Saban & Alabama prep for Petrino & Arkansas

From the AP: Alabama coach Nick Saban wants to get one thing straight: Sacks aren’t the measure of a defense, they just look pretty on the stat sheet.

The third-ranked Crimson Tide didn’t get one against North Texas, but forced Nathan Tune to settle for quick dumpoffs and short passes. Sacks or no sacks, ‘Bama’s defensive front seven is awfully formidable and disruptive.

It’s not a bad quality to have with quarterback Ryan Mallett leading Arkansas and the nation’s No. 2 offense into Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday, when Saban said getting pressure with a four-man rush will be especially important to avoid leaving the defensive backs in a bind.

“Playing defense is a lot like being a pitcher. If you’re a one-pitch guy, they’re probably eventually going to hit you,” Saban said. “Even if you get good blitzes and you blitz all the time, eventually you’re going to live by the sword and die by the sword. If you’ve got a good changeup and can throw the slider on the side …

“Playing defense, especially when you’re playing against a really good quarterback, is a lot like that. If he knows what you’re doing all the time before he gets the ball in his hands, he’s going to be able to make good decisions and take advantage of them. You’ve got to be able to pitch a little bit.” (read the entire AP report embedded in this report)