Countdown to Kickoff
UA Players Talk About LSU game



Nov. 3, 2008

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama football team held its weekly media day on Monday to preview Saturday’s game at LSU.  Here are some comments from senior quarterback John Parker Wilson, junior left tackle Andre Smith, senior safety Rashad Johnson and sophomore cornerback Kareem Jackson.

Senior QB John Parker Wilson
On LSU game last year:
“I haven’t even watched it yet.  We were up in the fourth quarter I think.  I think we are a different team than we were last year so it doesn’t really have a bearing on this year.”

On not having let downs in key moments:
“It’s just about taking care of the ball and having a different approach.  I understand the game a whole lot more than I did last year.  I feel a lot more comfortable with the offense.  With what we are doing and who we have in.  I’m aware of where everyone else is going to be.  The comfort is there.  Experience has a lot to do with it.  I’ve been in a lot of situations, and I think I know how to handle myself.  I know what to expect.”

On working hard in practice to eliminate let downs:
“Sure you work hard to take care of the ball and not throw interceptions.  Anytime you throw a pick in practice, it’s just like throwing a pick in the game.  You want to stay away from that.  You just have to work on making good decisions and taking care of the ball.  Just work on doing the things you need to do. 

On Coach McElwain’s influence:
“He has helped me a lot.  He’s made things simple for me.  We haven’t gone out and tried to redefine offensive football.  We just do what works for us.  We stay with it and we are going to stay with it the whole year.”

Junior LT Andre Smith
On maturity of the team:
“We have just bought into Coach Saban’s system as a team as opposed to just some individuals.  We just all believe that he is going to do the right things for us.  He’s going to make us do the right things to better prepare us.”

On not paying attention to external factors:
“You have to not think about it (external factors). Coach (Saban) always says, if you look at the number one team last year, where did they finish?  That’s how we look at it as a team. 

On the team’s first quarter dominance:
“In the first quarter it starts with ‘Start Fast, Finish Strong’.  Every game we go into it having a mindset to start fast.”

On success on the road:
“(Our) preparation. That’s it throughout the week of practice.  As far as snap count changing.  It’s really just about focusing more.  You have to work on that because you are going to have the crowd right there sitting on the field.

Senior FS Rashad Johnson
On maturity of the team:
“I think it comes from our coaching staff first of all.  Then, it comes from them instilling it into the seniors and into the leaders.  We are just passing it along to our teammates.  Everybody believes in us as seniors and leaders and they have taken everything we have told them to heart.”

On looking forward to the game:
“It’s been a game that’s been looked at and talked about all year.  For it to finally be here, it may be a little bit of relief.  It’s here and we are all ready and excited to get to work.  We are ready to go in and watch the film and see what they do.  I’m going to do everything I can this week to get better so we can give ourselves the best opportunity to go in there and get a win.”

On taking games one game at a time:
“We haven’t really had to talk to the freshman and newcomers much this year.  The freshman came in and the younger guys are definitely a lot more mature than what you would think.  I’ve barely had anyone who has said anything about being ranked.  It’s hardly ever talked about in the locker room. It’s because we know that none of that means anything.  At any point in time on any given Saturday, you can go out and get beat. I think that comes from Coach Saban stressing that so much to us any time he gets the opportunity to approach us and talk to us as a team.  I think everybody believes in that he’s telling us.”

Sophomore CB Kareem Jackson
On playing better on the road:
“I’m not really sure there is a reason we play better on the road.  We just accept the challenge wherever we go.  We try to go in with confidence.  We know what’s at stake and what we have to do.  It’s just a business trip for us.  We just have to look at it as going in and taking care of business.”

On LSU game and external factors:
“I know it’s hard but all those external factors aren’t going to help us play better.  It has nothing to do with what we have to do.  We just have to go in and execute like we are supposed to.  We have to do the little things right and have a good week of practice to be ready for Saturday.”

On looking at the schedule as a whole:
“The next game on the schedule, that’s what I look forward to.  I don’t really look at who we play and what we are going to do at the beginning of the year.  The next game on the schedule is always as important as any other game.  We just have to take them one by one.”