published Monday, October 28th, 2013

Sizzling Alabama happy to have some time off


Alabama cornerback Deion Belue, shown here Saturday tackling Tennessee receiver Jason Croom, is one of several Crimson Tide players who are glad to have an open date this week.
Alabama cornerback Deion Belue, shown here Saturday tackling Tennessee receiver Jason Croom, is one of several Crimson Tide players who are glad to have an open date this week.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BCS STANDINGS

1. Alabama

2. Oregon

3. Florida State

4. Ohio State

5. Stanford

6. Baylor

7. Miami

8. Clemson

9. Missouri

10. Oklahoma

For the first time in its storied football history, Alabama has defeated three consecutive Southeastern Conference opponents by 35 or more points.

That momentum will be placed on hold this week as the Crimson Tide have their second open date of the season. Their first break came before the anticipated Sept. 14 trip to Texas A&M, and this hiatus will precede a Nov. 9 visit from LSU.

"It's much-needed for us," Alabama cornerback Deion Belue said after Saturday's 45-10 defeat of Tennessee. "In the SEC, you bang hard every week, so you need time for your body to rest up. We've got LSU, so we know they're going to come in and bang some more."

The Crimson Tide will carry an 8-0 overall record and a 5-0 SEC mark into their matchup with LSU, and they will likely be the No. 1 team in the BCS rankings. Alabama sat atop Sunday night's second installment of the BCS standings, with Oregon the new No. 2 and Florida State dropping to No. 3.

Alabama will have today off before practicing Tuesday through Thursday, and coach Nick Saban said not all that time will be devoted to LSU. The Tigers are 7-2 overall, 3-2 in SEC play and will have open dates this week and after the game in Tuscaloosa.

"I think you can practice too long against one team, and we've got two really good other SEC opponents [Mississippi State and Auburn] that we have to play at the end of the year," Saban said. "We'll spend some time trying to help our players understand some of the different things that they might do. We'll probably spend one extra day on LSU this week.

"I think any time you have a little extra time it's helpful, but I also think that players sort of get in a rhythm in terms of how they prepare for a game. I think this extra time will help us heal up and get healthy and get some rest."

Junior nose guard Brandon Ivory started the first seven games but missed Saturday's game against Tennessee due to what Saban only described as "medical reasons." Junior running back Jalston Fowler suffered a concussion in the first half Saturday and did not return.

LSU has been the only SEC team to defeat Alabama more than once since the start of the 2008 season, defeating the Crimson Tide 24-21 at Baton Rouge in 2010 and 9-6 in overtime two years ago in Tuscaloosa. Auburn, Florida, South Carolina and Texas A&M have beaten Alabama once in the same stretch.

The Tigers nearly won a third meeting since '08 over Saban's Tide when the two collided last season, but a 28-yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron to tailback T.J. Yeldon with 51 seconds remaining enabled the Crimson Tide to pull out a 21-17 thriller at Tiger Stadium.

"I think everybody needs time to heal before getting ready for another physical game, and that's what we're going to do," Tide receiver Kevin Norwood said. "I'm expecting an exciting game, and I always look forward to playing these guys."

Said defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan: "The open date is definitely going to help us out, because LSU is always a tough team."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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