TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For all the statistical categories the Alabama defense leads, the one lagging behind bothers the unit more than anything.
They crave more turnovers.
Through three games, the SEC leader in rushing and total defense has recovered just two fumbles — both on special teams — and intercepted one pass.
Cornerback Javier Arenas said there is no secret to increasing the fumble numbers.
“You just rip the ball out,” he said. “You have one guy holding him up and the rest of them try to snatch the ball out.”
The Tide defense had four takeaways in three games last season before finishing with 25 overall.
Linebacker Rolando McClain, who intercepted one pass, forced four and recovered two fumbles last fall, shares Arenas’ frustration.
“We have been playing so hard, but in order to be a great team, we need more takeaways,” McClain said. “I think we will get more takeaways as the season goes along, but for right now, we haven’t been getting them.”
McElroy the graduate
Earning his undergraduate degree in three years made Greg McElroy one happy quarterback. Although his masters program means taking night classes, McElroy’s mornings can involve more football work.
“It’s pretty enjoyable sleeping in and relaxing, watching film during the day,” McElroy said.
The quarterback was able to earn his bachelors degree so quickly by taking 15 hours each semester without dropping any classes while picking up 12-15 hours every summer.McElroy is one of 13 players on the Alabama roster who have undergraduate diplomas.
Cody ready to leap
Nose guard Terrence Cody doesn’t mind doing a little blocking on short yardage situations. Having a cornerback shove him from behind after one particular block in Saturday’s win over North Texas didn’t even bother him.
But did it take restraint not to push back?
“No, on the next play, I knocked him out the end zone,” he said of the play that Trent Richardson ran in for the 1-yard touchdown.
He also wouldn’t mind running the ball if the opportunity arose.
“I imagine I’d be running in the end zone and celebrating and doing the Lambeau leap,” he said drawing laughter from reporters. “No, I wouldn’t do that. I was just exaggerating.”