The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish meet Monday to determine the winner of the 2012 season BCS National Championship.More >>
The Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 42-14 to win the 2013 BCS National Championship, the team's third title in the last four years.More >>
MIAMI (WBRC) -
2013 DISCOVER BCS NATIONAL
JAN. 3 PRESS CONFERENCES
The following is a transcript of comments provided by the Orange Bowl.
Coordinator Doug Nussmeier & QB AJ McCarron
JOHN HUMENIK: Good
morning, everybody. Welcome to the inaugural press conference for this year's Discover BCS National
Championship game. Questions, please.
I've got two questions, and if you could both touch on them that would be
great: Coach Nussmeier,
how would you describe your personal handprint, if you will, on this offense
this year, in your first
year in this program?
Well, you know, first of all, I want to say that on behalf of my family and I
know our players feel the
same way, it's great to be here representing the University of Alabama and have
this opportunity to play in the
Discover BCS National Championship game. Thanks to the Orange Bowl Committee
and the people of South Florida for
the welcome we had yesterday. It was great. I know my kids really enjoyed it.
As far as the
offense goes, really proud of the opportunity that our players have created for
us, moving into this game. As far
as the handprint that I personally put on the offense, when I got here at the
end of last year and Coach hired me, it
was very important for me to really dive into the offense that was here,
obviously that had success, and look
at the things that our players had done and done well, and then find things
that maybe I had done in the past that I
could bring to help fit into this system, so to say.
And then as any
other system, every year you go back and you look at where you did well, you
look at what you need to
improve, and maybe you look at different ideas outside of your program. That
was our goal as a staff was to sit down
and kind of mesh it, put it together, look at some other ideas and then move
AJ McCARRON: I
personally think Coach Nuss has had a big impact on our offense. He's brought a
bunch of different
plays, also a different type of mindset to this offense than we had last year.
But I know personally he's helped me
tremendously. I was actually talking to my dad the other day, and it was kind
of crazy, I have less pass attempts than what
I did last year, but better numbers all the way around, and I think that shows
a big part of his coaching ability
and the way he's helped me grow, not only as a leader but as a quarterback this
A.J., could you talk about when you leave here what you hope people say -- or
after this year what
people say will be your legacy next year, and then when you hear about a
quarterback who manages an offense,
what does that mean? And do you think that at all lessens your importance to an
offense when you hear
people say things like that?
AJ McCARRON: To
answer the first part, legacy, I never really -- I'm not the type of guy to
really think into it. As long as my
teammates know that I'm a good leader, my coaching staff knows that I'm going
to go out to win every game, I take
everything serious. So I mean, that part of the question I haven't really given
it too much thought.
But hopefully at
the end of the day they can at least say I was a winner, that the team I was
part of was a winner.
And then what was
the second part? Oh, the game manager. You know, that whole -- that saying
right there is kind of
funny to me. I think game manager can be -- I've said it a million times. I
think you can throw the ball 50 times a game
and lead your team to victory by throwing it, or you can hand it off 30 times
and only throw it 20. I think game manager
can be so many different things, and I think people try to label it as a guy
that doesn't really do much for his
offense, just kind of takes care of everything, takes care of the ball and
tries to get everybody in their right position and
get the team in the right position on plays.
But that's my
personal outlook on that label.
A lot of people watched the second half of that championship game, SEC
Championship game, and
said why doesn't Alabama run the ball even more than they do? Why is that not
an accurate assessment of
your offense? And how did you feel about the run/pass balance you guys had this
Well, obviously the goal of any offense is to put your playmakers in position
to make plays. Scoring
points, having balance, those are things you focus on. Sometimes as the flow of
the game dictates, you do certain
things and you start to do them and you do them well and you stay with them.
regarding that game, as the flow of the game went, we were able to create big,
explosive plays in the running
game, and there was really not a need to do anything else at that point in
time. So we're going to have a balanced game
plan. We're going to go into every game with the ability not only to run it but
to throw it, have play actions that come
off our runs, all those type of things.
But as the flow of
the game goes, we're going to aggressively try and take advantage of whatever
part of our game we think
is going to be the most successful.
AJ, could you take us way back when you decided to go to Alabama, what drew you
to the school
and what it's like being a quarterback in the fishbowl that is Alabama?
AJ McCARRON: You
know, I grew up a big Miami Hurricanes fan. I love the U, but I just felt like
at the end of the day, it was
the best situation for me to stay in the state, play for Coach Saban. I felt
like it was the best opportunity for my
parents to come watch me every weekend close to home, only three hours away. I
mean, that was my thinking
behind the whole decision.
quarterback at the University of Alabama, everybody knows it can be tough, but
I think when they expect so
much out of you, I think it also brings the best out of you as a player because
you never really want to let anybody down,
especially your teammates, because you go out every Saturday expecting to win.
I think in the
end, it helps you as a player grow and actually become a winner and know how to
Doug, in your first year are you the kind of coach when you look back on the
season the first thing
you think of is maybe the sequence of play calls against LSU that worked so
good, or are you the kind of
guy that looks at the few plays at the end against Texas A & M, and that's
the first thing that jumps out at you?
Well, you evaluate every play call throughout every game, and when you look at
the big picture of
things, you can't get lost in the result. You have to look at the process and
what got you to that point.
You know, as in
every game, we go back and review every game, and at the end of the season,
obviously in preparing for this
game, we go back and look at cut-ups of what we've done, certain calls in
certain situations, all those type of
things, tendencies, all that stuff. We're always self scouting, always
evaluating. Any time you make a call, you come out
of a game, God, I wish I had that call back. I wish could call that again. That
was a pretty good call, that
situation. You can do that. And the ones that work are always good ones, the
ones that don't are always bad ones.
When you guys first met this past off-season, what was that interaction like,
where was it, and how
much did you guys know about each other at that time?
(Smiling) I was kind of let down I had to work with him -- no, I'm just
Coach has always
been, like I said, he's been outstanding to me. He's helped me grow as a
quarterback more than I ever
thought I really could. Like I said, I never look at stats, but the other day I
was talking to my dad about it, and he
kind of blew me away just on how few pass attempts I've had and my numbers
compared to last year. I think he's
helped me grow in the aspect of learning when to throw the ball away a lot more
than I did last year. I mean, like
I said, he's helped me. It's been an honor working with Coach Nuss. I can't say
enough about him. He's always
I've said this several times: When I first got here, the biggest thing for me
was to go back and look at
AJ, and kind of how he'd gotten to where he was, and if you go back and look at
his body of work, where he started
at the beginning of last season and where he ended the season, you look at that
growth, and then to meet him, try
and get to know the person, and then watch how hard he works and how important
football is to him and his
willingness to spend extra time, the stuff that you don't see. Like I said, you
talk about you can be result-oriented or
process-oriented, and he's very process-oriented. He spends a great deal of time when people don't know what
he's doing, and he's studying extra.
To watch what he
did through 15 practices in the spring, and to watch where he started this
fall, and just to watch the
continual progression, and he deserves all the credit for that because of his
hard work and effort. His ability really, I
think, to bring our offense together.
You guys have seen some pretty good defenses this year. What stands out about
Notre Dame's defense
when you see them on film?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: To
me the biggest thing is they lead the nation in scoring defense. They've given
up 10.3 points a
game, they do a great job of keeping you out of the end zone. The goal of the
game is to score points.
I think that right
there, their red-area defense is really, really good.
AJ McCARRON: Like
Coach just said, they do a really good job of making big plays on the defensive
You've got to kind
of -- most of the time your thinking going into the game is to win the offense
from big plays, but their defense
makes a lot of big plays, too.
And then like
Coach just said, they do a really good job in the red area. I mean, they're
first in the nation in almost every
category on defense, so they're really good. We're just going to have to bring
our "A" game.
AJ, I apologize if you've been asked this at some point, but a lot of Alabama
quarterbacks have won
one National Championship. You've got the opportunity to win two. Is that
something you've been made
aware of by all the avid fans at Alabama? And talk about the historical
significance of doing that.
AJ McCARRON: Yeah,
growing up in the State of Alabama, you definitely hear about all of that, so I probably
definitely heard that a little bit more than what I want. But you know, it's a
great honor to be in that category of quarterbacks
that have played here. But I think it's a tremendous honor to play with my
teammates. I think it shows the will
that they have to win. I mean, it's not about me. None of this would be
possible without them.
I definitely want
to thank them for everything they've done, for us having this opportunity and
for myself to have this
Doug, usually offensive coordinators are in the booth and defensive
coordinators are on the field.
Is that Coach Saban's preference or yours? And is there an advantage or
disadvantage to being in the booth
rather than on the field?
Well, you know, our structure that we have in place in our organization when I
got here Coach McElwain
had been up in the box, so it was an easy transition, and I'm very comfortable
up there. One of the things that
you gain by being up there is you have very good vision of what's going on and
seeing the field.
The thing that you
lose is you don't have great feel for the game because you're not on the
sideline with the players and you really
have to rely on -- our coaches do an outstanding job on offense on the
sideline, making adjustments, and giving me
feedback of the feel of the game and how our players are feeling because you
can't get that feeling, and the emotion
play is a big factor in the game of football.
and disadvantages to both.
Coach Nussmeier, occasionally we've seen Alabama come out, no huddle, and kind
of spread things
out a little bit with a high tempo right out of the gate, and Nick Saban said
postgame that we were looking
to get the fatigue started early. Obviously you can't comment on what the plan
is for this week, but can
you just remark on the value of coming out at up tempo, no huddle?
Well, you know, I think if you look at college football in general, that's a
growing trend, no-huddle offense,
speed, hurry-up. As any game you play, the ability to change the tempo of the
game offensively or defensively can
create a competitive advantage for you, if it's useful in the game you're
You've had I think five quarterbacks drafted in the NFL. Is there any sort of
from your background that makes you well equipped to kind of handle and develop quarterbacks?
Yeah, I coach good players (smiling).
No, I think that
I've been very fortunate is the reality. I've worked with some very, very good
players, and they've been great
people, and AJ being one of those. Just guys that every day give their all. You
know, I think if you've got the
ability and you're willing and you put in the time and the effort, like I said,
I think so much is placed on the position, when
you look at results and you say this guy played well, well, he probably played
pretty good because the guys around
him played pretty good, or he probably played not as well as people think
because the guys around him didn't play as
well. It's one of the hardest positions in all of sports to play.
playing the position I think it's very important that you stay even keel; you
don't get too high and you don't get
too low, and realize that you're probably not playing as good as people say
you're playing and probably not
playing as bad as people say.
I feel like I've
been really fortunate to coach some really, really good players. Like I say,
AJ's ceiling is so high. I feel like
he's just starting to scratch the surface of where he's going to go as a
AJ, I want to talk about your relationship with Barrett Jones a little bit. How
often do you guys disagree
on protections? Who usually wins those disagreements? And on a serious note,
were you concerned
at all that he would be able to finish the Georgia game? Most people say he
played the last three quarters
on one leg. Were you concerned he'd be available for this game? And how
important is it to have him
AJ McCARRON: As
far as us bickering, Coach Nuss can tell you we go at it in practice, but I
usually win that battle just
because I tell him, listen, I'm the quarterback, you're in my huddle, so let's
hush on this one.
No, we go back and
forth. Me and Barrett have been really good friends for a long time, ever since
I came here in '09. He's
kind of taken me under his wing and just taught me the ropes and everything.
He's helped me tremendously. I
can't say enough about him. I really do love him. He's a great friend to have.
we go back and forth on it, and we'll both probably say that we've saved each
other a couple times. But
I think that's the relationship the quarterback and center need to have.
Actually I did not
-- to answer the last part, I did not know that he was even hurt during the
Georgia game, so that should let
you know how he played.
But I'm not concerned
at all about him playing this weekend.
I know you took a red shirt and were maybe a play away from making a debut in
the Rose Bowl a few
years back. Talk about T.J. Yeldon and his emergence as a true freshman. It
looks like he has not missed
a step in that transition.
AJ McCARRON: I
think first off, a lot of people don't realize T.J. is a good kid off the
field, and I think that's big to have while
you're playing every Saturday, to have him in the huddle. You don't want just a
good athlete out there, you want a
person that you can always count on and trust to do the right thing. And he's
one of those freshmen that come
in and already have the right head on their shoulders and knows what it takes
to win, and he's great to have in
the huddle. He's a freakish player. I know that.
T.J. has outstanding maturity. He grew old early. And sometimes offensively as
a coaching staff, we
have to remind ourselves, especially early in the season, he has such a great
presence about him, and like I said,
he's so mature that we had to remind ourselves, this really -- he is a true
freshman, and after having those 15 practices
in the spring, he really came into the fall with a really good understanding of
what we're trying to do. And as with any
young back, you worry about protections, the intricacies of is he seeing the
right reads, in the running game. To
the naked eye you could say, well, he's running to the right, and obviously
reads and those type of things.
I really think
that he's really grown and grown very quickly, maybe faster than we anticipated
at the start, but done a tremendous
job for us.
I wonder if you could talk about Manti Te'o and the challenge you have in
planning for him and in what
way or ways is he the most dangerous.
Well, you know, the thing that stands out to me about Manti is he always seems
to find the ball, as
do all great players on defense. You look at the interceptions, the tackles, he
always seems to be around the ball.
He has great natural instincts. Obviously he's a phenomenal athlete. It's going
to be very important that we know where
he is at all times.
AJ McCARRON: Like
Coach just said, he's always around the ball. He's a great player, makes a lot
of plays for his
defense, and is the heart and soul for them. He's going to be a big key to the
game, like always.
What does it tell you about Barrett that he was able to play basically three
quarters against Georgia
on one foot? And are you happy with where he is conditioning-wise going into this
Well, it doesn't surprise me. I think AJ hit on it just a minute ago. You talk
about quality of
character, you talk about the kind of person that Barrett is, and nothing would
As far as the
injury goes, obviously he's back practicing. This is great. Moving forward we
expect him to continue to be
You mentioned Miami before, what attracted you as a youngster to Miami, and
just where were they
and how close was it in terms of where you chose to go?
AJ McCARRON: What
probably attracted me the most is, just like whenever you're a little kid, the
team that's winning the
most is probably your favorite. No, they had one of my favorite players of all
time, Ken Dorsey, and they had Willis
McGahee, Andre Johnson, Kellen Winslow, all those guys. I was always just a big
fan growing up.
They ended up
being in my top three with Alabama and Oklahoma right before I decided.
Doug, I'm just curious, what's this whole last year been like for you? And have
there been any big
surprises about joining the Alabama staff?
Pleasant surprises. Working with the group of coaches we have on offense has
been an outstanding
experience, great, great coaches, a lot of experience. Working with Coach
Saban, the way he structures
everything, the attention to detail, you just can't say enough about it.
Everything is process-oriented, like I touched on before.
As far as coming
and being a part of the University of Alabama football program, it's been an
outstanding experience. You
can anticipate what it's going to be like, but I don't think you ever really
know until you're there.
This place is
really special, and I just feel very fortunate that we've been able to be a
part of this.
AJ, how did you feel about some of your guys hijacking your Twitter account
(Laughing) Well, that's the one and only Kenny Bell. Me and him are always
great friends, and we've always
been ever since we came in together. But yeah, he likes to play jokes on me. We
go back and forth, but yeah,
he got me last night?
And also, Amari Cooper, his freshman year, did you see this coming from him
when he came in?
AJ McCARRON: Like
I said, one of those freakish freshmen that you get in every once in a while in
You can't say
enough about Coop. He's been an outstanding player for us this year. He's
helped our offense grow a lot in the passing
game, and being able to, I guess, spread the ball out all the way across the
field. He's helped us tremendously.
When you look at the tape of Notre Dame's defense, how does it compare to the
top defenses in the
Well, I think it's very, very comparable. This is as good a front seven as
They do a great
job jumping in and out of their odd defense and going from an odd to a
four-down front, and they've got big, physical,
fast players. They run well on the back end, very well coached. They're just a
really, really good defense.
AJ McCARRON: I
would say the same thing. They do a really good job of trying to confuse you as
an offense, jumping
from one thing to another. Like I said earlier, we're going to have to be on
our "A" game.
I wonder if you could talk about the adversity that you faced when you were a
real young kid, what
happened, how severe it really was and maybe how it's shaped you?
You're talking about the WaveRunner wreck?
AJ McCARRON: I
mean, it's all pretty crazy. I'm a big believer in the Man above, God has a
plan for you, and everything happens
for a reason. I felt like it was my second chance at life.
I think me and my
mom kind of promised each other since I got that second chance that I'd take
full advantage of it,
and try to make all my dreams come true that are possible. It's kind of just
wake up every day and kind of think
about that and let the day play out.
Some of your teammates are saying that you brought a lot of shoes to this
event. Kenny and you kind
of have a competition, a fetish Eddie Lacy called it. Explain that, what's with
the shoes, and how many did
AJ McCARRON: Well,
I brought a whole bagful. I've got a lot of shoes. I've always been that way
ever since I was
little. I figure you can wear the same outfit and change the shoes and it looks
like a totally different outfit.
You know, I'm just
big into shoes. Me and Kenny kind of go back and forth and kind of compete and
see how many each of
us have. But yeah, I definitely brought a lot.
Coach, in the world of assistant coaches, what does the Frank Broyles Award
mean to you guys?
Oh, I think it's an outstanding award. Any time you can be honored as the
Assistant Coach of the Year,
it says a lot about what your team has been able to accomplish and your unit
specifically when you talk about an
AJ, you talked about your love for Barrett Jones, what do you do that gets
under his skin so badly?
And does he ever get under your skin? And Doug, for you, talk about Amari
Cooper if you would, too.
AJ McCARRON: You
know, Barrett is such a smart guy. He talks so much sometimes, so that's
probably what gets under my
skin is I've got to tell him to be quiet sometimes in the huddle.
But probably what
gets under his skin so much is when I prove him wrong. He hates to be wrong, so
I always love it
when I do that.
DOUG NUSSMEIER: As
does AJ now.
Does it happen often?
AJ McCARRON: It
does. Every practice.
Yes, Amari obviously, AJ touched on it earlier, has had a very, very good
season for us. You know, when
you get a wide receiver of his caliber, and to have the big-play capability he
has, obviously the big challenge
early on is not to give him too much to where he's playing slow. So we really
started with a small package for Coop,
and it's kind of evolved as it's gone, and now he has the ability to do a lot
of different things for us.
And that's just
any young player getting into a system, learning, but obviously his ability to
create big plays in the passing game for
us this season, it's been a huge part of our success.
We talked to AJ a bunch about the benefits of having the freedom to change
plays before the snap.
From your perspective what is the benefit to that? And being so high up in the
booth, are there any moments
of anxiety to have it in his hands?
No, because I know how hard he prepares, and going into the game, we're talking
all the time about,
hey, thinking about calling this in this situation, here's what we can expect.
This is this, this is that, getting a feel for
how he's feeling the game and the game plan. I think that's very important.
There's really no anxiety from that
I think that when
you have a quarterback that has the ability to see defenses AJ does and spends
the amount of time
studying, understands the game, it gives you flexibility, and it gives you the
ability to do that.
AJ, can you talk about your relationship with Starla Chapman, and how does she
maybe help you keep
things in perspective, and your own accident as a child, how much did that make
you want to get more involved?
AJ McCARRON: I
always loved giving back. I think my mom has done a tremendous job of raising
me in that aspect of
life. She's always taught me to kind of give back to people a little less
fortunate. I've been blessed enough to be in a
position to kind of touch people's lives, inspire them in certain ways, and she
was a blessing to me.
Just kind of met
her on that Christmas Eve, that day at USA Women's and Children's Hospital, and
our relationship has
taken off from there. Her family named me her godfather a couple months after
that, and I still wear her bracelet
today. I never take it off. I'm always thinking about her. She's a special
This question is for either or both of you: Sometimes a lot is made of the
timing aspect after a layoff,
but Alabama has been through it a few times successfully. Can you talk about
what some of those specific
challenges are of having such a long layoff for an offense?
Well, as in any game, ball security is an issue, and I think a lot of it is you
don't spend a lot of time in
live tackling-type situations, especially for the ball carriers.
You know, you have
such a long layoff before you play that it's almost like a new season. And the preparation, you
prepare the way you prepare, and ball security is an issue. And then just
getting back in the flow of playing football
in a game-type environment.
players, Coach, have been through this before, so the process from when we
started our preparation after
the SEC Championship was well planned out. We had a calendar from day one, and
we're very excited to get out
Doug, what in particular does Louis Nix do that's so effective against the run?
And what do you expect
to see from that Jones-Nix match-up?
Well, he's a big, physical player, very athletic. One of the things you can say
about their defense unit
as a whole is they do an excellent job of getting off blocks. They set blocks
and get to the football.
a lot of key match-ups in this game, and obviously he's a very, very good
What does it say about what we can expect to see and the style these two teams
play that we're focusing
so much on a center and a nose guard?
Well, you know, they do a great job in the 3-4 scheme, and then they'll go to
some even fronts out of
it like I mentioned earlier, so they'll play both type of fronts.
For both of you, the perception of the Alabama quarterback job description
through the years is one
thing. Barrett Jones is saying it might be selling AJ short to call him a game
manager, the way people assume
the Alabama quarterback should be in either order. And how does AJ fit the
perception of the Alabama
Well, you know, I don't know what the definition of game manager is. I know
what AJ does for our
offense, and he does a lot, and it's much more than just managing.
AJ McCARRON: Like
Coach just said, I think game manager can be so many different things, but I
feel like my coaching staff
and my teammates know what I do. That's all that matters to me.
What is the job description of the Alabama quarterback to you through the
AJ McCARRON: I
mean, are you talking about like through the history of Alabama?
The whole thing, being Alabama quarterback.
AJ McCARRON: I
mean, it's a tremendous honor, first off, because you know, of all the legends
that have played this
position at this university. So to follow in their footsteps is definitely a
great honor, and I'm just trying to keep it rolling.
Your O-linemen in the other room were talking about Notre Dame's execution in
the red zone on defense
and how effective they are and how unusual it is that they are that consistent.
Is there a way that you
can -- I don't know whether a grade or a scale is at every play. What defines a
good execution from a defensive
The thing that stands out to me, the most, they're keeping people out of the
end zone, giving up
10.3 points a game. But they've created a lot of loss-yardage plays in the red
zone, and when you get behind the
sticks and you get out of rhythm down there it's very difficult because obviously
the field shrinks.
They've done a
tremendous job of creating their loss-yardage plays for their opponents.
For those of us who don't know AJ, how would you describe him? How have you
gotten to know him?
DOUG NUSSMEIER: You
get the exterior very fun-loving guy, but he is very competitive and very
He has that
outward, outgoing personality, can mesh in any type of environment with any
type of people. But behind that all is a very
competitive and driven young man.
Pretty much all the questions about their defense have been about the front,
between Manti and Nix
and everything else. Can you guys just both talk about what you've seen from
the back end of their defense.
AJ McCARRON: I
think Coach Nuss will say the same thing. I think they do a really good job of
disguising certain coverages
and try to confuse you in the later part of the play before the snap. They
deserve a lot of credit, too. I know their
guys up front get talked about a lot, but trust me, they make plays back there.
It's not just the guys up front that have
them labeled the No. 1 defense in the nation.
They do a very good job, like AJ said, from a coverage disguise standpoint.
They run very well at the
corner position, they tackle very well at the safety position. Motta does a
great job, it shows in the statistics that he
gets to the football and makes plays. The focus, like AJ said, has been the
front, but that's a very, very good
defensive unit top to bottom.
Notre Dame's defense
film, they are a real physical team and get after it on defense. They are
disciplined out there and don't make many
mistakes. The whole defensive front has played a big role in the success that
they have had this season to go with the
linebackers and secondary. They have done a tremendous job in terms of stopping
the run and in coverage as team.
Everyone I have seen on film has done a great job of playing good, sound
whether playing in BCS National Championship before helps
"I would be lying
if I didn't say experience was a good teacher helping us play in this game.
However, this is a totally different game,
different atmosphere. Notre Dame is a good team and we have to be ready for
if Alabama would be a dynasty if they won Monday
"I don't think me
or any of my teammates are thinking about that right now. We are just thinking
about playing Notre Dame, they are a
real good team. That is the task at hand right now."
the development of QB AJ McCarron
"He is a lot more
comfortable playing the leadership role and making the right calls, checks. He
has done a great job keeping everyone
confident. He has played a number of big games in his career and we have confidence
in him as the quarterback."
RB Eddie Lacy
"He is an
exceptional running back – people don't give him a lot of credit, but he has
been working hard to get to this position. He has
made a name for himself and brings a lot of energy to the offense. On run
plays, he is always ready to go and can
score a touchdown on any play. I think we all saw that in the SEC Championship."
the discipline of Notre Dame's defense…
"In order to be
disciplined on defense it takes tremendous focus week in and week out. That is
a hard thing to do. For them to do it for
a whole season, you can tell they are very well coaches and play smart
football. I have a lot of respect for them.
They are as physical as anyone we have ever played and you can tell that on
WR Kevin Norwood
On whether or not it is different this
time around in the national championship game
it is because it is a different mindset and it is against a different team. But
at the same time we're preparing
the same and we're working hard. We feel like we deserve this so we're going to
go out there and
play our best."
On Notre Dame's front 7
we're preparing for them like we prepare for any other team; we don't see them
any different. They do have
a great front seven and they also have a good back four, so we're preparing for
them like we prepare for
any other team."
On Notre Dame's cornerbacks
have some tremendous athletes; their corners are physical and they move around
a lot. They are quick
to get in and out of their breaks and stuff like that so it is going to be fun."
On whether or not it is easier to not
let the hype get to them since they have been here before
definitely. Coach (Nick) Saban always preaches to us that we're here for one
thing and that is to take care
of business. We're not leaving until we get what we want and it is just going
to be a challenge for us."
On the length of the time off from
time off has given us a lot of time to recuperate from the season and allow our
bodies to heal. But at the
same time it has given us a lot of time to focus on this one game and given us
time to prepare."
OL Barrett Jones
On this national championship game
compared to last year's national championship game…
a lot different. I think last year it was really a kind of weird national
championship because it was a team
we already played. It was kind of another SEC game, it was in the South, and it
just had a very SEC feel
to it obviously. This year is much more like the 2009 game for me. Obviously
playing an opponent that not
only we have not played them but no one we have played has played them, so you
don't really have an exact
measuring stick. I'll tell you what; Notre Dame is a really good team. They
have a lot of very talented players
and they are very fundamental with their schemes. That's what makes a good
defense and we have
a big challenge ahead of us."
On the preparation for a national
championship game and for Notre Dame…
is still a lot of preparation. I think certainly probably there is a little
more preparation then it would've been.
For LSU we did a lot of preparation the first time. We didn't really change
much the second time, wejust
executed better. We certainly have done a lot of preparation, but at the end of
the day I think this game will
come down to who executes better because really neither of our teams are teams
that try to trick you.
are really just teams that line up, run the ball a lot, and say here is what we're
doing, stop us. I think it will
come down to who executes better in the game."
On being able to run the ball against
Notre Dame's defense…
don't want to be redundant but execution. They don't make mistakes. That's the
thing you see on film, they
don't make mistakes. They don't slant the wrong gap and leave huge holes where
they're going to give you
easy touchdowns. They make you earn it. We're going to have to execute, use our
hands well, and do it
On the advantage of having experience
in national championship games…
think that's probably a little overplayed to be honest. I think certainly if it
helps at all it's probably from a preparation
standpoint. I think the coaching staff has a very good idea on the best way of
how to prepare with
a long layoff. As far as the actual experience, once you get there it's about
who plays a better game, not
even who the better team is, just who plays a better game. I think that's a
On trying to balance having fun and
getting ready to play the game…
is a business trip, and that is what we've said all along. We didn't come down
here to have fun. We came
down here to win a game. Certainly we can have a little fun on the way, but our
main purpose of being
here is for a business trip. That's going to be our main focus with everything.
We have pretty early curfews
also. I know the 11 o'clock curfew's got a lot of attention, but we have pretty
early curfews too. We're
just really focused on winning the game."
RB Eddie Lacy
On being in Miami for the National
a great place, I like it. I like the beach part [and]I like to look at the
water. I can see it from the balcony and
it's pretty cool."
On being on the cover of SI
liked it because it's my first time ever being on the cover of anything. I felt
like it was a big accomplishment
for me personally."
On following up Trent Richardson and
wouldn't say so much pressure, but there's a standard. They left a high
standard here so coming into this season
I didn't want to shoot straight for their standard, I just decided that I would
play the game that I know
how to play and whatever the outcome may be let it be what it is. It ended up
pretty good and I'm pretty
much up there with those guys."
On playing Notre Dame
just look at it like another opponent. We know they have a great defense [and]
they are going to come out
and be physical just like a lot of teams in our conference. That's the approach
we're taking and they have
a great red zone defense so it's probably the best we've played all season
long. So we take that as a challenge
and we are just going to embrace it and look forward to playing it."
On Mant Te'o
is a great linebacker. He's big [and] physical, [he has] great lateral movement
and when it comes to taking
off blocks, he keeps his hands inside and gets off the block to make the
tackle. He's a very explosive player for that
defense and we are just going to have to do the best we can."