The Crimson Tide completely stuffed Kent State's offense and largely stifled Penn State. But there has been one flaw. In each game, Alabama was tested at the goal line. Both times, the Tide failed the test. Does that disappoint outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw? "Yes. We want to lead the nation in goal-line stands, in red-area defense," the senior playmaker said. "Coach is always emphasizing stopping them in the red zone. I'm sure there are a lot of things we can do better."
"Early in the games especially, in two games in a row, we haven't done a very good job up front," Saban said. "We did a much better job from an offensive line standpoint this week as the game went on. We got a hat on a hat, got some movement on some people and got some holes to run through. Trent took advantage of that, and Eddie took advantage as well. Trent had some tough yards."
"The three turnovers in the game were probably the real key factors in the game. No question about that," said UA coach Nick Saban. "We have really emphasized trying to create fumbles and get turnovers. As long as we get turnovers, I don't care how they come. Last year, we got a lot of interceptions and not very many fumbles. Hopefully we can do both this year."
"Physically we have improved a good bit," said senior center William Vlachos. "We still have a ways to go. Coach Saban made a point to us that all good teams are going to show a lot of improvement between week one and week two, and we did that. We certainly have a long ways to go, but if we keep practicing and staying on task, we will get there."
5.] OLB Adrian Hubbard (not ranked) Penn State: Joined fellow reserve outside linebacker Alex Watkins in the dime rabbits package in the fourth quarter. Drew a holding call on PSU left tackle Quinn Barham late in the game. Season to date: Saw action against both Kent State and Penn State, but has yet to record a tackle.
Will we see Blake Sims at quarterback?
Alabama's wildcat-type option to take snaps has only played sparingly so far, and at running back. Will Alabama unveil this wrinkle against North Texas, to give Arkansas and other future opponent something to think about? It's possible Sims' shift to running back after the preseason injury to Dee Hart may have taken him out of getting enough practice snaps at quarterback to make this a viable weapon in the Crimson Tide's attack, but Sims is a potential play-maker who hasn't yet been able to show his stuff.
"I knew it was going to be like this," Richardson said. "Everybody was going to key on me, just because they think I’m the running back, or man of the show, which I like. I’m glad they do, because Eddie Lacy gets his carries and he does just as good as me. He does better than me. I’m not the one they have to worry about, because of those two monsters (Lacy and Jalston Fowler) I’ve got behind me.
Junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones continues to work at left tackle. He played nearly the entire game against Penn State in that spot. It will be interesting to see if he stays there Saturday or if he moves to guard (or center) when freshman backup Cyrus Kouandjio comes off the bench. Kouandjio only appeared in the last minute or two at Penn State. The beauty of playing a team such as North Texas is the opportunity to develop depth.
But the defensive backfield, a talented group prone to lapses last year when Kirkpatrick, Menzie and Lester were all new starters, looks as if it could be one of the best in the nation. At one point in the third quarter against Penn State, Alabama defensive backs got their hands on five straight passes. "We got to finish on the ball," Kirkpatrick said.
Saban said it's helpful to have non-starters like Sunseri and DePriest lead special teams units, noting that running back Trent Richardson is effective in kickoff coverage, but the coach would prefer not to use players who are already have full-time starting responsibility apart from special teams. "When you get four or five core guys like that, it sorta lightens the load on everybody else in terms of what you have to do," Saban said. Added Richardson: "I tell Vinnie since he wears No.3 (like Richardson) he's got to go down there and bust somebody's head."
Average gain, in yards, of Trent Richardson's 39 carries so far this season. Yes, he has scored five touchdowns in the process, but Trent Richardson is not a Heisman candidate because of his short-yardage running ability. The Alabama defense has been impenetrable thus far, but the offense has been a bit hit-or-miss.
While using the Nike bats last year, Alabama hit just 23 home runs, down from an average of 86.6 over the previous three seasons. The effects, though, were not specific to The Capstone. Of the top 20 team leaders in home runs this past season, none used Nike bats. Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Miami, North Carolina and Southern Cal — all Nike schools — showed signs of substandard offensive performance. Prior to the 2010-11 season, Miami had not missed a College World Series this millennium. The Hurricanes blasted an average of more than 93 home runs a season from 2008-2010. This past year Miami hit just 33.
We’re not saying that changes don’t need to be made with how the program is supported financially. We’ve finally gotten within the last month a $500k yearly figure of the support needed to keep the program. We’re ready to charge forward to get that support lined up, but Portera is telling people all over town that he’ll end the program by October. Tell him NO! We deserve the chance to make this work. This is the Hockey Capital of the South, and Mack Portera just doesn’t understand that.
Oklahoma is expected to be joined in exodus by Oklahoma State to become the Pac-12's 13th and 14th institutions. "There's nothing Texas could have offered Oklahoma that would have changed their mind. They were set on leaving the Big 12 before Texas got there," a well-placed source at a Big 12 school said, adding that Sunday's meeting had a very friendly and cooperative tone. "The Big 12's done. Oklahoma wasn't open to creating Big 12 stability."
Florida State has begun taking forceful steps to prepare itself for conference realignment, whether that means joining Florida in the SEC or becoming part of an ACC super conference that may include Texas. With recent talk of a possible formation of four super conferences, Andy Haggard, chairman of FSU's board of trustees, said Tuesday that his school has begun forming a committee that will explore the university's options. He says FSU should be prepared for any scenario, whether it's moving to another conference or staying in the ACC and having a say in who else may join the league.
The Aggies are still looking for a clean break with the Big 12. But at least they have a light at the end of the tunnel, via SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who reiterated today that the SEC has accepted A&M's application to join the conference and is just waiting for the moment when they can finally be together
Say this for Nike: However far it departs from the norm, it would never do something like model a helmet design after the state flag. Because honestly, who's interested in historical or cultural relevance when you can put glowing cat eyes on a pair of gloves? Certainly not recruits, am I right?
Forrest Gump: Gump played for the Crimson Tide from 1962-64, the first in a line of great backs that includes Major Ogilvie, Bobby Humphrey, Shaun Alexander, Mark Ingram and now Trent Richardson. Given Gump's blazing speed and slender physique, he probably would have played receiver today. In fact, a player with Gump-like speed down the sideline might be the only thing this current Crimson Tide team is missing. Another great deep threat would keep secondaries from smothering Marquis Maze and probably would keep defenses from stacking the box against Richardson. OK, OK. I know Gump is fictional and didn't actually play at Alabama, but here's a fun fact: In the film, Gump wore No. 44. The Alabama player who wore No. 44 during those years? Future Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.
Former Mobile resident Mark Gottfried, now head coach of the North Carolina State men's basketball team, will make quite an entrance to Saturday's game against South Alabama. Gottfried is scheduled to make a tandem parachute jump, landing on the 50-yard line of Carter-Finley Stadium to present the game ball before kickoff for the Wolfpack's game against the Jaguars.
[Terrence] Cody was proud to reveal his current weight: 335 pounds. That’s down significantly from last season, when he had a noticeable belly. In the past, Cody weighed 375 to 400 pounds. "He is definitely a different player than last year," Ngata said. "He has better technique. You are seeing that. He ended last year on such a great note. Once he gets going this year and gets more experience under his belt, he can do a lot of good things."