Alabama's Julio Jones burns UT strategy with big night

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to his players during a timeout of the game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010.

Photo by Adam Brimer

Alabama head coach Nick Saban talks to his players during a timeout of the game against Tennessee at Neyland Stadium Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010.

Game recap: UT vs. Alabama

There was no fire-and-brimstone speech in the Alabama locker room at halftime of what was then a tight SEC battle.

Just a simple message delivered by Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban.

"I just said that, 'Everything will be more fun guys if we play with more intensity,' " said Saban, whose Alabama team held a 13-10 lead at intermission.

"And that's basically what I think we did. I was really proud of the way we came out and dominated in the second half of the game.''

The seventh-ranked Crimson Tide scored on its first four drives of the second half en route to a 41-10 victory over Tennessee before a crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium Saturday night.

It was Alabama's largest margin of victory over the Vols in Knoxville in the series' storied history.

Even so, Saban was quick to give the Vols (2-5 overall, 0-4 SEC) credit for their game plan and aggressiveness in the first half against Alabama (7-1, 4-1).

"Tennessee, even though I thought we had good intensity and played tough in the first half . . . they had a good plan and they took advantage of some things,'' Saban said.

"We just needed to ramp it up a notch or two to get to their level, and I think we wore them down in the second half.''

Alabama receiver Julio Jones wore out the Vols' cornerbacks throughout the night, setting a single-game school record with 221 yards on 12 catches.

"We had Julio one-on-one; we'll take that match up all day long,'' said Tide quarterback Greg McElroy, who was 21-of-32 passing for 264 yards.

Jones, whose record broke the previous mark of 217 yards set by David Palmer against Vanderbilt in 1993, credited his offensive line for its protection and McElroy for making the right reads.

"We just took what they gave us, and it was one-on-one,'' Jones said.

"Sometimes, they brought a safety toward me, and we took advantage on the times they didn't.''

Saban said the Vols' defense forced the issue from the onset of the game.

"Lots of man-to-man, lots of close coverage, lots of guys in the box,'' Saban said. "We knew we'd have to beat them throwing the ball, and that was the real key in the game.

"They were squatting on the routes so we had no choice but to try to throw it over their heads.''

Saban didn't seem as concerned about Tauren Poole breaking the Tide's 41-game streak of no opposing running back going over 100 yards - previously the longest active streak of its kind in the nation - as he was about Poole's 59-yard first-half TD scamper.

"We were in a stunt, and I don't know who missed their gap or what happened,'' Saban said. "He broke it inside and we had a (free) safety coming outside.''

Alabama strong safety Mark Barron wound up being the Tide's closest man in pursuit.

"I was expecting someone would force him back toward me,'' Barron said. "He just did a great job on that play.''

Poole finished with 117 yards on 14 carries, becoming the first back to crack the century mark on Alabama since New England Patriots' tailback and former Ole Miss runner Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis went for 131 yards during the 2007 season.

Poole was held to just 20 yards rushing in the second half, as the Tide adjusted to new twists and shifts the Vols added in their off-week.

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Comments » 10

VolFaninDC writes:

Largest margin of victory in Knoxville. Thanks Mike Hamilton for the great state of UT football. You've really done right by us.

KFDLaw writes:

In most games, three strikes and you are out. Mike Hamilton has at least four. His latest debacle involving buying out the North Carolina game was just another in a line of "business" moves. Tonight's runaway victory by Alabama is the result of Hamilton's management strategy. I doubt things will improve in Neyland until MH cleans out his desk.

scvols writes:

Hamilton this, Hamilton that, if Kiffin had stayed we would have had a top 10 recuiting class last year and half our players would not had left. Yes, Hamilton could have had a larger buyout in Kiffins contract, but who saw that coming. My worry now is Dooley, I just do not see the play makers being drawn here.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Splattered.

Wore us out in that 3rd.

Hang in their Vols and get ready for Superior.

huntined#565710 writes:

We can play with any team in the country for one half it looks like another team comes out after the half..I suggest they just stay on the field and not go in at half..Either they are trying to COACH THEM UP too much or no COACHING AT ALL..

DooleysOrangePants writes:

i knew this year was gonna be bad but i at least expected to see improvment as the year went on. dooley better win the last 4. no chance against carolina next week.

orangezone writes:

We will have to double cover Ashlon next week. No choice there. Our secondary needs to play much better next week obviously.

quickslant writes:

Things WILL get better, but man those db's we have need some work...
I really thought the D in general would be better.

mercyseat writes:

in response to naffy:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I could'nt have said it better and, add Art Evans and Prentis Waggner. I just want to vomit on them!

Volumnus writes:

Once again, the defense can't count. No reason for this.

The good thing is we did not get anyone seriously hurt, which given the size difference was a good possibility. The size, the speed and the depth gap was too much from the outset. The outcome was predictable, but the guys lived to play again next week.

Go Vols

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