The college football season is finally here, and Alabama is excited to get back on the field.
Tight end O.J. Howard said the attitude around the team is different this week.
“I can just tell the ways guys are walking around today that we are excited that it’s game week,” Howard said.
On Saturday, Alabama will kick off its 2015 campaign against #20 Wisconsin. This is the only game this week featuring two ranked teams, and it could become the most watched game taking place in week one.
Center Ryan Kelly said the team is ready to take on what should be a talented Wisconsin team. Kelly said the team could get a momentum it can use the rest of the season this weekend, and it’s not like the big stage is unfamiliar territory for Alabama.
“When you look at the past, every first game we’ve ever had we’ve always had a pretty challenging game,” Kelly said. “We know it’s going to be a dogfight and that’s just how we like it.”
Linebacker Dillon Lee said the team knows what to expect from Wisconsin’s offense on Saturday. Lee said he thinks Wisconsin’s run first approach plays into Alabama’s hand.
“We are all about stopping the run so it should be a clash of their offense and our defense,” Lee said.“[The matchup is] pretty much all our big guys on the field playing against their big guys.”
Those “big guys” should include Lee who was recently named Alabama’s starting Sam linebacker. Lee said he looks forward to contributing more this season.
“I’m just looking to contribute anywhere I can to help us win games,” Lee said. “I’m excited that, that role is a little bigger this year.”
Wisconsin is not going to be the only team that might lean on its ground game on Saturday. Running backs Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake should get a majority, if not all, of Alabama’s carries in this game, but Alabama might have a third back that could become a play maker for the Crimson Tide.
“[Damien Harris is] going to make a difference for us,” Kelly said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be this week or whatever, but he’s got a lot of potential.”
Whatever success the running backs have running the ball will depend partly on the play of Alabama’s offensive line. On the depth chart Alphonse Taylor and Bradley Bozeman are both listed as starting right guards.
”They are both just great competitors,” Kelly said. “[Switching those guys in and out is] just like [the] quarterback switching as well. It’s kind of hard to get used to at first but when you start to get used to both guys and what they do differently, so it’s been good.”
On Monday Nick Saban said he wants Alabama to reclaim an identity that the team has gotten away from in recent years. Lee said the team can do that by developing its reputation.
“We just want to be a team that nobody wants to play,” Lee said. “We just want people to hate playing us and really just be a nightmare for our opponents.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports