Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Prepares for No. 16 Arkansas



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ?? The University of Alabama football team continued its preparations for No. 16 Arkansas with a two-hour practice in full gear Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility. After about an hour outside, heavy storms forced the team to the indoor facility to complete the remainder of practice.

“Arkansas is an outstanding football team,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said at his Monday press conference. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Houston Nutt and the job that he does there. They have some outstanding players. They do a great job of coaching them on both sides of the ball and on special teams.”

The Razorbacks are 1-0 on the year after defeating Troy 46-26 on September 1 and taking last week off as their bye. Arkansas ran for 350 yards in the win over Troy and currently lead the nation in that category.

“As I said after the (Vanderbilt) game, this guy, I always felt when I was in the league before, that he (Houston Nutt) does as much with what he has in featuring the players that he has and the production that he gets of anybody that we played in this league. I just think he does an outstanding job. They looked very good in their opening win against Troy. (They) ran the ball like they always do for a whole bunch of yards.”

Arkansas’ offense features two talented running backs in Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, who combined for over 2,700 rushing yards in 2006.

“They’ve got two outstanding, outstanding running backs,” Saban added.  “These two guys, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, if they’re not first round draft picks, I don’t know what is; both of them. Both guys gained well over 1,000 yards last year. They’re versatile. They’re very dangerous on kickoff returns as well. They’ve both been back there and they’ve both had big returns. It’s going to be a real challenge to us from that standpoint.”

The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks will meet Saturday, Sept. 15 at Bryant-Denny Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by ESPN, with Mike Patrick (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (analyst) and Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) calling the action. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:52 p.m. (CDT).

Quotes from Quarterback John Parker Wilson:

(On the Vanderbilt game)
“It wasn’t too bad. We didn’t put up the numbers passing that we wanted to, but we just have to keep doing what we’re doing. I think we’re blocking extremely well. We protected pretty well and we just have to keep running the ball like we’ve been running it.”
(More on the Vanderbilt game)
“I think I looked good mechanically, I just missed a couple guys. It wasn’t anything reading defensive players. There wasn’t any total breakdown where we’re going to have to go back and start from ground zero. It’s nothing huge; we’re just going to keep getting better. You’re not going to go out and throw 100 percent every game, but it’s about how you respond to that. That’s what shows how good a quarterback you are.”

(On records)
“We really don’t talk a lot about records and stats. We really only worry about winning. We broke some records last year and if someone hadn’t told me I would’ve never known.”

(On D.J. Hall)
“Obviously, he’s a good player. He’s explosive, he can make big plays, he can run by people. He can also get two or three hard yards across the middle when it’s a third down. He’s an incredible guy.”