Stuart McNair

When Alabama players watch football on television they may begin to analyze

Alabama players discuss watching college football games on television

Watching a football game on television is different than being in the stands. Almost everyone sees the same thing, following the football, but watching on television one may wonder “How did that receiver get so open?” You don’t know because the camera was on the football. After the play, the analyst will point out what happened in the secondary to allow the play to be successful.


That may be why former Alabama Coach Gene Stallings once said that when he watches a game on television he watches it just like a fan — he doesn’t pay attention to formations or schemes. He just watches the ball.

Football players watch plenty of football in film study, but they are watching high-tech, high-definition cutouts of plays that focus on their positions. Linemen are watching line play, wide receivers secondary play, defensive backs pass routes, etc.

So how do football players watch a game when they are just relaxing in front of the TV?

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“I try to enjoy it and actually watch the game and watch the ball,” Alabama guard Ross Pierschbacher said,”but I kind of find myself watching the line and seeing who played well and stuff like that. After that, I’ll watch the ball and try to enjoy the game a little bit.”
Pierschbacher runs into trouble with his relaxed watching, though, when fellow offensive lineman Jonah Williams joins him. He said that makes it hard to do.

“Jonah will come over and we’ll watch football. He’s just sitting there in my ear talking. ‘Oh, they ran this blitz and this stunt, and they should have done this.’ “It’s like I’m watching film right now sitting next to Coach Key (center and guards Coach Brent Key).

“I just want to relax a little bit.”

Pierschbacher isn’t surprised by Williams’s analytical approach to watching a game.

“I just think that’s how he’s built, and that’s what’s making him so successful,” Pierschbacher said. “He’s just got that great football mind.

“So he loves the game and it’s fun to be around him…I guess.”

Alabama players are involved in film study of Washington as they wind up the early part of preparation for the Peach Bowl. Bama will practice in Tuscaloosa through Wednesday, and then take off for Christmas until going to Atlanta Monday for the semifinal game of the College Football Playoff against the Huskies. The game is Saturday, Dec. 31.

Several Alabama players said they had seen Washington on television a few times during the season because the Huskies played a number of late games. Some saw much of the Pac-12 Championship Game, in which Washington defeated Colorado to reach the College Football Playoff.

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen said, “I watched a few games, but not too many.

“I try to watch it as a fan, but it’s kind of hard. I usually look at the defensive line and how they are playing.

“So it’s kind of ruined it for me a little bit. But I still enjoying watching it every now and then.”


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