Practice makes perfect. If you can’t get it right in practice, you won’t get it right in the game. Practice is indicative of success in games. You know the drill.
When the lights are on, the pressure higher and the crowd on-site, when everything is more difficult, the practice saves you.
Or maybe it’s the other way around in the Nick Saban camp.
Quarterback AJ McCarron, who put together a 4-for-5, 72 yard performance on Alabama’s game-winning drive in Death Valley, may have had it easier in Baton Rouge than he does in the friendly confines of the Alabama practice facility.
“Probably, because you don’t have Saban yelling, ‘Let’s go!’,” McCarron said. It gives you a little more time. I felt comfortable the whole time.”
Practice, especially when the two-minute portion of each Thursday practice begins, is a hotly-contested affair.
“It’s just fun,” McCarron said. “You get to go out against one of the top defenses in the country in every category, get to go up against some of the crazy blitzes Coach Saban and Coach Smart come up with. It makes you a better player.”
Although there is no scoreboard at the practice facility, the competitive flavor is not lost.
A thought lingers out that the offense wins about 50 percent of the situations Saban puts them in practice, in which the time left on the clock, number of timeouts left, spot on the field and what’s needed to win or tie variate.
“Maybe a little less than that,” linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “Every Thursday, we do our two-minute drill with the offense. Either they need a touchdown or a field goal to score. And coach gives them like a minute thirty, minute fifteen, one timeout, two timeouts. Just different scenarios.
“And when we get in that situation, everybody turns – it’s like a game. We try our best to stop them from scoring. Sometimes they get plays, sometimes we get our plays.”
Saban said he is, for the most part, happy when the offense finds a way to score in practice.
McCarron isn’t so sure.
“Sometimes, probably,” McCarron said after a brief chuckle in disbelief. “Sometimes, you’re like, ‘Uh, I kind of wish we didn’t score right there.
“You know Coach Saban. He’s going to dislike something in every drive.”
After countless repetitions of the drill in practice, performing when everything was on the line was no big feat for McCarron. In a way, he found a way to put more pressure on himself.
“I told the guys if we complete the first pass, we’ll win the ball game,” he said. “When I completed the first pass, the line turned around and looked back at me and was like, ‘Alright, let’s go.’”