Tide Players Watched Football On Day Off

Alabama football players got their first real time off in a couple of months last weekend. After starting fall camp in August and compiling a 6-0 record and moving up to number two in the national rankings through the first half of the season, the Crimson Tide had an open date. And the players did the same thing many Bama fans did. They watched college football on television.

The next big game for Alabama is this Saturday when the Crimson Tide hosts Ole Miss in Bryant-Denny Stadium. That game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CDT and be televised by CBS.

Last week, Tide players practiced Tuesday through Thursday and had a weight lifting session Friday morning before getting a long weekend away from football. At least from football participation. On their off day Saturday, most were watching one of the top games being televised. Many watched top-ranked Oklahoma fall to Texas and Florida blast LSU in the Southeastern Conference headliner.

Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson needs one of those "I'd Rather Be…" bumper stickers. His would conclude "Playing Football." He tried to watch football games on television Saturday, but said, ""I got kind of bored there toward the end, football all day long. It's a lot different playing than it is to just sit there. I had to get up and move. I couldn't sit there all day and watch football."

Parker said, "I watch it more as a fan than as a player, but I can't help but look at the defense to see what they're doing. It's hard to watch."

Junior cornerback Javier Arenas had said that he didn't expect to watch television. But he had a good reason for breaking that pledge. His brother, Armando Murillo, is a senior cornerback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. "I watched my brother," he said. "I got to see the second half of that one."

Nebraska lost to Texas Tech in overtime.

Otherwise, Arenas said, "Of course, I saw the results of all the games. Like I said from the get-go; it doesn't make any difference to us. I wasn't trying to think about football. I wasn't really processing that and seeing where that puts us."

"You are able to get rested up and clear your mind," Arenas said of the open weekend. "You are recuperating. It's halftime basically and the second half of the season is coming up. It's about being well rested."

Junior tailback Glen Coffee said, "It was good. We got a chance to relax and think about things we can do to improve and help the team. It was definitely good. I got to lay down on the couch for a little bit. I did a couple things but for the most part just relaxed."

As for televised college football, Coffee said, "(I watched) more as a player. It's hard to watch it as a fan. You look at it as a player. You look at your position and think about what they could have done better. You critique the other guys."

Junior nose tackle Terrance Cody was another Bama player who had said he didn't expect to watch college football. But the 6-5, 365-pound Cody can do pretty much as he wishes.

I hung out with my friends and watched the games and just tried to chill," he said. "I watched the Texas-Oklahoma game and the LSU-Florida game. I was surprised Texas was able to come back like that, getting stops on Oklahoma. The LSU game surprised me big time. I never thought it was going to be like that."

Texas defeated number one Oklahoma, 45-35, and that moved the Longhorns from third to first while Alabama stayed second. Florida blasted LSU, the defending national champion, 51-21.

Senior safety Rashad Johnson said he spent Saturday "on the couch and watched football all day. I find myself watching the position (safety). If it's a team we're going to play, I try to watch the offense. But I really watch the defensive players more than the offensive guys if there aren't any teams we're going to be playing."

Even Alabama Coach Nick Saban has a hard time watching college football on television. "It's hard to enjoy it," he said. "I watch it like a coach. How would we adjust to the formations, match the patterns. I might as well get up and put schemes up on the computer.

"There's no real way to relax as much as you might like to. There are always things on the horizon. I'll relax when we get it done, when we've taught it to the players.

"But we have to give the guys time off, too. That's part of balancing and recharging."

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