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Alabama players are gearing up for a championship run.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama players gear up for national championship game against Clemson - Alabama - Scout

Alabama certainly is winning, and to be sure the Crimson Tide under Coach Nick Saban does it in a businesslike manner. Bama practices with a purpose and plays with efficiency. That’s not to say there is no fun, that there is no emotion. Did anyone see the reaction of Bama players after Cyrus Jones’s 57-yard punt return for a touchdown against Michigan State? The 50-yard Jacob Coker to Calvin Ridley TD pass? The interception by Dillon Lee to preserve the shutout?

Alabama players are not robots. They are well coached and they are drilled to focus on the job at hand, which in a game is the next play. The process, as it is well known. That’s why Bama will be playing with a chance to win its fourth national championship in seven years when the Crimson Tide takes on Clemson Monday, Jan. 11, in Glendale, Ariz. That’s why Bama’s seniors have a chance to finish with 50 wins in four years

The overused narrative to resurface the last few days is the whole "Alabama is bad for football because they aren't fun." In all reality, the reason is because Alabama wins. A lot. And most of the games aren't close. You know what? I prefer it that way. You can leave the fun and exciting games determined by lucky tipped passes and that sort to Auburn. I'll keep the 11+ win seasons every year, thank you.

Alabama TE O.J. Howard never complains, Crimson Tide QB says

"O.J. handles it really well," quarterback Jacob Coker said. "You never hear him complain. You never hear him saying you should get more balls to him. He’s a team player, always has been since I’ve been around him. And all he ever does is congratulate whoever is scoring or he’s blocking for them or just doing the right thing.

"He’s a guy that is really special to our team, and he really helps us, helps the mentality of the team. Everybody’s focused on the team, and, you know, he’s another big piece."

After the Cotton Bowl, Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin walked around the locker room and congratulated all of the Crimson Tide players. He stopped at Howard’s locker and said with a big smile that he finally put some plays into the playbook for the tight end.

"We always joke about it," Howard said. "It’s fun, man. But we all gotta have a different side when we step on that field."

As another native of Prattville, AL, I have always had a bit of a soft spot for O.J., even during his rough stretch of drops. We all know he's supremely athletic, and has the size/speed combination that has made NFL scout drool over him since he signed his letter of intent. OJ has continuously gotten better at blocking and has finally been given a decent portion of the offensive looks this year.

Howard caught some heat from fans the past few seasons, but the guy really has his head screwed on right. We have to remember that he came from a tiny private school, in which he did not really even have a position -- he just kind of played football how he wanted, while learning very little. OJ was leaps behind most players in technique and development upon entering college, but he has really worked hard to get where he is. I hope he comes back next year and puts together a terrific senior season, possibly working his way into the first round of the draft.

Alabama Crimson Tide's Cyrus Jones lets his play back up his talk - SEC Blog- ESPN

Said fellow corner Marlon Humphrey: "I can’t really think of many balls Cyrus has given up this time of year. Most of the time, the shots were always thrown at me that were completed. I know he’s a great corner and sometimes he gets overlooked because of his size I guess."

Generously listed at 5-foot-10, Jones’ lack of height has been a point of discussion every year since he switched from receiver to DB as a sophomore. It hasn’t mattered that he’s more than held his own against the 6-foot-5 De'Runnya Wilsons of the SEC.

Alphonse Taylor, an offensive lineman and one of Jones’ best friends on the team, said Jones has developed "Little Man Syndrome." "All those little people are confident in themselves, and I think he has that," Taylor said. "If he heard me say that, he’d kill me."

He added on a more serious note: "We live by the motto ‘F.I.N.A.O.: Failure is not an option.’ When you doubt us, it just pushes us harder to prove you wrong."

This is a great read on Cyrus. He embodies "little man syndrome," and has managed to channel it in a productive manner. Jones has been rock-solid for two straight seasons now, and, though definitely not the top corner in the nation, the lack of respect or recognition surrounding him is astounding. While most Alabama defenders get drafted highly for   just being serviceable while playing for the TIde, Jones is predicted as low as the 5th or 6th round.

I could be wrong, but I'd bet my hat that some NFL scout does his homework and takes a flyer on Jones in the 2nd or 3rd round.

Top 10 guard prospect and Alabama commitment Chris Owens recaps the final week of his prep career - Alabama - Scout

Longtime Alabama Crimson Tide commitment Chris Owens has come a long way as a prospect. He began turning heads years ago as a defensive lineman but he's settled on the other side of the ball to the point he was named an Under Armour All-America selection.

This isn't much of a quote, but the video in the link is definitely worth the watch. Not only does Owens show a little bit of his impressive mindset and speaking skills, but Tide target Jauan Williams pops in with a hardy "Roll Tide!" in the background.

Owens is one of my favorite (if not overall favorite) commit in the 2016 class so far. He's built well, moves well, and is a great pass blocker. All of those things typically are not seen in high school lineman. I also really like the fact that Owens first made his name as a defensive lineman, as it shows his versatility and willingness to learn a new position, while also giving him the perspective of how a defensive lineman will attack the offense. Owens is already enrolled, and will start classes at UA next week.

America's top junior, five-star Dylan Moses expands on why Alabama is currently atop his list - Alabama - Scout

Moses, who can play either running back or linebacker at the next level, recently told Scout he actually prefers playing defense. Alabama was one of the initial programs to bring up both sides of the ball with the top player in the class. UA also holds verbal commitments from a trio of blue-chip junior running backs with fellow five-star Najee Harris as well as four-stars Cam Akers and Brian Robinson on board.

"At first they wanted me to play running back, but now since they have a couple running back commits in 2017, they're actually looking at me like an athlete now," he said. Long fond of UA's scheme, the 2015 run to the national championship game has only furthered the notion.

"I love their defense, I love the way they play, I love the way they go out there and handle business," he said. "Coach (Nick) Saban really handles those defenses. It's never one-sided. It's always balanced."

Remember that time Les Miles offered a scholarship to a 7th grader? Well, now that 7th grader is the consensus best player in the 2017 class, and Dylan Moses is considered to be about as transcendent of a talent as a football Kobe (I'm getting old.)

Moses ran a 4.4 at 220 pounds and wants to hit people. Sign me up. Most athletes would prefer to play offense, as it tends to give more glory, but the fact that Moses actually would prefer defense over offense speaks volumes about his mindset to me. He said that Alabama is currently his leader, and securing his pledge would really pave the road for a legendary 2017 class.

Marcell Dareus finished NFL finale despite broken foot on Sunday |

Dareus revealed on Monday that he suffered a broken bone in his foot during Sunday's game against the New York Jets, but finished the contest anyway, even though Buffalo was not in postseason contention. That was after he overcame a pinched nerve suffered in last week's game, which caused him to lose feeling in one of his hands, to be in the lineup for the Bills' final game of the 2015 NFL regular season.

The man is a beast. Alabama continues to pump players into the NFL, and they continue to be really good. Julio Jones is in the discussion of the best receiver in the NFL, and Amari Cooper is not far behind. A.J. McCarron is the interim starting QB for one of the best teams in the AFC, and running backs Mark Ingram, Eddie Lacy, and T.J. Yeldon have all carved out starting roles for NFL teams. Mark Barron is near the top of the league in tackles, Darius is one of the most respected defensive tackles in the game, and C.J. Mosley took the torch from Ray Lewis in Baltimore and ran with it.

Sure, Trent Richardson and Dee Milliner busted, but look at the percentage of players that haven't. Alabama is a factory for NFL talent, and don't let the narratives tell you any different.