The Crimson Tide practiced for roughly two hours in shells at Dr. Phillips High School, just adjacent to Universal Studios in Orlando. The focus this week has been to put together a full 60 minutes of quality football.
"I think the guys have kept a pretty good balance of what we are trying to do." Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. "We emphasized to them that we are only a good team when we play at our best, and we've sort of proven that throughout the year this year. When we have played really well, we've been pretty good and sometimes when we haven't played as well as we needed to that's been pretty costly to us and had some pretty negative consequences.
"For four years, we talked about what it takes to become a champion, and now that the program has arrived at that point, we must try to take the next step," said Dantonio, who has chosen to focus on the positives. "At 11-1, we're not satisfied. Our focus is on winning our last football game - the bowl game. It's important for our seniors - the winningest four-year class in Spartan history - to add a bowl victory to their impressive list of accomplishments."
"It’s not just for Coach D," linebackers coach Mike Tressel said. "It’s like the rest of the season: We’ve been in situations before where maybe in the past we were happy to be in the situation, but this year it’s we expect to get this accomplished. Same thing with the bowl games, this particular game — it’s not be happy about being in the Capital One game, let’s finish a great season off in a great way.
"There’s no doubt about it. I don’t think you look back at four years and say we didn’t win a bowl game, I think you look at this year being a special 2010 season and end it the way it’s supposed to be ended."
"It’s bittersweet," Alabama senior quarterback Greg McElroy said. "I’m trying to savor every last moment with my teammates and just trying to spend as much time as I can with them, in the players’ lounge or walking around Disney World."
McElroy cherished the long wait in line at Disney’s Space Mountain roller coaster alongside about 20 teammates as much as the ride itself.
"We made it fun," McElroy said. "We had everybody from a walk-on to Mark (Ingram), a Heisman Trophy winner. Things like that are things you’re going to miss. I think that team mantra, that team aspect, is something that’s often overlooked. So much of it gets focused around the game. It’s the guys that you’re going to miss the most.
"I forgot about that," Saban said after Wednesday's practice when asked about the game. "We had a good team and we actually fumbled two punts, gave them good field position.
"Don James did a great job of turning the program around and was a great inspiration for wanting to stay in this profession. I remember my mom and dad carried me down to the game. That's about what I remember from it. You always remember the outcome."
"A lot of people have talent, but a lot of people who have talent get cut all the time in the NFL and the NBA and just about every place," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "It's about having the right intangibles, the right consistency, the right discipline, the right commitment to a standard of excellence, all those kinds of things. That will be the key to us being able to replace Greg and having somebody else play quarterback for us next year that will have success as well."
"We won on a crazy play that was on ESPN for the longest time," said running back Le'Veon Bell, who played a big role in executing the play. "It was one of the greatest plays to happen at Michigan State. It meant a lot. It kept us undefeated.
"That game definitely gave us momentum. It was a big game. It was a night game. We rarely have night games. For us to win a night game against a rival in that kind of fashion, it's crazy. It was the best experience of my life."
Q. Can you talk about Preston Dial's season at tight end?
A. Preston has been a very special guy on this team. It's been really nice watching him grow up. I came in here and had him for three years, watched him go from a guy that really didn't play a lot to being a key factor in our offense. It's been special. He's had a fantastic year, one of the toughest players on our offense because we ask him to do so much that really goes. People don't really notice all the things that he has to do. But he's done a great job. I know he's looking forward to this game on Saturday.