The biggest matchup for this Saturday will be Alabama's lack of production on kick-off coverage, against Kentucky's nation leading 38.5 yard kickoff return average. That's right, they're tops in the country. If ever there was a game where it could really come back to bite us, it would be this one.
The one thing you don't want to do for a team you're favored against is give them a short field. Short fields lead to confidence. You don't want them to have ANY confidence whatsoever.
Now that I have your attention, I'll bring up that they've only had 6 kick returns for 231 yards. 1 of those was by Derrick Locke (who has had 3 of them), and it went the full 100 yards. There was only one more kick return against Western Kentucky, and that one went for 27 yards. So let's see. Take away the one kickoff return for 100 yards and you have an average of 26.2 yards per return. Sounds good to me. Before the 100 yarder, their longest return was for 40 yards against Middle Tennessee State.
Regardless, you know the speed is there, so everybody needs to be sure and fill their gaps, and don't get caught out of position...ahem, Eryk Anders...cough cough.
Another big thing to keep an eye on is our running backs protecting the football. We got lucky against Georgia that their linebacker hit JPW in the face on that third down, because Coffee dropped the football. Roy Upchurch fumbled once against Western Kentucky in the redzone as well. There have been others, but the biggest thing is to make sure you hold on to the football. The Wildcats have returned two fumbles for touchdowns in the first four games, so you know they'll be looking to strip the football.
I totally forgot to remind you guys that I'm a genious when it comes to picks. I went 4-1 last week to notch my record up to 14-8 after a dismal 6-6 start. If you're curious, here's the picks, and the scores were as follows:
Oregon St 27 - USC 21 (had Oregon St +25.5) W LSU 34 - Miss St 24 (had LSU -24.5) L Houston 41 - East Carolina 24 (had Houston +24.5) W South Florida 41 - NC State 10 (had S Fla -8.5) W Kentucky 41 - Western Kentucky 3 (had Kentucky -20.5) W
Yup. 4-1. That's pretty successful. Thursday we'll make some more picks and see if we can do even better.
Gregg Doyel from CBSSportsline.com has an interesting article trying to explain why coaches hate Nick Saban. He comes up with a pretty good explanation - because Saban outworks everybody else.
¶ 10:02 AM
The Alabama football team received stellar grades this week coming off a dominant 41-30 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. John Parker Wilson had one of the best games of his career completing an impressive 13 of 16 passes for 205 yards and 1 touchdown. 86 percent of the voters rewarded Wilson's performance with an "A". ------------------------------- Selleys