25 November 2010
I'm a little late with this practice report... the holidays tend to make schedules a little odd. That has been the case for the Alabama football team, with Friday's game causing the week to be abnormal. Tuesday's practice was essentially a Wednesday workout for the Alabama football team as it finalizes preparation for the Auburn Tigers. The full pads practice was the final one of the week for the Tide that will have a media viewing period.
Here's what you need to know:
Trent Richardson looks like he'll play without limitation. He has worked in his normal running back spot throughout the week, demonstrating that he could have absolutely could have played against Georgia State had the need been there. He's likely not 100%, but it is unlikely that anyone is really at 100% at this point in the season. He was big in last year's game against Auburn, shouldering a great deal of the load that Mark Ingram was unable to. Ingram is likely to be fired up for redemption, but Richardson will still play a key role in the game.
The news is not as good for Barrett Jones. He was in a black no contact jersey again, and did not participate in drills during the media viewing period. It has been standard practice under Nick Saban that a player that does not practice on Wednesday does not play on Saturday. One would assume that with the game on Friday, that would be the case for Tuesday's practice. Anthony Steen has continued to work with the first unit, and will likely be called on to spend a great deal of the game working against Auburn's best defensive player Nick Fairley. He'll get help from William Vlachos, but that matchup should be the key one on that side of the ball. John Michael Boswell and Alfred McCullough have both worked at right guard with the second unit.
As I said in Monday's report, there is nothing to indicate anything other than Cam Newton will play quarterback for Auburn. We haven't really weighed in from an editorial standpoint on that situation, mainly because we don't know anything more than anyone else, and making judgments without all of the information isn't something we are wild about doing.
The bottom line is that Cam Newton is one hell of a football player and Alabama will have its hands full defending him. If he is ineligible to play, then that will work itself out over the course of the next few years, and Auburn will have a price to pay for playing him. As it stands, the Tigers are standing firm in insisting upon his eligibility. So unless something drastic happens in the next 24 hours, he is going to play. As a fan of college football, I am looking forward to seeing him play. Players with his size and skill set are rare, and it should be fun to watch him play. As an Alabama fan, I hope he has the worst game of his career, and nothing will be more enjoyable than watching Auburn lose with Cam at the helm.
That means that the Alabama defense will have to have a big game. While Newton and Tim Tebow aren't the same player, they affect the game in similar ways. The Tide staff came up with a brilliant plan for stopping Tebow and the Florida Gators last season, and I have to think we'll see some similar things on Friday. What we saw in Atlanta last December was the Tide defense playing strictly assignment football, and forcing Tebow to try to throw the ball up the field. Bama did use Rolando McClain to spy Tebow at times, so I would expect we'll either see Mark Barron or C.J. Mosley in a similar role.
Bama did not spy on every play, though, and I expect we'll see that, as well. My guess is that we will see Bama use a lot of different base looks, and try to confuse him as much as possible. That's pretty much the goal every week, regardless of the opposing quarterback, but it is more important this week than ever. Auburn's offense is built around getting players out of position, and using pre-snap movement to confuse assignments. The best ways to combat that are to maintain composure and stick to assignments, and to use different looks to confuse blocking schemes.
We've seen Ed Stinson getting a lot of work at defensive end this week, and I expect we'll see him get snaps there. Part of that will be to get extra speed on the field, but part of it is also in place to combat the fact that Auburn runs a lot of no huddle. Alabama subs a lot on defense, and the tempo of the Auburn offense makes that difficult. That means that the staff will have to put players on the field who can go five, six, or seven plays in a row without having to be subbed. With all due respect to Luther Davis and Damion Square, Stinson is likely a better option if the game goes that way.
In off the field news, Greg McElroy was named the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year, and Barrett Jones was named to the first team Academic All-American team. Congratulations to both guys.
The Tide practiced an hour earlier than normal on Wednesday so that players who live within a few hours could go home for Thanksgiving. Those who did not go home will spend the holidays with their teammates at various coaches' houses. The team will reconvene on Thursday night in order to go through normal their game day routine on Friday.
We here at the Bama Sports Report hope that everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
|< Prev||Next >|