West Coast Will Be New To Arenas
Javier Arenas and his Alabama teammates head to Southern California Friday to resume preparations for the Bowl Championship Series national championship game against Texas. Bama and the Longhorns will meet on January 7 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for the title.
When the teams arrive, they will have some opportunities for fun, possible including a trip to Disneyland. "I've been to Disney World," said the Tampa native. "To-may-to, to-mah-to."
The Crimson Tide had its final workout Thursday in Tuscaloosa, the last time Arenas and his fellow seniors will have a team practice at the Thomas-Drew fields and Hank Crisp Indoor Facility.
When Alabama finally meets Texas it will have been over a month since the Tide's last game, a 32-13 win over previously number one ranked Florida to win the Southeastern Conference championship and earn a spot in the national championship game.
Arenas, an all-star cornerback and kick return man, said the team hasn't had a problem with the long break between games. "Everyone is doing good," he said. "Coach Saban stresses things that are most important. Keep tackling well, good fundamentals, sound. I think we're stressing that and the leadership had adopted that same mentality. Everything is going real smooth."
While Alabama has the final bowl game of the year, there have already been a number of post-season games. Arenas said that while Alabama football takes up much of time, there's still time to watch other games.
"There's nothing else to do really," he said. "I don't say I study film 24/7; I study a lot. I know what I have to do in order to be successful. I think I speak for the rest of my teammates when I say that. Beside that we chill and watch football a lot. Watching the games makes you itchy to go out there and play football. Watching guys make great plays makes you eager to go out and do the same thing."
Arenas said he hasn't seen a change in the energy level as Alabama shifted from working on fundamentals in practices before Christmas to beginning game preparations for Texas since the break.
"I think we have the same mentality," he said. "We know what we have to do. Whatever coach puts out there, whatever the day's practice consists of, we know we're going to execute. If it's thud, we're going to thud. If it's a day we're going to focus on Texas we know how to transition."
And, he said, moving practices to Southern California won't change anything. He said he doesn't sense any anxiety about getting to the West Coast.
"If we stayed here two more days it would be fine with us," he said. "We're not eager to go out there and party. We're eager to go out there and get a feel for everything, but no one is stressing or complaining about anything."
Arenas said that Texas has great athletes, but that the offensive system of the Longhorns is "not that complex." The reason for their success, he said, is "What they do, they execute real well."
Texas All-America quarterback Colt McCoy is a pinpoint accurate passer. His favorite receiver is another All-America, Jordan Shipley.
Arenas said, "He's a great football player. He runs great routes. What you see is what you get. There are no secrets. He's fast, quick, great hands, great routes."
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