Ingram Glad To Be Back At Practice

It's been fun, guys, but... After a whirlwind of celebrity-status life, Alabama sophomore tailback Mark Ingram is glad to be out of coat and tie in front of the media and back into helmet and shoulder pads with his coaches and teammates.

A week after winning the Heisman Trophy, Alabama tailback Mark Ingram made it back to Tuscaloosa just 30 minutes before the team meeting preceding the beginning of bowl practice. "I'm just enjoying it," said the sophomore All-America. "But I'm ready to play some football, I can tell you that much."

Ingram met with sportswriters following Alabama's Saturday practice. The Crimson Tide has begun work for the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game, to be played January 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Bama, 13-0 and ranked first in the nation, will play Texas, also 13-0, ranked number two.

"I've enjoyed it," Ingram said. "I've had a good time but it's just about time to get back with my teammates and work on the goal we've had since the beginning of the year. I'm just happy to get back with those guys and share their world with them. We all have a focus. We all want to get that crystal ball. All our time and dedication for the next three weeks, four weeks, will be toward trying to achieve that."

Ingram knows the Heisman hype "is going to be there the rest of my life." But, he said, he's glad to be "back here with my teammates and be able to joke with them and go out on the field and work hard and practice with them and be in the film room studying with the coaches, just getting back in routine, I'm happy to do that."

Ingram doesn't see the Heisman Trophy as a curse or a burden. "Not at all," he said. "My main focus is our national championship game. All the other stuff was great. I've had a great time with the Heisman but my main focus is trying to win this national championship, do whatever I can to help this team win that game. That's our main focus and our main goal right now and I'm going to work as hard as I can, every day leading up to that game. And in that game, I'm going to do everything I can. So I'm not worried about it because I'm going to lay my heart on the line for them every time I go on the field, every time I practice. I'm going to give it the best I've got. So whatever happens, [it] happens."

Ingram had an opportunity to meet Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. They didn't talk much football. "We were just enjoying each other," Ingram said. "The most we talked about the game is that it really hasn't hit us that we're playing for a national championship. But everybody was just real cool and laid back. You don't want to talk about football at the time. All you do is talk about football. We were just getting to know each other, enjoying it, joking around and having a good time."

Ingram said the best thing about Heisman week was "the time I had with my family." He'll be back in his hometown of Flint, Michigan, later for a parade and to receive the key to the city. On his brief trip home after winning the Heisman he said there were billboards and store signs offering congratulations.

The New York Athletic Club shipped out two Heisman trophies, one to the athletics department and one to Ingram's home.

The one sent to Flint is "on my mom's kitchen table; in the middle of the kitchen table," Ingram said. It may have to stay there until Mark can get home.

"That thing is heavy," Ingram said. "It's not just something you just pick up. Unless you're going to move it to another spot, I wouldn't recommend picking it up just for fun because that thing is heavy."

But, he says, not a burden.

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