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Thursday AM Links and Such

With this weekend's game at Vandy being the first real test for the Tide, it's no wonder that ticket demand is at an all time high:

Eric Jones has no way to offer an exact number. He can't tell who is an Alabama fan simply by a phone number or an address.

But Vanderbilt's ticket manager is realistic. When fielding the voluminous single-game ticket purchases for this Saturday's game and sorting through a bevy of new season-ticket holders, he can only come to one realization.

"I just know a lot of the people who ordered online came from Alabama addresses," Jones said. "And a lot of the calls and e-mails we received seemed to be from people with a 205 area code."

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer has the most obvious headline this week: Vanderbilt's game plan: Get the ball to Bennett

The Sporting News profiles TE Nick Walker, who, as it so happens, is the cousin of Vandy QB Chris Nickson:

Last week, he led Alabama with five receptions -- almost unheard-of for a Crimson Tide tight end in recent years.

"Knowing that you possibly can get the ball and aren't just being a decoy, it makes your level of play go a whole lot higher," Walker said. "It makes you enjoy playing the game."

The Huntsville Times is all over Saban's characterization of the D as "soft":

"Personally, I don't (think we were soft)," defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "But Coach Saban is a perfectionist. You definitely give him what he wants and that's what we're going to do."

Or maybe there's something else at work here.

Maybe Saban is pushing an inexperienced front seven to get better. Maybe it's just some tough love.

"It's one of those things where you have to take it in stride," Gilberry said. "What the head man wants, the head man gets.

Can someone please tell me why this article at is titled "Alabama Has No Hope"?

The Mobile Press-Register takes a look at the importance of on the field communication in the complex 3-4 defense we're now running:

Saban complimented true freshman McClain for his mastery of the calls during his first career start, but no one on defense is immune to signals. Communication involves "everybody," according to Mustin, and wasn't simple during Saturday's trial run.

Trying to not miss a call against a no-huddle offense, Tide defenders went from hand signals to yelling in a packed stadium before resorting back to hand signals before the end of the game.

"The hand signals kind of went out of the window at the beginning with all the nerves," safety Rashad Johnson said.

Castille insisted hand signals "would be the best thing" because of crowd noise. But there's a problem: Not everyone on the defense knows them yet.

"There's so many, I haven't learned them all," linebacker Ezekial Knight said.

That doesn't sound good, and after watching the replay Sunday, it did look like the players were a little confused about where they should be lining up just before the snap. Let's hope this is something that can be worked out quickly.

I'm not positive, but I think our sweetheart is calling a cover two here...