Tuberville: We Have Our Hands Full

"We are 6-1 and I was pleased with the way we played in the first half (against Louisiana Tech). It was probably one of the better halves of football on both sides of the ball, other than a couple of turnovers we made. In the second half it looked like we let the air out of the ball. But, we did get the win and that is what is most important. After this part of the season, we are 6-1, undefeated in the conference, and we are at the halfway point.

What is very encouraging to us as coaches is that we have a lot of room for improvement in most areas. So, we need to get back down to reality.

''We are going back on the road and it is going to be real tough. This week will probably be one of our toughest challenges since Arkansas had an open date last week. They will be fully recovered from injuries, will be coming off one of their biggest wins of the year beating South Carolina, and they are playing at home. So, we have our hands full.

''Offensively, I'll talk a little about what we've got to do to improve. We have got to get the ball down field more passing the football. People have ganged up on us in the run. I thought Daniel (Cobb) did a pretty good job last week of getting the ball down the field. He needs to be a little more selective. Our receivers need to catch the ball a little bit better. That is probably the worst game we've had dropping balls. Of course, a couple of them turned into interceptions. We have got to become more consistent offensively of getting the ball down the field, eliminating mistakes, turnovers and penalties.

''Penalties have just been drive killers for us this year. We do well, we look good and we get two or three in a row and we're not good enough to overcome the penalty that we have made. Most of them have been mental, so they are some that we can overcome.

''Defensively, we gave up a lot of points last week and a lot of yardage, which is a little bit concerning. It looks like we are going to get most everybody back. The one that is still up in the air is (linebacker) Mark Brown with a shoulder injury. We'll have to wait and see how he progresses during the week. Everybody else looks like they are ready to play. We are beat up. But this time of year every team is pretty much beat up. But, you have to go on with it. After this week we'll be able to get a few more people back.

''This is the meat of our schedule, it always will be. This point it is usually all conference games and it is the part of the year that you should be ready and prepared for, mentally and physically. We will find out a lot more about our team this week going on the road for the second time against a conference team.

''Arkansas has a good team and they have gotten better as the year has gone on. Early in the year I'm sure they were very concerned about how they played. But they have bounced back.

''Offensively, they have improved each game. Their quarterback situation was up in the air but it looks like they are pretty much settled now on who their quarterback is going to be. They have got their running backs returning. They look a little bit more diversified in what they are doing. Instead of just running the ball, they are throwing the ball more. We will have a challenge defensively.

''Defensively, they will present us with a challenge. They run a defense that is not like most that you'll see. They are well coached and they are also well prepared. We will have to do a good job adjusting on the sidelines. There will be times that they will put 11 on the line of scrimmage and bring seven or eight. Then there will be times that they will put 11 on the line of scrimmage and bring only two or three. It will be a very mental game for our offense. We are going to have to be patient offensively. We will have to go about our business and make more first down and be consistent with our offense.

''It will be our second day game in a row. I thought we were a bit lackadaisical last week. We have played mostly night games. I think last week's day game will prepare us for what we've got to do early in this game. Even though this game is an hour and a half earlier than last week, it does make a difference in preparing for a game. Again, it's another conference game and we do have control of our own destiny. We are not thinking about anything other than playing this week.

''Another thing I do want to mention is that after we play this game this week, we do play a game next week. It is a junior varsity game at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Thursday, November 1, at 5 p.m. against Georgia Military Junior College. Admission is free and it will be open to the public. It will be a good game. The players that very seldom play will get to compete against a very good junior college team. Last year, for those of you who remember, we scrimmaged on Thursday. At that time we decided we would bring somebody in and have an organized game. I think it will be good for our younger players, kickers and snappers to get out and get some game experience. Plus it will give our fans an opportunity to look at our younger players.''

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