02 December 2008
Sorry for the late report... I just got home from something that somewhat closely resembled a basketball game. If you haven't seen, Bama "out-lasted" Alabama A&M 64-56. Yuck.
In better news, it was day two of Bama's preparation for the SEC Championship Game. Once again the Tide was inside the indoor practice facility, with an eye towards playing inside the Georgia Dome this weekend. Here's what you need to know:
The only two guys in black were (you guessed it) Tyler Love and Barrett Jones. Roy Upchurch was again cleared for contact and worked as the number three guy at running back. It looks like it will probably be a game time decision on whether Roy will play. Given Bama's likely strategy of ball control, Roy's health could be a major factor in the game.
Cory Reamer was working at his normal sam linebacer position, though I'm not sure why. He, Chavis Williams, and Jerrell Harris aren't likely to see the field very much this week, as the Tide is almost certain to spend the vast majority of the game in their nickel defense. That means lots of Marquis Johnson at corner, with Javier Arenas playing the star.
Of course, we expected the same thing the last time that Bama played in the Georgia Dome, but Reamer not only started the game, he caused a fumble on the first snap. Florida spreads the field far more than Clemson, but the Gators do run the ball a tremendous amount. The coaches will likely have to resist the urge to go to the dime package, but I have to think that we'll see more of Don'ta Hightower than Ali Sharrief.
Hightower could be the key this week. At times he's been an absolute beast, but those times mostly consist of when he's been asked to fly to the ball. This week he'll be asked to play his assignment. If Terrence Cody can force a double team in the middle, then there should be plenty of opportunities for the play to come to Hightower, which should make things much easier for him. I could say the same about Rolando McClain, but he's gonna make plays regardless of where the ball is.
While Bama has spent the entire season trying to develop a secondary receiver to Julio Jones, the Tide will likely spend a great deal of time in a two tight end set on Saturday. Travis McCall and Nick Walker have been pseudo-linemen all season, and given the Gators' lack of depth on the defensive line, expect to see Bama really pound the ball between the hash marks.
There will be a practice tomorrow, followed by a press conference, and we'll have a report from both. Unfortunately they will be followed by two days of media black out before we all convene in Atlanta for a shot to play for number 13.