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Old Bear: unbeaten and unhappy
Pat Putnam
October 23, 1972
Coach Bryant frets about defense, but Alabama keeps on winning
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October 23, 1972

Old Bear: Unbeaten And Unhappy

Coach Bryant frets about defense, but Alabama keeps on winning

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"It was a starvation diet," Hannah says with a shrug. "But my goal is to be the best offensive lineman in the nation and what good is a goal if you don't set it high enough to sacrifice and work hard for?"

"Hannah is about the greatest thing you ever saw," says Bryant. "He's some blocker." Then his voice hardens. "But overall we're not the team I thought we'd be. Too slow on defense, not aggressive enough."

Alabama beat Duke 35-12 in the opener, but the Tide defense yielded 310 yards. The showing against Kentucky was better, but when Vanderbilt scored 21 points even though it lost to Alabama by 27, Bryant knew he had real problems. Vanderbilt had managed only six points against Mississippi State the week before. Bryant does not run up scores, but he does not like to give away points either. Georgia fell next, 25-7, but again the defense did not please the Bear. Four straight victories do not necessarily make for a happy head coach.

"With our schedule we can't keep playing the way we have and win," said Bryant last week while trying to figure a way to stop Florida's teen-age offense. The Gators prepped for Alabama by assaulting previously unbeaten Florida State 42-13.

Bryant said Florida was the most improved team in the country. Also, it is the least believable. Its top scorer is 20-year-old junior Nat Moore, who is not even listed in the press brochure. That is because last year he played basketball at a Miami junior college, and the year before that he was on the varsity of a truck-driving team delivering corned beef and pastrami to Miami delicatessens. A 9.7 sprinter, he wound up on Florida's football team upon the recommendation of his junior college basketball coach.

Bryant hoped that Florida was not as good as it looked against Florida State, but in the first quarter, with Moore running well, the Gators punched out 168 yards, 60 coming at one clip on a dazzling scoring romp by the pastrami man. That was all Alabama gave away—the opening 15 minutes. After that Bryant got the kind of defense he likes—quick and crunching. Florida managed to gain only two yards in the second quarter and 13 in the third.

At halftime, with Davis throwing more and hitting less, Alabama, a 24-point favorite, led by only 10-7. In the second half the Tide shed the razzle-dazzle and settled down to what it does best—physical football.

"They are a very powerful team," said Georgia Coach Vince Dooley. "They line up and come at you." And that is just what Alabama did. It took the second-half kickoff and went 74 yards in 18 plays, all on the ground. When Davis skirted right end for four yards and the touchdown there was little more than six minutes left in the quarter.

In the fourth period, with a new set of backs including reserve Quarterback Gary Rutledge, Alabama drove 87 yards, all without a pass, to close it out at 24-7. "We're getting things together," said Jim Krapf afterward. "It was an especially good game for me. Hannah didn't roll on me."

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