Wilson Prepares To Make Adjustments

John Parker Wilson

Alabama saw something new from LSU's defense in last week's 41-34 Crimson Tide loss to the second ranked Fighting Tigers. Bama can expect to see more of the LSU technique—perhaps even this week—but the Tide should be better prepared to deal with it.



Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson said Tuesday that he expects Mississippi State to try to disguise its coverages, but mostly the Tide quarterback looks for the Bulldogs to be "physical and athletic and ready to play."

Alabama will go to Starkville Saturday to take on Mississippi State in a game that will be telecast by Lincoln Financial and shown primarily in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. The game will be available on ESPN Gameplan outside the nine-state Southeastern Conference region. Kickoff will be shortly after 11:30 a.m. CST.

Last week, LSU held Crimson Tide star receiver D.J. Hall to only two receptions, none in the second half. "They were doubling him with a safety on top and a corner underneath," Wilson said. "There was no way to get the ball to him."

For that reason, Wilson turned to other receivers. Keith Brown had two touchdown receptions and Matt Caddell came up big in key situations.

Wilson said that LSU previously had not shown that coverage and added "They did a good job. We had to go another way. It was good that Keith stepped up. Matt has a knack for getting open every week."

Wilson said that he didn't change his reads because of the coverage. "You don't change your reads, but you might make that first one faster (if Hall is the first read and he is being double-covered). But you continue to do it the same way because they may bust coverage. That happened last week and we hit them (Wilson to Hall on a 67-yard touchdown pass)."

Wilson said, "We can expect to see that again. Now we've seen it and we'll have an adjustment for it."

Bama's quarterback said the team is in a good mood, the LSU game now in the past. "We've moved on," he said. "We're getting ready for Mississippi State. How we come back will tell a lot about us."

Personally, he said, "I'm pretty even. I don't get too low or too high."

On Tuesday, the 21st-ranked Tide worked for two hours in full gear on first and 10, second and long, goalline, and short yardage situations.

Last year Mississippi State shocked Alabama with a 24-16 win over the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. Wilson said, "They beat us pretty bad. They embarrassed us. They played well. They were strong and athletic and played good defense."

Wilson expects the same from Mississippi State on Saturday. "They are a very talented group," he said. "They have given some pretty good teams fits, beating Kentucky and Auburn on the road. They like to do a bunch of different things in the secondary, disguising coverages, shifting around.

"Both of their defensive ends are very talented players. I'd say the strong point of their defense is Titus Brown. He gave us fits last year." Brown is from Tuscaloosa, as is Mississippi State Coach Sylvester Croom, a former Bama All-America player and longtime Tide assistant coach.

Wilson was asked about a couple of teammates. He noted that Jonathan Lowe, who got his first work at tailback last week, "runs hard. He's shifty and quick and makes guys miss him."

He said that when the opposing team is punting and the offense is getting ready to go back on the field, Wilson watches return specialist Javier Arenas. "He is the best I've seen," Wilson said. "He's the reason our offense has been able to start so many times on their side of the 50, which is huge."

Would Wilson like to have Arenas as a wide receiver? A qualified "yes." Wilson said, "He's doing a lot on defense (as a nickel and dime back). I don't know of too many guys playing offense, defense and special teams."

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