Countdown to Kickoff
Football Team Wraps up Fourth Bowl Practice



Dec. 22, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team practiced for two hours in shells Tuesday afternoon at the Thomas-Drew Practice Facility, completing its fourth practice for the upcoming BCS National Championship Game against Texas.
No. 1 Alabama (13-0, 8-0 SEC) and No. 2 Texas (13-0, 8-0 Big 12) will meet in the BCS National Championship Game on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.  The game will be nationally televised by ABC Sports.
“This is a special game in a lot of ways,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said following Monday’s practice.  “You don’t get opportunities like this very often.  This is a certainly a special opportunity for our players.  As a coach, you want to make sure you do everything you can to help those players get back to playing their best football. It’s a challenge with this much time off.  It’s a challenge with this much attention.  It’s a challenge with all the things that go into playing these kinds of games, but the number one thing we want to try and get with our players is to focus on the things you need to do to play your best football.”
The Crimson Tide began bowl preparations on Saturday and focused on the fundamentals this week.
Alabama will practice again on Wednesday morning before a three-day holiday break.  The team will return to Tuscaloosa for five more practices beginning Sunday, Dec. 27.  Alabama will depart for California on New Year’s Day and begin game-week preparations on Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010.
Alabama redshirt freshman right guard Barrett Jones met the media following Tuesday’s practice.  Here are some his comments:
On when the schedule will switch from fundamentals to game-planning for Texas:
“The plan has been all week to really focus on our fundamentals this week and to kind of go back to the basics, continue to work hard and improve as football players. We will start to focus a little more directly on Texas next week.”
On having seen Texas on film and your impressions of their team:
“Absolutely.  We know we have a lot of time to prepare and we want to use that time to our advantage, so we’ve definitely started to look at them.  They are a very talented squad and we are going to have to bring our best game.”
On how much the long break helps the team and helps with injuries:
“I think the break was huge.  The grind of the SEC season is something a lot of people don’t realize how much wear and tear our bodies go through.  I think it was great to get a week off and get some of those nagging injuries and get ahead of them a little bit.  A hamstring here or there, or groin, it was great to get a week off to try and heal up.”
On offensive line play and lack of holding penalties:
“We’re coached to keep our hands inside always and it’s something we focus on in the off-season a lot.  It’s one of our goals.  We want to be a very sparsely penalized team. I feel like that’s a goal we have accomplished and we have to continue to work hard at that because you know get our hands outside every day in practice.  I think it’s something that if you focus on, keeping your hands inside, it shouldn’t be a problem. Coach (Joe) Pendry, every time in practice that we do it, points it out and we work on it and that’s why I think you’ve seen that, because we do pay attention to detail and focus on that.”