BCS Championship Game Coverage- Day One (Thursday)Both teams arrived yesterday to begin preparations for Monday night's game. The Crimson tide held a morning practice in Tuscaloosa before boarding the plane to Miami. One player actually had to be treated for dehydration when the Tide hit the runway in South Florida. The biggest question for Alabama coming down was the heath of senior center Barrett Jones. He has missed the first nine practices with an injured left ankle, but was able to get his first "live work" in yesterday. Jones has 49 starts in his career and mentally will be sharp; however, the next five days in the warm South Florida weather will be key to getting him up to speed physically.
Today the offensive players and coordinator Doug Nussmeier met either the media. Much of the talk was about the front seven for the Irish and the size of their defensive line. Notre Dame employs 3-4 personnel and all three down" guys weigh over 300 pounds. The key guy is nose guard Louis Nix who weighs 326 and will be matched up one on one with Tide center Barrett Jones. The Irish have held eight opponents under 100 yards rushing in a game this season. Alabama has rushed for over 100 yards in 16 straight games and 25 out of the last 26 games.
AJ McCarron looks like a more confident and assertive man with the media this year compared to last BCS game in New Orleans. He has every reason to feel that way with one title under his belt and coming in as the nations most efficient passer. He talked about the relationship with first year coordinator Doug Nussmeier and his impact on him as a player. McCarron refers to Coach Nuss and his ability to help him get more out of his passing attempts. AJ has learned when to throw the ball away and when to take what the defense gives him. Nussmeier also brought some new plays and wrinkles to Alabamas offense. When asked about Notre Dames strong defense, McCarron said they make plays and win games on the defensive side of the ball much like a great offense.
Food for thought-
- This is the 9th time in the BCS Era that two coaches have met for the championship with one not having a title and the other having at least one. The coach without the title is 7-1.
- With a win Alabamas seniors can tie Nebraska for the wins and national titles as the best class ever.
- Alabamas offense is balance and just look at the yardage this season. 2,920 yards rushing and 2,788 passing. Thats a difference of just 132 yards.
- The Crimson Tide are 49-0 since the start of 2008 when they rush for 150 yards or more in a game.
- AJ McCarron is 24-2 as the starting quarterback at Alabama. His 24 wins ranks sixth all-time and 11 shy of leader Jay Barker (35).
Sights and Sounds from South Florida
I arrived today from New Orleans and you can already feel the difference in vibe of a BCS game and a BCS Title game. The media hotel is buzzing as is the entire city including the airport. This will feel a lot like a Super Bowl weekend with special parties and events held by celebrities. Notre Dame may have the one fan base that truly rivals the numbers that Alabama can bring. The sun came out today and the guys will be dealing with 80 degree plus weather and a little bit of the South Florida humidity. Tomorrow Notre Dame will bring its offensive players to the media hotel, while Alabama will bring its defensive players.