Tide Didn't Like ‘Red Team' Stuff

Kevin Norwood

It seems the Alabama football team, depending on whom one asks, was not too thrilled with Tennessee's players referring to them this week as "The Red Team" instead of using the Crimson Tide or Alabama. Apparently, that strategy in Knoxville served as a motivator on the practice and game fields in Tuscaloosa, the latter resulting in a 45-10 blowout win for the top-ranked Tide Saturday.



"We heard they were calling us ‘The Red Team,' and we felt that was disrespectful," said Alabama senior wide receiver Kevin Norwood, who torched Tennessee for 112 yards on six catches, including a 22-yard scoring strike from A.J. McCarron. "It was just one of those nights when everything was clicking for us.

"We grabbed all the momentum (in the first half, with 35 unanswered points), and then we put the dagger in their hearts. That's something we take pride in."

Said McCarron: "I usually don't take trash talk personally, but I did this time. For them to say they're playing ‘The Red Team' and not Alabama is disrespectful. Then, their coach (Butch Jones) said they could play with anybody. We're not just anybody. We're Alabama, and we've got three national championships in the last four years.

"It feels great to say my class left here never losing to Tennessee in five years. It was a great win."

Senior cornerback Deion Belue had an interesting analogy. "We can be ‘The Red Team,' but we're going to be like the Navy Seals ‘Red Team.' When we step in, everything stops."

One player said the talk from the east about "The Red Team" didn't faze him. Junior linebacker Trey DePriest said of the Knoxville chatter, "Sure, we heard about it. It gave a little something (extra) to the game, but we can't worry about things like that."

Though he wasn't in the game when it happened, DePriest had a bird's eye view of sophomore safety Landon Collins' 89-yard pick six that put the Tide up 35-0 late in the first half. "(Collins) did a great job of waiting on his blockers," DePriest said. "(Jeoffrey) Pagan made the big block (on Vols' quarterback Justin Worley), but Landon did a good job of waiting on him."

Collins said Pagan surprised him with that block. "Pagan's a big dude," he said, "and he's pretty fast for his size. I just didn't know he was that fast.

"I was waiting for my chance. The quarterback (Worley) threw it right to me. I was trying to get six, and I was watching Pagan. I saw the quarterback, (Pagan) got that block, and I just took it on in. I had the option to run faster, but I wanted to wait on Pagan."

Belue said Collins' jaunt to the house was not surprising to him. "I've seen (Collins) intercept that route 100 times in practice. I knew what he would do."

As to his own health, Belue said, "My foot is fine. There was no doubt I'd be starting today."

Christion Jones is a wide receiver, but he has also been a runner and – quite spectacularly – a kick return specialist. Against Tennessee he had kickoff returns of 57 yards and 49 yards and a 17-yard punt return.

"Our coaches do a great job during practice each week preparing us for the special teams," Jones said. "Our guys did a great job in practicing for special teams because one thing that we do take advantage of is our special teams unit and how good we are on special teams. Whether it is kickoff, kickoff return, punt return, we do a great job in practice. I think our guys put 110 percent into any scheme that we have on the kick return. Some of it is instincts and making things happen. Our guys also do a great job up front blocking.

"We have a lot of scheme plays that we do – two or three scheme plays that we call on our returns. A lot of it is reading. Even though you can practice four days out of the week, it might not go that way in the game. Some of it is instincts and taking things out of the play and being ready to go however it comes out and being able to take advantage of whatever they give you."

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