Countdown to Kickoff
Alabama Holds Final On-Campus Practice



Dec. 31, 2009

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama football team wrapped up the on-campus portion of its bowl preparation with a two-hour practice in shells Thursday afternoon inside the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.

The Crimson Tide will depart for Pasadena, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2010, and begin normal game-week preparations on Saturday, Jan. 2.

No. 1 Alabama (13-0, 8-0 SEC) and No. 2 Texas (13-0, 8-0 Big 12) will meet in the Citi 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.

The Tide held 10 practices in Tuscaloosa leading up to the BCS National Championship Game.  Alabama practiced five times from Dec. 19-23 before a three-day break for the holidays.  The Tide returned for five more practices on Dec. 27 and concluded practice on New Year’s Eve.

Alabama senior cornerback Javier Arenas and sophomore wide receiver Marquis Maze met with the media earlier this week and here are some of their comments:

Senior cornerback Javier Arenas
On Texas offense:
“They have great athletes and what they do is they execute real well, which is why they are successful.”

On Jordan Shipley:
“He’s a great football player.  He runs great routes. What you see is what you get, there are no secrets.  He is fast, quick; great hands and runs great routes.”

On how everyone is dealing with the long layoff between games:
“I think everybody is doing well. With Coach Saban stressing the things that are most important, like tackling well and be fundamentally sound, I think we have stressed that and the leadership adopting that same type of mentality and feeding it to the team. Everything is going real smooth.”

On the change of intensity when you shifted from practicing fundamentals to Texas game plan:
“No, it doesn’t change.  I think with us, we all have the same mentality.  We know what we’ve got to do. Whatever Coach (Saban) puts out there and whatever today’s practice consists of, we know we have to execute.  If it’s a thud day then we’re going thud, if it’s a day we focus heavily on Texas, then we know how to make that transition.”

On whether players have much of a life outside football:
“There is nothing else to do really.  I don’t stay here and study film 24-7, but I study it a lot to know what I have to do in order to be successful.  I think I can speak for the rest of my teammates when I say that.  Besides that, it’s just chilling and watching football a lot.  When watching other games you get itchy to go out there and play.  You watch the guys make great plays, you’re eager to go out there and do the same thing.”

Sophomore wide receiver Marquis Maze
On your improvement from last year to this year:
“I sort of looked at this year to get myself out there on the field.  Most people say we only have one receiver, so that really motivated me to go out this summer and work harder and progress.”

On competition at receiver and someone different stepping up each week:
“You never know.  One game it might be just getting open and the ball comes your way.  You have to make the most of your opportunities when you get the ball.”

On the improvement in the passing game late in the year:
“We just worked hard at practice and started to gel.  It was new for all of us really.  We had new people in different roles. We practiced harder, worked harder, worked on different routes and things.”

On Texas defensive secondary:
“They have good defensive backs. They have a good defense, the No, 3 defense in the country.  We just have to keep working hard next week and hopefully that will play off.”

On the pressure put on the passing game when teams try and stop Mark Ingram:
“It’s really no pressure because every team has been gearing up to stop Mark.  We just have to make the most of our opportunities.”

On the challenge of going against a defense that leads the nation with 22 interceptions:
“It’s a real challenge.  I mean, they have good players.  We just have to do what we have practiced to do and execute.”

On if Texas’ Earl Thomas is the best defensive back you have faced this year:
“He is good.  I don’t know if he is the best, I haven’t faced him yet, but he is good.  He is very instinctive, fast and always around the ball.”