Oct. 29, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The second-ranked University of Alabama football team worked for two hours in full pads for the second straight day Wednesday afternoon as preparations continue for Saturday’s homecoming game with Arkansas State. The Crimson Tide and Red Wolves kick off at 2 p.m. (CDT) in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“The players have worked pretty well this week,” Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said following Wednesday’s practice. “We always talk about three things that are important to being successful and that’s your commitment to a standard of excellence, you’re willingness to work at it and to have enough perseverance to do it day in and day out. We obviously had guys that have done a great job of that this week, and we’ve had a few that has needed to be prodded along a little bit and we have had no problem helping those guys out.
“We’ve had a good week and the guys are working hard. This is a challenging game for us. It’s a challenging preparation because of the style of offense that Arkansas State runs and the quarterback that they have running it, in terms of his ability to run as well as be a threat as a passer. They do a very good job and it’s very challenging for our defensive players to do a good job to stop both things at the same time.”
CODY UPDATE: Alabama junior nose guard Terrence Cody is expected to miss his second straight game on Saturday after suffering a sprained MCL during the third quarter of Alabama’s 24-20 win over Mississippi on Oct. 18. Cody began doing some light running and jogging this week, but has not practiced.
“It’s just day-to-day,” Saban said on Wednesday’s SEC Coaches teleconference. “He is making good progress. He is running and jogging this week. He is out for this week for sure and we hope to get him back maybe next week.”
CRIMSON TIDE PAY-PER-VIEW: The Alabama-Arkansas State game will be televised on a pay-per-view basis with Chris Stewart (play-by-play), Tyler Watts (color) and Barry Krauss (sideline reporter) providing commentary. Fans in the states of Alabama and Arkansas must call their local cable operator or satellite provider to purchase the game. The game will be available outside the states of Alabama and Arkansas on ESPN GamePlan.
SEC COACHES TELECONFERENCE: Coach Saban participated on the SEC Head Coaches Teleconference Wednesday morning and here are some of those comments:
On offensive line play and the impact of tight ends Travis McCall and Nick Walker:
“They have played outstanding. I think they compliment each other very well. Travis is a really, really good blocker, but he’s got good hands, so you can’t just forget about him as a receiver. Nick Walker is a good athlete and a good pass receiver, but a very adequate blocker. Travis has a lot of diversity, in terms of moving around and being a fullback. He is a bright, smart guy who can do a lot of things. Those two guys have contributed immensely to the offensive line. You can’t run the ball like we do, if you don’t have tight ends that can block.”
On concerns of team becoming complacent with a two-game lead in SEC Western Division standings:
“Well I really haven’t thought about it, and I don’t think about it. There is always a concern about that and I think there should be a concern with every team in the country because of the inconsistencies and the upsets that you see in college football. I think the number one contributor to that is complacency. If you’re really playing to your standard of excellence and trying to be the best you can be as a person or as a team, then that really shouldn’t matter. The Michael Jordan’s of the world, the Tiger Woods’ – I mean the guy’s been ahead in 60 tournaments going into the final day. Does he get complacent? No, he is a great competitor and a champion and that’s the way you do it. Michael Johnson doesn’t stay as the top runner in the world for nine years and Bolt doesn’t say ‘I don’t care who I am running against, I just try and run the best race I can run.’ Well if that’s what you’re aspiring to do then the standings and all of that stuff shouldn’t matter. That’s really what we try to get our team to do and that’s really what all competitors should do, it’s not normal and it’s difficult, but that’s what you should do.”
One Arkansas State quarterback Corey Leonard and his ability to run and throw:
“He is probably the best dual-threat we’ve seen, especially this year. He does a great job with their offense. He has great speed and quickness and he is a very, very good runner. He is tough and he is a great competitor, yet he is a very good passer and very productive. I think the combination of those two things present tremendous problems to any defense.”