Kevin C. Cox
Your daily dose of Crimson Tide quotes and links.
Alabama point guard Trevor Releford didn't get to play in any of the game. Lamar coach Pat Knight didn't get to see all of it. But neither absence affected the outcome very much. The Crimson Tide men's basketball team pushed its record to 6-0, blowing out Lamar 75-47 at Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night. Alabama won despite using just eight scholarship players. Rodney Cooper, coming back from a one-game absence due to shoulder tendinitis, led Alabama with 17 points and had eight rebounds. Freshman Retin Obasohan, replacing Releford (out with a stomach virus), scored a career-high 13 points in 27 minutes and walk-on Dakota Slaughter came off the bench to score a career-high 10 points in the final six minutes. "We weren't necessarily where we wanted to be for the first 10 minutes of the game," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "That is something we have to correct. But we were better in the second half. "Obviously, we were without two contributors (Releford and Andrew Steele, who had a groin injury) but I have confidence in all these young men."
Freshman guard Retin Obasohan had a career-high 13 points while going 2-4 from behind the three-point line and a team-high three steals. Cardinals forward Stan Brown provided his team with 14 points, nine rebounds, and three steals. Alabama trailed by three, 19-16, halfway through the first half, but went on a 20-8 run to take a 36-27 lead into the half. "I thought in the second half our defensive intensity picked up," Grant said. "Offensively, we have to get better in some areas in terms of understanding what allows us to have success. I thought the intensity from the defense, the focus in terms of what we need to do in the press, being matched up in the press and being effective with the style of play was good the second half."
On Retin Obasohan's first start: "I believe in every one of our guys and the opportunities that they have to accomplish the things they want to accomplish. My feeling is that when we put them out there, they are ready to go out there and have success. They have to be able to trust the preparation that we go through in the preseason and in practice and go out there and perform. It doesn't surprise me when our guys go out there and perform well. It surprises me when we don't. My expectation is that our guys will understand that and do that on a consistent basis."
Rodney Cooper had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead Alabama to a 75-47 victory over Lamar on Tuesday night. The Crimson Tide (6-0) held its second straight opponent to fewer than 50 points and took control with a 25-7 run starting early in the second half. Lamar coach Pat Knight was ejected after getting called for two technicals protesting a non-call with 16:56 left and the Cardinals (1-6) facing a 38-29 deficit. Assistant coaches held him back from storming toward the officials. The outburst seemed to spark Alabama, not his own team. The Tide proceeded to go on the big run in a game that had been fairly competitive much of the way.
Georgia's post-practice injury report featured two new names that are to give Bulldog fans some cause for concern - wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and cornerback Damian Swann. Mitchell was listed as having a left shoulder contusion while Swann was reported to have a cervical (neck) sprain. Both players were limited in practice and did not take part in any contact. Backup defensive lineman Mike Thornton also did not practice due to a right ankle sprain.
Freshman WR Chris Black continued to wear a normal jersey and did everything his fellow wideouts did during today's viewing period. He dropped a couple of passes, but so did a bunch of his teammates. Whenever he dropped one, he was forced to do the drill over again.
"I like the way things are right now," Lacy said Monday. "Coach Saban and the offensive coordinator (Doug Nussmeier) have been doing a great job with the rotation and I’m happy with the rotation. "As long as the offense is productive, it doesn't matter who’s getting the yards. As long as we’re winning and being productive, that’s all I care about."
Jenkins followed Cody to Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College. "I lived in his shadow my whole two years there -- did I," Jenkins said. "For Nick Saban to give me that type of compliment, it's a big deal. It's almost an honor, because Nick Saban is very respects in the college football world, and as you know, he recruited 'Mount Cody.' It's a big honor for Nick Saban to say that." Saban recruited Jenkins, too. Saban also was recruiting Jesse Williams, the Tide's current nose guard who then was playing at Western Arizona Community College. Jenkins knew of Williams and didn't want to go to the same school.
"He's a very, very good player. You certainly have to have a plan to help the players that have to block him so that hopefully he can't just get in one-on-one situations where it's a difficult circumstance for somebody," Saban said. "That's part of the planning that you need to do." Kouandjio has enjoyed an especially strong sophomore season in the area of pass protection, and protects McCarron's blind side. Tight end Michael Williams will likely be among those called on to help block Jones. "It's going to take a collective team effort to block him, anyway, not just backs and tight ends. There is going to be some guard help," Williams said. "There is a lot of attention focused on him and once we make our calls, we'll see where the help is coming from. I think we have a good game plan for it."
"I know the type of teams that Coach (Nick) Saban brings to town," he said. "They're hungry, and they're out to dominate people. That's just the type of mindset they've been trained to have. He recruits those type of players. We do, too. We're showing up now at the right time. We're hungry, and we've got something to prove."
Will this be the best offensive line that the Bulldogs have gone against? "The thing about it is, it's not even about just looking at them and saying it's the best offensive line," Jenkins said. "Just look at the circumstances. They're in an SEC championship (game) just like we are. ... "I mean, granted, they are good. They were the best in their side in the SEC. Otherwise they wouldn't be there. Everything about them is good."
Since back-to-back performances in which it surrendered more than 250 passing yards, the Alabama secondary has flourished against suspect competition. Western Carolina and Auburn combined to throw for just 164 yards and completed just 13-of-35 passes. After three games without an interception, Alabama had two against the Tigers on Saturday. "You’ve just got to keep a short mind when you play back there in the secondary," Milliner said. "You’re going to get plays made on you, you’re going to make a lot of plays, but you always got to keep competing, just keep relaxed out there and just stay calm." Murray and the Georgia offense, of course, are far more dangerous than anything the Catamounts or Tigers threw at the Crimson Tide. "Aaron Murray does a great job of putting them in the right plays and making all the plays that he needs to make to help them," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.
"When you go against a team like Alabama, you're not taken back by their athleticism, their size," Lynch said. "I'm impressed by them, but I'm not overwhelmed by the fact that, 'Oh, my God, it's Alabama's defense.' ... "I'm not in the least bit intimidated ... but it's probably going to be the best defense we've faced all year, right up there with South Carolina and Florida."
What's good about Milliner? "Everything," King said. "The physicality. He plays the game well. You rarely see him give up a medium play. Never a big play. "It's a tribute to his DB coach and Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Kirby) Smart, being on him and letting him know that they have all the confidence in the world in him, because he's truly the best."
Georgia has played only two ranked teams, losing to South Carolina and beating Florida, while the Crimson Tide has faced LSU and Texas A&M in conference and opened the season against Michigan. "We’ve already played the No. 2 team in the country (Florida) once this year and had a good day against them (a 17-9 UGA victory)," Richt said during a Sunday conference call. "We can only play who’s on our schedule." Granted, the Bulldogs’ path to the SEC Championship Game was less cluttered than other teams in their division, which is why the Dawgs were preseason picks to win the East. But it’s not like officials at the school asked the SEC for and received an easier slate. They got what they got.
Meanwhile, in yet another indicator of the gap between college sports' haves and have-nots, Kent State coach Darrell Hazell has his Mid-American Conference team in contention for an elite-level BCS berth once apparently considered so unlikely that his contract does not include a bonus for the achievement. Kent State athletics director Joel Nielsen said, "I don't think there was any direct reasoning behind (the absence of a BCS bonus) other than I know we put in a bowl provision and then a bowl-win provision. There was just no other further conversation beyond that. ... It never came up in the conversations" about Hazell's contract before Hazell was hired in December 2010.