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 secondary ready for Arkansas offense


Geno Matias-Smith said last week’s game against Georgia was great. The team had fun. Defense executed its calls and in result, it played fast and made plays. Simply, it all comes down to execution.

Now, with Arkansas on Saturday in Bryant-Denny, the senior defensive back is ready to make his last homecoming game a good one.

Matias-Smith even voted for Homecoming queen on Tuesday.

That’s over and done with now. He’s focused on Arkansas’ offense. He said its quarterback, Brandon Allen, has made lots of starts. He’s athletic, smart with the ball and capable of scrambling.

“We have to be on top of our man when he’s scrambling around,” Matias-Smith said. “We have to stay with our man and play the ball when he chucks it up.”

Allen has completed 93 of 141 passes for 1,360 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 272 passing yards per game but has thrown three interceptions.

Alabama totaled seven interceptions, one of which was from Matias-Smith.

Eddie Jackson and Ronnie Harrison both lead Alabama with two interceptions. Jackson ran for a touchdown against Georgia after one of his.

Matias-Smith said he’s feeling more comfortable at safety now – so is Jackson – and when they’re comfortable, they are able to play fast and more confidently.

“We aren’t the biggest safeties, so [we] have to have a chip on our shoulders,” he said.

Matias-Smith played star before he transitioned to safety, and now he’s watching freshman Minkah Fitzpatrick play in his old position.

“He’s doing very well,” he said. “He made a lot of good plays Saturday. Every day he’s getting better.”’

When out on the field, Alabama’s secondary will be looking out for Arkansas tight end Hunter Henry. Watching him will be key in making sure Henry doesn’t gain any ground.

“Eye discipline,” Matias-Smith said. “He’s the best tight end in the country – that’s what the pros say.”

Henry follows behind Arkansas’ leading receiving Drew Morgan, who has 23 carries for 413 yards and three touchdowns. While he likes to block, Matias-Smith said, Henry also has 20 carries for 268 yards and one touchdown.

An eye will be kept on Henry any time he is out on the field for Arkansas.

The secondary had a good game against Georgia, Matias-Smith said. It hopes to face Arkansas with that same level of energy and aggressiveness. It’ll have to play man-to-man against Arkansas, but the secondary doesn’t see that as a challenge. It’s what is expected.

“It’s our job,” Matias-Smith said. “Everyone has a job. Defensive line has a job. Secondary has their jobs. We just execute and do their jobs.”

On the opposite side of the ball, the offensive line is working on becoming one large unit.

“I think we’ve gotten better each game, and just now it’s more gelling together and being more consistent every play and just everyone doing their jobs and just competing and finishing blocks,” offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher said.

In an earlier press conference, coach Nick Saban said Pierschbacher and Ryan Kelly have been the two most consistent guys in terms of doing what they are supposed to do. Pierschbacher said he takes the compliment with a grain of salt. He thinks he needs to improve still, along with the rest of the team.

“We always need to improve,” Pierschbacher said. “You can never be satisfied.”

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