It might not be the prettiest, or even the most effective way Alabama can move the ball, but coach Nick Saban likes what he sees when Jake Coker carries the ball.
“Sometimes I wish he wouldn’t take the hits, but I kind of like to see the other team’s reaction when he does that,” Saban said. “I kind of like it when he runs over them. It’s the personality of the player… I don’t want to take his aggressiveness away because we’re fearful something bad is going to happen.”
Alabama has spent seven consecutive weeks competing on the gridiron. There is a bye week in sight, but first the Crimson Tide has to face a Tennessee team that might have finally figured out how to win football games against ranked opponents after beating then No. 19 Georgia its last time out.
Saban said physically the players are in good condition to play this week. Alabama will need to come out with the right mindset if the Crimson Tide wants to extend its winning streak over Tennessee to nine games.
“They came back and beat somebody when they were behind 24-3 that’s a pretty good team,” Saban said. “This is the best team they’ve had for a while.
He said this Tennessee team could easily be undefeated or have only one loss heading into this game. On Saturday Coker might not be the only quarterback turning heads with scrambles.
Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs has a history of carrying the ball with success. After the Georgia game he joined Tim Tebow and Johnny Manziel as the only SEC players in the last two decades to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 yards in the same game.
“You can tell he’s got a great understanding of what the expectation is for him and what he needs to do on offense,” Saban said. “I’ve seen the players responding positively to him. I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that the guy is really playing well.”
It appears center Ryan Kelly is expected to be able to play this Saturday. He is currently undergoing concussion protocol and will resume normal activities when the medical staff clears him to do so. Kelly’s presence on the field could be crucial when “The Third Saturday in October” gets underway.
“I think the Tennessee game is a special game to a lot of people in the state of Alabama because of the tradition and the rivalry that exists here for a long, long time,” Saban said. “It’s most certainly a special game to us and our team to try to get ready to play a very good game against a very good Tennessee team.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports