Tide Players Ready for Hype, Tigers

Andre Smith

One of the most-used words in both Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge this week is a four-letter one that you can repeat: H-Y-P-E. Hype. Bama's game Saturday against LSU for the SEC Western Division lead will have plenty of it, despite warnings by both coaches that the game is about the players, not Nick Saban or Les Miles.



"We don't blow this game up like everybody else does," said Bama quarterback John Parker Wilson. "I realize we have Coach Saban, and he used to coach at LSU. He won a national championship. It's just the next SEC game for us."

"This isn't the championship for us and not the last game of the year. We are just going to face it just like every other day. People talk about it. The buzz around town is it's Coach Saban against his old team."

"In the locker room and on the practice field it's just going to be another week for us. This isn't the game of the year for us by any means. Everybody knows this game has a lot to do with the rest of our season. We have to go out there and know that it does. We know that we have to play well to do what we want to do. We want to meet our goals. All the hype is overrated."

"I think anytime you play a big SEC game like this it's big. People remember you for it, whether it's Tennessee, LSU, or Auburn. People are definitely going to remember you for it. It's just another game for us."

"I know we are playing LSU, but it's just like Tennessee or Auburn . It's going to be a big game for us. It has a lot to do with the rest of the season and approach it just like we would any other game."

Senior wide receiver Matt Caddell hears the talk about Saban vs Miles, too.

"We just have to go out there and do what we have to do," he said. "Whatever story you want to make of it it's fine. It's just a game to us. We want to beat LSU because we are tied for first place not just because it's LSU."

"My answer is we just have to focus on the rest of the season and take it one game at a time. The SEC is crazy. You can never slip up. You have to be able to play week in and week out."

Saturday will mark the first time redshirt freshman Terry Grant faces LSU. Grant leads Bama in rushing with 697 yards and seven touchdowns.

"We approach this game like every other game," he said. "That's how we're viewing it, and that's how we need to view it."

It is a busy week for left tackle Andre Smith, who'll lead a Bama offensive line against LSU's mammoth front.

"They always talk about LSU, but Coach Saban has bought us into the mentality to take one game at a time, one play at a time," Smith said, matter-of-factly.

"Just go out and work hard, do what you're supposed to do. He treats every opponent as if they're the best team ever. Any given Saturday, any college team can win."

Though Smith remains at left tackle much of the rest of the Tide offensive line was shaken up in Bama's 41-17 win over Tennessee due to the suspensions of starters Marlon Davis and Antoine Caldwell for 'improper receipt of textbooks."

Smith gives credit to his offensive line coach for rallying his troops.

"Coach (Joe) Pendry has always told us to mind every position because at one point in time, when he was in the NFL, his first string tight end had to play left tackle for the entire fourth quarter," said Smith.

"So, he's always told us to always mind our positions because you never know what may happen. On the first play, two offensive linemen may drop, and then it's up to the back-up to come in and play."

Terry Grant didn't notice a drop-off.

"They performed well against Tennessee," he said of the Tide's front five. "So, I have all my faith into them, and I'm pretty sure all the guys are backing them up."

Third-ranked LSU and No. 17 Alabama will kick-off shortly after 4:00 p.m. Saturday on CBS-TV.

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