It's that throw up orange. It's not that orange you can sit with.
"Whenever we line up good-on-good and doing team run, we try to look at the formation to see what's going on. But we always keep an eye on Chance. Chance is that one guy that you have to absolutely go full speed with," Hightower said. "... Sometimes I feel sorry for the opposing team's linebackers because they might not have seen it on film or looked over it, but I'm definitely sure some of the Ole Miss linebackers (have) seen the effect of Chance when he comes through that hole."
"This defense is interesting, because I wouldn't say they're great at every position, but they're not weak at any position," Savage said. "They have a lot of depth. When you factor in the experience level that they gained from last year, they're just playing real well right now." The Tide took some lumps last season, losing three games. It yielded 35 points to South Carolina and allowed Auburn to win 28-27 after leading 24-0. "The struggles they had last year have been turned into a positive this year," Savage said. "Some of these teams have two weeks to game plan, and their offensive script might put a little dent in Alabama's defense early, but after they make those adjustments, it's over. It's just been really impressive."
"Whether it's the quarterback getting a little more antsy to get rid of the ball or throw a little quicker, or going to other plays that they're not as comfortable with or formations they're not comfortable with. I'm just so excited about the way that we control the run, the way we put pressure on the quarterback and our tackling ability. You can tell that they work on that a lot. They're good tacklers. So many teams you see now, in the pros and everywhere else, they just come up and, boom, hit somebody, then they fall down and the guy keeps running. They don't work on tackling much anymore."
"This is Nick's fifth year, it's his best team," Dooley said. "It’s probably as physically a dominating a defense as I've seen in the modern era of football. I know that's a strong statement but i believe it. You catch yourself watching them and not studying them when you’re watching tape. "You see probably prototype speed and athleticism at every position, that's the first thing. You see experience. They're all back from last year, all 11 guys are juniors or seniors. You're not going to fool them. There's no play that's going to ‘get’ them. Of course the scheme is very good and when they go to hit you they don't go to tackle you, they go to punish you."
Injury update: Alabama practiced without two starters Monday after the pair suffered similar injuries Saturday at Ole Miss. Both kicker Cade Foster and right guard Anthony Steen went down with concussions in Oxford. "Those things we test and when he gets back to normal that's when we'll kind of let him go," Saban said. "We don't think it's that bad, but you never know how guys respond to those things." Saban said a few others were "a little nicked up," but didn't name names and added all should be fine for the rest of the week.
"This is a real big rivalry. Maybe even bigger than the Iron Bowl. A lot of people don’t ask, what was your record against the Iron Bowl, they always ask ‘what’s your record against Tennessee?’ So this rivalry is a real big rivalry and definitely one of my favorites going back and playing against my home state."
Teammates were not all that impressed with Trent Richardson's stutter-stepping 76-yard touchdown run against Mississippi that is being hailed as a possible Heisman moment for the Alabama running back. Especially some of those on defense. "That move he made, pretty much he does that move every day in practice," said Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson. "It's nothing new to us. We say all the time, 'Oh, somebody else got victimized.'"
"Whatever the league decides to do, I’m very hopeful that all the traditions and rivalries – and I’ve said this before – are something we can hold dear," Saban said. "Those are the things that are important to fans. They’re important to programs on both sides, and I think games that players look forward to. I would certainly not be in favor of something that did not allow us to continue to have those kinds of rivalry games in the future."
Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson was on the field when Terrence Cody's arm caught Daniel Lincoln's kick two seasons ago. "The last thing I remember about that game was being in my stance and thinking we could lose this game," Johnson said. "That's the last thing I remember. I don't remember anything before that. That's pretty much about it. We blocked the field goal, and we were fortunate to keep our season going undefeated."
While this may seem like nitpicking at the moment, the numbers don’t lie. Alabama is a poor kicking team. It may not be an issue now, but there will be a time when the Tide needs to pin the LSU Tigers deep on their own side of the field and the punter won’t get it done. There will be a time when an Auburn player returns a kick to midfield when Alabama desperately needs a touchback. One big play can make a difference in a game and a season – why not do everything you can to prevent it?
And what did Richardson say about his tantalizing play? He said it wasn’t even his best run. That he could have done better. That he was proud of his blockers. "I had to get in the end zone some type of way," Richardson said. "I couldn’t let them blocks go to waste." Come on! Showboat a little! No boasting or bragging. He never really complimented himself other than to say that it was a nice run.
A few rows back in the crowded Ole Miss visiting media room sat Terry Saban. The wife of Alabama coach Nick Saban never misses a postgame news conference. About halfway through, husband ribbed wife once again for her disapproval of Alabama’s straight-ahead running attack. She smiled in playful disagreement. He grinned because it’s working. But perfect? Never. Not with rival Tennessee waiting Saturday afternoon. Still, it’s getting harder for the Alabama faithful to complain through seven wins by an average of 33 points. The 52-7 throttling of Ole Miss on Saturday broke a host of personal and team records with its grandeur. Seriously, this is getting silly.
Alabama left guard Chance Warmack was asked Monday how Steen's potential absence this week could affect the continuity of the offensive line. Those interviewed in the past agree the unit will look for the five best players working together. "The good thing about that is everybody on the line is mentally and physically ready, regardless of whatever it is -- whether it's me or Alfred McCullough, Steen, Barrett Jones --we're very knowledgeable at each position," Warmack said. "So if somebody has an issue, we can make up for it. So I'm not worried about that at all. "I trust everybody, whether it be with the 1s or the 2s or the 3s. Anybody can go in and play for us. I'm really confident in whoever goes in."
On Saban's role on offense: "More philosophical. I can't speak for what he's doing at Alabama. It's philosophical and he knows what he wants. He knows what he wants his offenses to look like. He's always going to be multiple, so the defenses can work on it. We sort of believe the same things from that standpoint. He's always going to have a physical running game. Philosophy and situational is what his involvement is."
On comparing Alabama to LSU... "It's going to be a different level Saturday. I feel like Bama is a more physical football team. LSU prides itself on speed and not letting you out run them. Bama is not going to let you out physically play them. It's as simple as that. They are going to be physical up front. The linebackers and even the secondary is physical. We have to get ready to play a physical football game for 60 minutes."
"You all create so many problems," Saban said to the general press corps in attendance. "I hate to start on this, but whether guys are going out for the draft that shouldn't even be thinking about that right now. Whether we're worrying about the Heisman Trophy, now we're worrying about playing Missouri rather than Tennessee some time down the road. I could give a s--- about all that, excuse my French. "I mean, come on. Let's talk about the game. What year are we talking about when we're not gonna play Tennessee - 2025? I'm just hoping I can still go to the lake then, still can walk around and go on a pontoon boat ride."