TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The last time Alabama played in a bowl game it wasn’t a pleasant experience for anybody who was wearing crimson.
But it’s obvious it was a learning experience.
Senior linebacker Cory Reamer said Alabama was a splintered football team emotionally and mentally last season at the Sugar Bowl, and that was clear in how they played.
Utah whipped Alabama 31-17 in a result some of the players saw coming. Andre Smith’s suspension the week before the game for improper dealings with an agent was a time bomb that had been ticking inside the program, according to Reamer.
“We had a lot of guys who were potential first-round and second-round guys, and a lot of guys who were going to get drafted, so there were agents and (people) like that everywhere who really weren’t interested in what our best interests were,” Reamer said. “They were worried about themselves. But we have a plan set now where we can handle it as players and handle everything here, which I think helps a lot because we don’t have a lot of outside people influencing us on what their ideas should be.”
Reamer said the Crimson Tide learned the hard way how a few people getting “too caught up in what’s coming next” can soil an entire season.
He said nobody on this team ever plans to go through that again.
“You’ve got to know what your responsibility is, and know what your focus should be, and you should never get caught in those situations,” Reamer said. “You should never put yourself in a situation where you could be a distraction for the team. You focus on what you have to do to help this team win this game and not worry about what’s coming after that.”