"We have all seen coach Saban go off on people when they do something stupid that can hurt us," Upshaw said. "So, we all don't want to get yelled at. We know what's right and what's wrong. It's okay to get in somebody's face, but all the pushing and stuff is not going to help you win. It can help you lose the game with penalties."
"It's a part of the philosophy of the program since we've been here for five years," said Saban, whose team plays Vanderbilt (3-1, 1-1 in the Eastern Division) on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. "We want to win in the fourth quarter, that we have a fourth quarter program which is basically the strength and conditioning program that we do in the offseason, summertime."
The Tide has more rushes (15) for 20-plus yards than passes (13). McCarron’s two longest completions have come to running backs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy, and No. 3 came on a fake field goal. Those kinds of statistics might give McCarron, like McElroy, the label of a game manager. But "manager" isn’t a four-letter word, Saban points out. It’s about getting the offense into the right play, targeting the right receiver and otherwise executing correctly. "That’s what managing the game is, and that’s very, very positive," Saban said. "Being talented and not managing the game — calling the wrong play, total disarray, lots of penalties, lots of interceptions — how does that rate you? We haven’t had that."
UA center William Vlachos said Richardson possesses much of the same intangible qualities -- and the ability to ignore the Heisman hype -- as former UA rusher and Heisman winner Mark Ingram. "Time will tell, but the way I see him working every day in practice is like he's the fourth-team tailback and he's got something to prove with a chip on his shoulder," said Vlachos, who blocked for Ingram's winning campaign in 2009. "He continues to practice hard and work hard."
Saban was asked how he keeps his voice during the season? "The first day we have practice I lose my voice," Saban said. "But when we're yelling at them every day you don't lose your voice. It's called conditioning."
"We might be better served not playing (Lacy) in this game," Saban said Thursday night. "..I haven't made the decision yet." Saban also mentioned linebacker C.J. Mosley (elbow), but he did not talk about his playing status. Mosley sat last Saturday 38-10 win at Florida still coping with an elbow injury he suffered in a 38-14 win against Arkansas on Sept. 24.
Has it just taken time for four returning starters and Steen, a third-year sophomore, to adjust to Jeff Stoutland, a new position coach? "I don't think so," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "I just think new group, new chemistry. We played a lot of different guys, and I think some of it is style of team (opponent). "We're probably doing things now that are more suited to the players that we have. I think that has helped them improve, develop. They're more comfortable doing it."
Ben Flanagan: Talk about the birth of Bo's Bloody Mary.
Bo Hicks: It started when I first started working here back in 2004. We were trying to decide when to open, and I knew parking was going to be a bummer. I'm a morning person, so I got down here early and lo and behold had people who wanted to come in at 8 a.m. So I let them in, and they wanted a Bloody Mary, so I began tinkering with a recipe. People really liked it, and it started building this crowd of people who wanted to come and sit and hang out for a while. So I started adding more and more additives, and now I think it almost qualifies as a WIC program breakfast with the amount of pickled things that are in it. The latest addition in the past couple of years has been the sushi ginger on the top, which really settles your stomach. Sometimes you need a Bloody Mary, you really need your stomach settled a little bit.
"Egans is my favorite game day bar because it's such a cross section of Alabama fans," says local photographer David Smith. "You have a mix of young and old coming together for a common purpose. You have the older people, many from out of of town, coming in the morning to get a top notch Bloody Mary from Bo Hicks, but then you'll see the regulars coming in and out all day. It might get crowded and there might not be a place to sit all the time, but I wouldn't want to watch a game at any other bar in town."
If the SEC wants to go for 16 strong football teams, it should only do so if it can reasonably be assured that a playoff or plus-one system is just around the corner. Otherwise, all it is doing is adding television markets so that it can add fans who can watch as the SEC churns out an endless supply of 10-2 teams that get left out of the BCS Championship Game.
Yet, for all my concerns regarding Lee, they are multiplied by 10 for Alabama. A.J. McCarron is nothing more than a warm body. Perhaps that's all they need with Richardson toting the rock, but with LSU's outstanding rush defense, they can force Bama to have to make completions to win, and I'm not sure A.J. has that in him... not against this secondary. Sure, the game is in Alabama, so that does tilt the odds in their favor slightly, but I still really like our chances in this game. I feel like we are the better team, and I'd fall back upon the dominance of our resume to date to win that argument.