University of Alabama Head Football Coach Mike Shula
FIU Game Week Press Conference
Transcript of Opening Comments and 1st Five Questions Asked
October 24, 2006
“We start back today with our preparation for a football team that we obviously don’t know a lot about, especially with the personnel changes now. We’ve got to do a good job of getting focused. I think our guys have done a nice job since the game which we all know was a tough loss for us, of just kind of rebounding. Sunday was a tough day, but Sunday night (we) went out and practiced well. We’ve had a lot of guys that have come over on their own and watched tape. It’s a bad feeling (the loss), so the only way to get this out of our system is to go win a football game. And we’ve got to prepare that way. We’ve got Homecoming coming in; the guys are looking forward to that. Injury-wise, we’ll still have some guys who will probably be nicked up a little bit. Keith Brown, still, we’ll see where he’s at. Jimmy Johns, whose been kind of nicked up with the ankle, we’ll see where he’s at today. Terrence Jones is probably going to miss practice today. He’s got a cold. But other than that, we’ll go out there and hopefully have three good days of practice and get ready to get back on a winning track.”
Did Keith Brown look any better on Sunday?
“He practiced more on Sunday. He’s still a little bit sore, so we’ll see if he’s going to practice today or not. He tried to go Friday up there (Knoxville) in practice, tried to go in pre-game warm-ups, tried to go Sunday, so we’ll see where he’s at. He’s continuing to get treatment and (we’ll) find out for this week.”
Coach Shula, I know, obviously, you don’t want to take anything for granted, but with Florida International coming in, and you always talk about how you’ve got a plan in place, will there be a plan in place to try to get Jimmy Barnes into the game and get him some meaningful experience?
“Our plan for this week is to win the football game.”
It seems like every week there’s been one area of special teams that hasn’t produced up to the level you want. Can you talk about why that is, and how it’s affected overall?
“It’s kind of like our other two phases: at times we’re real, real good. Blocking a kick the last two weeks. Unfortunately when we blocked them they didn’t go backwards, they went forwards. First of all we had to punt too much last week and we were pretty good on some coverages like we normally are. A couple of times they got out and got in space a little bit and we missed a couple of tackles. And they’re pretty good, too. They’ve got talent, good speed. Unfortunately, we didn’t cover quite as good, quite as consistent as we have in the past, and we had too many punts.”
Coach, how do you expect Florida International to attack your offense from their defense?
“By nature they’re aggressive. They like to blitz. They like to play man coverage. They’ve really got a lot of speed on defense. They’re ranked, I think, real close to our defense nationally as far as statistically. It’s probably more difficult this week because there’s a lot of guys that are out, so the guys that you’re watching on tape, we won’t see those guys, and the other guys we won’t have enough tape on. They (may) continue to try to play aggressive and blitz or they may decide to play, since they’ve got a lot of younger guys, try not to give up big plays and maybe play not quite as aggressive. So those are all the things that we’ve got to be prepared for. The biggest thing for us though, and we’ll talk to our guys about this, is, Let’s concern ourselves with us.’ We’ve got to stay out of second and long, third and long. We’ve got to be better on early downs and make first downs on first and second downs so we don’t have quite as many third downs.”
You talked a little bit on Sunday and said it here, too, how it’s tough to see what they do because you don’t have much tape on it. Can you think of another game here at Alabama where you’ve had something like that? I know you said Sunday it was a little bit like the first of the year. Talk about the struggle you have trying to match up scheme-wise.
“That’s what you would compare it to. Scheme-wise, what I would think they would do is similar to what they’ve been doing. They’ve just got different guys doing it. Every corner is a little bit different, how he plays; technique-wise some guys are more aggressive than other guys. Some safeties just play their technique differently. When I said Sunday you’ve got to compare it to being like the first game of a season when you’re looking at a team from last year and there’s a lot of guys that you won’t see coming up, it’s kind of similar to that. Like I said, though, we’ve got to concern ourselves with our own execution and look at their scheme and be ready to be prepared for what they do. And if the personnel is a little bit different than what we thought or they’re doing things differently, then we have to make those adjustments early in the game.”