03 November 2008
Don't ask Coach Saban about returning to Baton Rouge with the #1 team in America. Just don't ask him. According to the Coach, this one is about the players. And those players took to the field today in shells in preparation for the LSU Tigers. There is no word yet on whether Coach Saban will pump in the smell of corndogs later in the week.
While the Tennessee Vols have lost their fat man, it appears as though the Tide will be getting their big fellow back. Terrence Cody practiced in a crimson jersey today, meaning he was cleared for full contact. This isn't surprising news for anyone who saw Terrence jumping around on the sidelines on Saturday, but it is great news.
Not so great is the news that Earl Alexander was in his customary Monday black jersey. Coach Saban told us last week that a guy being in black doesn't necessarily mean anything, and I'm guessing that this is the case with Earl. He has been in black on just about every Monday of the season after suffering an ankle injury in week two. He's been back in a white jersey by Tuesday of every week since week four, so I'm not too concerned there.
Barrett Jones was also in a black jersey with a shoulder injury. Barrett saw action in the Western Kentucky game, but can qualify for a medical redshirt. At this point, barring a series of injuries in front of him, it looks as though he will take advantage of that opportunity and return to the Tide as a freshman again next season.
The Terrence Cody news is particularly good this week given the fact that LSU's best offensive weapon is 233 lb. running back Charles Scott. Scott is a bruiser that makes most of his yards attacking the middle of the opponent's defense, racking up 889 yards and a 6.7 yards per carry average. Having Cody back could help to neutralize Scott's strength, forcing the Tigers to move the ball to the outside. If that happens, they will have to go with Keiland Williams and Richard Murphy, who average 4.5 yards per carry combined.
If the Tigers the type of success running up the middle that no team has had against Bama this year, don't be terribly surprised to see a defensive line that includes Cody, Josh Chapman, and Lorenzo Washington. We've not seen that defensive front this season, but when you consider that QB Jarrett Lee was an appaulingly bad 8-20 with one interception and only 99 yards against Tulane last week, the Tigers are beginning to look more and more one dimensional.
Until the Tigers are forced to go four-wide look for Bama to use a good bit of its base defense this week, getting Cory Reamer back onto the field for extensive playing time. Cory has been especially good in run defense this year, and given his lack of playing time in Bama's biggest games, he is an extremely hungry player.
The defensive backs are working hard on recognition work in preparation for LSU's dimunitive Trindon Holliday. A true speedster with blazing speed, the 5'5 Holliday excels at hiding behind his offensive line and bursting through small holes by defenses that don't even realize that he has the ball. It is not expected that the Tide will call on former player Brandon Brooks to simulate Holliday in practice, though there has been talk about tracking down one of these guys
. The key to stopping Holliday is recognizing when he has the ball, and the defensive backs are taking a hard look at all of the way that LSU likes to get him the ball.
Bama will hit the practice field again tomorrow, this time in full pads. It is unknown if the Tide players will be over-burdened with guilt and pity over the "firing" of Philip Fulmer, though my guess is that most of the guys are probably unaware of the fact that they've now brought on the end of two coaching careers this season.