By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Birmingham, Ala. -- As part of our continuing coverage of the All-SEC BCS Championship Game in New Orleans, we have sat down with journalists from all sides of the contest to get as much perspective as we could for the big matchup.
In today's "Q and A" installment, the Digital Network sat down with Izzy Gould, who covers the Crimson Tide for AL.com. Gould has followed Alabama all season long, and agreed to answer a few questions about the upcoming game.
SEC Digital Network: When these two teams first matched up in Tuscaloosa, did you think a rematch in the in the National Championship Game was possible?
Absolutely. The only real drama, in my opinion, came in the final week prior to the final BCS standings. Alabama and LSU played to a tie through four quarters, and the game was entirely settled on field goals. It will be remembered as a classic in years to come, and it is already aged well like a fine wine. When Alabama barely fell in the BCS standings following the loss, it was clear many wanted to see the rematch.
SEC Digital Network: Score aside, does Alabama come into this matchup with some confidence knowing how close the previous matchup was?
Of course. Listening to the players, and Nick Saban, they paint a picture of lost opportunity. Spin is spin. I'm sure LSU would say they capitalized on their opportunities. Alabama has one loss, and this a unique opportunity to avenge their loss. It's a chance to remodel their game plan, a chance to beat LSU in its backyard and most significantly, a chance to earn its 14th national championship. I'm looking for an inspired performance Monday night.
SEC Digital Network: How can AJ McCarron find success in the BCS Title Game, and is he the key to winning this matchup for the Crimson Tide?
I don't believe there's one key to victory, or loss. But yes, McCarron's performance certainly matters. If he can't make plays, LSU can simply focus on stacking the line against running backs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy. If he hesitates, LSU's pass rush won't be denied. McCarron has a unique confidence that comes across in interviews, and in his play. He fires bullets through traffic many quarterbacks would elect not to throw. The key to his success will be finding Richardson, wide receiver Marquis Maze and tight end Brad Smelley, who all have become reliable targets.
SEC Digital Network: From an NFL perspective, who has the more talented defense?
That's hard for me to answer. I feel as though I know Alabama very well. This year alone, Alabama has at least four players that are NFL locks: linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower, and defensive backs Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick. Hightower and Kirkpatrick could elect to return next season. Safety Robert Lester is considering his options, and it's possible cornerback DeQuan Menzie and nose guard Josh Chapman could find their way into the league.
SEC Digital Network: Les Miles isn’t known as a great “Xs and Os” coach, yet he is vying for his second national championship. What is it about Miles that allows him to be so successful?
Apparently, the art of misdirection. Les Miles is a coach that no one can ever seem to understand or figure out. His messages are cryptic. His play calling is unpredictable. And when everyone was expecting Miles to pull something from beneath his hat against Alabama, he amazed us all by playing the Nov. 5 game conservative. Just as there is no one key to a victory, there is no one person responsible for LSU's success. Miles has hired good assistants, and together they have filled their roster with elite talent. It's no surprise he has done so well, and helped make the Alabama-LSU rivalry one of the classics of its time.