04 November 2008
The Tide was in full pads today for day two of LSU practice. Intensity and focus are two things that Nick Saban always asks, and this week will require even more of it. Not only does Alabama have to deal with the distraction of being ranked #1 heading into a game for the first time since 1980, but there is also the fact the "Nick Saban having been at LSU" thing to deal with. Coach Saban calls those "external factors" and is a master at keeping the team from being affected by them - see Georgia's black-out.
Terrence Cody worked in a crimson jersey for the second consecutive day. Coach Saban indicated yesterday that Terrence would be evaluated day-to-day, and the fact that he was cleared by the doctors after a full practice yesterday is a good sign. If he is cleared again tomorrow it should give us a clear indication of how much he'll be able to play on Saturday.
As we guess yesterday Earl Alexander was back into his white jersey today. It looks as though the coaches are taking advantage of Monday being a lighter practice day to let Earl take things a bit easy on his ankle each week. He's been able to play in each of the last six games, so this strategy appears to be working.
As has been the case for the last week Barrett Jones is still in a black no contact jersey - signaling (we guess), a likely redshirt. He was joined in black today by fellow true freshman Tyler Love. Both guys played against Western Kentucky, but a documented injury that keeps them out of any other game action will qualify them for a medical redshirt. There is no official word on Love's current injury, though he did have a stress fracture in his leg at the open of fall camp.
Les Miles has announced to the world that he things Alabama will discover that LSU can run the ball. I sincerely hope that simply running the ball is the LSU strategy for Saturday, as a healthy Alabama defensive front should be able to neutralize LSU's rushing attack. The silver lining of the Terrence Cody injury is that Lorenzo Washington was able to get a bunch of snaps at nose guard, and Marcel Dareus a bunch at defensive end. That experience for both guys should help Alabama's front line for the rest of the season.
Alabama's receivers are working on beating bump and run coverage in anticipation of the LSU defense employing this strategy. Ole Miss had some success getting physical with the Bama receivers, though the Tide has improved in the last two games in getting off of the line of scrimmage. This also requires that the timing between the receivers and the QB be adjusted, and the Tide is working on that timing.
The Tide has been successful all season in rotating three running backs, and that should pay off this weekend. LSU allows 105.75 yards per game on the ground, but they are extremely physical. Having three guys ready to carry the ball should help alleviate that problem by keeping fresh legs in the game at all times. If the pass is completely taken away from the Tide, don't be totally surprised to see a fourth back, Terry Grant, used to stretch the edges of the LSU defensive line.
There will be a practice and a press conference tomorrow, and we'll have a report from both.