TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- For the record, it hasn’t sunk in yet for Alabama coach Nick Saban that he has this program in the BCS National Championship Game in only his third year on the job.
And for that matter, it won’t sink in. At least not while he’s getting ready for this game.
The same goes for his players, because in Saban’s words, to even allow yourself to think about such things is the very definition of clutter.
In vintage Saban fashion, he pounded that message home to his players Monday -- doing so while scolding the media for even bringing up the subject.
After all, who dares to talk about playing for a national championship in the weeks leading up to the big game?
“I’m not worried about winning a national championship, and I don’t want our players to worry about it, either,” Saban said. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t ask them, although I know you will.
"What I want our players to focus on is playing their best football and to assume that they’re going to play the best football team they’ve ever played and they’re going to be playing against the best player they’ve ever played against, and that’s what they should be working to do and what they should be focused on.”
The clutter is for everybody else on the outside to talk about.
And make no mistake. The Alabama players know clutter when they see it.
Senior cornerback Javier Arenas provided the most vivid definition.
“Clutter is clutter, bro,” Arenas said. “You’re driving down the road thinking about a chick, and you hit a dog in the road. That’s clutter. If you ain’t thinking about what you’re supposed to be thinking about, that’s clutter.”
Is he pretty good at avoiding clutter?
“I think I’m exceptional at it. I slack off every once in a while, but I never hit dogs,” Arenas cracked.