- Cullman, Alabama

November 17, 2012

Alabama Notebook: Defense rebounds over hapless Catamounts

By Trent Moore
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA — After giving up a ton of yardage the past two weeks to LSU and Texas A&M, the Alabama Crimson Tide defense worked out some of the kinks late Saturday morning against a hapless Western Carolina (1-10) team in a 49-0 bloodbath.

The experts never really expected the Southern Conference Catamounts to put up much of a fight, but a Tide D that got embarrassed in the loss to A&M last week looked fired up to make a point this week even after the end result was well in hand.

Alabama held Western Carolina to just 163 total yards, and squashed every chance the Catamounts had to get near the red zone.

“I was pleased with the way our guys competed in the game today. I think we went out there and tried to play up to a standard and executed fairly well,” Head Coach Nick Saban said. “There are always things you can clean up, no question ... Our guys played the way we wanted to play.”

Before the second team checked in to finish things off, Bama held Western Carolina to just 40 total yards of offense in the first half. After the Catamounts recovered a fumbled punt return at the Tide’s 30 yard line, the D stiffened. Already in field goal range, Western Carolina tried a throwback pass that was fumbled and scooped up by Bama’s Deion Belue for a 57-yard defensive touchdown giving the Tide a 42-0 edge at the half.

Though Belue had the wherewithal to make the play, he gave all the credit to the coaches for putting him in the right place on the field to begin with.

“First of all, it had to do with the play call because if it weren’t for the play call, I wouldn’t have been in that position, and then when the play is there, you got to take advantage of it,” Belue said following the game. “It was a great feeling getting my first touchdown at the University of Alabama. It was great.”

The Tide’s offensive explosion may have slowed down in the second half, but the fresh faces coming off the bench never let up on defense, forcing several three-and-outs and giving the ball back to the Bama offense to pound away.

Saban said that deep rotation should pay dividends in the future.

“I think one of the good things about today is, probably should have mentioned it in the beginning, was the opportunity to play a lot of players,” Saban said. “I think for some guys all their hard work that they do is certainly appreciated and we were happy to play as many players as we did. It’s hard for me to say, I thought the second defense guys played a little better today ... Hopefully their confidence and maturity is going to help the depth of our team.”

Linebacker C.J. Moseley led Bama with six total tackles, with safety Nick Perry close behind with five tackles. Safety Vinnie Sunseri notched the Tide’s only sack.