The Alabama Crimson Tide and Washington Huskies will meet for the fifth time in program history on Saturday afternoon.
The top-ranked Tide is the favorite in the matchup, but the Huskies fast-paced offense is unlike anything Alabama has faced this season.
Coaches and players from both teams stopped by the Georgia Dome on Thursday morning for interviews with the media. Here’s what we learned.
WHAT WASHINGTON IS SAYING ABOUT ALABAMA
The Huskies were first on the field. The allegedly neutral-site game will be played 2,632 miles away from Seattle, but Washington feels confident in its process.
Washington Head Coach Chris Petersen
“I think all games are the same. I don’t feel one bit more pressure, less pressure [when] we play in these games…I mean, we know it’s a big game. We got this far. But it’s the same game.”
Jonathan Smith – Offensive Coordinator
“We understand this is going to be a great challenge. This defense is better than anybody we’ve played by far. They’ve got some good, good players. They play a sound scheme. They are well coached…We’re definitely different than some of the teams they’ve seen, but at the same time, they’ve had a month to prepare.”
The trip to Atlanta is a first for most of the Washington team. The players say the best part of the trip so far? The BBQ. Still, the Huskie’s defense know it has to play well to give the team a chance at winning.
D.J. Beavers – Linebacker on if they’ve played against a team similar to Alabama this year
“I don’t think there is a comparison. Alabama has its own unique style that intertwines a little bit of everything. It’s a whole new challenge for us.”
Connor O’Brien – Linebacker
"We gotta contain [Jalen]. He’s a fast guy. A good, athletic, guy. They have a great offensive line. We just gotta execute our schemes."
JoJo McIntosh – Defensive End
"We have to tackle first and foremost. A lot of teams come out in bowl games and forget how to tackle. They have some really fast players so we have to make sure we keep everyone contained."
Greg Gains – Defensive lineman
"If we can win the first step and hit our gaps, we’ll be doing alright. They’ve only allowed 7 sacks this season so getting to the quarterback is going to be crucial. Getting a sack would be awesome."
WHAT ALABAMA IS SAYING ABOUT WASHINGTON
Nick Saban, Alabama head football coach
“This is, by far, the best all-around team that we’ve played all year long. They score 44 and a half points a game on offense. They’ve got a really good quarterback…When you go on the other side of the ball, they’re one of the top defensive teams in the country…”
Jeremy Pruitt – Defensive Coordinator
"Everybody’s gotta remember what we got in December and hopefully January. You know, if you don’t play well in this game everyone is going to forget about the other 13."
This is Alabama’s second trip to the Georgia Dome this month. The Crimson Tide routed Florida on its way to a SEC Championship. Now, the players are focused on a national championship.
Tim Williams on playing for Nick Saban
"He just always preach to us that these big games we be having, going undefeated, so the pressure is right there every game, you know. And just the way he's just calm but always, you know, disciplined. That's the main thing. He's a general."
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