Nick Perry Sees Tough Task In Sugar Bowl

The Alabama football team returned to Tuscaloosa for practices Friday and Saturday after a brief Christmas break. Before the break, senior Crimson Tide safety Nick Perry was asked about his family’s holiday traditions and if he was expecting a particular gift.

Nick Perry, a 6-1, 211-pount fifth-year senior from Prattville, said he wasn’t expecting a gift. “I’m too old for gifts,” he said. “I’m more interested in giving back to my parents for everything they’d done for me.”

Perry said that Alabama practices for a Sugar Bowl meeting with Ohio State have “been very intense.” Part of that was Bama reverting to fall camp workouts for a few days before getting into the game plan for the Buckeyes.

That was when Perry got a gift. He said, “I get tired chasing (Tide All-America wide receiver) Amari Cooper around all day, so I’m happy to be chasing around a scout team player instead of Amari.”

Following today’s practice, Alabama will fly as a team to New Orleans to finish preparation for the Jan. 1 game against Ohio State in the Louisiana Superdome. Both teams are 12-1 and the Thursday night game is a semifinal contest in the inaugural College Football Playoff. The winner goes to Dallas for the national championship game on Jan. 12.

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Perry has seen the good and bad of playing in the Louisiana Superdome. In 2011 he was on a team that defeated LSU 21-0 to win the national championship. Last year after a disappointing end to regular season play, Bama went to the Sugar Bowl to meet Oklahoma and was beaten 45-31.

Perry said the Tide “didn’t play our best game last year and now we’ve got something to play for. Hopefully, we can win this game and then have another game. That’s something we think about.”

Perry inadvertently revealed how high Alabama standards are in answering a question about leadership.

He said, “I’ve been here five years. I’ve been on great teams and I’ve been on teams that lost three games.

“I know what it takes to win. It has to do with doing the right things on and off the field, and that’s something you have to teach the younger players, because these young players come in and all they know is that we win championships year-in and year-out. But sometimes you have to tell them it doesn’t work like that every year. You have to push yourself.”

Perry said he recognizes the tough task facing Alabama against Ohio State. He called them “a great team,” and said he sees “a lot of similarities between them and Mississippi State. They like to establish the run game and they have a lot of great receivers they like to get the ball out to in space and make big plays.”

He called the Buckeyes “up-tempo. They like to incorporate the quarterback into the run game more, similar to what they [Florida] used to do with Tim Tebow back in the day. They are a physical team. They are going to be hard to stop. We have to game plan and hopefully we can stop them.”

Considering his previous trips to New Orleans, Perry was asked if there are things he likes to do there. He said, “Not really things I like to do. Things I like to stay away from. I like to stay away from that area and concentrate on the task at hand.”

And does Coach Nick Saban warn the players about those areas?

“He tells us a little bit,” Perry said, “and most of us listen.”

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