It took a moment for Western Kentucky linebacker Xavius Boyd to compare Alabama’s offense to a scheme he’s familiar with.
Then he happened upon one.
“They’re a little different than anybody else we play, but I see a lot of us, as far as running-wise,” he said.
The Hilltoppers (1-0) are hoping their familiarity with a balanced offensive attack can help them contain top-ranked Alabama on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:39 p.m. CDT.
The Crimson Tide are coming off a 41-14 romp of Michigan on Saturday when they put up 431 yards of offense – 232 of which came on the ground.
Freshman T.J. Yeldon ran for 111 yards on 11 carries.
“Of course, their offensive line is really, really good,” defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said. “They’re massive. Coached really well, don’t take a lot of bad steps. They recognize things. You can tell that they’ve seen a lot. Very good up front.”
Quarterback AJ McCarron threw for 199 yards and two scores in the opener. Eight receivers caught balls from the veteran who led the Tide to a BCS national championship in January.
The Tops held Austin Peay to 11 total yards in the passing game last week. Alabama is a different animal.
“We’re not going to be intimidated,” Guidry said. “I don’t think the coaches are intimidated. We know that they’re a really good football team. One of our (graduate assistants) said earlier in the week, ‘This isn’t about a challenge. It’s about an opportunity.’ A lot of these guys that want to play on Sundays, this is a great opportunity to show that they can play on Sundays because there are a lot of Sunday players on Alabama’s team.”
Coach Willie Taggart has not ruled out starting running back Keshawn Simpson for Saturday’s game, although the junior arrived to Tuesday’s practice on crutches and in a brace on his left knee.
Simpson ran for 60 yards on eight carries in the Hilltoppers’ 49-10 win over Austin Peay.
If the Madison Central product cannot go, junior Antonio Andrews will likely take his spot, followed by true freshman Leon Allen and sophomore Marquis Sumler.
Junior college transfer Ben Axon did not dress against Austin Peay but practiced Tuesday.
Just for kicks
The Western Kentucky football team hasn’t converted a field goal since the 9:58 mark of the first quarter against North Texas on Nov. 19.
After Saturday’s 0-for-3 performance, WKU has missed six straight dating back to last season and is 13 for its last 40 going back to the 2010 season. Oddly enough, two of the five makes last year came as game-winners – Oct. 29 at Louisiana-Monroe in overtime and Nov. 5 as time expired against Florida International.
Taggart named walk-on freshman Garrett Schwettman the starting kicker Saturday at Alabama. Sophomore Jesse Roy was 0-for-2 on field-goal tries against APSU and is now 2-for-8 for his career.
Schwettman missed his first career attempt against APSU, but the Calloway County High School product made all five of his extra-point attempts.
“We’re going to go with Schwettman and he’s going to do a great job for us,” Taggart said.