The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

September 30, 2013

Fired-up Alabama defense makes statement

(Continued)

The Tide contained speedy tailback Jeff Scott and allowed Ole Miss only 46 rushing yards, while getting two sacks from Denzel Devall. Devall also forced a fumble by Wallace with 5:15 left.

"They beat us on some 1-on-1s up front, on runs that we thought should have been good," Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said. "When you're not running the ball effectively against great teams, it makes for a long night. It makes it very difficult.

"They did a really nice job of mixing things up, keeping us off balance and disguising things. It seemed like every time we thought we had a bead on them, we missed something we thought should have been good and they had it played perfectly."

Alabama freshman Eddie Jackson appears to have settled into the starting cornerback job opposite Deion Belue. Jackson, who didn't play in the first two games, has replaced John Fulton for the past two. He picked off a pass one play after getting burned for a long gain.

Belue said Jackson's emergence has helped bring the secondary together since the Texas A&M game.

"We finally found a piece to our secondary, so that we all can come together and mesh together and that was a big deal in that situation," he said. "It came out to be a big deal when we added Eddie Jackson to our secondary."

The performance came a week after Alabama turned in an unimpressive performance against Colorado State. That prompted players to speak up and coach Nick Saban to hold a series of meetings with individual players.

The Tide was limited to three field goals by Cade Foster in the first half, but instead of criticizing, Saban pointed to lofty standards having something to do with perception of events on the field.

"You can be critical about kicking three field goals, can be critical about a lot of things, but if you're critical it's only because you have expectations for something that this team still needs to improve," he said. "I think everybody is committed to trying to do that.

"That's what we're going to be committed to."

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