SPORTS SHORTS

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Alabama coach Mike Shula comments on upcoming game against Arkansas

“It’s obviously a big week for us, back in the SEC, playing our first game on the road in, from what I hear, one of the toughest places in the SEC if not maybe in the country to play. We’ve got, as usual three good days of preparation. We’ll probably have some crowd noise out there starting tomorrow and Thursday. We’ll change our travel plans up a little bit. We’ll leave a little earlier, go to the stadium and practice there.

“As far as our situation with Brodie’s (Croyle) surgery, he had surgery yesterday and it seemed to go fine and all that. Marc (Guillon) is our starter, and our guys, we all do, feel great about him coming in and taking advantage of this opportunity and playing well. He’s had a lot of experience in our system now with spring ball and during the course of training camp. It’s time for him to, like I said, take advantage of this opportunity.

“As a team, Arkansas is a team with a lot of size and a lot of speed. I remember saying the same thing last year about them. They’re big up front again with the offensive line. Matt Jones is an incredible athlete. He makes a lot of plays. His statistics speak for themselves.

He’s a playmaker. He’s going to be a guy our defense has got to somehow find a way to contain or slow down.

“Defensively, they’ve got very, very good team speed. They’re quick up front and they’re big up front. Yes, they’ve lost some starters but they’ve also had a lot of guys that are starting this year for the first time that have had experience because they’ve played a lot of guys last year, too. So it’s by far our biggest challenge of the year.”