Sunseri Looks Ahead To State Challenge

Vinnie Sunseri

Vinnie Sunseri got the good news Monday that he had been selected as one of Alabama's players of the week in what had been a personally emotional game for him and his family in Knoxville Saturday night. He could joke that he got even better news Sunday.



Vinnie Sunseri helped Alabama to a 44-13 win over Tennessee, where his father, Sal, is in his first year as defensive coordinator, having been hired away from the Crimson Tide. After the game they were able to talk for a few minutes. "You know, how much he misses me and how much I miss him, how proud he is of me, and that we just love each other and can't wait to see each other after the season," Vinnie said of the post-game conversation.

They always talk by telephone on Sundays, and, again, Vinnie said, it was "the usual stuff. How he's doing, how I'm doing, how Mom's doing. He thought I played pretty well. He was really proud of me and justr wants me to keep playing hard."

And, Vinnie joked Monday, he's not out of the will. "Yeah, I'm up for adoption, so if anybody wants me..."

Last week Bama played a team with big play ability, and for the most part the Tide handled the challenge of quarterback Tyler Bray and outstanding receivers. The real challenge sometimes is what happens after a big play goes against you, Vinnie said.

"You always want to have amnesia," he said. "Once a play happens, whether it's good or bad, just forget and be ready to play the next play. Like Coach (Nick) Saban says, each play has a life and history of its own, and that's what we stress during the game. They made plays, but we wanted to bounce back and make the next play.

"I always talk about coaching – Coach Saban, Coach (Kirby) Smart, Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt. They put us in situations to make plays. They put us in great coverages."

Now it's time to forget about the last game.

This week Alabama hosts Mississippi State in a battle of undefeated, nationally ranked teams. The Crimson Tide, 7-0 overall and 4-0 in Southeastern Conference games and ranked first in the nation, hosts the Bulldogs (7-0, 3-0) and ranked 12th in the Coaches Poll, 13th in the Associated Press rankings. Kickoff at Bryant-Denny Stadium will be at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

Sunseri, a 6-0, 215-pound sophomore safety and nickel back, said Mississippi State is "a really good running team, a really good passing team, and overall a great offense. That's the reason they are undefeated. We've got to be ready for them to come at us with everything they've got. We're excited for the opportunity."

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