Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban said star receiver Julio Jones and running back Roy Upchurch will practice today (Monday). Saban said both players will be evaluated day-to-day this week. Demetrius Goode is expected back later this week as he rehabs a hyper-extended knee.
One item that could cause Alabama fans concern this week is Arkansasâ€™ return game. Saban said the Razorbacks have one of the better kick return teams in the country. According to the SEC, â€œArkansas’ Dennis Johnson is third in the SEC and 10th in the nation in kickoff returns, averaging 35.6 yards per return. He had a 91-yarder for a score against Missouri State.â€ With Alabamaâ€™s kickoff coverage problems, this could loom large as the Crimson Tide opens SEC play.
Saban also talked about Bobby Petrinoâ€™s offense. The Alabama football coach said, Arkansasâ€™ offense is â€œvery very dangerous in making big plays through the passing game.â€ He described the offense as a sophisticated pro-style offense that is balanced by running the ball enough to keep defenses honest.
To combat an offense with a good quarterback that makes big plays, a defense usually must disguise its coverages and pressures, Saban said. He compared this to a pitcher who has different pitches in his arsenal.
Another important thing will be pressure.
â€œIt is most critical to be able to rush three and four guys and get some pressure,â€ Saban said. This was something the coach said the Tide did not do a very good job of in the past. â€œI think it is going to be really important that we do that in this game.â€