Alabama aims for businesslike treatment of rematch

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 09, 2013
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper insists this Texas A&M game is not about revenge. Nick Saban said it's important to keep the approach businesslike and that the football field is no place for trash talk. Quarterback AJ McCarron believes his friendship with Texas A&M counterpart Johnny Manziel is overblown. The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 6 Aggies are finally getting together again Saturday night- this time in College Station. Alabama opened game week trying to shoot down many of the story lines, but stopping Manziel would be easier than deflating this hype. ''Yeah, it's the only game we lost last year,'' Cooper said on Monday. ''To me, it's not a revenge thing because if we wanted to get revenge, we'd have to play that same team last year with the same team we had last year. ''It's really not a revenge thing. If you lose a fight with someone, you don't get revenge from fighting someone else.'' Then again, Manziel was the big puncher last season in a game that might have put a reserve on the Heisman Trophy. Sure, the Tide got back up from the 29-24 knockdown and won a second straight national title. It still seems like a game ripe for overwrought emotions and perhaps some heated smack talk. Saban says not from the Tide. ''It's never a part of our game,'' he 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. Business-like is the way we'd like to approach this game. It's going to be emotional, don't get me wrong. And I'm not trying to minimize the importance when I use the term `businesslike.' ''People who get emotional sometimes don't make the best decisions.'' Saban's strategy has worked so far in grudge matches. Rather, friendly rematches. His Alabama and LSU teams are 15-2 in avenging losses the following season or later in the same season. At Alabama, the seven wins in eight tries came by an average score of 33-12 and the lone loss was 9-6 in overtime to LSU. That preceded a 21-0 win in Round 2 for the national title. The Tide is in very different circumstances this time. Alabama got an off-week after an opening 35-10 win over Virginia Tech, when the offense sputtered to 206 yards and a line with three new starters fielded some criticism. Last season, the Tide was coming off a down-to-the-wire win over LSU and fell behind 20-0 after the first quarter. Saban said that's not an acceptable excuse for the poor start. ''You can't be up or down. People talk about emotion all the time, that creates that,'' he said. ''That was an emotional win for us LSU, but that cannot be an excuse not to be ready to play the next one. It can't be acceptable, especially not in our league.'' McCarron, the Tide's quarterback, maintains ''it's just another week'' except for the fact that Alabama lost the last meeting. ''That's last year,'' he said. ''Turn the page. I don't really focus on what happened last year no matter if we won or we lost. I'm worried about this year and what we need to do to win this year.'' As for his friendship with Manziel, he doesn't think that's a big deal. The two were roommates at the Manning Passing Academy, where Manziel left early and blamed missing activities on oversleeping. McCarron said the two last spoke around SEC media days in July, but wouldn't say if they had exchanged texts since then. Manziel was suspended for a half against Rice for what Texas A&M called ''inadvertent'' violation of NCAA rules involving signing autographs. ''We're just friends, guys,'' McCarron said. ''Y'all make this thing a lot bigger than it needs to be.'' Unlike Manziel, his off-the-field headlines came from his relationship with model and reality TV star Katherine Webb. McCarron said his philosophy is ''just be myself'' but said some of the stuff his Texas A&M counterpart gets knocked for is just Johnny being Johnny. ''I've never been one to be in the spotlight,'' he told reporters. ''Everybody lives their lifestyle different. People criticize him for being himself. Everybody's got their opinion on something. That's what y'all get paid for, opinions.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Paul George rips Pacers for lack of ‘pride’

Roger Goodell to attend first game in New England since Deflategate

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants a female head coach ‘sooner than later’

How significant is Celtics’ milestone of passing Cavs for the top seed?

Grant Hill reflects on Christian Laettner’s shot on its 25th anniversary

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Chargers need to draft a young QB according to head coach Anthony Lynn

Seahawks GM stomps Marshawn Lynch rumors

Mel Kiper: Joe Mixon is most talented RB in draft

Gonzaga's Jordan Mathews long road back to the desert

Lonzo Ball on Markelle Fultz: ‘I’m better than him’

Harden: Playing every game should count in MVP discussion

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The 28 craziest ballpark foods for the 2017 season

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best of Yardbarker: Did Team USA's victory save the World Baseball Classic?

Breaking down the Naismith Award race

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker