Alabama football notes: Tide cancels pair of games with Michigan State

Anniston StarSeptember 26, 2013 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama has canceled its home-and-home series with Michigan State.

The Crimson Tide and Spartans were scheduled to meet in Tuscaloosa in 2016 and East Lansing in 2017.

Alabama athletic director Bill Battle confirmed the news in a prepared statement.

"Michigan State graciously granted our request to cancel the games previously scheduled for the 2016 and 2017 seasons," Battle wrote. "We made the request due to the uncertainty of the conference football schedule in those years. We are very appreciative of Michigan State's willingness to grant that request."

The Detroit Free Press was the first to report the news.

With the cancellation of this series, only West Virginia in 2014 (Atlanta) and Wisconsin in 2015 (Dallas) remain as marque non-conference opponents.

Special game for White

Saturday's game against Ole Miss will be a special one for wide receiver DeAndrew White.

This time last year, White's season ended when a knee injury against the Rebels sidelined him for the rest of the 2012 season. Before the injury, he had eight catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns in four-plus games.

"It's motivation," White said. "That was my last game of the season last year. I look forward to the game. I'm working really hard. The team is working really hard for this game. We can't wait."

White has picked up where he left off before the injury. Through three games, White leads the Crimson Tide with 161 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

"I've felt pretty good, pretty confident," White said. "It feels good to be back with the team this year so I can't complain."

White has been apart of two of the Tide's most explosive pass plays this season. He caught a 44-yard flea-flicker touchdown pass from quarterback AJ McCarron against Texas A&M and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against Colorado State.

"He's just stepped up. Kind of had his moments last year before he hurt his knee," linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "Kind of showed that in previous years and he just had that knee surgery. I'm just happy for him to be making plays now. He's been a good player on special teams and he's a speedy, quick receiver. I expect more big plays from him."

Saban on Rebels receivers

Ole Miss' top two receivers are not only threats to make big plays, but they are also capable of blocking well on the perimeter to help spring the Rebel's running backs.

Junior Donte Moncrief and true freshman Laquon Treadwell are both listed at 6-foot-3, while Moncrief weighs in at 226-pounds with Treadwell coming in at 215-pounds.

"I think Ole Miss receivers are big, they're very physical guys, they're very athletic and they all have really good hands and they're capable of making difficult catches," Saban said. "They're difficult guys to cover because they're big busy and they're athletic guys."

A big focus for the Tide's secondary will be shedding blocks and not getting pushed down field.

"They are very physical guys on the perimeter in terms of their blocking and I think that defensive backs have to be very aggressive," Saban said. "Hand placement is important so that you can control your blocker and disengage so that you get in position to make the tackle."

Freeze on Bama's defense

Despite a few early season struggles, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze doesn't see a ton of difference in Alabama's defense.

"Watching them on tape, it hasn't changed much from the last few years," Freeze said. "You see a team that is very, very disciplined, does not get out of position. They understand what they've asked of them and what everyone else is doing. They play extremely hard and physical.

"Even the plays they've given up this year, their kids are in the right spot and just maybe lost a 1-on-1 battle with one of the players that made a play."

Freeze doesn't expect to make a lot of big plays against the Tide's defense.

"The teams that are like that, No. 1 you don't get many explosive plays on them and No. 2 it's very hard to sustain drives of 70 and 75 and 80 yards," Freeze said. "It's very, very difficult to do that and come away with points. Very solid defense."

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