Alabama Has Looked At Spartans' Loss
Alabama will meet Michigan State at 1 p.m. EST (noon central time) Saturday in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando. The Spartans have an 11-1 record and are ranked seventh in the nation, Bama a 9-3 mark and the Crimson Tide is ranked 16th nationally.
Tide center William Vlachos said he and his teammates have watched the Iowa-Michigan State game.
"Iowa runs a very similar offense to that we do," he said. "Iowa had success against them.
"That doesn't mean we will.
"We've got to do what we do. We've got to execute our plays. And I'm sure they learned a lot from that game against Iowa and what they need to do to stop the plays that we run that are similar.
"That's a challenge and we are looking forward to it."
Following Wednesday's practice, Vlachos said he thinks the team is getting close to game ready. The calendar has cooperated, too. "We have a practice on Thursday before a regular game on Saturday, which is kind of perfect," the 6-1, 289-pound junior center said. "We get the game plan and get all the kinks worked out. We've got the opportunity to have two of those practices this week."
Alabama began practice in Orlando on Sunday, a day earlier than normal, and so the Wednesday and Thursday practices this week are both Thursday-type practices.
Vlachos said that players were having a good practice Wednesday. He said the goal of today's practice is "no busts," and said there were "few, if any," busted assignments in Wednesday's practice.
It's no secret that a team in a bowl game has an advantage on the next season because of the 15 extra practice days awarded. But, Vlachos said, next year is not part of the Alabama thinking.
"We've got the opportunity to put together a 60-minute game," he said. "Our goal is to have our best performance of the season. We want to go out with 10 wins. We want our seniors to go out on top. And we want to play our best game of the year."
Vlachos said he thinks Alabama is in good shape physically. Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban has confirmed there are no new injuries. Three players -- starting safety Mark Barron, back-up cornerback B.J. Scott, and back-up linebacker Jonathan Atchison -- have been ruled out of the game.
"Everybody's flying around, feeling good," Vlachos said. "That's the luxury of having a bowl game on January 1. Everybody gets some time to recover from little nicks and bruises for the season. That's football. Injuries happen and people get banged up, but I think everybody is feeling good now and is excited about the game."
Vlachos and his teammates have worked hard, but the Tide is in Orlando, which probably has more entertainment opportunities than any city on Earth. And Vlachos has had some fun.
"I went to SeaWorld," he said. "Me and Shamu had some bonding time. I enjoyed the seals at SeaWorld, also."
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