Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman sees the country boys who play for Mississippi State in a somewhat different light. Chapman has a respect for Country Boys.
It is Country Time Part I for Alabama this week. The Crimson Tide takes on the Bulldogs in Starkville at 6:45 p.m. CST Saturday, a game that will be televised by ESPN. Bama is 8-1 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play and coming off a tough 9-6 overtime loss to number one ranked LSU. The Tide is ranked fourth in the nation. Mississippi State is 5-4 overall and 1-4 in conference games.
Chapman, the Tide’s senior nose tackle, said that Alabama has to move past the loss to LSU and be prepared for Mississippi State. He thinks that has happened. “One thing about our guys is you don’t see a lot of heads down, hang-dogging around. We see that we’ve got Bulldogs to go against and have the attitude of ‘Let’s go out and finish this thing strong.’”
As for Mississippi State, Chapman said, “They’re a great team. Those guys are physical.
“One thing about playing in Starkville is you’re going to hear those cowbells right. When those (Mississippi State) guys hear those cowbells ringing, that’s when they get their edge. Cowbells are a country thing, and it’s country time. They have a great offensive line.Those guys are big, strong country guys.”
Chapman, 6-1, 310, pointed out that Mississippi State senior offensive lineman Quentin Saulsberry (6-2, 300, and playing both center and right guard) “my boy down there, he’s always been a hard guy to go against in my years here.”
Chapman’s respect for country boys isn’t limited to Mississippi State.
In discussion of Bama linebacker Alex Watkins coming back two weeks after suffering a broken arm that required surgery, Chapman said, “Alex is one of those fighting guys. He’s from the country. You know that. He’s one of those guys for which pain is just temporary. He’ll get it fixed later in life.
“The guy loves playing. He loves competing. People have a different tolerance for pain. That’s one thing he does not have is pain. It’s just going to be a temporary thing.”
Chapman, a “city boy” from Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, was asked if country boys were tougher than city guys.
“Country boys have different things going,” Chapman said. “You’ve got some guys from the city that are pretty strong. Some from the country. It’s just their work ethic. Those guys from the country are going to come at you hard no matter what.”
Chapman doesn’t expect Alabama to have a “hangover” from the LSU game.
“We will come out strong,” Chapman promised. “That’s one thing we’ve been practicing on.”
He acknowledged that the LSU game was physical. “It’s the SEC,” he said. “It’s always going to be physical, and we knew it would be.”
Chapman called it “a great brawl.”
And Sunday, he said, was a typical day of being sore, and then going to the training room “getting rehab and getting in the cold tub and get your body back right, because we’ve got a physical team we’re playing against this week.”
Chapman manned up to a big mistake he made in the LSU game. Mark Barron had intercepted a pass and was headed deep into LSU territory, reaching about the four-yard line. But the ball came back to the 35 because Chapman was flagged for a block in the back.
“You know from Little League that if you see numbers in the back, don’t hit him,” Chapman said. “That was an error on my behalf, a mistake. I just went out there and tried to make a block. It was a penalty. It’s something I learned from.”