"Florida is a tough place to play," Jones added. "The fans are right there and they never shut up. ‘You ain't nothing! Y'all are fixing to lose!' the whole time you're there. But I like the Swamp as well as any place I've been."
"There are a lot of nice stadiums we've played in," Milons continued. "The loudest place I'd say would be Arkansas. But the most intimidating to me has got to be that ooooold place at LSU. The stadium is not even purple--it's a dull purple--a dull gold. But come game time, it's crazy.
"Coming to the stadium on game day--getting beers thrown at the bus. Every place you go you'll get a couple of guys making obscene gestures. But when people are actually shaking your bus--throwing beer. And I'm talking about close contact. Little kids--old men--everybody. Baton Rouge is the most intense."
For the most recent issue of 'BAMA Magazine, we sat down with the three senior receivers to talk about anything and everything associated with their careers and Alabama football. The majority of that conversation is contained in the August center-spread story, with wide-ranging topics including crowd noise, concentrating on the football, penalties, catching the ball over the middle, trash-talking, on-the-field payback and Milons' unique definition of pass interference. But with Fall Camp starting up this morning, we thought now was a good time to pass along some tidbits that didn't make it through the final edit.
Of course concentration is absolutely essential for a receiver during the game, but just what is going through their heads as they walk up to the line of scrimmage? "I'm thinking about what I've got to do, and then I look at the coverage," McAddley replied. "We practice these plays so much that you can kind of tell when the ball is coming your way. If it's zone, you think ‘OK, this is going to open up. Right there in the hole I'll be open.'"
"If you do proper film study and you understand the scouting report, then you know exactly what the defense is going to do," Milons agreed.
"The defenses try to disguise," McAddley continued. "They try to make ‘cover two' look like ‘cover four.' The safeties will walk up; then they'll move back. They try to disguise, but if you watch film then you know what they're going to do. You know in third and long they never run ‘cover two,' so if that's what they're showing you know they're going to switch."
Tight end Terry Jones added, "It's hard for me being so close to the ball. You try not to jump off sides, but then you'll hear something. Or the quarterback will change the tone of his voice to try and keep the defense honest, but then he'll fool you."
Are the tight end reads different from wideout? "It depends on where the defensive players line up," Jones related. "Sometimes the end may line up real wide, and I may have to make a call to the tackle. Within that four or five seconds, people don't know how much goes through your mind. The D-Line could shift real quick, and I've got to block a different guy. You'd better be able to trust the person beside you. I'm thinking ‘If that linebacker comes, then I've got to get him. And I hope (the tackle) is going to get the end. If he doesn't, we're in trouble.'"
Actually, the main thing I think when I come to the line is ‘Don't jump off sides,'" Milons admitted with a laugh. "That's my scariest feeling in a football game. You're not supposed to listen, but you can't help but listen. You're not supposed to hear it, but you do. You're supposed to watch the ball, but when that blood gets flowing you get excited.
"Especially if they press--for me. When somebody presses I get real excited. I'm hoping the quarterback sees, because I know (the cornerback's) not going to check me."
All three seniors are being touted for post-season honors. But back years ago when they first arrived on campus, the trio had to adjust to the rigors of big-time college competition like every other freshman. "In high school there were a lot of people that weren't really talented," McAddley acknowledged. "If you're faster and stronger--taller than other people, then you can end up playing down to their level. You think, ‘I can just run around him.'
"But you can't do that when you come to college. That DB might can run a 4.4. So then it comes down to technique. Who's got the better technique?"
"It's partly adjusting to the speed, but I think more it's discipline," Milons added. "We're not the only ones practicing--other teams are practicing. You've got to have discipline and listen to the coaches tell you the proper thing to do. In high school, you can go in and you can outrun a lot of guys. But in college, even the guys that aren't faster than you are taking proper angles, because they're disciplined. They know not to go under a block, but go over. They know when to take on a block rather than run around.
"True, there's more speed (in college), but it's all about discipline. You'll see linemen making plays on running backs. They're not running him down, but they take the right angle. There may be one or two guys that are good in high school, but in college everybody is. It's a different level."
Jones summed it up, "I knew coming in that everybody was bigger and faster, but I had to adjust mentally. Moving to offense, I had to know the snap count. I couldn't just start off the line. Being mentally ready is the difference in a half-step, which is the difference between starting and sitting."
There were a lot of adjustments the trio had to make from high school to college, but with the intense glare of fan attention, keeping egos in check is a major concern. "As a person you're not any different," McAddley said.
"The are usually a few cats on the scene that are over their heads," Milons added. "Maybe they act big around the campus or in class. But when they come in that locker room they hear it from us. We make sure they know. ‘Man, you are NOT what you think you are. You breathe the air like everybody else.'"
"The guys keep you straight," Jones agreed. "If I see someone getting their head too big, then I want to break him down. You want to keep him on the ground."
Every youngster dreams of one day making plays in front of a jam-packed stadium of cheering fans. But it's still startling for the players to see young children proudly wearing their jersey numbers. "I'm kind of nonchalant, but when I first saw it I couldn't believe that people would actually buy that," Milons said--still in disbelief. "It's just me. I don't feel any different. I'm the same person I always was, so why buy a 15 jersey? Because it's Freddie Milons' jersey.
"But who is he?"