Alabama is No. 1 in the nation against the run, but coach Nick Saban isn’t satisfied. "I think we can tackle better, keep leverage on the ball better," he said. "We missed some tackles in the last game." It’s scary to think the Crimson Tide’s defense could be better. "As far as rushing, we pride ourselves week in and week out on that," linebacker Nico Johnson said. "We’re just going to make the offense one-dimensional, and then we’ll go from there. That’s what we did. We made them one-dimensional."
Although the Commodores seem unlikely to pull off an upset in Tuscaloosa, the Tide don't want a repeat of a year ago. Alabama also started last season with five straight victories before suffering a 35-21 loss at then-No. 19 South Carolina in its sixth game. "We got beat by South Carolina around this time last year," Johnson said. "We just want to finish this year. We're hungry. We've got a chip on our shoulder."
"I think we've made significant strides. That's really the mark of a good team is when you make improvements from Week one to Week two and on and on. Every week we want to play our best game, and I think we've up to this point done that," said Jones. "I think this was probably our best game so far as a unit."
"Balance is the most important thing," Alabama coach Nick Saban said Monday. "I think the best down to throw it on is first down. You usually know what you're going to get, especially if you can run the ball." That is, Alabama coaches usually know what kind of defense to expect on first down. "The other team is probably, 70 or 80 percent of the time, in some type of safety-down, middle-of-the-field-closed type of (defense), which is the best time to throw it," Saban said. "I think we have to continue to mix it up and try to keep the team off balance, based on whether it's formations, how we line up, and some of the packages we put together based on what they line up in that determines what we do."
Eddie Lacy did not participate in drills during the media viewing period Tuesday afternoon. The Tide's No. 2 running back watched as players such as Jalston Fowler and Blake Sims moved up the line. Lacy, who is coping with a sore foot, had five carries for 32 yards and a touchdown against the Gators. However, Trent Richardson took the lion's share with a career high 29 carries and 181 yards, including two touchdowns.
Police said their attempts to get Florida defensive lineman Dominique Easley's version of what happened early Sunday between him and a former University of Alabama football player have stalled after Easley retained an attorney.
How spectacularly good has this Tide D—with 10 starters back from last year's unit, which finished fifth nationally—been through five games? Alabama leads the country in scoring defense (8.4 points) and rushing defense (39.6 yards), and also ranks third in total defense (191.6 yards). "We come to punish people," says Upshaw, who had four tackles and an interception, which he returned for a 45-yard touchdown. "But everything we do starts with Coach Saban. Everything."
I mentioned before the game (and I was by no means alone in this sentiment) that Florida needed two things to have a chance to win: a) land a couple of haymakers and b) succeed to at least some small degree with their base plays. They succeeded on (a), scoring on a 65-yard bomb 19 seconds into the game. But (b) was a complete and total failure. A 5.6% rushing success rate is about as low as you will ever see, and if you are one-dimensional against Alabama, you are going to get mauled. Chris Rainey and Jeffery Demps: 14 carries, four yards.
Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious: The original question posed last week to Muschamp suggested that Saban was Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi to Muschamp's Luke Skywalker. But after watching the Crimson Tide demolish Florida on Saturday, Saban's marshaling of forces over the past few years seems more akin to the way Senator Palpatine (Sith-Naboo) amassed as much power as possible in order to take down the republic and take over the galaxy. One of the scariest aspects of seeing Alabama up close is looking at the players who leave the game with clean uniforms. Even they look as if they belong in the NFL right now. It's almost as if Saban has built a clone army of perfect specimens for each position. Don't believe me? Listen to this from center William Vlachos -- possibly the only non-archetype in the starting 22 -- on tailback Trent Richardson: "He never gets tackled by arm tackles. Ever," Vlachos said. "That's the luxury of having backs like that, and we've had them ever since I've been here." See? Clones.
Most Significant Game: In 1926, Alabama’s Wallace Wade took his defending national champions to Nashville and claimed a hard-fought 19-7 victory over the powerful Commodores. It was the only loss that season for Vanderbilt, and the undefeated Crimson Tide was headed to the Rose Bowl for a second consecutive year.
Junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones spoke highly of McCarron and said the team is very pleased with his progression. "I think we feel great about it," Jones said. "AJ, I was really impressed with this past game, with his poise. Especially when something like that happens, where they go out there and score a touchdown way early, and he never panicked. I think we’re really impressed with the way he is coming along and with how poised he was in a hostile environment like that."
Still, it's clear enough that Mizzou isn't interested in joining the new Big 12 order forged in the wake of the Pac-12's rejection of Oklahoma and Texas, at least in part because it doesn't trust that allegiance to last if either has an attractive opportunity to bail on the league again. Missouri was transparently hoping for an invite from the Big Ten when the Big 12 began to crack up last year; already this year, it reportedly had an unofficial invitation from the SEC when it looked like the Big 12 was about to crack up last month.