Lester, Bama Go Back To Work

If Robert Lester was disappointed Sunday, now he can focus on what it will take to remove that disappointment in a couple of weeks. Before the Alabama football team broke for Christmas, Lester was asked about gifts, and noted that "since I got into my 20s, I don't get them anymore."

The Christmas break for Robert Lester and his Alabama football teammates started following Friday morning's practice. The team returns Tuesday and on Wednesday gets into practice for the BCS National Championship Game.

The Crimson Tide, 11-1 and ranked second in the nation, meets top-ranked LSU (13-0, including a 9-6 overtime victory over Bama on Nov. 5), at 7:30 p.m. CST Monday, Jan. 9, at the Louisiana Superdome for the national title. The game will be televised by ESPN.

Following Alabama's loss to LSU in regular season play, all players had film study. Since then, some players have watched video of the game several times, others not at all. Lester said, "I've watched it twice. It haunts you when you get a loss. I think the biggest part (of watching the game) is to help us fix our mistakes for this next game. When your watching the mistakes you made you know that if you had another chance you could do it different. Seeing you didn't do it that time is hard."

The defense didn't do too much wrong in that first game, allowing only two field goals in regulation and another in overtime. "It haunts you whenever you get a loss," Lester said.

There has been discussion of how the long period -- some six weeks -- since the 42-14 romp over Auburn until the rematch with LSU might affect Bama performance. Lester sees the glass as half full. "It's just more time to prepare, more time to watch film and pick out the little mistakes we made. You get your body prepared. You work on fundamentals and make sure we're sound for this game."

Alabama did work on fundamentals in practices last week. The Tide will have a leg up when game-planning begins--and LSU will, too.

"The teams in our conference tend to do the same things every time we play them," Lester said. "We played against them before this season. Playing them twice in one season is a great opportunity to be sound on what they are doing and to be able to stop it."

One difference in this game is that Alabama prepared primarily for Jarrett Lee, who was the number one quarterback for LSU when the teams played nearly two months ago. Lee lost his job when he threw his second interception to Bama. For the remainder of that game and the remainder of the season, Jordan Jefferson has been the quarterback for the Tigers.

Lester is aware that Jefferson "is a scrambling quarterback. He's a guy who can make plays with his feet. We've got to keep an eye on him."

Lester said the Tide defense will have to be prepared for some LSU option because the Tigers have the athletes to run it successfully.

Perhaps most important, Lester said, is that the Tide must be prepared for another physical game. Practices have reflected that with emphasis on good footwork. "If you don't get your feet in position, you miss tackles," Lester said.

He added, "I think it will be a great game."

Lester will be playing this game with new status. He was one of a dozen Crimson Tide players who earned his degree in the fall semester and thus will be one of 22 Bama graduates playing in the BCS National Championship Game. He said he didn't think he would feel any differently playing as a college graduate. He has also registered for spring semester classes in the event he returns for his final year of eligibility in 2012. He has not yet decided on whether to make himself available for the NFL draft.

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