Saban avoiding distractions, staying focused

Alabama media day (WBRC photo)
Alabama media day (WBRC photo)

By Dennis Washington

PASADENA, CA (WBRC) - Alabama head football coach Nick Saban knows the hype of a national championship game can easily distract a player.

"There's obviously a lot of distractions in any Bowl game, especially in a circumstance like this one," Saban said. "I think we've handled that with quite a bit of maturity in terms of the way we've been able to focus on practice and doing things right and playing against a very good Texas team."

Saban talked about the distractions Tuesday morning during a media event in Newport Beach, Calif., where the entire team - coaches and players, were brought into a large conference room for reporters to interview them for an hour. For many of the players, the event was the first time reporters had been given the opportunity to meet or interview them.

"It's been a blast," said Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. "But we came here to win a football game, and that's just the bottom line, and we're excited to do that."

Saban said he's pleased with the way his players have stayed focused on preparing for the game Thursday against Texas, but he said there are still some uncontrollable uncertainties.

"You never really know until you get out there and start playing," Saban said. "Players sort of always go through a learning process, and hopefully they can learn to deal with this process and still be able to play their best football."

Saban was asked what he does or tells the players before the game begins.

"I think we want to get our players to focus on the simple things that it takes to play good football, which is what they've focused on all year, the consistency and performance that gave them an opportunity to be here," Saban said. "I don't think emotion is going to be a problem in a game like this, but channeling that emotion in the right direction and having the right balance of intensity and focus to be able to execute is really what you want to try to get your team to do."

Alabama linebacker Cory Reamer said Saban appears to be enjoying the work.

"I think he's enjoying his work," Reamer said. "I think he's enjoying the process and the fact that we're here playing for this big of a game, and he's enjoying preparing and getting the team ready for it, and I'm sure he'll have a lot of fun afterwards when we win."

"Winning is simple, but behavior is complicated," Saban said. "The game will be won or lost based on blocking and tackling and execution and effort and all those types of things that you've been playing with all year, but that behavior surrounding the circumstances like this game is why you've got to focus."

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