Aug. 25, 2008
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
The University of Alabama football team held its weekly media day on Monday in the Naylor Stone Media Suite. Senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, senior center Antoine Caldwell, junior left tackle Andre Smith and junior cornerback and return specialist Javier Arenas preview the Tide's season opener with Clemson this Saturday, Aug. 30, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.
John Parker Wilson
On how preparing for a top ten team in the season opener compares to last year: "I think this year we have come out with a better pace in training camp. We have come out with a better sense of urgency in practice knowing we don't have a warm-up game or anything that gets us ready for the season opener. We have to be ready for the first game."
On finding your identity in the season: "This game could kind of set the stage for our season. No matter the outcome of the game, we can learn a lot with it being a non-conference game. It's not playing a good opponent four or five games into the season, now we get to learn about ourselves in the first game."
On how you feel heading into the season opener: "I feel good. I feel confident. I think preparation is going good so far. We have a couple of extra days since this is the first game. I think the guys are striding very well, everything's getting put in and we feel very good."
On freshman receiver Julio Jones: "You know, he's just a tremendous athlete ... a big play guy. He works hard. He doesn't come in with a big head like a lot of freshmen. He's come in and earned his spot and showed the rest of the team on offense that he works for everything that he gets."
On a `wow' moment from Julio Jones: "He makes good catches every day, but I think it's just the way he comes to practice every day and doesn't expect everyone to give it to him that has impressed me the most. As highly as he was ranked out of high school, and all the publicity he has gotten, he could have kind of very easily just thought he was going to walk into it. But he has come in with a good attitude and good work ethic."
On opening the season on a national stage with Clemson and at the Georgia Dome: "The thing about being young is that you really don't know what else to expect, so going into it there probably won't be too many nerves because everything happens so fast for those guys. They have never been there, never traveled on the road, some guys have never flown on a plane before, so it will be different for them. But it will be happening so fast, the game will be there, and we have played so many football games growing up that it will just be like second nature, and it will turn on for those guys."
On being concerned about the youth of this team: "No, I'm not concerned at all. We have very good leaders who have brought everybody through camp getting ready for the season. I feel very confident in these young guys."
On being a team leader and does that add pressure: "More pressure, less pressure, I don't know. I am just going to take it like another season. I have started two before, so I kind of know what to expect and what it's going to be like. I am just going to use that experience to try and benefit me."
On difference in this team and last year's team: "I think our team is a lot closer, a lot better, so that's what excites me. Guys are able to care about each other and happy to be around each other. That makes coming to practice everyday enjoyable no matter what."
On preparing for the season opener: "When you look on film, they have a lot of great talent. They have good players and good coaching. They play hard. That alone makes you raise your level of play and your preparation. That's what a lot of the guys have been doing."
On Clemson: "Their speed, not only on offense but defense, stands out. They have a lot of speed. They have two really good safeties up front. They are fast and physical. They get after it. That's what we've been looking at. I'm been watching film on those guys since about April. Every time I watch film I realize another guy stands out. They do a good job and we are going to have to be on our A game."
On sophomore defensive lineman Terrence Cody: "Terrence Cody is a beast. He's gifted to be that big and be able to move that well. He's very athletic. I remember the first time I met him I actually saw him on the basketball court. He was dunking. He's a great athlete. He's come in here and worked hard. He's adjusted to everything the coaches have wanted him to do and I'm looking forward to watching him play on Saturday."
On the season opener: "I'm just looking forward to going out and competing. I'm not going to boast or brag. I'm just going to go out there and have fun and do what I'm supposed to do. I'm just going to go have fun."
On Alabama's running backs: "All of them have to take the same steps. It's really up to us on the offensive line to get the guys out of the way so their reads can be easier. We just want to go out there and have fun. We are looking forward to Clemson and preparing. All our running backs are fast. No running back is different from another. I love blocking for all of them."
On playing a big game against a team like Clemson: "I don't think the game feels different. On any college they are on scholarship just like you are. They did something right. If they are starting at their position, they are doing something right in their program. As far as one game being different than the other one, I don't think that is so."
On Clemson running backs, C.J. Spiller and James Davis: "You guys watch them on Saturdays. You guys have seen what they can do. They do it consistently. They are fast and powerful. Their coaches know how to use them in order to be successful. We've been preparing. We have a good scheme to try to slow them down. It's going to be a great competition. What you see is what you get with those guys. They both can do the same thing. When they have the ball in their hands they become different runners. As far as before the snap and locations, you have to be aware of where they are located."
On Clemson's passing game: "Their running game makes their passing game very dangerous. They know what they are doing over there. They spread the field out to run the ball. Again we have a scheme that we are going into the game with. We are confident that we can execute in order to be successful."