Alabama senior linebacker C.J. Mosley chuckled at the question, whether Coach Nick Saban had addressed the Crimson Tide team on the latest rumor of his interest in the non-existent job as coach of the Texas Longhorns. He said that until just before he entered the media room in the Mal Moore Athletic Building “I didn’t really know anything about that. We’re not really worried about Texas or him going anywhere else. We’re working on LSU and he’s working on LSU, so there’s no need to bring it up to the team.”
Mosley is not even distracted by ESPN being in town with its Game Day production.
“You do what you have to do,” he said. :”You have to do the media, you have to speak highly about your opponent. And when it’s time to go to practice, it’s all about football -- Alabama football.
“It’s going to be a big game and we can’t let all the outside clutter get into our heads or make it bigger than what it is. It’s going to come down to the team that’s more dominant, the team that’s most disciplined.
“When it comes to game time, it won’t be a distraction. We’re going to do what we’ve been doing all year, and that’s play Alabama football.”
Alabama plays football Saturday against LSU. The meeting of the teams that have been best in the Southeastern Conference in recent years draw a crowd, including CBS, which will televise the game. Kickoff Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium is at 7 p.m. CST. The Crimson Tide is 8-0 overall, 5-0 in SEC games. LSU is 7-2 overall, 3-2 in the conference, with both losses by the Tigers coming in road games by three points each. Bama is ranked first in the nation, LSU 10th.
Mosley said the game “is another chance for us to make our opportunity better than what it is. There’s a great team coming to our house. We have to execute our game plan and play to the best of our ability.”
Recent games between the two have been slugfests. The teams are built alike, big, fast, tough guys working the line of scrimmage, fast, tough guys at the skill positions.
“Everyone hits,” Mosley said.
It will be important, he said, to start fast and finish strong. “We know it’s going to be a four quarter game,” he said. “It will come down to those few plays where either someone messes up or actually makes a great play.
“We have to make sure that we’re as disciplined as possible.”
Mosley said he doesn’t see Alabama being involved in the loss of composure situations that were seen in some games last weekend when the Tide (and Tigers) had a bye week. There were bench-clearing brawls and the line in some games.
Part of the reason for that is the respect between Alabama and LSU “as far as the football field,” Mosley said. He added, “I don’t know about the fans’ perspective.”
In any event, he said, “Even if it does get chippy, Alabama is not that way.”
As the captain of the defense, Mosley said he tries to make sure that Tide players “keep their heads and still play the next play,” even if the opponent is trying to start something.
“If you’re going to be a football player, things are going to get emotional in a game and guys are going to do what they have to do, but at the end of the day that’s not how we see ourselves at Alabama,” he said.
Mosley has a memory of last year’s game, when the offense drove the length of the field in the final moments for a 21-17 win in Baton Rouge.
He said that Defensive Coordinator Kirby Smart had reminded the Tide that last year’s LSU game “was one of the first time that the game wasn’t in the hands of the defense. So once we got off the field, it was up to the offense, pretty much, to get us the win.
“We have to make sure that we control the line of scrimmage. That’s going to be the biggest thing as they have great linemen and great runners. If they start getting five, six yards a pop on the running game it’s going to tough for us to stop them.”
The Bama defense also has to affect LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Mosley said. He said it’s a matter of disguising the defense and putting pressure on the quarterback to “get him moving around. If he stays in the pocket, he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the country, so we have to make sure he’s moving.”
That’s the only moving Alabama’s team has its mind on this week.