TUSCALOOSA | Just a week after facing a quarterback duo against LSU, the University of Alabama defense will get yet another two-headed player at the position Saturday at Mississippi State.
Quarterbacks Chris Relf and Tyler Russell share the duties as well, and like LSU's Jarrett Lee and Jordan Jefferson, their skill sets bring a different dimension to the MSU offense.
"When the two quarterbacks actually do different things when they're in the game, I think it makes it a more difficult preparation," said UA coach Nick Saban. "Obviously if you watched the last game, the plays they ran with one guy in the game were totally different than with the other. At first we didn't adjust to that very well but as the game went on, we did OK."
Relf has passed for only 1,013 yards this season, but gives the Bulldogs a dangerous rusher. He is the team's No. 3 rusher (265 yards), much of it from the shotgun read-option play. Russell isn't as prolific a runner as Relf, but gives the Bulldogs more of a downfield passing threat. While Relf averages only 10.8 yards per completion, Russell averages 17.7.
"I think you have to have an awareness of what those teams are going to do in both situations with both those quarterbacks and adapt what you're doing and practice it that way the entire week," Saban added.
Relf completed 5 of 6 passes against Tennessee-Martin for MSU last week, and rushed for 22 yards. Russell handled most of the passing with nine completions in 18 attempts for 183 yards.
UA nose guard Josh Chapman said he learned a valuable lesson after being penalized for an illegal block during safety Mark Barron's interception return against LSU. Barron was tackled on the LSU 3-yard line, but the penalty brought the spot back to the LSU 35.
"A block in the back, you know from Little League that if you see numbers in the back, don't hit him," Chapman said. "That was an error on my behalf, a mistake."
"In a game like that, who wouldn't want to see a rematch? That's probably the biggest game you're going to ever see like that, unless we do get a rematch." - Running back Trent Richardson on the possibility of playing LSU again in a national title game.
"I feel like every time you're out there on the field, you're going to be a part of something great." - Linebacker Alex Watkins on his determination to return quickly from a broken arm.
Did you know?
Alabama's 66 tackles for loss this season have resulted in 255 negative yards for opposing offenses.
Injured offensive lineman Barrett Jones (ankle) was again under non-contact status for Tuesday's practice, as was cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion). Jones rode a stationary bike, though Kirkpatrick was able to participate in individual drills during the media viewing period. ... CBS announced a 2:30 p.m. kickoff time for Alabama's annual rivalry game against Auburn on Nov.26.
Reach Chase Goodbread at email@example.com or at 205-722-0196.