Preparing for Speed


Posted Sep 27, 2006


Try as they might, the Alabama scout teams are far from being able to replicate the abilities Alabama will see when it faces fifth-ranked Florida at The Swamp this coming Saturday.

“The speed is what you can’t replicate,” Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula said Wednesday after what he called two “pretty good” practices in the past two days. “They (Florida) look fast. The quarterback looks more decisive. They run the ball better and they are staying on blocks longer. Their defensive line is better.”

Greg McElory and Trent Dean have led the efforts to imitate the abilities of Florida quarterbacks Chris Leak and Tim Tebow.

“Greg has been good about that. He’s really conscientious,” Shula said.

This week Alabama is doing more 11-on-11 teamwork with its first-team offense against its first-team defense. The squad did three five-minute periods of ones vs. ones on Tuesday and about 10 minutes on Wednesday. Bama is also spending more time getting used to the different special teams looks Florida will throw at them.

“We've got to cover a lot of things this week, and a lot on special teams. We're spending a little more time with that this week,” Shula said. “Every one of us realize we are playing a good football team on the road in their stadium and it's going to be loud. We are going to have to play our best game just to have a chance.”

Crowd noise was once again piped into the practice field for much of the practice on Wednesday as the team worked in shorts and shoulder pads.

After four games, some players are banged and bruised, but Shula said starting linebacker Terrence Jones, who missed last week’s game with a shoulder injury, is getting better.

“This week he has been doing a lot in practice, and that’s usually a good sign,” he said.

Defensive end Zeke Knight has missed the past two days of practice, and is under evaluation by the medical staff for what Shula said was “dizziness.” He is not expected to play against Florida.

Shula said placekicker Jamie Christensen was better than last week, but would still be a game time decision against Florida. (See full story on Christensen here.)


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