As if opponents didn't have enough to worry about when it comes to preparing for Alabama, now coach Nick Saban has shown he is not averse to going in for a bit of trickery if things aren't going the Crimson Tide's way.
With Bama tied with LSU 17-17 early in the third quarter Saturday night and his team facing a fourth-and-two situation at his own 41-yard line, Saban decided to run out of punt formation instead of booting the ball back to the Tigers.
The snap went to C.J. Mosley, an upback protecting for punter Cody Mandell, and Mosley handed off to Jarrick Williams, who ran around right end for a six-yard gain.
First down, Alabama.
The Tide had to call a timeout because T.J. Yeldon, who was supposed to be on the field, wasn't. Saban said later that the play was going to be a go if the Tigers lined up in their regular defense. Williams' task was pretty basic, he said.
"I just got the ball, saw an opening, and took it," the junior cornerback said. The play allowed the Tide to continue its drive for the go-ahead touchdown, and Bama went on to score on its next two possessions as well to turn what could have been a tight battle into a comfortable 38-17 victory.
"It wasn't perfect, and we didn't play great in the first half," coach Nick Saban said as his team improved to 9-0, "but a lot of character out there in the second half to control the line of scrimmage the way we did on offense."
The Tide improved to 6-0 in the SEC, a game up on rival Auburn in the Western Division race.
If the Tigers beat Georgia or the Tide loses to Mississippi State the upcoming weekend, it would set up an Alabama-Auburn Iron Bowl battle for the division's berth in the SEC Championship Game.
Missouri kept pace in the East race with a 48-17 rout of Kentucky to improve to 5-1 in league play. South Carolina was idle and needs a win over Florida in its next game and a loss by Missouri to retain its shot at a title game berth. Georgia must beat Auburn to keep alive its chances of gaining a share of the division title.
FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 11 IN THE SEC:
1. Conference Coach of the Year looks to have been settled. Even losses to Georgia and Alabama the last two games isn't likely to deprive Auburn's Gus Malzahn of the honor after the turnaround he has engineered (from a 3-9 in 2012 to 9-1) in his first season on the Plains.
2. No question the most disappointing team of the year is Florida. The Gators began the season ranked 10th in the country and were still in the Top 25 through eight weeks, but now are in danger of finishing under .500 and missing out on the postseason for the first time in more than two decades.
3. The media still love the SEC. Seven conference teams made this week's Associated Press Top 25 with five teams -- Alabama, Auburn, Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina -- occupying spots 1-through-11 with LSU and Georgia coming in at Nos. 18 and 25, respectively.
4. Johnny Manziel continues to do it all. Texas A&M's sophomore quarterback leads the SEC in total offense (392.4 yards per game), total touchdowns (39 with 8 rushing, 31 passing), passing yards (331.3 per game), passing efficiency, completions (230), completion percentage (73.0), and touchdown passes (31).
5. Dorial Green-Beckham may be the X factor in Missouri's drive for the Eastern Division title. The Missouri sophomore, who many rated the No. 1 overall prospect in 2012, had had a solid-but-quiet season (33 catches, 479 yards, 5 touchdowns) until bursting forth with a school-record four touchdown passes among his seven receptions for 100 yards in Saturday's win at Kentucky.