Alabama Crimson Tide: Corbin Berkstresser

SEC lunchtime links

August, 8, 2013
8/08/13
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"College Football Live" and its Summer Tour stops in Alabama today. Tom Rinaldi and Todd McShay will check in on Nick Saban, AJ McCarron and Co. Catch them throughout the day on "SportsCenter" and on CFB Live at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Here are some other things from around the SEC that you may find interesting.
  • Alabama's deep group of receivers may make this year's offense one of the best in school history, receiver Kenny Bell says.
  • Auburn fullback Jay Prosch draws strength from his faith and family as he tries to overcome his mother's death.
  • Georgia's offense didn't exactly light it up in the Bulldogs' first scrimmage.
  • LSU is trying to make sure its players act responsibly when using social media.
  • Kentucky forced just 13 turnovers last season and the Wildcats are making that a point of emphasis during the preseason.
  • Vanderbilt receiver Jonathan Krause is trying to rebound from a season in which he was the forgotten man on offense.
  • Florida having a successful season doesn't hinge on the quarterback, receivers or offensive line. It depends on how well the linebackers develop. The Gators did lose one of the country's top kick returners on Wednesday when the school announced that Andre Debose had suffered a torn ACL.
  • Texas A&M running back Ben Malena is a steadying force in the Aggies' backfield.
  • Five former college quarterbacks weigh in on how they believe Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel has handled his success.
  • Missouri still hasn't settled on a starting quarterback. James Franklin, is trying to hold off redshirt freshman Maty Mauk and sophomore Corbin Berkstresser.
  • Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze is frustrated with quarterback Bo Wallace's decision making.
  • TCU coach Gary Patterson took a shot at LSU coach Les Miles for reinstating running back Jeremy Hill after allowing teammates to vote to return to the team.

Five storylines: Alabama-Tennessee 

October, 18, 2012
10/18/12
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 1 Alabama travels to face Tennessee on Saturday for another edition of The Third Saturday in October. The Tide (6-0, 3-0 SEC) have won five in a row in the series and haven’t lost to the Volunteers since 2006. Tennessee hasn't beaten a No. 1 team since 1985 when it upset Auburn at home.

Here's five storylines for the game:

FIVE STORYLINES

3 Up, 3 Down: Bama 42, Missouri 10 

October, 14, 2012
10/14/12
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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- A look at the good and bad from Alabama's 42-10 win over Missouri on the road on Saturday afternoon.

THREE UP
1. Running game: Eddie Lacy wasted no time taking advantage of the Missouri defense, sprinting 73 yards for a score on the second play from scrimmage. He finished the game with 178 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. His cohort in the backfield, freshman T.J. Yeldon, was no slouch, either. He ran for 144 yards and two touchdowns of his own. All told, Alabama averaged 7.7 yards per rush attempt.

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COLUMBIA, Mo. -- It looked like the only thing that could stop the University of Alabama in the first half was the weather, and that’s exactly what happened.

With the Crimson Tide leading Missouri 27-0 midway through the second quarter, lightning strikes in the area delayed the game for 40 minutes. Alabama never really looked the same after the delay, but still won easily, 42-10.

Alabama rushed for 351 yards against the Tigers. Both Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon easily surpassed the 100-yard mark, and all six of the Tide’s touchdowns came on the ground. Quarterback AJ McCarron finished 16-of-21 for 171 yards.

It was over when: On the second play from scrimmage, Lacy broke a 73-yard touchdown run to give Alabama a quick lead. The Tide scored the game’s first 28 points, and although Missouri made it competitive in the second half, it was clear who the better team was on Saturday. Lacy finished with 176 yards and three touchdowns.

Game ball goes to: Lacy may have had more rushing yards in the game, but it’s Yeldon, a true freshman, who gets the game ball. On a day when McCarron and the offense struggled at times, especially in the second half, Yeldon kept making plays. He had 18 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and he helped put the game out of reach.

Stat of the game: Missouri’s lone touchdown came on a 98-yard kickoff return from Marcus Murphy. It the fourth time Murphy has returned a kick for a touchdown this season, which sets a school record. He had taken three punts back for scores through the first six games.

Unsung hero: Alabama’s C.J. Mosley set the tone early for the defense. The junior linebacker rocked Mizzou quarterback Corbin Berkstresser twice in the first quarter and seemed to make plays all over the field. As a whole, the defense held the Tigers to 152 total yards and forced three turnovers.

What it means for Alabama: The game couldn’t have started any better for the nation’s No. 1 team. Alabama jumped out to a 27-0 lead midway through the second quarter and looked unbeatable, but then the lightning struck. A 40-minute weather delay stopped the Tide’s run and gave Missouri a spark. UA didn’t score again until the fourth quarter. Still, Alabama took care of business and passed another SEC road test.

What it means for Missouri: It took a weather delay and a kick return for a touchdown, but Missouri finally started playing football towards the end of the first half. The defense clamped down in the second half. The offense struggled for the second week in a row with Berkstresser under center, but they should get a lift when James Franklin returns. For how bad the first half was, the Tigers played much better in the second half.

Bama-Mizzou statistical breakdown

October, 12, 2012
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A.J. McCarronMatthew Emmons/US PresswireAlabama junior quarterback AJ McCarron matches up favorably with his Missouri counterparts, James Franklin and Corbin Berkstresser.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- With No. 1 Alabama's matchup against Missouri on the horizon, let's take a look at the two schools with a fine-tooth comb.

With the help of the ESPN Stats and Information Department, we broke down some keys to the game:



Comparing the offenses

Like Ole Miss, the Missouri Tigers like to run a no-huddle, up-tempo style of offense that focuses on running as many plays as possible. If the Tigers get rolling and convert on third downs, they're difficult to stop.

Note: On designed running plays this season, Alabama is averaging 5.5 yards per rush and 4.0 yards before contact per rush.
Comparing the defenses

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel's defense is similar to Alabama's in a number of ways. The Tigers like to disguise where the coverage is and where the blitzes are coming from. They twist and stunt on the defensive line, which has resulted in nearly 20 more tackles for loss than Alabama.

Note: This season, 8.2 percent of offensive possessions against Alabama end with points, the lowest percentage in FBS. The Tide have forced 15 turnovers and allowed five scoring drives (5 touchdowns, 0 field goals). Their +10 ratio on turnovers forced to scores allowed is six more than any other FBS team.



Comparing the QBs

At first glance, you'd say Missouri is in a world of hurt without starting quarterback James Franklin, but you might be exaggerating. Franklin has more experience, but his execution on offense hasn't been far and away better than his backup, Corbin Berkstresser, who has started just one game, a win over Arizona State.

Note: AJ McCarron has no career turnovers in 90 career red zone plays (78 pass and 12 rush).



The little things

When it comes to mental mistakes, Alabama has the clear advantage over Missouri. As Tigers defensive back E.J. Gaines put it, "Alabama is a good team and they're really disciplined. If we want to win, we have to be the same way."

Five storylines: Alabama-Missouri 

October, 11, 2012
10/11/12
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The break is over. It's back to SEC action for the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday when they travel to Columbia, Mo., to face the league upstart Missouri Tigers.

The Tigers are still looking for their first SEC win after dropping a close one to Vanderbilt last weekend. Welcoming Alabama to Faurot Field won't be the easiest way to accomplish that. On Wednesday, coach Gary Pinkel had nothing but praise for the Crimson Tide, calling Alabama a team with "no weaknesses."

At 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, Pinkel and his staff will try to find something to exploit, but the search could be difficult.

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SEC power rankings: Week 7

October, 8, 2012
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There's movement all over as we check out the SEC power rankings for Week 7:

1. Alabama (5-0; LW: 1): The Tide was off last week, so it didn't have a chance to widen its lead on the SEC and the rest of the country. The last thing Alabama's upcoming opponents want is a rested Tide team. I can only imagine the extra work Nick Saban put his team through in order to clean up all those little things.

2. South Carolina (6-0; LW: 4): The Gamecocks completely dominated Georgia over the weekend. South Carolina's offense is extremely balanced and looks like it can just jump on Marcus Lattimore's shoulders at this point. He's just getting stronger and stronger. The defense is smothering up front and stopping that defensive line has been a nightmare for teams. But road games at LSU and Florida will be tough.

3. Florida (5-0; LW: 5): The Gators might not have the most exciting offense, but that defense is tremendous. Florida put a load of pressure on LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger over the weekend and clobbered the Tigers' running game. Behind Mike Gillislee, the Gators pounded LSU with their running game, but the passing game is still a concern. If Florida can get more through the air, this offense could start to really give defenses fits.

4. LSU (5-1; LW: 2): It's obvious that the Tigers can't put everything on their defense. Even with how talented LSU is on the defensive side of the ball, the offense needs major work, especially in the passing game. Mettenberger hasn't come close to living up to the hype and just doesn't look comfortable standing in LSU's pocket. The running game was one of the SEC's best, but was quieted against Florida because there just wasn't the threat to pass. No offensive balance could doom this team.

5. Georgia (5-1; LW: 3): The concern about the defense continues to grow after the Bulldogs' 28-point loss to the Gamecocks. USC was intent on running and Georgia couldn't do anything to stop it, allowing 232 rushing yards. Jarvis Jones has been a non-factor for the past two weeks and Aaron Murray's big-game struggles came right back in Columbia, S.C. The good news is the Bulldogs have the SEC East's easiest schedule from here on out.

6. Mississippi State (5-0; LW: 6): These Bulldogs weren't flashy, but they were very efficient against Kentucky. Tyler Russell is one of seven FBS quarterbacks with 10-plus passing touchdowns and fewer than two interceptions this season, while LaDarius Perkins is the only player in the SEC to be in the top two in rushing yards per game (99.8) and all-purpose yards per game (130.0). That defense has been pretty stout as well, as the Bulldogs have trailed for just 10:19 this season.

7. Texas A&M (4-1; LW: 7): Johnny Manziel grabbed hero status in Oxford, Miss., over the weekend. The redshirt freshman quarterback led the Aggies to 13 straight points in the fourth quarter, after trailing Ole Miss by 10. He had a nifty 29-yard touchdown run to trim the Rebels' lead to four and then found Ryan Swope for the game-winning 20-yard touchdown pass with 1:46 remaining. What's more impressive is the Aggies got the win despite committing six turnovers.

8. Tennessee (3-2; LW: 8): The Vols were off, but have a very important matchup with Mississippi State this weekend. We finally saw good balance out of the Vols against an SEC opponent in their shootout loss to Georgia two weeks ago, but most of the extra time Tennessee had better have been devoted to doing something about that defense. The Vols are 13th in the SEC in total defense (425.8 yards per game), and that just won't cut it if Tennessee is going to make any sort of second-half run.

9. Vanderbilt (2-3; LW: 12): The Commodores got a big win on the road at Missouri. Like prior games, Vandy wasn't great when it had the ball, but it played tough for four quarters and outlasted a banged-up Mizzou team. The defense really has been impressive for most of the season, but the Commodores have to get more out of the offense.

10. Ole Miss (3-3; LW: 10): After a heartbreaking loss to the Aggies, Ole Miss now has lost 16 straight SEC games. Blowing that 10-point lead in the fourth quarter probably will haunt this team all week. There's no doubt the Rebels can move the ball, but costly turnovers have doomed this offense. The defense has made strides since last season, but there's still too much break in this unit.

11. Arkansas (2-4; LW: 13): Just when you think the Hogs are done, they find some strength and walk out of Auburn with a huge win over the struggling Tigers. Auburn has had a plethora of issues this season, but from a mental aspect, this was a big win for Arkansas' team. The Razorbacks aren't totally out of the bowl hunt now, but there's still a lot of ground for this team to make up. Finally holding an offense in check, forcing five turnovers and getting eight sacks is a good start.

12. Missouri (3-3; LW: 9): This has not been the SEC welcome the Tigers expected. Mizzou has been banged up all year and pushed around by its SEC counterparts. James Franklin is out for a few weeks with a knee sprain. Corbin Berkstresser is now the starting quarterback, and he'd better get over his rough performance against Vandy, where he hit only 9 of his 30 passes. Things just get harder, as the Tigers host No. 1 Alabama Saturday.

13. Auburn (1-4; LW: 11): Things just aren't working on the Plains. With an extra week to prepare for the SEC's worst defense, the Tigers mustered only 321 yards of offense against Arkansas and found the end zone once. Kiehl Frazier was benched for Clint Moseley at quarterback, but two fourth-quarter interceptions doomed Auburn. The offense just has too many issues right now, and the Tigers might have lost their chance at a postseason berth with Saturday's no-show.

14. Kentucky (1-5; LW: 14): Injuries have crippled this team and things just aren't getting any better for the Wildcats. Kentucky was forced to play two freshmen at quarterback, and lost one (Patrick Towles) to an ankle injury, against Mississippi State. The Wildcats already were working without their starting running back. Things continue to heat up around Joker Phillips, whose team is hovering around the bottom of the SEC in most offensive and defensive categories.

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