Kickoff between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Texas A&M is four days away, and the hype for this monumental rematch is reaching new levels.
Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban – as well as the players and all of college football – is ready to arrive in College Station, Texas, and participate in Alabama’s first SEC game of the season.
“Obviously this is an exciting week for our team,” Saban said at his Monday press conference. “I think this is the great thing about college football: two outstanding teams. They obviously had a great year last year and are off to a fantastic start.”
Saban had nothing but praise for Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, whom he will face in Saturday’s highly anticipated rematch. But it was not too long ago that Saban considered hiring Sumlin to his staff.
“I think he’s done a fantastic job,” Saban said. “I think he’s a wonderful coach, did a great job at Houston before he was [at Texas A&M]. I’ve known Kevin for a long time. I actually interviewed him once, tried to hire him once at LSU.”
But the fans and players remember Sumlin and the Aggies as the team that ruined their perfect season in 2012.
The bad blood between the two schools after Texas A&M’s upset over Alabama a season ago could lead to some on-the-field altercations. But Saban said trash talking and taunting will not be tolerated from Crimson Tide players.
“It’s never a part of our game,” Saban said. “We tell our players there’s no circumstance where you need to talk to another player, and there’s been very little of that with our team.
“I think if you’re focused and disciplined, that’s the way you need to approach the game so that you can do your job. People that get emotional sometimes don’t make the best decisions. We need to make good decisions in this game so that we put ourselves in the best position to have a chance to be successful against very good players.”
Dalvin Tomlinson out for the season
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson suffered a knee injury Sept. 5 and underwent successful surgery the following day. He will, however, be out for the remainder of the 2013 season.
“He was doing a fantastic job for us, played well in the first game rotating in,” Saban said. “I hate to ever see any player get injured. But Dalvin has done everything the right way since he’s been here. It’s just something that is unfortunate that happens in any sport.”