The University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team is working to improve the offensive line’s performance on the field during practice this week. Offensive lineman Anthony Steen said that while the offensive line showed more maturity during Saturday’s game than it did at this time last year, the players continue to eliminate imperfections they experienced in Dallas, Texas.
The offensive line is also improving their performance in the I-formation the team used many times against The University of Michigan. The Tide’s five linemen are not intimidated that the formation invites eight defensive players into the box. Steen said practice with this type of play has allowed the offensive line to become comfortable with this formation and the threat from opposing defenses.
“We do so many reps during the week, we’re prepared for anything right now,” the offensive lineman said. “It’s a little unfair, but we’re going to make do.”
The offensive line is also working this week to sell pass plays as rushing plays. Steen said they are doing a better job of allowing quarterback AJ McCarron time to find receivers downfield. Defensive back Dee Milliner said the defense is practicing techniques of handling these plays from the other side during practice. He said the defense is beginning to distinguish fakes by both the quarterback and receivers. The defensive back said the team is also working to eliminate long passes, like the two they rendered to the Wolverines, by focusing on what the opposing team’s wide receivers are doing and watching film of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Milliner wore a brace for practice Tuesday to prevent further harm to a minor injury he received during Saturday’s game. The defensive back said he fell on his hand, bending it back in a play against the Wolverines, but the injury was nothing serious. Milliner said he was proud of the way he performed in Dallas last weekend, but said that he and his teammates would not let the win influence the way they played in the upcoming game against the Hilltoppers. The junior said the team is focusing on each opponent week by week in order to win each game this season.
Milliner said the team has been poised in practice, despite playing a smaller school.
“We never treat any team like they’re lower than another team we play,” Milliner said. “We treat every team like they’re highly ranked.”
Milliner said he is looking to have another performance like the one he had in Dallas, in which he recorded five tackles, an interception and broke up four passes. He credits his interception to making what he called a “great jam” against the Wolverine receiver Roy Roundtree. Milliner said he did not know Roundtree stepped out of bounds during the play until he had caught the ball and started running with no one trailing him. Milliner said he has received flak from his teammates for being tackled by Wolverine quarterback Denard Robinson.
- Milliner had a brace during Tuesday’s practice
- Steen’s shoe came off during the game
- Milliner made an interception