"We've got to move on and understand we've got to get ready for a tough opponent in Dayton," Grant said when asked how the Crimson Tide was responding to last week's home loss to the Hoyas. "Like any game, you take away what you can as a learning lesson. We struggled versus the Georgetown zone (defense), and we need to look at the way we attack zones. Obviously, we have struggled against zones this year. If you look at the VCU game, we struggled there, so, we need to do a better job. But we are facing our first true road game, and I have been concentrating on that opponent."
Dayton is 5-3, but coming off back-to-back losses to Buffalo and Murray State. Earlier in the season the Flyers won the Old Spice Classic with consecutive wins over Wake Forest, Fairfield and Minnesota. "They've a very talented team," Grant said of Dayton. "They have good depth and seem to shoot the ball well. They ended up winning the tournament in Orlando [Old Spice Classic] by beating some quality opponents at a neutral site. The key for us starts on the defensive end. You've got to be able to keep them out of transition and guard the three-point line."
So Alabama has been working on its outside shooting? The Tide sank only 3 of 16 perimeter shots against the Hoyas. "The fallacy there is people think to beat a zone, you've got to shoot the ball from the perimeter," Grant said. "I disagree with that. There's a lot of different ways, but no matter what you're doing, the ball has to work inside to out, whether it's man or zone."
The Flyers have lost five of nine home games after winning 48 of their previous 51. They have dropped four of their last seven at home against Top 25 foes. "We got an unbelievable Alabama team, really well coached by coach Grant, a team that's going to compete for the SEC championship in so many ways or another," Miller said. "It's a great opportunity for us to play a great team at home." Dayton has four players averaging more than 10 points, led by Southern Illinois transfer Kevin Dillard's 12.4. Dillard is also averaging a team-high 5.1 assists.
On what can be learned from the Georgetown game: "Like any game, you take what you can from it, use it as teachable moments and you move on. For our guys, I thought we struggled versus Georgetown’s zone in terms of how we attacked it. We had some breakdowns on the defensive end in the second half that hurt us, so we’re trying to learn from those and understand what we have to do to put ourselves in a better position to win those type of games."
Georgetown’s smothering zone took the Tide completely out of its rhythm early. Asked if the Hoyas surprised his team, Grant indicated he wasn’t impressed with how his players prepared for the game. "If we’re caught off-guard, that’s my job as a coach. We shouldn’t have been," Grant said. "I’ll take responsibility for that. "I’ve got to do a better job of making sure that we understand the importance of preparation. And we appreciate the opportunities when we have them to prepare and not take it for granted."
That begins with Releford, the crafty point guard who knifed through opposing defenses with regularity as a freshman. He knows what’s expected of him when the 2-3 zone is presented. "Definitely penetrating," he said. "That brings everybody in and then you kick out for the outside shot. That’s where it starts. On a positive note for the Tide, they won’t likely face a team with such size and long arms as Georgetown has the rest of the season. "It worked very well," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "I think that our guys were pretty attentive to their scorers. That’s a tough team in Alabama."
Jim McElwain is a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at Memphis, multiple sources told al.com newspapers Tuesday night. Alabama's offensive coordinator for four seasons, McElwain is being considered to replace Larry Porter, who was fired last month after two seasons. One source said McElwain has been "pushing" to become a head coach.
Offensive MVP: Alabama running back Trent Richardson
Richardson has a chance to be Alabama’s second Heisman Trophy winner after a tremendous junior year. It usually takes a handful of defenders strapped to his back to finally bring Richardson down. As Alabama’s main back, Richardson led the SEC with 1,583 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Against SEC competition, Richardson averaged 137 yards a game and 6 yards per carry. In 12 games, he accumulated more than 100 rushing yards nine times. In five of those games, he registered more than 160 yards. Richardson not only carried opposing defenders throughout the season but he carried Alabama’s offense and dictated the way the Tide moved the ball.
Many suffer and gripe, while some treat themselves to power and influence and wealth. Sounds like the essential reasons behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. It could just as well describe the underside of big-time college sports. The latest example comes not with the bowl schedule but the back stories behind these 35 games over 24 days, featuring 70 teams -- each of which will participate for the dual purposes of selling the school and generating revenue, though not exactly in that order.
Chavis, in his third season at LSU, has the Tigers ranked No. 2 nationally in scoring and total defense. LSU's first-team defense enters the Allstate BCS National Championship Game having not allowed a second-half touchdown in its last seven games. Alabama assistant head coach and linebackers coach Sal Sunseri and former Arkansas offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee were also finalists for the Broyles Award. McGee this week accepted the head-coaching job at UAB.
Ingram continues to keep in touch with Richardson, the former backfield tandem forever linked through their time at Alabama. Richardson has soaked in Ingram's Heisman advice along the way. "He doesn't want my head to get big or get overwhelmed about it," Richardson said. "That's one thing I do applaud him on, not just bringing it up. That is my brother and he expects me not to get complacent and to stay humble with it."
"It's an honor for me to represent the University, my teammates, the fans," Lyons said. "You go throughout life and you realize you never stand alone. You accomplish everything with the people that stand around you, the people that have vision for you when you don't have the determination to try to find the fight. And as everybody has stated up here we've been very fortunate to be surrounded by good people, people that were always there, people who had confidence, people that could see tomorrow when we didn't see the light. "I also have to thank God for giving me the ability to play. When times were tough you always found the strength. And I also have to thank God that there was a lot of things that I'm not proud that I did in life, that somehow he didn't get me caught. And he said, 'You know what? I'm gonna make sure this mistake stays hidden, and you're gonna go on and have a platform.'
Jury Prize For Outstanding Achievements In Trollharding: Unidentified Alabama fan, this must’ve been a rough few weeks for you. You bought those SEC Championship game tickets early thinking, as so many of us did, that surely this LSU team had a couple losses in it, as all previous Miles squads did. Surely it would be the Tide, not the Tigers, in the Dome in December. Alas, your math was faulty, but you’re a man of honor, and so it was that you found yourself in Atlanta, near the 50-yard line, marooned between roiling seas of red, black, purple and gold. About four rows in front of where I was sitting, in fact. And what did you do, unidentified Alabama fan, but proceed to holler insults and poor assessments of both teams’ on-field performance for the next three and a half hours. Your extensive vocabulary of disparaging remarks and vocal stamina shine as a beacon to all who would display their distaste for an opponent, and your devil-may-care grittiness, gutsiness, and resiliency is an example of crimson-blooded state pride that should be taught in schools.
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m., CBS
Gift suite, Timely Watch Co. watch, Majestic Pro-Base fleece pullover, VP Sports cap, Ogio Politan backpack, Helen of Troy hair dryer, souvenir coin