Marlon Davis Works Hard For Sugar Bowl

Maybe if his name had been Dancer, Prancer, Donder, or Blitzen instead of "Marlon." In keeping with the season, "You know Antoine and Andre, Johnson and..." Well, the one Alabama offensive lineman who seems to be most anonymous is Marlon. Although he has been a regular for three seasons, Alabama's soft-spoken right guard has been in the shadows.

Marlon Davis is one of the Magnificent Nine, Alabama's nine scholarshipped senior football players who have taken the Crimson Tide to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl. Fourth-ranked Alabama will take on Utah, undefeated at 12-0, at 7 p.m. CST Friday, January 2, at the Superdome in New Orleans. Fox will televise the game.

It will be the final college football game for the 6-2, 300-pound Bama right guard from Columbus, Georgia. In fact, it may be his last football game ever. That might be a cause for sadness in some.

Not Marlon Davis.

"I'm excited," he said. "I've worked hard for four years to get to this important game. It's a BCS bowl, the Sugar Bowl.

"I don't think I'll be sad."

One thing that could make Davis and his Crimson Tide teammates said would be to come up short against the Utes.

Before a short break for Christmas, Davis said Alabama had "worked hard" in its seven Tuscaloosa practices. The team assembles in New Orleans Saturday to resume preparations.

"We've had the same practice routine all year," Davis said. "I think we'll come out and do the best we can and we'll be able to run and pass. We work hard each and every day. That brings progress."

Davis is aware of the challenge of Utah's defensive front, which has been characterized as small (averaging about 6-3, 260) but quick. "I've watched quite a bit of film," he said. "They try to do a lot of things to get you off balance. Footwork will be important in this game.

"We've played teams that had a lot of different defensive schemes. Utah moves a lot. Ole Miss did a lot of things, moved a lot. Several teams we played did some of that.

"Our job is to work hard and be prepared for it."

Davis has been a hard worker. He played in four games and started one as a true freshman in 2005, started four and played in 12 as a sophomore (and led the team with 34 knockdown blocks, including six against Auburn), started eight of nine games in 2007, and has started every game this season.

It's a good bet that Utah's defense knows who Marlon Davis is.

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