Another week has passed since Alabama lost to Ole Miss, but the Crimson Tide is still dealing with the fallout.
For the first time since 2009 Alabama is expected to lose a game according to the odds makers. Alabama is already “behind the eight ball” as cornerback Cyrus Jones put it. The Crimson Tide cannot afford another loss in conference play right now.
“I think we take pride in our reputation that we’ve built around here the last few years and the standard we hold ourselves to every time we go out to play,” Jones said. “The fact that we are an underdog gives us that much more motivation to go out and reclaim our reputation.”
Ryan Kelly said the team is not worried about what anyone on the outside thinks good or bad. This is not a coping measure for a team that is trying to overcome a loss. Kelly said praise can also be detrimental to the team.
On Saturday No. 13 Alabama travels to Athens, Georgia to take on the eight ranked Bulldogs for the first regular season meeting of the teams since 2008. On offense the team will have to battle against not only Georgia’s team, but its fans as Alabama hits plays in its first true road game of the season.
“We do crowd noise simulations inside,” Kelly said. “Coach [Nick] Saban’s going to do a great job of making sure all the offensive linemen and the entire offense in general are on the same page every play.”
A big part of that offense will rest on quarterback Jake Coker’s shoulders. Kelly said he is confident Coker will be prepared for his first true road start at Georgia. He said winning the job has not changed the effort Coker puts into his preparation process.
Communication will be a challenge for the offense this weekend, but the defense defensive side of the ball would also like to communicate better going forward. Linebacker Reggie Ragland said last week’s shutout was a good showing by the defense, but he still sees room for improvement.
“You have to be stingy,” Ragland said. “If teams can’t score, they can’t win. So we have to come out and just prevent teams from scoring.”
It’s unlikely that Alabama will shutout Georgia on the road, but a few players do remember the last time they faced the BulIdogs almost three years ago. Jones said the atmosphere was crazy.
“I was a young guy, so I got most of my action on special teams,” Jones said. “I was watching those guys go out there and compete. It was a great thing to be a part of.”
The last time Alabama and Georgia competed an SEC championship was on the line. Alabama might not be in the driver’s seat in the west right now, but this game could still determine if either team makes it to Atlanta.
“We’ve had one-loss seasons where we’ve still won national championships,” Kelly said. “It’s not the end of the world.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports