TUSCALOOSA, Ala. The University of Alabama football worked for two hours in full gear Tuesday afternoon as preparations continue for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference road game at Mississippi State.
The 21st ranked Crimson Tide worked on first-and-10, second-and-long, goal-line and short-yardage situations at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility and expects a tough, physical game from the Bulldogs Saturday morning in Starkville.
“Mississippi State has obviously beaten some good teams this year,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “(They) beat Auburn early in the year and had a great win against Kentucky in their last game on the road. Sylvester (Croom) has done an outstanding job there. They play with a lot of discipline and they’re a physical team.
“They’ve played very well on defense this year. I think they’re ranked fifth in the SEC in defense,” Saban added. “They’re good on special teams. Offensively they’re able to run the ball. They’ve got a big back. He’s hard to tackle. The freshman quarterback, Wesley Carroll, has gotten better and better and better as the year has gone on. They’ve done a good job of allowing him to do the things that he needs to do in the passing game so they’ve been successful at that as well. And they’ve got a good return game, especially in kick-off return. (Derek) Pegues does a good job as a return man. So this is like every other SEC game. This will be a battle. It’s going to be a tough game for us.”
The Alabama-Mississippi State will be televised by Lincoln Financial Sports and will be shown mainly in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The game will show on ESPN GamePlan outside the nine-state SEC region. Bill Rosinski (play-by-play), Dave Archer (analyst) and Jenn Hildreth (sideline reporter) will call the action to a regional audience.
Alabama junior quarterback John Parker Wilson and senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry met with the media following Tuesday’s practice:
John Parker Wilson
On Mississippi State defense:
“They are a very talented group. They have given some pretty good teams some fits Auburn and Kentucky. They like to do a bunch of different things secondary-wise, disguising coverages, shifting around and doing a bunch of different things.”
On MSU defensive end Titus Brown:
“Both of their ends are very talented players. I’d say the strong point of their defense from what I have seen so far. He gave us fits last year and we are going to come out before the game starts and understand that and be ready for it.”
On recent success with seven sacks:
“I haven’t done anything differently; it’s just being consistent and doing what Coach (Bo) Davis asks us to do in practice and taking it out on the field. We can do a lot of things up front, a lot of guys are coming in and applying pressure, that allows me to do what I do one-on-one and make things happen for the team. I haven’t done anything different. It’s just being consistent in the pass rush.”
On three sacks vs. LSU, including back-to-back sacks against Matt Flynn
“It’s just being consistent. I am a high motor guy and I never stop. That’s when you get the sacks, when it looks like the play is over and the offensive lineman feels like he has beaten you and then you give that extra effort. That extra effort is the one that really counts and goes toward getting the sack.”
On Gilberry and MSU’s Titus Brown tied for second in SEC with seven sacks:
“It really is a good matchup. He and I have been talking all week and we both want the best out of each other. We have really been challenging each other all season. He jumped out on me. He had six (sacks) and I had none. I told him, I’m coming to get you’ and the next thing we look up and we both have seven sacks. He is definitely a guy that has a passion for the game. He has a passion for what he does and I admire that. He sees a lot in me, too. He told me Coach (David) Turner said if I could put you and Wallace together, I’d have two good defensive ends.’ There is a lot that goes into this game, but I am focusing on what I have to do and get the job done and come away with a victory.”
On friendship with Titus Brown:
“We met this summer when I was working out and he was there, too. I knew of him, but I had never met him. We ran into each other and did drills the whole summer. We worked out every day and competed against each other. It really revamped me and got me ready for this season and he feels the same way. If I had him here at Bama, it would be outstanding, but hopefully we will end playing together someday down the road. Good people likes to be around good people. He is definitely a good leader, a vocal leader because he is outgoing and energetic and I feed off that.”