University of Alabama Head Football Coach Mike Shula
Arkansas Game Week Press Conference
Transcript of Opening Comments and 1st Five Questions
“We’ll get started this week with our preparation for Arkansas. We’ve got a lot of young football players on our team. We’re going to have to really lean on the older guys to talk to them about the atmosphere that we’re getting ready to go into. We’re going to have to deal with the crowd noise. Arkansas is coming off of two wins. They’re a very fast football team. Defensively, they put a lot of pressure on you. You’ll see their corners up, bump and run just about every play. Offensively, they’ve got a quarterback that’s 2-0 as a starter now, a freshman quarterback. He’s really got a good arm. You combine him with (Darren) McFadden and Felix Jones and then their go-to receiver in (Marcus) Monk, and they are very dangerous on offense. They’re a different offense from what our defense has seen the last three weeks. They’re going to try to come off the ball and move you and really be aggressive in regards to the running game. And yet they keep you very honest because they have misdirection plays with reverses and things like that. They do really good job in their schemes, really, in all three phases.
“First time on the road for this football team. We’re just going to have to have a good week of preparation and go from there.”
With (Tyrone) Prothro having another surgery, were you expecting him, maybe at all, to come back this year? Were you holding out hope or was this sort of a foregone conclusion that he’d miss the year?
“We knew that at some point, but we weren’t going to rule anything out until we knew for sure.”
John Parker (Wilson) going on the road for the first timehow big of an adjustment is that for a young quarterback, and what does he need to do to be successful up there?
“I think it’s an adjustment. I think the main thing that he’s got to do is not all the sudden do things where he feels like he’s got to win the game. If he has to throw it away, then throw it away. If things are happening a little bit different than maybe what he’s seen in practicethe pass rush with the crowd noiseadd that plus their speed on the defensive line---things are going to happen quicker for him; just try not to force throws, force decisions and make bad plays in that regard. And then come off on the sidelines and be able to adjust and don’t worry about it; think about the next play. I think he’s done that well so far. We’re going to get tested this week far better than we have the last few weeks, especially offensively with the speed of their pass rush. We’re going to find out about our offensive line. We thought we protected fairly well the first few games, but, on the road against a real good, fast defensive line (will be a test), so the offensive line and the quarterbacks are really going to have to make sure that we just stick with it and stick with it and go from there.”
Following up on that, what has John Parker (Wilson) shown you so far in the first three games that makes you confident that he can handle going to a hostile environment?
“He’s made good decisions, for the most parts. And the times that he hasn’t he’s understood why. He hasn’t gotten rattled. He’s come out and played the next series fairly well. I think that athletically, he can move around if he has to, and possibly make some plays there. They do play a lot of man coverage. You’ve seen the runs. Anybody that’s watched some of their games, some of their runs have been long runs, whether or not it was a quarterback or runningbacks because a lot of times their corners are turned and running with receivers down the field, so instead of looking to make plays in the running game those are things that he can do and has done pretty well the first couple of games.”
Can you talk about your relationship with Jeremiah Castille and how it’s evolved? What his role as chaplain is with the team?
“Well, his role is the chaplain of our football team. He’s available for our players. During the course of the week he’s here at least two or three times a week during the season. He does our chapel service before the games. I think he’s a very powerful speaker, somebody that our kids look up to. Our relationship has been very good and getting better from there each year. I knew him a little bit when I first met him when I was a rookie at Tampa. I got to know him a little bit then, actually saw him a couple of times since then when I was coaching in the NFL, and then, of course, since I’ve been here. I feel lucky to have him.”
Terry Grant, out for the rest of the season: I assume that you’ve explored whether he can or cannot get a medical hardship. And can you go into a little bit more detail about when he was originally injured and then re-injured?
“We’re looking into all those things, and those are things we’ll strongly consider. As far as his shoulder, his shoulder had been bothering him a little bit. Felt like we wanted to see if it was something that he could make it through the rest of the season. Talking to the doctors again this week, we decided, Hey, it’s going to be something that has got to be fixed, so let’s go ahead and fix it now,’ and then have him back for spring ball.