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September 3, 2012

Notebook: Double moves mean double trouble

TUSCALOOSA | The three longest pass completions in Saturday's Alabama-Michigan game -- two by the Wolverines and one by Alabama -- came on double-move pass patterns, a topic UA coach Nick Saban addressed Monday.

Double moves are meant to draw defensive backs in on what looks to be a shorter route, then break for a long pass. According to Saban, however, the cornerbacks in coverage weren't the only ones who could have helped prevent Denard Robinson's completions of 71 and 44 yards.

"We were in middle-of-the-field coverage when they happened. Both corners gave one up - something that we worked on going into the game, something that they had had success doing in the past, and we need to do better," Saban said. "But we also need to rush better because it takes a long time for those plays to develop. ... Once we were in a four-man rush and the other time we were in a pressure and we didn't execute the pressure properly. If we would have, they probably wouldn't have had time to throw it."

Alabama's DeAndrew White ran the same type of route on his 51-yard touchdown reception. His first move, in which he faked an out route, caused cornerback Courtney Avery to slip and fall. So when White then broke upfield for the deep pass, he was wide open.

"It was a pretty nice move. He's been working at that position and on that route with him and AJ timing wise," said receiver Kevin Norwood. "It was pretty nice."

Stopping Robinson
Containing Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to only 27 rushing yards Saturday was a task not only for the UA pass rush, but for it's run defense as well. The zone-read option, a play which former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow used to frustrate SEC defenses with, is a staple of the Wolverines' offense as well. The quarterback reads a defensive end after the snap to determine whether to hand the ball off or run it himself, and Saban indicated the Crimson Tide wanted to force Robinson to give.

"He didn't have very many opportunities to run it," Saban said. "Even on his zone option reads we were sort of making it so he was going to hand the ball off and make somebody else beat us."

Injury update
Saban indicated freshman linebacker Reggie Ragland is questionable for Saturday's game against Western Kentucky with an ankle injury. Ragland was withheld from contact Monday. Minor injuries caused three other players -- linebacker Trey DePriest, nose guard Jesse Williams and linebacker Tana Patrick -- to be somewhat limited in practice Monday. Saban indicated those three should be able to practice fully later this week.

Players of the week
The UA coaching staff chose six players of the week for the win over Michigan. Freshman running back T.J. Yeldon and senior tight end Michael Williams were chosen on offense. Linebacker C.J. Mosley and junior defensive back Dee Milliner were named for defense, and special teams honors went to DeAndrew White and punter Cody Mandell.

"His shoe came off. We were all freaking out and he goes, 'Relax. Shoe malfunction.'" - Barrett Jones on starting guard Anthony Steen, and why he was briefly replaced by Chad Lindsay during a first-half series against Michigan.

Yeldon was named the Southeastern Conference co-Freshman of the Week for his 11-carry, 111-yard performance against the Wolverines, while Milliner was named the league's defensive player of the week. Milliner made five tackles, had an interception, and broke up four passes. ... A limited number of tickets for Alabama's home opener against Western Kentucky remain unsold. They can be purchased through rolltide.com, or at (205) 348-2262, at a cost of $55 each.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196.

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