Countdown to Kickoff
Crimson Tide Wrap Up Preparations for Arkansas

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron during drills on Wednesday.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron during drills on Wednesday.

Sept. 22, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The third-ranked Alabama football team wrapped up the biggest portion of its preparations for its SEC opener against Arkansas on Thursday with a 90-minute workout in shells inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Practice Facility.

The Crimson Tide focused on fine tuning the game plan, while working on special teams and continuing to pound home fundamentals with its toughest test of the young season ahead on Saturday. Alabama's ability to find success against an experienced Arkansas defense will be a key factor.

"Arkansas has a great defense," Crimson Tide tight end Brad Smelley said. "Most people talk about their offense, but they have a good defense too, with a lot of experienced guys. They are a SEC defense, and every SEC squad is going to be tough. We are going to have to bring it. We need to continue working and get ready to get after it Saturday."

Alabama has won four straight games over the Razorbacks, dating back to head coach Nick Saban's first year in Tuscaloosa in 2007. The Tide has won three straight in Bryant-Denny Stadium, with the Hogs last win coming in 2003.

"I think this is going to be a classic SEC matchup," Smelley said. "It is going to be two good defenses and two good offenses. We are going to have to bring it and have the will to win and not be denied. That is what it is going to take to win. I feel like it is going to be a good battle, and I am looking forward to it."

Alabama will have a short walk-through on Friday before Saturday's 2:39 p.m. kickoff on CBS from Bryant-Denny Stadium. Verne Lundquist will handle the play-by-play duties while Gary Danielson will be the color analyst and Tracey Wolfson is on the sidelines.

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