23 November 2010
The Alabama football team worked in full pads on Monday in its second day of preparation for the Auburn Tigers. With the game being on Friday, the Tide treated today like it was a Tuesday.
Here's what you need to know:
Things are pretty much the same as they were yesterday.
Trent Richardson is working in his normal spot with the running backs, though he is wearing a knee brace similar to the one that Mark Ingram wears.
Barrett Jones was still held out with an ankle injury. Anthony Steen worked in his spot with the first unit, while Alfred McCullough worked with the secon group. I thought we might see Alfred there last week, though Steen played very well. If the redshirt freshman struggles at all with Auburn's defensive tackles, the staff won't hesitate to put in McCullough. The hope, of course, is that Barrett Jones will be ready to go. He is a tough kid, so if there is any way that he can play, you'll see him out there.
Eddie Lacy is still a little tender from some knee and hamstring issues, so Demetrius Goode and Jalston Fowler both got extra reps in his place. Goode is still ahead of Fowler, but I have to think that the staff would go with Fowler if there were a need for a third back and Lacy couldn't go. Goode is a perfectly good runner, but he simply does not have the power that Fowler has, and Auburn's defense is weak against the power run.
Of course, to be honest with you, the Auburn defense is weak against a lot of things, which is a good thing for Bama. The Tide can not expect to win this game 13-10. The Alabama offense will have to move the football and put points on the board. And it will be crucial for those points to be touchdowns. Bama has struggled the last two seasons to punch it into the end zone once in the red zone, and that is something that simply can not happen on Friday. Auburn is going to score touchdowns, and Bama can not trade seven points for three points.
Auburn will almost certainly load the box to take away the run. Not only did they have success with that in 2009, but it is pretty much the blueprint for stopping the Bama offense. That means, once again, that Greg McElroy and company will have to be on target for the Tide offense to work. Julio Jones needs just three passes to grab the school's single season record for receptions, and he'll need to blow past that in the first quarter if Bama wants to win. Expect the Tide to take advantage of the lack of size in the Auburn linebacker corps by attacking with passes to the tight ends.
Thankfully we've also seen the Tide's kickers gain confidence as the season has gone along. Although Cade Foster missed his last field goal attempt after a Bama penalty wiped out a 49 yard make, he is clearly striking the ball better than he was earlier in the season. Jeremy Shelley had a rough stretch in the middle of the year, but has looked much more confident in his kicks during the last three games. So if the game does come down to a kick, Bama is in far better shape than it was five weeks ago.
Everything in Tuscaloosa is pretty quiet right now, which is a good thing. Auburn is having to deal with the double distraction of being in the national championship hunt, and the Cam Newton saga. Meanwhile, Bama is able to just bury its head into preparation. That's typically a good thing.
The Tide will practice again on Tuesday, and if things hold true to form, it will be the last practice of the week with a media viewing period. We'll have our normal report.
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