Bowl preparation is a different time of year for Alabama football players. Preparation runs for several weeks instead of just five days. The stakes are raised for the College Football Playoff.
It’s also a time when they can focus almost completely on football. The semester wrapped up on Friday and graduation ceremonies were held during the weekend.
“I called it ‘day camp,’ because it’s like camp junior,” junior left tackle Jonah Williams said. “All we have to do is focus on football. So you know, I think it definitely helps being able to put all your attention into it. You don’t have exams coming up, you don’t have class, things like that. It definitely helps to put 100 percent of your focus on football.”
Williams’ comparison of December to the dog days of August might make some players wince. Fall camp is one of the most difficult times of year for players, who see a long list of practices ahead before the first game.
December shares some similarities, but there’s also the promise of a big game and the chance to compete for a national championship at the end. Having a trip to Miami on the horizon also gives players something to anticipate.
“Yeah, it is (fun). Just practicing is hard,” senior running back Damien Harris said. “But this time of year is fun. We get to focus 100 percent on football. Obviously, we get to go to the bowl sites for a week and have a good time. They put together the best trip for us, so we’re thankful for it.”
The first few days of practice helped players get back into the routine of preparation. The Crimson Tide began installing the game plan for Oklahoma on Monday. Practice before that was mostly based on cleaning up fundamentals.
“It just feels like we’re going back to Day 1, square one,” junior linebacker Mack Wilson said. “Everybody’s just working on themselves, like we’re working to be a stronger unit, build brotherhood, whatever you want to call it. It’s just basically fundamental football all over again. I feel like it’s an advantage to us because I don’t feel like every team in the country’s doing that. So it’s something that we enjoy, and I feel like everybody came out focused, having fun these last couple of practices and it’s just been fun.”