McClain Says Tide Must Contain

Alabama has a difficult assignment Saturday when the Crimson Tide opens the 2009 football season against Virginia Tech. The Hokies have a lot of weapons, but none is more dangerous than the talented Virginia Tech quarterback.

Alabama All-America linebacker Rolando McClain knows one man Bama will have to keep an eye on is Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor. "He's a good quarterback," McClain said. "He makes a lot of plays running as well as throwing. He's athletic. He's dangerous.

"He has a good offensive line in front of him, too," McClain added.

Alabama, ranked fifth in the nation, and Virginia Tech, ranked seventh, will open the season in the Chick-fil-A game in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in a game nationally televised by ABC. Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. EDT (7 p.m. central time).

McClain, a 6-4, 258-pound junior who is starting for the third year, said Alabama won't change its defensive plan for Virginia Tech. "We think we have a good defense, too," he said.

The assignment of the defense is "containment," McClain said. "We have to make him throw the ball. Our guys understand that."

McClain tries to keep things on an even keel. He didn't worry about Virginia Tech until this week, "Game Week."

"Up until this week, we have done what we would ordinarily do in spring practice, the off-season, and fall camp," McClain said. "We didn't vary. We worked on us. Now it's game week, and we work on the game plan."

He said as much as he can he avoids emotion, the rah rah stuff of the campus because his teammates are counting on him for leadership during the game. "I try to stay mellow," he said.

McClain admits to his love of playing the game of football, the excitement "when the lights come on."

The end of last season was a disappointment as Bama gave up 31 points in back-to-back losses to close out a 12-2 season. The Tide lost to Florida in the SEC Championship Game and to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. "We have to learn from it, get better from it, then put it in the past," he said.

"Now we need to show how much work we've put in."

He said that is the identity of Alabama football. "We're going to be a hard-working team," he said. "We're going to be physically dominating. We're going to run the ball and stop you from running. That's going to be the personality of this team."

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