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January 7, 2012

BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: ‘Why we win’

Defense, speed large factors in why Bama, LSU getting rematch

NEW ORLEANS —

There’s something about defense when it comes to big games.

Maybe that is why Alabama and LSU are about to be at it again.

They got into it just a touch Friday inside the Mercedes Superdome — verbally, any way.

Every player on both teams was available for interview — no holds barred.

So whose team is better, according to the players?

Most won’t say, but both Tide and Tigers seem to have just a touch of pride, in both themselves and their rival.

“We came prepared to bring the title home,” LSU receiver Russell Shepard said. “That’s the main thing, but it’s going to be so amazing to play Alabama again.”

Should it be anyone besides Alabama and LSU in the rematch?

“You watch these other conferences play in bowl games and wonder why they’re all scoring so many points,” Tigers defensive Barkevious Mingo said. “While they’re trying to outscore each other, every team in the SEC is focused on trying to have the most dominant defense in the league — and that’s why we win national championships.

“Right now, LSU and Alabama have the same mentality and that is to keep the other team out of the end zone.”

Someone mentioned Oklahoma State to Alabama defensive back Dee Milliner.

“When I do watch a game from around the country, I’m watching the defenses,” Milliner said. “The difference is speed. When you get away from the south, the defenses slow.

“We’ve taken it to a new level as far as speed goes.”

Bama offensive lineman Chance Womack doesn’t stop there. He gives the offensive speed of the SEC some credit too.

“It’s crazy how much quicker players react in the south than how they do anywhere else,” Womack said. “In any part of the game, I can see a difference in the speed and reaction times.

“And there’s always somebody new coming up who may be even better than the ones playing now.”

Everybody remembers the first meeting — LSU’s 9-6 overtime thriller.

And some of the players are apt to think it could come down to the same type situation.

“I hope it doesn’t go to overtime,” Alabama defensive back DeQuan Menzie said. “But if it does get that intense, I just hope we win.”

Stan Veitch can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at stanv@cullmantimes.com.

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