How Alabama Leaders Adjusted Mentality After Tennessee ‘Tang’

After a busy September and an inconsistent October, every Alabama goal from the preseason remains on the table. The SEC West is up for grabs as early as next Saturday, but there’s a catch.

It will require beating the other two top teams in the division away from home in consecutive weeks, where road games have been a particular concern for the 2022 Crimson Tide. From costly mid-game slumps at Texas and Arkansas to a 52-49 loss at Tennessee, there is a clear problem when this team leaves Tuscaloosa.

LSU’s Tiger Stadium is among the loudest stadiums in college football after sunset, and it will be a foreign environment for nearly everyone on the Crimson Tide’s roster. The 55-17 win in 2020 was played in a virtually empty coliseum due to pandemic-related capacity restrictions

“I saw the videos where Ed Orgeron was there and their performance and that stadium, how crazy it is,” Alabama player Henry To’o To’o said. “Every SEC school is going to be crazy, but I’m definitely looking forward to that stadium at LSU. I know it will jump. In several away games, we played in a hostile environment.”

So how does management prepare the locker room for Saturday’s 6 p.m. CT game at No. 15 LSU and next week’s trip to No. 11 Ole Miss when players are feeling anxious before the Tennessee game?

Quarterback Bryce Young said it’s about the Alphas having everyone’s back when things get tough.

“We’re all playing for each other,” Young said Monday, “so a lot of it is in the preparation we have during the week and then on game days we just make sure we have a good environment, we have a good energy in the locker room.” and out on the field and always — especially in the leadership group — we stress that we make sure that we support each other, we make sure that we know that we have each other’s backs and again, especially when we’re on the road in a hostile environment, it’s important for us to lean sticking up for each other and making sure we have each other’s backs, so that’s been a big focus lately.”

It was the team that tied the school record with 17 penalties on Oct. 15 at Tennessee. After the game, the players talked about arriving at Neyland Stadium with trepidation. So the entrance to Tiger Stadium’s snake pit will be just as hostile as what they found in Knoxville.

To’o To’o said it’s all about preparation and consistent practice.

“I think that’s what causes the anxiety,” he said Monday, “when you go out there and you don’t know what you’re going to do, especially when you’re away, your back is against the wall, people hate you and want you to lose. I think it’s it’s about how we’re going to train and how to get the guys fired up all week so we don’t have to worry until Saturday.”

Before the Tennessee game, Nick Saban said he hoped the trips to Texas and Arkansas would solve the road issues, but that clearly wasn’t the case at Neyland Stadium. It has since taken on a different tone, removing the psychological complexities of playing on the road. Distilling down to outdoor fun, stress-free gaming, and the simple pleasure the game provides.

Although Tiger Stadium is one of the toughest road tests in the league, Saban touched on the discipline required when the walls start closing in.

“We have to be able to have enough balance to be able to play in this kind of environment,” he said, “not let it affect how we go one game at a time and how we want to play and play. finish things.”

Alabama has won five straight in Baton Rouge — all at night — with shutouts in 2016 (10-0) and 2018 (29-0) before beating the defending national champions 55-17 two years ago.

After LSU, it’s Oxford, where the Crimson Tide have won their last three over Ole Miss. The 2020 game, which was of course also played in front of a small crowd, was an all-out offensive shootout. Alabama won 63-48, but gave up the most yardage in modern program history. The trip to Oxford on November 12th will begin at 2:30pm CT.

Michael Casagrande is a reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ByCasagrande or on Facebook.


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