"They’re going to try to stop your runner, pressure and affect the quarterback, (and) do a good job on third down," Alabama coach Nick Saban said at his press conference Monday. "That’s why they’ve been successful, because they’ve been able to do those things fairly well." That also sounds like the Crimson Tide’s preferred blueprint. And both teams do it with talent first, Xs and Os second. Opponents who can’t hang with the Tide and Tigers physically are in trouble. "When you have advantages of personnel, those are the thing you try to do," LSU coach Les Miles said Monday in Baton Rouge, La. "There is not necessarily a necessity to outman your opponent. You can play. It allows you a comfort of play call and fundamental that allows you to execute extremely well. That is probably the similarities between the two teams."
He didn't play at all on Oct. 8 against Vanderbilt. "Eddie will be 100 percent," Richardson said before practice. "I can't wait to get him out there Saturday and let everyone see what he can do." Lacy is from Geismar, La. "He's from Louisiana, so a lot of people have been talking mess," Richardson said. "Asking him what he's going to do, asking if Eddie's 100 percent. He's ready to go. He's been like, 'It's a homecoming for me, for real, and I'm ready to play.'"
"This game means a lot to me, because I didn't get to play in it last year except for about one quarter. So I really can't wait to showcase what a healthy Trent can do in this game."
"It's hard to think about birthdays," Saban said. "The players had a little birthday party and they all signed this jersey No. 60. I held that thing up and I said, 'Saban and 60.' First of all, I wasn't thinking about age. I was thinking about, 'I'm a skill player. There's no way I can sport this 60. I've got to have a lower-than-50 number of some sort.' That's how I feel and that's how I think."
Nowhere is the difference between the two programs more apparent than in our head coaches. Nick Saban is a great football coach. He wins a lot, primarily by preaching the Process. Alabama fans love the order and discipline he brings. Here's a guy who probably has a detailed plan on how to order eggs at Waffle House (if Saban would ever eat at a Waffle House). Saban has fostered the image of himself a dictator, who derives about as much joy from winning as you would from brushing your teeth. It's all part of the Process. Les Miles can't even spell process. He's embraced the crazy and the lunatic fringe. Miles is also a great coach who wins a lot, but you get the sense that he's more exciting than anyone else in the stadium. He'd high five Mike the tiger if we'd let him. He seems to embrace that this is a game, and that all of this is fun. Not just the game, but the whole experience - the fans, the tailgating, the pageantry.
"LSU is a great team," said senior defensive lineman Josh Chapman. "They always have been. They always play hard and try to run the ball. They are going to try and run the ball until you stop it. We live for games like this. Being in the SEC, it's a great matchup. We are ready for it."
One thing the Tigers are known for under head coach Les Miles are the trick plays that they like to run. Alabama saw that first hand last year, when the team ran a reverse on a fourth and long to ice the game. "We have an eye on them for trickery on offense. You can’t put anything past Les Miles," Hightower said. "Who runs an end around on a fourth down play? You don’t really see that much."
LSU coach Les Miles as usual wants his players to embrace the big-game trappings. He said he doesn’t want the Tigers coaching or playing like normal for a game that’s anything but. "I want the players to enjoy the glare and the light of the big stage," Miles said. "I want them to enjoy the opportunity to play for a big victory. Once I’ve prepared the team and after I feel I’ve done a quality job, I want the players to play with freedom. "If there is a chance to make a dominant play, I want them to make that play."
QUESTION OF THE DAY: These are two of the best run defenses in college football. But is one front seven better than the other?
When we say "of the best," let's stipulate that we're maybe selling Alabama short here. Among the many statistics in which the Tide defense leads the nation are rush defense, yards per-carry allowed, and rushing touchdowns allowed ... but particularly interesting is that the Tide is well ahead of the pack in each category, ranking 28 yards per-game, .48 yards per-rush, and 2 touchdowns ahead of the No. 2 team in all three. Which is why it's something of a surprise to say that LSU appears to have a clear head-to-head edge on the defensive line. It's true that 1. the Tide run a 3-4 instead of the Tigers' 4-3 and 2. thus don't ask their linemen to make plays as much as occupy blockers and let the linebackers behind them make plays, so the comparison's not entirely valid. Nose tackle Josh Chapman's value to the Tide is never going to be measured in tackles and sacks.
On rematch games: I lose sleep over every game, even the ones we win. You always have areas of concern that you worry about. I think that happens with everybody when you're not successful. I don't know that there's any motivation from last year. There's lessons to be learned when you play year in and year out.
ESPN's College Game Day will descend upon Tuscaloosa Thursday for a game the network isn't even carrying. The broadcasting network, CBS, moved the kickoff to prime time at 7 p.m. It will be a rare regular-season matchup of the nation's No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams, with potential national championship implications. But none of that is of real importance to Saban, and for the team, the week will largely be routine. "I think everyone out there thinks there's some special formula or magic that, when you play in games like this, you go do different things to get ready for the game," Saban said. "But the most important thing is that you prepare for the game, that your players are focused on playing their best football."
"From the beginning of the year, this has been one of the top 20 hottest games," Janes said. "Up until about a month ago, they were averaging at $440. From then until now, it's been a straight skyrocket as each team has done well." TiqIQ's network shows 1,104 tickets available and CEO Jesse Lawrence said Thursday the average asking price was $700. "Since Sept. 26, we've seen the price increase by 65 percent. The price rose 33 percent the last week alone after both teams won and remained undefeated," Lawrence said. "At this point, this ticket price is about 5 percent higher than the current asking price of the SEC Championship Game."
"I always look forward to playing against Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU because they're more old school type teams," Hightower said. "They like running the ball downhill between the tackles. Not too much about the eye candy. I'm definitely looking forward to playing against those guys."