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October 28, 2013As the University of Alabama football program enjoys its second and final bye week of the season, it does so as arguably the most well-rounded team in the Southeastern Conference.
Alabama ranked first in scoring defense, allowing 9.8 points a game, and third in scoring offense with 41.3 points a game.
On defense the Crimson Tide is second in rushing defense (101.88 yards a game), second in passing defense (179.0) and second in total defense (280.9), which ranks fifth nationally.
Those rankings will be tested against LSU, which ranks fourth in the conference in scoring offense (40.2 points a game) and third in passing offense with 279.4 yards a game.
Alabama has held opponents to 10 points or less in seven of eight games this season.
LSU kickoff time
The SEC announced Monday that the Alabama-LSU game will air at 7 p.m. on CBS on Nov. 9. The 2011 regular season game and 2012 game also both aired at primetime.
CBS will air an SEC doubleheader that day with Mississippi State hosting Texas A&M at 2:30 p.m.
The Auburn-Tennessee game will air on ESPN at 11 a.m.
Collins honored by league
Sophomore safety Landon Collins made the most of his first start at strong safety after replacing Vinnie Sunseri by turning in an all-conference performance.
Collins was named the league's Defensive Player of the Week on Monday afternoon after his performance against Tennessee. Collins turned in six tackles with a forced fumble and an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
C.J. Mosley's aim to become Alabama's third Butkus Award winner stayed alive Monday as the the senior linebacker was named to the semifinalist list.
The Butkus Award is given annually to the nation's top linebacker. Rolando McClain won the award in 2009 and Derrick Thomas took the honor in 1988.
Mosley leads the team in tackles with 59, including 5.5 tackle for loss. He also has three pass break-ups an four quarterback hurries.
Collins was named Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist.
The sophomore safety has 34 tackles and a team-high five pass break-ups.
Coaches Players of the Week
A total of seven players were honored by the coaching staff for their play against Tennessee.
Collins and junior linebacker Trey DePriest were selected on defense. Cyrus Kouandjio, Kevin Norwood and T.J. Yeldon were the offensive honorees and Christion Jones and Dillon Lee were special teams selections.
Special teams skill
UA coach Nick Saban has never shied away from putting his best players on special teams and the results speak for themselves this season.
The Crimson Tide's coverage units have been superb as have the return units. Perhaps the major reason is due to the level of talent on the unit.
"I think the more time that goes by, the more championships we win, the better the recruits will be that come here," punter Cody Mandell said. "A guy like Landon Collins, who is week-in and week-out, one of the best people on the special teams unit, Christion Jones as well, that's just the power of winning over and over again. I think it's showing up on special teams, it's showing up on the entire team, and we're just starting to put it together every week more and more.
"Coach Saban emphasizes football is not just offense and defense, it's special teams (too). You might might be a startling linebacker like C.J. Mosley and you're going to play special teams. He wants max effort on every play that our players are on the field, and he's not just going to put a walk-on out there on punt (unit) that doesn't play anything but that. He wants guys that are going to go out there and give their entire effort the entire time, and I think our special teams have done a great job this year."
Mandell hasn't had much to do recently. He punted just five times during the month of October.
"Of course I want to punt, but I know when I don't the team is doing good. I've just got to make sure when I go out there I make the most of every opportunity I get. I only got the opportunity twice (against Tennessee) and I think I made the most of the first one, but the second one wasn't great. That's something I've got to work on, just stay mentally strong for four quarters."
Reach Aaron Suttles at email@example.com or at 205-722-0229.