Arenas Says Tide Did Job On Block
Alabama cornerback Javier Arenas was one of the last to know what had happened, even though Arenas was about as close to the action as one could be. And even though he found out later than most (by a few seconds), Arenas had a firm understanding of what had happened. More than that, he understood why.
Here are the facts: Tennessee had driven to near the Alabama 25-yard line as time was running out in Saturday's football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Vols placekicker Daniel Linoln was lined up to kick a 44-yard field goal to defeat Alabama. The ball was snapped, placed down and kicked. And Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody blocked it with his thigh-sized left forearm.
Alabama had preserved its undefeated season and national championship hopes with a 12-10 win over Tennessee.
Arenas had been part of that "max block" effort to make the block, but the senior was knocked out of the play. Literally. "I dove forward and collided with Kareem (fellow cornerback Kareem Jackson) and got knocked out," Arenas said. He estimated his blackout lasted "maybe three seconds" and when he came to he "saw Marcell Dareus jumping up and down, and I knew we had won."
In the moments before the snap, Arenas said, "It was the worst feeling I ever had. We shouldn't have been in that situation, but there we were and we had to do something. I know that everyone gave 110 per cent. I didn't know we had blocked it. I just knew from the sound of the crowd that we had won."
Arenas added, "My adrenaline was at the max" for the start of the game.
Arenas said he wasn't surprised that Cody had made the block.
"We're fortunate to have a guy like Cody who has a passion for playing football," Arenas said. But, he added, "If it hadn't been Cody, it would have been someone else. We have a lot of capable guys."
Arenas said that he understands fans focusing on the play. He said the key is that "everyone has to do his job. That's the important thing. The result follows. You do the job, and that's the outcome. The coaches get us into position to make the play, and then we have to execute."
Arenas said it also shows the importance of all three phases of football. "You have to be full go on special teams, just like on offense and defense," he said. "We had to have push on the inside and speed on the outside."
The field goal block team is made up primarily of players who are regulars on defense. One exception Saturday was the use of wide receiver Julio Jones as a leaper behind the front rush.
Arenas is also a member of the "hands team," the squad used on kickoff return when an onsides kick is expected. The hands team didn't do the job as Tennessee recovered an onside kick with just over a minute to go, enabling the Vols to move into position for the potential winning kick.
Arenas said when Tennessee got the onside kick, "All I could think was 'Wow,' and then get ready to go back on defense."
Arenas said, "We could have played much stronger for four quarters. The blocked kick covered for not playing well. I know I could have done better on a lot of things."
Arenas had a very solid game, particularly considering that he had been unable to play a week earlier because of a rib injury. He said there was a little pain Saturday, "but I didn't focus on that. I tried to focus on the plays and doing my job."
He was the game's leading tackler, getting in on 13 stops, having a sack for a 12 yard loss and getting in on three tackles that resulted in another nine yards in losses.
Now, said Arenas, the Tie has "to make adjustments" and get back on a good track. Alabama gets its first open date of the season this week. The Tide will have a few days of practice this week, and also use the time to get some players healed up.
Alabama is in its bye week with no game on the Crimson Tide schedule next Saturday. The Tide returns to action Saturday, Nov. 7, hosting LSU.
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