Alabama still has a bye week before its collision with Texas A&M on Sept. 14 in College Station.
But all talk surrounding the Crimson Tide will be focused on how it plans to avenge last season’s 29-24 loss in Tuscaloosa to Johnny Manziel and the Aggies. Alabama committed three turnovers and forced none. The Aggies were the Tide’s lone blemish on a national championship run.
“It seems like every time we get around people and we’re not around the football team, we get asked about this game,” right guard Anthony Steen said. “We just tell them that we haven’t looked at Texas A&M because we were focused on the first game of the season. But now it’s here.”
The Tide will take its usual business-like approach and attempt to treat this game like any other, but the hype surrounding it will reach the 2011 “Game of the Century” between Alabama and LSU.
“I think you guys build it up to be something (that it's not),” Tide wide receiver Christion Jones said. “It’s just a game to me, to our guys. Whether it’s about Johnny Manziel or not, we’re just going out here to play another game.
“After the bye week, that’s when we’re going to get involved with Texas A&M. Until then, we’re just going to focus on our fundamentals and get back to basics.”
The Aggies are coming off a 52-31 victory over Rice at Kyle Field in which Manziel played in the second half after surviving a brief suspension. They’ll have a glorified scrimmage against FCS school Sam Houston State as the Tide works on repairing issues exposed in Saturday's 35-10 victory over Virginia Tech, in particular the offensive line. The Tide put up pedestrian offensive numbers against an experienced Hokies defense. But the bye week gives Tide coach Nick Saban and his staff time to correct those mistakes.
“We just have to keep getting better,” Tide quarterback AJ McCarron said. “We don't have anything in particular. I just feel like we have to keep growing as a team and keep staying positive. We’re not always going to be great. It never has been. It’s the game of football. So we have to keep staying positive and be aggressive.”