Coach O Monday

The following are Coach Ed Orgeron's Monday press conference comments from Oct. 8, 2007.

Orgeron: Obviously we're excited to start the week against Alabama. I know my team's going to be really excited. We'll watch the film against Louisiana Tech, correct the things we have to correct and move on. We've got an early start against Alabama. Against Louisiana Tech obviously we're pleased with the improvement on defense. We have some areas we have to improve on obviously, but we felt we improved on our tackling. Johnny Brown had to play a bunch when Jamarca Sanford went down. He made a couple of mistakes, but he had a solid game there. Ashlee Palmer was all over the place. I thought the linebackers played a little better. They were in the right positions. I was really pleased to see the field goal blocked. Brandon Jenkins blocked it, a senior who is playing a lot for us now. Great scoop and score and a great touchdown by Dustin Mouzon. We have to improve on our punt game. We have to have better execution of our offensive gameplan. Moving on to Alabama, John Parker Wilson at quarterback is very efficient. Lot of speed at wide receiver like B.J. Hall. A young man Terry Grant from Mississippi. We know all about him. They're a physical football team and we expect a physical football game. On defense they're solid and very well coached. We're looking forward to playing Alabama. We know both teams are going to be fired up to play.

Q: Last year's game was close and competitive. Talk about that.

O: Yeah, the last two games against Alabama were very competitive.

Q: Will Johnny Brown play more this week?

O: Jamarca Sanford is going to be questionable this weekend. I don't know if he is going to play. But if not, then Johnny Brown's going to start.

Q: Talk Brandon Thomas' play at linebacker.

O: He was in the right spots most of the time. That's an improvement.

Q: Your defense seemed more comfortable against Louisiana Tech.

O: The way we play defense, there's nothing about comfortable here. We have to continue to get better. We're going to play a lot better teams, no surprise to anybody in here. Starting with Alabama, we need to improve our play defensively.

Q: Was the Alabama game last year a turning point game for your program?

O: We went to Alabama on their turf and played well. We came back and watched the film. We played emotionally, a very high emotional game for us. Our guys left it all on the field. When we came back, we were disappointed in some of our tackling. We thought we could have played a lot better.

Q: The running game struggled vs. Tech.

O: We just made a couple of mistakes.

Q: The wide receivers continue to improve.

O: Last year was the first time some of them have played. They have game experience and they're very talented. I think Seth has put the ball on the money. It's a combination of having the experience and getting the ball. We're running better routes this year and getting better play.

Q: Talk about Tony Fein's progress.

O: He's struggled a little bit. He's in the mix at linebacker. He has to compete on a daily basis.

Q: How do you evaluate Saban's influence on the Bama defens?

O: He does a good job. I've watched a couple of their games this year. The guys are in the right spots. They're very athletic and very well-coached.

Q: Was the improved tackling Saturday the best improvement you saw defensively?

O: There's a difference in talent playing Georgia and Louisiana Tech. Nothing against Louisiana Tech. They're a well-coached team. I know their coach is going to do a good job. I don't think they're a good gauge of where we are, to be honest with you. The next three weeks we'll find out if our tackling has improved.

Q: Talk about Alabama's running game and any anecdotes about your recruitment of Terry Grant of Lumberton, Miss.

O: We never could get him to visit. We really wanted to recruit him because of his speed. We thought he was a fantastic player. They have a good gameplan. It's a zone game. They block the right guys.

Q: How challenging are the next three weeks.

O: We take it one game at a time, one day at a time. We're playing Alabama at home. We like playing Alabama. I think it's going to be very exciting on campus. I know our team is going to be fired up. I know we'll be ready to play our best. We're looking forward to that challenge. Our team likes playing Florida, Georgia, Alabama, the rest of the bigtime SEC schools on our schedule. So I expect them to play very well. One thing about the game against Louisiana Tech, we played very poor on offense. We played very poor on special teams. Maybe our team will wake up a little bit this week and improve.

Q: Chris Strong's progress?

O: He's a little heavy for middle linebacker. He's tried very hard to lose weight. If he loses weight, I think he will be a fantastic middle linebacker. It's going to take a little while to get there. It's going a little slower than expected. If he doesn't lose the weight, he will be a fantastic defensive lineman. We saw a lot of spread offense at the beginning. We're seeing more conventional offenses now. We're not good enough on defense to line up and say come on guys bring it on. Chris has the physical tools that if he loses weight he will be a fantastic middle linebacker.

Q: Talk more about the improvement of the defense.

O: We eliminated some mistakes we made against Georgia. Our linebackers were in better position to make plays against Louisiana Tech. I think our defensive line was more physical and more aggressive last week. Peria Jerry had a fantastic game against Georgia. Obviously this is going to be a big challenge.

Q: Will Michael Hicks be back this week?

O: Maybe.

Q: How is Coach Freeze doing with the wide receivers?

O: Doing a good job.

Q: Will Jamarca play.

O: I think he's questionable.

Q: Is Seth's shoulder OK?

O: He's fine.

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