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

Defense braces for complex offense

The last time Alabama faced a Dan Mullen offense as potent as the one Mississippi State will bring to Tuscaloosa Saturday night, Tim Tebow was at quarterback.

Just like the offense the Crimson Tide saw in Atlanta two years ago, this year’s Mississippi State offense is very complex. Head coach Nick Saban said the key to stopping such an offense is discipline.

“The read zone option offense to me is about discipline of players,” Saban said. “Somebody has the quarterback and that guy has to be disciplined. The tendency is to go chase the back, and then the quarterback pulls the ball, and you don’t have anybody on the quarterback.”

Another difficult part of defending the Bulldog offense is going up against a quarterback who can use his big body as a runner and his strong arm as a passer.

“When you have a running quarterback, especially a guy who is big and strong like Mississippi State has and like Auburn has and like Tebow was, that can actually run the ball multiple times, it makes it difficult for the defensive players trying to defend him.”

One thing the Tide cannot afford to do is take the game against Mississippi State lightly.

“Mississippi State, they are a great team,” junior wide receiver Julio Jones said. “A lot of people sleep on Mississippi State, and we can’t sleep on Mississippi State. They got talent and everything. We have got to come prepared to play.”

Saban calls for fan support through tough times

To some Alabama fans, the season has lost a lot of its allure, as the Tide seemingly has no chance at a BCS title this season. Saban, however, says it is important that the fans bring their energy to the stadium in order to keep Bryant-Denny Stadium an uncomfortable place for visitors to play.

“I think we have had outstanding positive energy from our fans, and their support has been great in Bryant-Denny Stadium,” Saban said. “I think it contributes to the success we have had in our stadium, and I think no time in a long time is it probably more critical that we have that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of energy for our team.”

As for the players, there is no sense of a lost season. Junior safety Mark Barron said the team will always play for pride and compete to win.

“We are playing to win,” Barron said. “You don’t play to lose. Regardless, we are going to play to win every game.”

Bryant-Denny has been a huge advantage for the team, as the Tide has won its last 18 games at home. The streak is third in the nation and is first among teams in BCS conferences.

Injury notes

Linebacker Chris Jordan was the Tide’s lone black jersey in practice and is unlikely to play on Saturday.

Running back Trent Richardson participated in practice but was limited, and Saban said he was questionable for Saturday’s game.

Offensive tackle D.J. Fluker did not miss any drills due to injury and is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game, according to Saban.

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