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

Tide expects challenge from Gamecocks

 The Crimson Tide is getting set to take on the No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks, the first of six straight SEC opponents with a bye week before they play Alabama.

The Gamecocks’ last game was a loss to the Auburn Tigers in Auburn. After having a week to prepare for the Crimson Tide, the Gamecocks look forward to hosting Alabama in Columbus, S.C.

While Alabama has faced some stiff competition this year already, head coach Nick Saban expects this game to be one of the most difficult of the season.

“This is probably the game that will define us more than any other game this year,” Saban said. “This will be a great opportunity for our team. They have a great team.”

However, the Tide has had a solid week of practice and is looking forward to the upcoming meeting Saturday. Junior wide receiver Darius Hanks noted the team’s preparation this week.

“[Preparation] is going real well,” Hanks said. “We try to teach it like any other week. We got to go out and execute every week.”

Hanks also noted the pressure of going into an SEC opponent’s stadium as the first-ranked team in the nation.

“We’re away, in a big stadium, loud stadium,” Hanks said. “Just gotta stay humble. Every game we go into it like we’re down.”

S.C.’s physicality

One of the main things coming up this week while preparing for the Gamecocks is their physicality on offense and defense. South Carolina has established a reputation for being very aggressive and physical this year, and the Alabama players feel the Gamecocks match up well with them.

“I feel like they’re a real run-first defense,” Hanks said. “I feel like we gotta throw a lot, get it over their heads. I don’t see any challenges. They’re gonna try and stop the run, so we gotta pass a lot.”

Of course, many players are taking the South Carolina threat very seriously.

“I think South Carolina’s a very physical team,” junior center William Vlachos said. “We’re gonna have to bring our A game for these guys.”

McElroy’s leadership

Fans might not have noticed anything was off with the Alabama offensive players during Saturday’s game against Florida.

That’s just the way senior quarterback Greg McElroy likes it.

McElroy had been playing hurt ever since a scramble in the third quarter of the game, when he hit his head. Of course, he didn’t let anyone on the Alabama or Florida sideline know.

“I think that when you’re a leader, everybody expects you to set the example on how to respond to pressure,” Saban said. “[McElroy’s] actually so poised and so good, he got hurt in the second half, and nobody noticed it.”

Vlachos noted his quarterback’s mental and physical toughness.

“If something’s bothering him, he’s not gonna let anybody know,” Vlachos said. “If Greg can walk, and he’s able to throw a football, he’s gonna be there.”

Vlachos also commented on McElroy’s mentality when in the huddle.

“He’s very smart,” Vlachos said, “but on the field, it’s all business.”

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