"You play fundamental football and you have to go ahead and throw the kitchen sink at them. They're going to get the kitchen sink. "You guys have been writing about holding things back. Well, you won't have to worry about that this week. They're going to get plenty."
Eddie Lacy, Alabama's No. 2 running back, is coping with a "sore foot" suffered Saturday against Arkansas, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban clarified Wednesday. Lacy left the game for a brief time, but returned to score on a 4-yard run in the second half. After watching drills for two days, Lacy was more involved during the media viewing period Wednesday afternoon. "He's just got a sore foot," Saban said. "They expect him to be able to play. He just hasn't been able to do a lot."
Mosley is coping with an elbow injury suffered during Alabama's 38-14 win over Arkansas last weekend. "C.J. Mosley has done very little and probably is still questionable for the game," Alabama coach Nick Saban said, "but probably will be more of a game-time decision on what his situation is."
"If you are a great competitor, you love challenges," added Saban. "It is an opportunity for our players. Just like earlier in the year when we had to go on the road, this is obviously going to test the maturity and leadership of our team."
Playing against a talented and physically intimidating runner like Alabama’s Trent Richardson poses a multitude of challenges, but Florida coach Will Muschamp said the biggest emphasis is on tackling. "He’s got a low center of gravity. He’s got great balance, he’s got great vision," Muschamp said Wednesday. "You have to gang tackle this guy. You’re not going to get him down singlehandedly a lot of the time."
"The critical factor I try to emphasize with our football team is turnover margin," he said during Florida’s media day. "You are talking about game-changing, field position-changing, vertical field-position changing and gaining momentum in a game. We have to take care of the ball offensively; we have to create and be what we call a ball-hawk defense." Muschamp has said, and players have echoed him, that the goal is to force three turnovers each game. "We always try to put pressure on ourselves to get at least three or four turnovers a game," linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. "It’s always important. If you get three turnovers in a game, then chances are you’re probably going to win the game."
When asked Wednesday about Florida’s treacherous October stretch that starts with Saturday’s home game with Alabama and how it could impact the perception of his team, Muschamp preferred to talk about the Tide and nothing else. At least he apologized for being a little dull in his response. "I hate to be boring with the answer, but that’s really what I’m concerned with and after that we’ll handle and cross those roads when we come to it as far as the evaluation," Muschamp said. "My evaluation will be done when the season’s over about where we are. It’s a long season and we’re focused on playing Alabama on Saturday night."
"Those guys from Florida are arguably one of the fastest teams in the country, but hopefully we'll be able to contain those guys and keep them running east to west rather than north and south," says Hightower. "It's going to be a real good game. It's always a good game with Alabama and Florida. We're going to get ready for it and get prepare for it like every other game, and hopefully come out and play well Saturday."
The last time the mighty Gators were underdogs at home was 2003 against FSU. The only other time was in 1999 against FSU. Florida has not been a four-point underdog at home against any team during the last two decades. But the Gators are at +4 for this one even though the line started at six and has been bet down. This isn't as much about spreads and gambling (illegal at Bushwood, I'm told) as the perception about Alabama vs. Florida.
LSU and South Carolina, meanwhile, are in the bottom half of the league in passing. Florida is sixth. Alabama is fourth, but averages more yards on the ground (230) than through the air (225). "We're still trying to throw, but a lot of good's not happening when we attempt," said South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who has handed the ball to Marcus Lattimore a national-high 107 times in four games. "After you attempt a little bit and nothing good's happening except interceptions, then you say, 'Man, we'd better try to win this game and quit throwing so much.' Fortunately, we've found a way to win without throwing the ball downfield very much."
It goes without saying that Alabama is one of the best teams in the country and their 38-14 whitewash of Arkansas is proof. This game was supposed to be a showdown of the SEC's best offense (Arkansas) against the SEC's best defense (Alabama). Arkansas came in averaging 47 points and 517 yards a game but they were no match, the Tide held them to just 226 yards; 17 of that coming on the ground. Alabama scored in all three aspects of the game. Marquis Maze scored on an 83-yard punt return, DeQuan Menzie took back an interception 25 yards, and QB A.J McCarron (also the holder) connected with tight end Michael Williams for a 37-yard touchdown on a fake field goal. The player of the game though was Trent Richardson led the Tide with 126 yards on just 27 carries. He also led the Alabama receivers nabbing 3 receptions for 85 yards and a TD.
"A lot of people wrote us off," said Zow, engaged in a contentious battle with talented freshman Tyler Watts to hold onto the starting quarterback’s job. "It was hard not to be distracted by what was going on with Coach DuBose, because we wondered like everybody else. But we had great senior leadership on that team, especially [tailback] Shaun Alexander and [offensive tackle] Chris Samuels, and we just sort of took it on ourselves to try to push all that off-the-field stuff out of our minds…to go out and be a family, to believe in each other. To just go out and play football."
Multiple sources have told The Star of plans that day for a University of Missouri Board of Curators meeting at which the Tigers’ position in conference realignment scenarios will be discussed. The most likely result, if a simple majority of the seven curators with voting privilege favors the move, is formal authorization of MU to explore admission to another conference.
Specifically, the question was whether Slive felt "confident" that "existing rivalries" in the league could be protected in future football schedules. For many SEC fans, the only palatable answer would be a resounding "yes." Even a conditional "yes" would have been reassuring. But that is not what Slive had to offer. "I'll tell you that I don't want to preempt the work of the transition team," Slive said. "There are people on the transition team who have spent their lives scheduling games and are as good as anybody in the country. We're going to let them do their work and then present some of their thinking to our athletic directors."
While Millis is hopeful Smokey will be able to finish out the season, he said it's very likely that the dog will have to have surgery at some point to repair the right knee and possibly do some preventative measures for the left. But the surgery should only require an 8-10-week recovery period and Smokey should be good as new. "We'll rehab him the same way that a football player would rehab, with some modification, of course," Millis said. "We have a state-of-the-art rehab facility, probably the best in the world, and certainly we'll put that to use with him."
Moneyball has become both a hit movie and a way of life in baseball. Which college programs are exploiting market efficiencies like Billy Beane did, and what will football's statistical revolution look like?