TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Watching the game on TV, you know it when you see it. There’s no audio, but when a big catch is made or sack recorded, cameras capture the loose lips, nodding heads and other various taunts.
It’s all part of the game, confident Alabama wide receiver Marquis Maze said.
“Yeah, it’s mostly a mind game,” said Maze. “You try to get in their head. You try to make them do stupid things, like commit penalties. It’s just a mind game. I talk a lot. Last week, I didn’t talk as much. Coach told me they wanted to throw a flag on me against LSU, so I didn’t say anything this past week.”
And the nature of his barbs? “I just call them sorry, stuff like that. Most of the time, I’m just talking,” Maze said. “Half the time, I don’t even know what I’m saying.”
Center William Vlachos, though, is the self-proclaimed biggest talker on the team, but since he’s down in the trenches, it isn’t seen by most.
As far as opponents yapping, running back Trent Richardson said there wasn’t as much chatter in the LSU game as expected. Florida and Mississippi State were among the loudest, he said. One particular Bulldog referenced Richardson’s previous statements about needing multiple tacklers to take him down.
“I’m looking at him like there’s three of y’all that just tackled me,” said Richardson, who ran for 127 yards in Starkville. “What are you talking about?”
Why better after half?
There are a few ways of looking at the reason Alabama’s blowing opponents away after the intermission.
Coach Nick Saban offered one perspective Monday.
“I think, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but you know we get everybody’s best game,” he said. “So they usually start out sort of playing about as well as they’ve played for a while. And you’ve got to work your way through that a little bit, keep your poise, keep on keeping on. They even say it, they have Alabama signs up all year long. This is the game we point to. This is kind of like a national championship game for us. I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way.”
The Tide is outscoring the opposition 196-35 following the halftime break. Starting slower isn’t always about what happens on the other sideline, though.
“I think that there was a significant number of players on our team that were ready to play,” Saban said. “But there were probably a few who weren’t quite ready enough, and sort of had to play their way into the kind of intensity that was being passed around out there. We did get better as the game wore on.”
Scout team challenge
Playing an unconventional offense like Georgia Southern’s on Saturday means shaking things up for the Alabama scout team.
They’ve got to learn not only a new game plan, but a completely different philosophy in the flexbone formation. Saban said reserve running back Blake Sims would play a lot of quarterback this week since he played an option-style in high school.
Moving scout team players to different positions is not uncommon.
“Playing Florida, you know, we have somebody that’s really fast be (Chris) Rainey and (Jeff) Demps,” Saban said. “Even moved Jabriel Washington, who’s a defensive back, put a shirt on him to be one of those guys -- sort of get the feeling of the speed.”