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One week out, Crimson Tide and Bulldogs prepare to lock horns

Alabama's Jameson Williams (1) holds up the winner's trophy as coach Nick Saban, right, watches...
Alabama's Jameson Williams (1) holds up the winner's trophy as coach Nick Saban, right, watches after the Cotton Bowl NCAA College Football Playoff semifinal game against Cincinnati, Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, in Arlington, Texas. Alabama won 27-6.(Source: AP, Jeffrey McWhorter)
Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WTVY) - One week away from a National Championship clash in Indianapolis, both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs prepare for their monumental rematch.

“I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re very, very proud of our team, all the people who have worked hard throughout the course of the year to create this opportunity for our team,” said Alabama head coach Nick Saban. “The team’s overcome a lot of adversity and resiliency through the course of the year. And really, really extremely proud of the way they’ve sort of put themselves in a position to have a chance to win a championship.”

“Indianapolis has been the spot of a lot of national championships I’ve been able to watch growing up, and excited to play in such a great venue and sounds like we’re fortunate we’re not playing outside based on the weather that I’m hearing about,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “Our guys are excited and being excited to work and really take another shot and go play these guys.”

A chance at redemption for Georgia.

The Dawgs suffered their only loss of the season to the Crimson Tide one month ago in Atlanta in the SEC Championship Game. Alabama dominating the showdown winning 41-24.

That game, though, a distant memory.

“But when you’re playing a rematch game, I think a lot can go into it in terms of you’ve got to be careful because you’ve got things and games in your breakdown that might change this game in terms of we didn’t have the SEC Championship game, obviously, in our breakdown, then the playoff game and what tendencies changed, what matchups we’re looking for, who is in, who is out,” said Smart. “There’s a lot of things that go into it, but at the end of the day, you’re really not as worried about what they’re doing; you’re worried about what you’re doing and how well you can do that is the most important part.”

Despite winning the previous showdown, Saban and company have put last month’s win in the rearview mirror as well.

“We’ve got a different team. They’ve got a different team,” said Saban. “They’ve got a good team. So, you know, I don’t know. Our players were focused in the game.”

Georgia enters next Monday’s matchup as the slight favorite, the same it did when the two teams met in Atlanta.

“Regardless who was favored and who was underdogs and all that kind of stuff, everybody has pride in performance,” said Saban. “Everybody wants to go play well, and we certainly want to do everything as coaches that we can to help our players go out and play well and compete well in a game.”

Both coaches aware they need to slow down the playmakers on the other side. For Georgia, that’s containing Heisman winner Bryce Young. For the Crimson Tide, limit was freshman phenom Brock Bowers is able to do.

“This guy is just a phenomenal football player all the way around,” said Saban. “They do a really good job of featuring his talents as well, and he’s been extremely productive in a lot of ways. I know everybody always knows the passes he catches, but also a really good blocker and does a good job in his part of executing whatever he needs to do to help his teammates have success as well.”

“He’s really way more illusive than people give him credit for,” said Smart. “Extremely good athlete. Has elite spatial awareness. He knows where people are, where his people are, where he’s protected, where he’s going with the ball beforehand, and it wasn’t for a lack of trying. We brought a lot of different pressures. They did a good job picking those pressures up and at the end of the day, there’s four or five guys that are one-on-one up there. Somebody’s got to win one-on-one.”

Alabama and Georgia will meet January 10 in Indy with the right to call themselves “National Champion” on the line.

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