Countdown to Kickoff
Crimson Tide Players Preview Ole Miss Game



TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ?? The University of Alabama football team held its weekly media day on Monday in the Naylor Stone Media Suite of the Mal M. Moore Administrative Building. 

Several Crimson Tide players, including sophomore running back Glen Coffee, senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry, junior defensive back Rashad Johnson, senior linebacker Darren Mustin, sophomore left tackle Andre Smith and junior quarterback John Parker Wilson met with the media to talk about this Saturday’s game with Ole Miss and look back on last week’s win over Houston. Here are some of their comments:

Sophomore running back Glen Coffee

On his first collegiate start

“I was just thankful that the coaches put faith in me to run the ball.  As far as a 100-yard game, that’s good, but I’m just thankful that we got out with a victory.  We all try to do what we can to help the team win.  Any one of the backs can get out there and run the ball that many times.  It was just game planning.  They decided to throw me in there and I was just happy that we got out with a victory.”

On competition at running back
“Basically it’s all healthy competition back there.  I mean we don’t know going into week to week who is going to be the featured back.  We just know that we all have different things to bring to the table.  Whatever the coaches decide is the best thing we need to win, that’s what we are going to roll with.”

“We all practice as hard as we can.  It just happened that I was the best fit for this particular game.  That could change from week to week.  Next week I could have five carries, and Roy (Upchurch) and (Terry) Grant could have 25.  That’s just how it plays out.”

On keeping his ego in check
“It’s not tough.  Football is a team sport.  You can’t be selfish.  It’s just not going to work.  You aren’t going to be happy. It’s not hard.”

Senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry

On assessment of his performance against Houston
“I played good.  At the same time there are a lot of mistakes I made.  We let the quarterback scramble a little too much.  We definitely could have had a few more sacks.  At the same time my hat goes off to the coverage guys.  They put us in some good positions.  Coach (Kevin) Steele and Coach (Bo) Davis also put us in some good positions to make plays.”

On Houston making adjustments to his play
“They did.  Once they start doing that, Lorenzo Washington started to become open.  Brandon Deaderick and Zeke Knight start becoming open.  There is not much an offensive team can do to me and the other guys won’t capitalize off of it.”

On Ole Miss
“Ole Miss is one of those custom teams.  They line up and what you see is what you get.  With Houston, they had the big fullback which was really another offensive lineman.  It kind of limits you to do certain things but at the same time if you do your job and you protect your gap, all that’s irrelevant.

“They have been doing it for the past three years we played them.  They are definitely an SEC smash-mouth football team.  It’s going to be a violent game.  At the same time it’s going to be a fun one.  We are back in the SEC on the road.  What better way to go get it.”
Junior defensive back Rashad Johnson
On while watching the film, did it feel like they won or lost the game Saturday
“We got the feeling that we lost that game. We made a lot of mistakes and we actually could have lost that game and I’m glad we did win. You don’t want to forget that you won that game, but you have to look at the negative things, point them out and try and get those things changed this week.”

On playing against a regular offense (as compared to Houston):
“It’s going to be a lot easier on us and a lot less adjustments. We can just line up and play more. Ole Miss is a good team and it’s going to be physical so we’re just going to have to come out and play our best game. It’s been a physical game for the past couple of years and I’m expecting the same thing this coming Saturday.”

On the intensity of the team and how to fix it
“It’s just something that you have to think about all the time while you’re out on the field practicing. When you’re tired, you just need to just try and focus a little more mentally and not make mistakes. On Saturday, once the defense got a little fatigued, we started making mistakes here and there. The coaches are going to keep reminding you, but on Saturday it’s all left up to the individual player to do the right things even when they’re tired.”

Senior linebacker Darren Mustin

On Coach Saban teaching them to not watch the scoreboard
“It’s very difficult, but you have to learn not to do it. We’ve done it twice this year and it almost came back and hurt us. We can’t do that. We have to play every play like it’s the last play and play every play like it’s the first play. We just have to keep playing.”

On what the coaches can do to help mental intensity
“They coaches do everything they can. Mental intensity has to come from us, the players. It has to come from certain leaders on the team. Those leaders have to step up to keep the intensity going. The coaches are doing a great job. They’re doing everything that they can do. We had great mental intensity in the first half. We didn’t have the same intensity coming out in the second half like we did the first half. That is still something that we need to work on.”

Sophomore left tackle Andre Smith

On what happened during the Houston game
“It’s pretty much up to us to go out there and do our job.  We have to go out there and continue to work hard, have fun and show that killer instinct.”

On Ole Miss
“Overall the defense is good. It’s an SEC team so it’s going to be a competition on Saturday so we’re going to continue to go out and work hard.”

On having new guys in the lineup
“It worked out pretty well. The first three times we had the ball, we scored. We had to be doing something right. We just have to work on the things we messed up last week.”

On running the ball more effectively
“We have to communicate. Communication is the key, and when one person on the line may see something the others may not, its’ really up to us to communicate it down the line so that everybody can understand what’s going on or what’s about to happen.”

Junior quarterback John Parker Wilson

On improving his technique since December
“I think I’ve improved on a lot of things, my feet, my timing, everything.  I just have to continue doing that. I don’t think I’ve said I’m done with this so I have to move on to something else.  I just have to keep working every day and try to get better. The great ones, you hear Peyton Manning and Tom Brady talking about working on something all the time. I just try to do the same things they do.”

On assessing the Houston game
“We didn’t play a perfect game, but  looking back at it, especially looking at the games that happened Saturday.  It just tells you how tough it is to win. USC goes up and drops one to Stanford.  It can happen to anybody in the top because everyone is good. We’re just fortunate to come out with a win.”

On the team’s mental intensity
“We go out there expecting to play for 60 minutes so I don’t think it’s anything different mentally.  I think we kind of dropped off through the middle, but it’s nothing we can’t handle.”