Oct. 5, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama began the new week of practices with an hour and 15 minutes of work in shells on Monday afternoon on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.
The team returns home after a 38-10 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday in Athens. The Crimson Tide’s next challenge will come when the team hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs are led by Bret Bielema, now in his third season in Arkansas, and sport a 2-3 (1-1 SEC) record after coming away from Knoxville with a 24-20 win last weekend.
The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks will meet at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 10 for a homecoming weekend matchup. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN with Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge manning the booth and Holly Rowe working the sidelines for the broadcast.
Alabama own the advantage in the series with Arkansas, 15-8 (18-7 before forfeited and vacated games), and is currently riding an eight-game winning streak against the Hogs. Alabama has also won five consecutive against Arkansas inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The most recent matchup occurred last season in Fayetteville, when the Crimson Tide posted a 14-13 win over the Razorbacks thanks to a blocked extra point by Jonathan Allen that would prove to be the difference in the game.
Earlier in the day, junior tailback Derrick Henry and freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley were recognized by the Southeastern Conference league offices with player of the week accolades. Henry earned his second Offensive Player of the Week honors from the conference thanks to his career-high 148 yards with one touchdown on 26 carries. Ridley earned Freshman of the Week after finishing his day in Athens with 120 yards and a touchdown on five catches, making himself the first UA freshman to record a 100-plus yard game since Amari Cooper in 2013 against Notre Dame.
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Head Coach Nick Saban
“After watching the film of the Georgia game, our players did a really good job in some tough circumstances and a tough situation relative to playing on the road and in that weather. I’m certainly proud of the statement they made in that game. They beat a good team. There’s obviously a lot of things that we can do better, clean up, and that’s certainly something we need to be committed too. You beat a good team, it is what it is and that’s it, and I think we did that because we prepared well and practiced well all week. We had really good focus in the game on execution and people doing their job. The effort and toughness was what we need to have success in our league. We are what we are as an identity only if it happens on a continual basis, so you always have the next challenge, the next game. You can look at teams all over the country that have “big wins” and then two weeks later they’re not so happy again. This is something that we need to build on, improve on and learn from so that we can continue to improve as a team, because we have many tough challenges, including the game that we have coming up this week.
“We did have a couple SEC players of the week – Derrick Henry on offense and Calvin Ridley as a freshman. Our players of the week were: (Offense) Derrick Henry, Jake Coker, Ryan Kelly and Calvin Ridley. (On) defense: Reggie Ragland, A’Shawn Robinson and Eddie Jackson. (On) special teams: Cyrus Jones, Adam Griffith and Minkah Fitzpatrick.
“We have a couple of guys that are a little nicked up, and at this time in the season some of those guys may not be able to practice on a Monday, but we expect everybody to be able to come back and practice tomorrow, so we really don’t’ have any big injuries to report.
“Arkansas, to me has a really, really good team. Everybody knows what a physical game it was last year. They have 16 starters back, and I know they have a couple receivers that are injured, but they have four of their offensive linemen back and a really good running back in Alex Collins. Quarterback Brandon Allen has been starting now for three years and is a very, very good player. Their defense is one of the tops against the run in the SEC. Overall, they have played better and better each week. (Head coach) Bret (Bielema) has done a really good job there of creating a lot of toughness, a physical team, to where you really have to have your jaw set to play well against the type of things that they do. They have been a very efficient, effective passing team to go with the great running game. This is going to be a real challenging game. We’re obviously looking forward to getting back home, playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I think the focus for us is really on good preparation, good focus when the game comes on execution, getting the kind of effort, toughness and discipline that we need to execute to have success.”