It's just another week at Alabama.
Are the players trying to trick us into thinking that this week is just like every other?
Yes, but it's not a trick. This how they actually think. This is the mindset they've become accustomed to as implemented by their Commander-in-Chief Nick Saban.
"The most important thing for us is to focus on doing the things that we need to do to take care of our business, what we control," Saban said. "That's always the most important thing in games like this."
Today is Saban's birthday and ESPN's Samantha Steele drove to work with him this morning and asked if today is any different because it's his birthday.
"My wife told me happy birthday this morning and I was like, ‘Oh, I forgot,'" he said. "When anything happens in football season, I don't care what the holiday, it really is hard to … I appreciate people calling, but it really is hard to acknowledge personally that something different is happening because you're in a routine of what you need to do to get the team ready to play the game.
"Football season is not a job. It's more a way of life."
So, the answer is no. Today is just another day, just like Saturday is just another game.
Safety Robert Lester was on the same page as Lacy when asked when someone first brought this game to his attention.
"It really hasn't been brought up," he said. "We don't really focus ahead of the season on a later game. If we had lost any game before this game, this game wouldn't be as important as it is. Every game we play is important. Now that it's time for LSU, it's the most important."
With a rivalry game like this on tap, reporters poke and prod players to try and get some juicy trash talk out of them for story material. But the Crimson Tide doesn't budge. They have nothing but respect for LSU and whatever is said in the locker room, stays there.
Center Barrett Jones said practice has been fairly normal this week.
"We haven't had much problem getting guys motivated, as you might guess," he said. "We haven't really needed any dramatic speeches or anything. It's been good, but at the same time not really that different. It might be a little tempo difference, but you know how coach is, we don't really do anything special necessarily."
Saban told reporters earlier this week that he believes there is such a thing as "almost being too ramped up for a game," which is why the message this week doesn't change just because the opponent is LSU.
"It is a really, really exciting game, but we've got to play within ourselves and I guess that's what he's trying to stress with us this week—play within ourselves and play our game," said safety Vinnie Sunseri. "Don't get out of the game plan that we come into the game with. Don't try and do too much. Just do what we've done all season. Play your assignment, do what you need to do during a game and we'll be OK."
But even so, one has to wonder, do the guys get less sleep? Do they eat healthier? Is practice more physical? Are the coaches more intense? When asked those questions, Lester smiled and kind of rolled his eyes.
"It's LSU and Alabama and it doesn't get any better than that," he said. "I'm just as ready for this game as I was for the first game. There's not much to say. I'm just ready to play."
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