Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Continues Work for North Texas



Sept. 16, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team practiced for two hours in full pads Wednesday afternoon as preparations continue for Saturday’s game with North Texas.

The Crimson Tide began practice outside on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields before lightning forced the team inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility for the last half of practice.

“I’ve been fairly pleased with the improvement we’ve been able to make in practice,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Wednesday’s practice. “The effort has been good.  The intensity has been good.  The focus has been good.
“We are really still trying to get the message to the players that we want to start fast and finish strong.  Nothing happens by accident.  I think the habits that they create starts with practice.  How you start a practice and how you finish.  All of those things are important.”

No. 4 Alabama will play host to North Texas on Saturday, Sept. 19, with kickoff slated for 11:21 a.m.  The game will be televised by the SEC Network (WTTO Channel 21 in Birmingham, ESPN GamePlan and with Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Cara Capuano calling the action. Eli Gold and Phil Savage and Barry Krauss will have the radio call on the Crimson Tide Sports Network, which airs three hours prior to kickoff. 

Coach Saban participated in the SEC Head Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday and here are some of his comments:

On North Texas’ offense:
“They’re a spread team and they run all the zone-option stuff, but they do it a couple of different ways, in terms of running mid-line reads and different guys getting unblocked and the quarterback reading them.  So, it’s a little bit different than the typical stuff that we see.  Plus, they have had great balance in their offense, in terms of being able to run the ball for 200 yards a game and also be able to pass it for that.  A lot of zone-option teams are really good at running it, but they can’t throw it very well and that does create some issues for you, in terms of being able to play the run and being pretty good in pass defense in either/or kind of calls.”

On Greg McElroy’s progress as a starter:
“Well, he has played extremely well for us.  His consistency has been very good. His decision-making has been very good.  I think he’s maybe had one poor decision in each game and has been pretty accurate with the ball.  I think he is spreading the ball around.  He’s done a good job of executing the run-checks that we have in the game.  So his leadership has been good and his decision-making has been good.  He is throwing the ball effectively for us.  We’re very pleased with the progress that he has made and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to continue to improve so we can continue to develop efficiency in our passing game.”

On Barrett Jones’ progress:
“Barrett’s done a really good job for us. He has started at right guard for us in two games. For a young player with not a great amount of experience, he certainly understands how to do things and fundamentally he is very sound in what he does.  We’ve been very pleased with the way he’s been able to play as a redshirt freshman and hopefully he will continue to improve for us and be ever better in the future.”