Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Alabama defense a huge challenge for Kentucky Wildcats' rushing attack

Kentucky's Stanley "Boom" Williams will not likely face another challenge like the one he's going to see on Saturday at Alabama.

At least, perhaps, until he's doing his thing in the NFL.

The Wildcats' junior running back knows a matchup against the defending national champions and top-ranked Crimson Tide will not be easy, but he also maintains that UK cannot change its approach just because it is facing arguably the most formidable defense in the country.

"For us, we just want to go out and play our game," Williams said following Tuesday's practice at the UK Football Training Center. "When we do our job, we're successful."

More often than not, the offense has done its job for Kentucky (2-2, 1-1 SEC). The Cats are averaging 30.3 points per game and 196.8 yards on the ground. Williams leads UK with 464 yards on only 58 carries, good for an impressive 8.0 yards per attempt. He's coming off a 123-yard performance on Saturday in a 17-10 win over South Carolina.

"Really good skilled players on offense," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of the Cats. "Really good running backs, wide receivers... They're explosive guys."

The Tide boss went on to describe UK as "a really competitive, physical team" during his weekly press luncheon.

But no one Kentucky has faced to date stops the run like Alabama (4-0, 1-0 SEC) who enters the matchup ranked No. 5 nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (67.5) and is giving up only 2.35 yards per carry. 

"A bunch of war daddies," UK head coach Mark Stoops called the Tide's personnel on Monday.

"We're running the ball well, (but) we'll have a challenge this weekend," UK offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said. "They're the best in the country at run defense, I believe, so it will be a challenge. You've got to stay on your blocks and run the boards and sustain. If you don't sustain, it's going to be a long road."

Kentucky is a heavy underdog already, but if the Cats can't run the ball, Gran said, "we've got no chance."

He did note, however, that there's an excitement level with his players to gauge themselves against the champs.

"That's why these guys came here," said Gran, who noted the Cats started the week with two strong days of practice.


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