02 September 2008
We missed practice yesterday, so this will encompass what has transpired over the last two days. Bama is now moving on from the whipping of Clemson and focusing on a Tulane team that has dealt with a very real distraction.
As we reported last week
the Green Wave evacuated New Orleans in anticipation of Hurrican Gustav and have been practicing at Samford University in Birmingham. The Tuscaloosa News
has reported that Tulane's scout team did not make the trip, making things even more difficult for Bob Toledo's group. With all of that in mind Alabama has opened as a 30 point favorite at SportsBook
As expected Andre Smith
(knee) and Earl Alexander
(ankle) were held out of work for the last two days. Both guys are listed as "day to day" which keeps open the possiblity that they might play on Saturday. Don't hold your breath for either guy, though. If the Tide was playing Georgia this weekend they would probably be in the lineup. And that's not meant as a slight to Tulane. This is a non-conference game and with that in mind I would expect that Bama will play things pretty conservatively - especially with "Big Pancake" (kudos to Antonio Langham
for that nickname).
SEC offensive lineman of the week Mike Johnson
was working again at left tackle with David Ross at left guard. That is how they lined up for all but one play after Smith went down on Saturday. My guess is that Antoine Caldwell
would be the next option at left tackle if something happened to Johnson, with an eye towards redshirting all three of Bama's true freshmen linemen.
was back working with the running backs after several weeks at corner back. This tells me that Terry Grant's
shin problems are a little worse than we've heard and the staff wants to redshirt Ivan Matchett
. If things go as expected Saturday there should be plenty of carries to go around, and Goode would likely get the oppotunity to play in the 2nd half. I wouldn't rule out a move back to corner if Grant gets healthy.
While Bobby Greenwood
had a solid game on Saturday he is being pushed heavily for playing time by Lorenzo Washington
. While Greenwood is very consistent in filling his gaps Washington gives Bama a better playmaker on the outside. There will likely be ample snaps for both guys, so the starting spot isn't that big of a deal. Expect this battle to continue all season. especially if Brandon Deaderick
is going to lock down the other end with performances like he had against Clemson.
With Alexander probably out the Tide made some adjustments in its depth chart. Darius Hanks
is listed as the #2 guy behind Julio Jones
in his place. Hanks didn't get but a few snaps Saturday, and like most of the Bama receivers, never had a ball thrown his way. Also interesting is that Marquis Maze
and Nikita Stover
are now listed as co-#2s behind Mike McCoy
at the Z receiver position - ahead of both B.J. Scott
and Chris Jackson
The Tide is by no means over looking Tulane, but there has been an extra emphasis put on the 2nd unit guys on defense. This likely has to do with how few plays the 2nd unit was able to get in the Clemson game. Typically your #2 guys on the defensive line and in the linebackers will get a good number of snaps as you rotate over the course of the game. Because Alabama held Clemson to just 48 offensive snaps those guys did not get as much in game work as they normally would. To make up for that they are getting extra work in practice.
The weather has held up so far this week allowing the Tide to work outside. Keep in mind that Alabama practiced inside most of last week, which limited special teams work. I would imagine that Nick Saban would never use that as an excuse for CJ Spiller's kickoff return for a TD, but limited scout team work certainly didn't help.
It is important that Alabama put the success against Clemson behind them and focus squarely on getting better and improving for Tulane. I would imagine that this would not be much of a problem under Nick Saban and staff.