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1. Getting defensive: For a league that prides itself on defense, some eye-opening offensive numbers were generated Saturday. Even Alabama’s vaunted defense gave up 16 first downs to Ole Miss, which finished 8-of-17 on third down. That was just scratching the surface, though. Georgia outlasted Tennessee 51-44 with the Bulldogs rolling up 560 yards and the Vols 478 yards. This was a Georgia defense that added starters Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo to the mix and was still shredded to the tune of 197 rushing yards. As for Tennessee’s defense, the Vols are well on their way to historical lows this season. They’ve played two SEC games and given up a total of 88 points and 1,115 yards. At least they’ve been consistent. They gave up 555 to Florida and 560 to Georgia and have been gashed for 618 rushing yards in those two games. The Vols have nothing on Arkansas, though. The Hogs, in losing 58-10 to Texas A&M, have given up 110 points and 1,154 yards in two SEC contests. The Aggies piled up 716 yards on Saturday against an Arkansas defense that is utterly defenseless. In four games against FBS foes, the Hogs have allowed a total of 179 points. It’s only five weeks into the season, but maybe some of the defenses in this league aren’t quite as advertised. Then again, maybe the offenses are simply catching up.
Q: With the bye week, I'm sure a lot of the Alabama coaching staff will be out on the recruiting trail. What are your thoughts on the high school talent you've seen in the state of Alabama so far?
A: Most of our staff will be in and out recruiting this week. I haven't been out a lot yet because of the season but I've watched a lot of film of some of the recruits in this state and I can tell the talent level here is extraordinary. I think it comes down to the high school coaches in this state who do such a tremendous job of running these high school programs and helping develop these kids as players and as young men.
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama: The freshman receiver came up in a big way in the second quarter of Alabama's 33-14 victory over Ole Miss when he grabbed back-to-back touchdown passes from 16 and 12 yards out. Cooper was quarterback AJ McCarron's favorite target on the night, as he caught a game-high eight passes and led all receivers with 84 yards.
This week’s upcoming bye may not fall in line with what fans and players have come to expect, but the Crimson Tide already was relishing it after Saturday’s hard-fought, 33-14 victory over Ole Miss. "I think it's well needed because we're getting into the hard part of our schedule with the SEC games," cornerback Dee Milliner said. "I think we need it to try to focus in on the off week and work on the the things we've been messing up the first five weeks and try to get better."
This will be the earliest Alabama will be idle since 2001, but a Sept. 15 break that year was not originally scheduled. The true open date was on Oct. 27, but Alabama's third game of the season against Southern Miss was rescheduled after terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. In its last game at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama defeated Southern Miss 28-15 on Nov. 29. In the past 10 seasons, Alabama's bye week has come in week 9 of the season five times, week 7 once, week 8 once and week 10 once. The Tide did not have open dates in 2005 and 2006.
Alabama's top-ranked scoring defense has allowed 35 points in five games. The offensive line already looks NFL-ready. There was panic attack in Tuscaloosa when Mississippi took a 7-6 lead because it marked the first time Alabama had trailed in regulation since last year against Tennessee. It took the Crimson Tide 15 seconds to reclaim the lead, on the ensuing kickoff return for a score, and order was restored in a 33-14 win. Other game boxes around the country gushed yards. West Virginia and Baylor hemorrhaged for more than 1,500, Oklahoma State and Texas combined for 1,016 while Fresno State and San Diego State totaled 994. Alabama held Ole Miss to a tidy 218.