The Crimson Tide and Volunteers are scheduled for a 2:30 p.m. CT showdown on CBS this Saturday
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team returned to full practice for an hour and 15 minutes of work in shells on Monday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
This past weekend, the Crimson Tide defeated another top-20 opponent on the road, this time handing the then No. 16/18 Arkansas Razorback a 49-30 defeat in Fayetteville, Ark. Next on the schedule for Alabama is a matchup in Knoxville with No. 9/11 Tennessee. The annual “Third Saturday in October” contest is set for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Neyland Stadium on CBS. Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson will call the game from the booth with Allie LaForce on the sidelines.
The Volunteers enter Saturday’s game with a 5-1 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play. Tennessee is led by head coach Butch Jones, who owns a 26-16 mark in his fourth season in Knoxville and a 76-45 career record between Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide and Volunteers will meet for the 99th time in a rivalry series that dates back to the 1901 season. Alabama holds the all-time series advantage, 52-38-7 (53-37-8 actual), and has won the last nine matchups between the two squads. Most recently, the Tide took down Tennessee, 19-14, at Bryant-Denny Stadium a season ago.
Earlier in the day, freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts was named to the Davey O’Brien “Great 8” list for his performance against Arkansas. Hurts completed 76.4 percent of his passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for two more scores against the Razorbacks.
Nick Saban met with the media on Monday afternoon. Following is his opening statement:
“I have some of the same comments after watching the film against Arkansas. I think we had some lapses in the game. We are still searching to be able to play a complete game. When we got ahead in the game, we sort of relaxed a bit and didn’t play with the same intensity, and it really affected how we played in the second half. We didn’t control the ball at all; we only had the ball for 17 plays and turned it over a couple of times. The defense ended up playing over 50 plays in the second half, and you’re not really in control of the game when you do that regardless of what the score is. I think we all need to learn some lessons from (the second half of play). It was a great win for us, and I am really happy some of our players were recognized. Minkah Fitzpatrick is the national defense player of the week and SEC Player of the Week. J.K. Scott on special teams and Jalen Hurts as a freshman (were also named SEC Players of the Week). These guys have played extremely well, and we are very pleased with that.
“From an injury standpoint, we have a couple guys that will be out today, but hopefully they will be back. We are a little banged up after this game, not serious things, but things that may require another days rest for several guys including Rueben Foster and Alphonse Taylor.
“Tennessee – this game is a really big rivalry game and a special one for a lot of people in our state that are our supporters and fans. Obviously it’s a big game for our players, as well. It’s very challenging to play this game on the road, as it always is, because there is always a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Tennessee, I think, has an outstanding team. They lost one game this year to Texas A&M – who also has a really good team – in overtime. They have a lot of veteran players returning, I think 18 starters from last year. Their quarterback is doing an outstanding job for them. He’s a dual-threat guy, and he’s very difficult to defend. They have a very good offensive scheme in terms of being able to run the ball. They have made a lot of explosive plays. The skill players that they have make them very difficult to defend, and I think they have gotten better each year on defense and certainly their defense has played a lot better this year and has been very, very difficult to defend. This is a very, very good team, for sure a top-10 team in the country, and it’s going to be a very challenging game for us.”