Alabama Week: Thursday News and Notes

ATHENS - Josh Kendall's news and notes from Georgia's fall practices.

POINT, COUNTERPOINT: Any benefit Georgia gets out of having former Nick Saban assistant Stacy Searels on its coaching staff probably is cancelled out by the fact that Alabama has former Bulldog assistant Kirby Smart on its staff, quarterback Matthew Stafford said.

Searels "hasn't said too much about it as far as knowing stuff," Stafford said.

Searels coached for Saban at LSU, but the Tigers ran a different defensive scheme than Alabama is using this year, so most anything Searels knows is probably out of date, Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

On the flip side, the fact that Georgia has changed all its offensive terminology and its play-caller since Smart worked for the Bulldogs will make it hard for him have any insight, Richt said.

"Kirby might have had a feel for what I like to do and not have as good a feel for what Mike (Bobo) likes to do," Richt said.

ON THE BANDWAGON: Alabama fans have been very excited about their team since Nick Saban was hired earlier this year, but Saturday night's 41-38 over Arkansas may have put them over the edge.

"They've been saying crazy things every since I've been here. What else is new?" Saban said in response to a question about his fans' suddenly skyrocketing expectations. "I don't want to dampen their enthusiasm, I just want them to be positive and supportive and realistic."

TRAVEL SQUAD: The Bulldogs are allowed to take 70 players for SEC road games, and it's always a tough decision on who makes the cut, Richt said. Georgia will be taking true freshman offensive lineman Justin Anderson on the trip but hoping not to use him. True freshman running back Caleb King is not traveling with the team.

A BIG HAUL: The Crimson Tide still is riding the momentum created by Saban's hiring on the recruiting trail. Alabama has 19 verbal commitments for the class of 2008, and 11 of them are rated four-star prospects by

However, Richt isn't too worried that Saban's presence will hurt his team's search for high school talent.

"Not everybody can get them all," he said. "I really think everybody is going to get their share of really good players and have enough good players to win. It's going to come down to how you coach them and how fortunate you are with injuries and if one guy decides to go pro or not."

The Bulldogs have 18 verbal commitments, including nine players who are ranked four-star or higher by

QUOTABLE: "I think the guy is a fantastic player and is already one of the best quarterbacks in the league and probably is soon to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country." – Nick Saban on Matthew Stafford.

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