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October 10, 2012

Notebook: Another no-huddle foe for UA

TUSCALOOSA | Whatever dissatisfaction the University of Alabama's defensive players had with their handling of Ole Miss' no-huddle offense two weeks ago, the wait for reprieve wasn't long.

The Crimson Tide is braced for another no-huddle attack from Missouri this Saturday.

"Once again, you've just got to adapt. You've got to come out and set the tone no matter what they're trying to do as an offense," said defensive end Damion Square. "Your objective is to come in and se the tone. If you can do that, you control the outcome of the game."

Asked if the Ole Miss experience will help his defense adjust more effectively to Missouri's use of the no-huddle offense this weekend, UA coach Nick Saban said reaching a comfort level defending the no-huddle offense is an ongoing process.

"We play against no-huddle all the time. I think it's just a part of the world we live in now. I think the more you play against it, the more your players develop a conscious awareness of how they need to focus and what they need to do to play that pace in the game," Saban said. "Certainly, playing against a team that was no-huddle should be of benefit to our players when we play the next no-huddle team. I think we're going to see it a few more times before it's all over, too."

Missouri's offense has struggled due to injuries this season both at quarterback and on the offensive line. But the Tigers will push the pace nonetheless on Saturday. When the offense runs the no-huddle without substituting, the defense can't substitute, either.

"When they sub, we can sub. The offensive linemen have to get back to the ball, and so can I," Square added. " ... You're trying to get that perfect player on the field, and sometimes you can't. Sometimes you've just got to play with what you've got.

Back to basics
Alabama spent the idle week, as it has done every year under Saban, focusing on basic fundamentals. Square said the idle week is always helpful in that regard for both veterans and younger players.

"If you don't touch up on the fundamentals, you get away from them, your technique gets a little sloppy," Square said. "You can see it as the weeks go by. That's the thing you want to get back to on a bye week. You want to get back to fundamentals, you want to get back to striking blockers and doing day one football things."

Georgia State added to schedule
UA Director of Athletics Mal Moore announced that Alabama will host Georgia State on Oct. 5 next season at Bryant-Denny Stadium. UA won the first meeting between the schools 63-7 two years ago.
Alabama's other non-conference certainty for the 2013 schedule is a season opener in Atlanta against Virginia Tech.

"Went up to Knoxville. He tried to get me fat. Gained about eight pounds up there. It was a good time. It was good seeing the family." - safety Vinnie Sunseri on spending his idle weekend with his father, Sal, who is Tennessee's defensive coordinator.

UA offensive linemen Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker were named among 25 quarterfinalists for the Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top lineman or linebacker each year. ... According to Sunseri, receiver Christion Jones has been practicing as UA's punt returner again this week. Jones returned punts for UA at the beginning of the season but eventually gave way to Dee Hart, who sustained a season-ending knee injury. ... Former UA running back Mark Ingram of the NFL's New Orleans Saints has been named as a brand ambassador for Russell Athletic, serving as both a public representative and product consultant. ... Brent Calloway continues to practice at running back to help UA's depth concerns caused by injuries at that position. ... UA held its last full-pads practice of the week Wednesday.

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

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