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October 10, 2012
Richardson poses problems for UA front
TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama offensive line will face one of its tougher challenges of the season Saturday in blocking Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. But it's not just Richardson that will make things difficult, center Barrett Jones said, it's the Tigers' defensive scheme as well.
"They've been able to create a lot of negative plays this year. I think the big reason is because of how much movement they do up front," Jones said. "They really have created confusion in their prior games. They're a really hard team to game-plan for. We've really had to work hard this week mentally, watch a lot of film and prepare."
The Tigers frequently stunt two defensive linemen -- meaning they penetrate each other's gaps rather than their own -- and catch the opposing offensive line off guard. In six games this season, Missouri has amassed
53 tackles for loss and 15 sacks, resulting in 201 yards worth of rushing losses.
Richardson, one of Missouri's top NFL prospects, has 6.5 TFLs and three sacks.
"He's a good player. I think they're very aggressive up front. ... They're tough to run the ball inside on because of their stunts and games and things they do. Their front is very, very good," said UA coach Nick Saban. "They play with a lot of effort. They're athletic. They've got a couple guys who can rush, and he's one of them."
The Tigers defense tends to make late shifts in its alignments up front as well, often waiting until just before the snap of the ball to finally set itself. Jones said that is among the more difficult things for him to adjust to as a first-year starting center who makes calls for the rest of the offensive line.
And Richardson will be in the middle of all of it.
"Sheldon Richardson is a very good player. He plays really hard, which I respect. He plays with a lot of intensity and passion," said Jones. "I think he'll definitely bring his best, so we're really excited to have that opportunity to face an opponent like him. I think he definitely presents some challenges."
Reach Chase Goodbread at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0196.