Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama set for trip to new SEC opponent Missouri

For Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Saturday’s game against the Missouri Tigers will present his team with something it hasn’t had all season: a fresh start.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide, coming off a bye week, is looking to see whether the time off has resulted in any refinements in its game after a hard-fought match against Ole Miss.

Still, Saban said it’s not as if his team hasn’t played well thus far – it just hasn’t played with enough consistency.

“I think the focus that we’ve tried to get with our players is this is kind of a new season,” Saban said. “A new opportunity to go out and play with more consistency in performance.”

Junior defensive lineman Damion Square said he thinks his team has made good use of its bye week, improving in every aspect of the game and cutting down on mistakes. Indeed, Square said his defense in particular would need it for Missouri’s fast-paced offense.

The key to success for his defense, Square said, was in making sure it controls the game early.

“No matter what they do, as a defense, we’ve got to come out and set the tone,” Square said. “And if you do that, you control the outcome of the game, no matter what the offense is trying to put out on the field.”

Still, the team is not focusing solely on Missouri’s no-huddle offense. Defensively, the Tigers pose some interesting matchups as well.

Indeed, senior center Barrett Jones said one player he’s had his eye on is junior defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson. Richardson has proved a disruptive force in the Missouri front seven, tying for second on the team with 38 tackles and three sacks.

“He’s a very good player,” Jones said. “He plays really hard, which I really respect. He plays with a lot of intensity and passion, and I definitely think he’s going to be bringing it fast.”

Another difficulty Alabama will have to face is a hostile home crowd for the Tigers, which are still seeking their first SEC win of the year, at 0-3 in the conference.

“It’s a new environment for us,” Saban said. “So it’s going to take some maturity on our part to stay focused on the right things. We got to be zeroed in on what’s important for us and what it takes for us to go play good football.”

Still, with all the potential difficulties the Tide will face against Missouri, Jones said more than anything, he was just excited to play football, especially against teams fresh to the SEC.

“I think it’s exciting for us to go into a place like Missouri, where we’ve never been before, and who are new to our conference, and play there,” Jones said. “It’ll just be neat to play against another team.”

Square shared Jones’ sentiments, saying he was ready for team hungry for its first win to come against such a highly-ranked opponent as Alabama.

“Of course,” Square said. “You got that target on your back. When you play anybody, they want to have a great victory against you. It can start a lot of good things.”

Still, Square said all his team needs to worry about is its plays, not Missouri.


More to Discover