Top-ranked Crimson Tide knows Chris Petersen will throw in reverses, double passes and flea-flickers to complement offense.
Alabama’s Jonathan Allen is tough to please. High achievers can be that way.
Allen is certainly a high achiever, having already earned honors including SEC Defensive Player of the Year and unanimous All-American while collecting the Chuck Bednarik Award, the Bronko Nagurski Award and also being named a 2016 Alabama permanent team captain.
So, Allen’s standards are pretty high.
He holds his defense to those same standards, too. Especially when it comes to plays, including trick plays, the defense has worked on all week and don’t get right.
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He still seethes about one his unit allowed against Western Kentucky earlier this season.
“(They) got a flea-flicker. I’m still pissed off about that,” Allen said. “We practiced it the whole week. We didn’t execute, so that’s the one I remember.”
That flea-flicker went for 59 yards, and it still eats at Allen.
Trick plays will be of central importance as Alabama prepares for Washington, coached by Chris Petersen, one of the game’s best at coming up with off-the-wall and effective plays. He’s still remembered for the hook-and-ladder and Statue of Liberty plays he used to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl when he was coaching at Boise State.
He’s brought that innovative mind with him to Washington.
“It’s a big focus because they score a lot of points on trick plays,” UA coach Nick Saban said. “They have some dandies. We have a whole reel of them … But it takes a lot of discipline in terms of everybody doing their job and having disciplined eye control – double passes, throwbacks to the quarterback, throw it to the quarterback (and) he throws it to somebody else. I mean, they have lots of reverses.
“They have a lot of things – and they’re not junk plays, now, they’re very well-conceived, designed things that complement their offense. I think that’s what makes them difficult to defend, and they’ve made big plays and scored a lot of points off those things this year and through the years.”
The defense has just begun digging into the Washington offense, but players are already aware of the Huskies’ knack for trickeration.
“We’ve looked at it a little bit, but the thing about trick plays is that if every man does his job and they’re disciplined, that’s kind of how you stop trick plays,” Allen said. “We’re just going to be practicing by doing the fundamental things right and reading the keys, tackling, running to the ball, communicating. If we do those things, we should be fine.
“Whenever you can stop the offense for no gain or a negative gain that’s what we get the most satisfaction from and creating turnovers and scoring on defense. It’s always good when you can stop a trick play.”