU came out and competed and fought hard. I don't think our guys came out with energy, enthusiasm, and intensity that we needed to set the tone."
Saban said the offense did a good job "the entire game" noting their ability to run the ball effectively, and complimenting Greg McElroy's performance in completing 14 passes in a row in one stretch. He also said that Trent Richardson, a true freshman running back who saw his most extensive action against FIU with 15 carries for 118 yards, "did a great job."
For the defense, it wasn't only the team intensity that changed in the second half, however. Saban said the Tide defense played more zone coverage in second half, and that they were able to stop the run with just four down linemen and two linebackers playing up near the line of scrimmage.
"The quarterback held the ball a little longer and we were able to get more pressure and i think affected them," Saban said. "Most of what we did today was with a four-man rush which is good because if you can affect them with four-man rush you're gonna be able to play more pass coverage and not give up big plays. I was really pleased with improvement that we made in pass rush."
Saban was also asked about Terrence Cody, the monstrous nose-guard who has played more on third downs this year, including due to his improved fitness.
"He's sitting with me on the bus now wherever we go, whether its the movie last night or wherever," Saban said. "It's because last year he wouldn't fit in that seat -- that's according to him. He's being very nice to me."
"He is in better shape," Saban said. "There was a lot of situations out there today when we knew they were gonna pass and he was in there, and he did a good job of pushing the pocket up the middle."
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