The big game between No. 2 Alabama and no. 8 Michigan is only about 24 hours away from kickoff and the hype surrounding the matchup is reaching its peak. Despite it being a matchup of top-10 teams, Alabama is a two-touchdown favorite and few outside of Ann Arbor are giving the Wolverines a chance against the Crimson Tide. ESPN analyst David Pollack took time to break down some of the key aspects of the heavy weight matchup.
Here is some of what he said:
We’re through one week of fall camp, including the first scrimmage, and slowly but surely the 2012 Crimson Tide is starting to come together. There’s still roughly three weeks until the season starts, so a lot can change between now and September 1. But, here are some observations and opinions through week one:
Nick Saban is unquestionably the best coach in college football right now. He has the entire college football world in the palm of his hand and his Crimson Tide are riding high after two national championships in three years.
- Saban was bombarded by cameras and fans while walking down radio row.
- Saban had an interesting take on how to handle the Penn State situation. “Tax athletic tickets and give the money to abused children organizations.” He also said, “We need to focus more on the outcome than the punishment.”
- Saban jokingly said he was excited to be at media days and was happy the event was moved up a day.
- Saban’s main message to his team is fighting complacency. He said, “It’s human nature to relax.”
- Saban is high on freshman receiver Amari Cooper. He mentioned him during spring practice as well as today as one of the players who could really make plays for the team.
- Saban also pointed out that 2012 team will be defined by what they do and not what Alabama has done in the past. He was quick to note that 2012 team is not like the 2010 team.
- Saban and Steve Spurrier have had a nice back and forth during media days. Saban said (with a hint of sarcasm) he looks up to Spurrier and he even considered wearing a visor on the sideline.
- Saban said playing a national game in the season opener helps his team prepare harder in the offseason because its a tougher test.
- A reporter asked Saban what he thought about the perception nationally that he has too much power at Alabama. Saban responded, “It’s not true, if that’s the perception.”
Marq: Nick Saban has grown from just a defensive minded coach to the voice and face of college football. He fielded a wide range of questions from the Penn State scandal to having too much power at Alabama. He was quick to let every one know that the 2012 won’t get complacent like the 2010 team did and said he likes the leadership on this year’s team. The road schedule is tough for the Tide, but if things go their way, expect Saban to be in Miami looking for a repeat.
Marc: The thing that stands out about Nick Saban were the number of non team specific questions he got. Reporters asked him about questions concerning the game of college football and less about his team. He’s really becoming a voice for the game as a whole. As for the Alabama side, Saban seems determined that the 2012 team won’t make the mistakes of the 2010 unit.
SEC Media Days are almost upon us, which signals the unofficial start of the college football season. Media Days are also traditionally when schools hand out their printed media guides.
Alabama has released four different front covers for the media guides a day early that are sure to get the college football blood flowing in you.
The theme this year is Built By Bama, which is probably a reference to this being head coach Nick Saban’s sixth year, meaning all of the players on the Crimson Tide’s roster were recruited and developed by Saban.
This first cover features quarterback AJ McCarron and offensive linemen Chance Warmack and D.J. Fluker.
Next we have center Barrett Jones, possibly the most decorated player on Alabama’s roster.
On the defensive side of the ball, you have Robert Lester, who will be counted upon as one of the leaders of an inexperienced defense.
And finally, there’s defensive end Damion Square, showing off the bling he’s earned during his career at Alabama.
Today, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu got into it a little bit on twitter. It started out with a seemingly harmless tweet from Mathieu:
It’s no secret that Nick Saban likes to have full control of what his coaching staff says to the media, so he hardly ever makes his assistants available to speak, especially during football season. But Doug Nussmeier did a radio interview with WNSP in Mobile this morning, so it’s a good idea to take this opportunity to hear what Alabama’s new offensive coordinator has to say.
When Nussmeier was asked about some changes that might be coming to the offense, he wouldn’t say much, outside of a little wisecrack.
“We’ll just have to wait until September 1 and see how it unveils as the season goes,” he said. “I think we’ll just take all the plays we ran last year and put them in a big bin and just pull them out one by one and recycle them.”
(Transcription comes from Andrew Gribble at al.com)
Nussmeier seems very high on quarterback AJ McCarron, who is looking to follow up his outstanding performance in the BCS National Championship Game with a stellar second season.
“I think when you look at AJ and the progression he made from the start of the season last season to the end and where he started spring football, where he ended spring football, he just continues to get better and better each day,” Nussmeier said. “I really believe he’s got a lot of upside still left in him and some things technically he can work on. I think you’ll see his game continue to elevate.”
And, like the rest of us, Nussmeier also liked what he saw from the running backs in the spring.
“Obviously we didn’t have Eddie Lacy in the spring but Eddie’s a very, very good football player and I’m really, really excited to get him back,” he said. “Jalston Fowler had a really, really good spring for us. Really looking forward to what he brings to the table. You’ve got Dee Hart. He’s not the biggest guy in the world but has great acceleration and is good out of the backfield receiving. T.J. (Yeldon) coming in as a true freshman and his first spring, I thought really did some outstanding things and I think he’s got a high, high ceiling.”
Here is full audio from the interview, courtesy of I Bleed Crimson Red: