Monday, September 29, 2008

Tide left tackle Smith not worried about NFL Draft

TUSCALOOSA — Junior left tackle Andre Smith says he doesn’t want to think about the NFL draft. Not right now, not when his team is ranked No. 2 in the country. But his family sometimes comes up to Smith and tells him what draft experts say about him, that he is a potential first round pick.
“I’m always like, ‘Don’t come to me and tell me that,’” Smith said. “It doesn’t matter. I’m worried about this game this week. All that will take care of itself. I’m really just focused on the team. And us.”
• MORENO GOES WITH MOHAWK: Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno sported a slight Mohawk for Saturday. Unfortunately for Moreno, the new ‘do didn’t help him, as he had 34 yards on nine carries.
Moreno came into the game as a Heisman trophy candidate, but did not receive any carries in the fourth quarter. Georgia’s inability to run the ball made it difficult for the Bulldogs to use one of its favorite weapons: the play-action pass.
“We could play seven-man fronts and stop their runs,” Saban said. “So that means the defensive line did an outstanding job.”
• TIFFIN NOT A TACKLER: Kicker Leigh Tiffin doesn’t want to hang around on kick offs. He would like to boot the ball, watch someone else make the tackle and get off the field. That has rarely happened this year for Tiffin.
He has often found himself as one of the last lines of defense on kick coverage. Against Tulane, Green Wave linebacker Travis Burks knocked Tiffin into a daze on a kick return. He left after the play, then returned in the second half.
It happened to Tiffin again Saturday against Georgia. Though he never left the game, he said he is starting to think that maybe he needs to work a little more on his tackling.
“Coach says you’ve got to beat them with speed and you’ve got to avoid (blockers) the right way,” Tiffin said. “That’s important — avoiding to the ball. You’ve got to be smart about it. It’s an effort play, you’ve got to run hard down there.”
Tiffin has tried to avoid tackling this year by kicking the ball farther on kick offs. Tiffin has averaged 62.7 yards per kick this year. Last year he averaged 60.0 yards per kick.
“You’re looking at hang time and location. Those are two big factors,” Tiffin said. “You don’t always try to just rip the ball. Things can go haywire when you try to just kill the ball.”
• TIDE ANNOUNCE PLAYERS OF WEEK: The Crimson Tide announced its players of the week Monday. On offense, quarterback John Parker Wilson, wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Roy Upchurch were all recognized. On defense, linebacker Rolando McClain and safety Rashad Johnson were honored.
Kicker Leigh Tiffin, who kicked two field goals Saturday, was the Tide’s special teams player of the week.
• MCCOY HURTS HAMSTRING: Alabama might be without one of its starting wide receivers for Saturday’s game against Kentucky. Wideout Mike McCoy pulled his hamstring Saturday against Georgia and wore a non-contact jersey at practice. He was joined on the exercise bike by tight end Preston Dial who had arthroscopic surgery on his knee last week.
Freshman running back Mark Ingram bruised his knee against Georgia but was not limited in practice Monday.
— Josh Cooper

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