The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 12, 2012

Tigers not finger-pointing with Alabama up next

(Continued)

Missouri is just 88th in the nation in time of possession at 28 minutes and 21 seconds, putting the burden on a defense that's sagged at the end of the half and end of the game.

It's rare during the Gary Pinkel years for the defense to carry such responsibility. But that's just the way it is right now, and all segments are far from perfect.

"It's just us playing for each other," Edwards said. "That's really what it all boils down to. You can't just blame the offense, you can't just blame the defense, you can't just blame the special teams. You have to blame us as a whole. We haven't played four quarters of football yet."

Production has slid due injuries at quarterback and on the line for an offense that's not so high-powered, ranked just 95th in the nation. Quarterback James Franklin will be sidelined several weeks with a sprained left knee, and the banged-up line includes the first freshman to start under Pinkel, a redshirt freshman, a former walk-on and a sixth-year senior tackle, Elvis Fisher, playing hurt.

"They've had some problems and issues this year with some very good players being injured," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "Regardless of those circumstances and situations, I think they have some very good players who are filling in and are very capable."

Backup quarterback Corbin Berkstresser was just 9 for 30 for 189 yards and a touchdown last week in relief of Franklin.

"He's not the first quarterback who's ever had a tough day," Pinkel said. "One thing we're not going to do, we don't make any drastic changes. That would be kind of the worst thing to do."

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