Fans will converge on New Orleans to enjoy a vibrant New Year’s celebration, as well as the Tide’s tussle with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Fun will be had, and “Roll Tide” will echo down Bourbon Street.
While the fan base will be building itself into frenzy, the Crimson Tide team is taking a far different approach. It is all business in the Big Easy.
Several Alabama offensive stalwarts including Amari Cooper and coordinator Lane Kiffin took to the podium in the Marriott at the Convention Center hotel, and the Tide’s approach to the game was one of the hot topics during their conversations with the assembled media.
Shortly after reassuring fans that his ankle is almost 100%, starting running back TJ Yeldon flatly said that “We’re (Alabama) here for a business trip, not the party or whatever. We’re pretty focused and ready to play.”
The biggest indicator of that focused Crimson Tide came from Kiffin during his opening statement where he backed up the business-like mentality by revealing that the team “had a great few practices of preparation before we got here.” Kiffin was quick to follow up that even with all of the solid preparation so far, “it (Saban’s Process) is all about today.”
One of the advantages that the Tide has coming into this game is that they have been in this sort of game before. Whether it be a battle against No. 1 Mississippi State earlier this year, or a game with a national championship on the line in 2012, every player, from true freshman to fifth year senior, has been involved in high stakes contests.
Fifth year senior Arie Kouandjio spoke about that big game experience when he said that “it’s not too hard not to get caught up in the hype. It happens a lot playing for Alabama.” Kouandjio even went as far as saying, “we’ve done it before” when he finished describing a game with the magnitude of the Sugar Bowl.
The attitude a team has during preparation does not always translate to a win, but mental state has been acknowledged as a major part of any successful endeavor for thousands of years. It was Sun Tzu that said, “victorious warriors win first, and then go to war.” From what the Alabama Crimson Tide said this morning, they’re certainly winning. In three days, they engage in a war between the white lines in the Superdome.