Tana Patrick's forced fumble was not luck

Anniston StarNovember 12, 2013 

Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Maxwell Smith (11) took a hard hit by Alabama linebacker Tana Patrick (11) and defensive lineman Korren Kirven (85) as #1 Alabama defeated Kentucky 48-7 Alabama on Saturday October 12, 2013 in Lexington, Ky. Photos by Mark Cornelison | Staff


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Linebacker Tana Patrick said it was the biggest play of his Alabama career.

With C.J. Mosley and Trey DePriest ahead of him on the depth chart, Patrick doesn't play many snaps, but he had a significant impact on the Crimson Tide's victory over LSU on Saturday.

LSU fullback J.C. Copeland was ready to walk in for a touchdown. Zach Mettenberger put his hands up in celebration of the potential score, but Copeland didn't secure the ball.

"I didn't think I could stop him from getting in the end zone with the angle I was at," Patrick said. "He was carrying it kind of loose, so I just went for the strip."

But the forced fumble wasn't luck.

"We do it every day," Patrick said. "It's something the coaches try to get into us every day."

Tide coach Nick Saban said Patrick has always been ready to play whatever role necessary.

"He never gets disappointed, never gets frustrated," Saban said. "He's always upbeat and positive. He's played for us all year on the goal line. That was certainly a huge play in the game early on when we weren't playing well. It made a huge difference in the outcome of the game, too, I'm sure. We're very excited and happy to see him make the play but it was great for our team as well.

Cyrus Kouandjio wants a touchdown

Left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio has jokingly spoken about scoring a touchdown in a game. Now, after seeing Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive tackle Donald Penn catch a tackle-eligible touchdown on Monday night, Kouandjio wants his dream to become a reality.

"I'm thinking about it. I saw a play last night. I've forgotten the team," Kouandjio said. "But it was a tackle eligible and he scored a touchdown. I talked to Coach (Doug) Nussmeier about that this morning. He said he'd look into it. I'm going to keep pushing for it, see if we can come up with an agreement between me and Coach Nussmeier. They'd never see that coming, right? They'd never see it coming."

Kouandjio said he'd stay on Nussmeier about calling his number and isn't opposed to asking running back T.J. Yeldon to "sneak the ball under my armpit at the goalline and let me run the ball in there."

Tight end O.J. Howard receives praise

One of the more impressive aspects of Tide tight end O.J. Howard's 52-yard touchdown was the speed he showed to outrun the LSU defensive back even though the defender had a good angle on him.

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood said he's never seen a tight end move like that other than in the NFL.

"Oh no definitely not," Norwood said. "I mean, I've watched Howard just practice and run routes and stuff like that throughout the whole season and the offseason. He's just been that type of guy. When you can have a tight end who can outrun DBs and secondary, it's just a weapon for us."

Right tackle Cyrus Kouandjio said as a true freshman, Howard has the ability to do things fifth-year players can't.

"He's one of those guys when they first get here on campus you see what he does and you think, 'Okay, this guy is something special,'" Kouandjio said. "He's showing flashes of things that guys who have been here five years can't do. I am really proud of him for stepping up in the LSU game. I talked to him before the game and he was a little nervous. The big LSU game and he's just come from high school, a freshman. He came out of his shell and did what he was trained to do, and we're all proud of him for that."

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