Q. Eddie Lacy talked about how it was always his childhood dream to play in this arena. And not only is he getting to play in this arena finally, but he gets to play across the field from one of his best friends. How special is that going to be for both of you guys, regardless of the outcome?
ERIC REID: It's not often that two guys from the same school get this privilege to play in the national championship against each other. So while we're on the field we're going to be enemies, but in between the whistles we're going to be probably talking to each other saying what's up.
Q. A lot of people, especially fans, talk about what a harsh rivalry this is, that there's so much trash talk that it's gone overboard; that, according to the players, there's a lot of respect, there's not that much trash talk. How do you rate the trash talk and do you do any or how do you receive it?
ERIC REID: I think the trash talk is pretty much done between the fans. Like he was saying, the players have respect for each other. We're here to play football, and that's what we're going to do, and we let our fans talk for us if they want to.
Q. Will, 30 some days since you guys have played, and 40 something for them. What's most important when you're off that long to get it back and get ready for a football game?
WILL BLACKWELL: I think the most important thing is just to maintain focus. There's a lot of distractions. Christmas, New Year's, coming down to New Orleans and having a good time. It's hard to focus and pay attention to practice and film when the game's so far away. But this team's done a great job. And hopefully that will pay for us on Monday.
Q. You guys have been just so good the second half, just plowing people with the running game. Can you do it to these guys on Monday night?
WILL BLACKWELL: I hope so. And that's a credit to our backs, our stable running backs. We've got four, five guys back there who can mix it up, big guys, fast guys, and we look to get them all involved in the game plan on Monday.
Q. Your teammates have all been outspoken about, yeah, you're chasing a championship, absolutely, that's number one goal. But my sense is you guys feel like you're chasing history.
WILL BLACKWELL: Yeah, no doubt. And we understand how important this game is from every aspect, the history aspect, the present aspect, everything. But there's no team that we'd rather beat than Alabama. They're our rival. We have to beat each other to be the best, and that's just how it is.
Q. You said you felt like it wasn't probably fair that you had to go through them a second time. But the other part is if you beat them for a second time, there shouldn't be any question about your guys' place in history.
WILL BLACKWELL: Right. They're a great team. Probably one of the best they've ever had. If we're able to pull off this win, I would imagine it would be a pretty big deal around here for a long time.
Q. A lot of talk out of their camp that they didn't play their best football game and they lost it the first time. You don't feel you played your best football game either?
WILL BLACKWELL: No, they did lose, but I don't know if that was a matter of us beating them or them missing a field goal, which is always a part of the game. So we're just going to come out, try to execute. We feel like we missed a few things the last game, and hopefully we can get them corrected Monday.
Q. It's not Tiger Stadium, but do you feel this is your second home?
WILL BLACKWELL: No doubt, 60 miles away. There will be plenty of people, plenty people enjoying it. Like I said, there's other places we'd play than Tiger Stadium, but to have the game in the Superdome is a tremendous deal for us.
Q. Can you talk about Josh Chapman a little bit, what he does up front, taking up multiple blockers, how he opens up the Alabama defense?
WILL BLACKWELL: He's a big guy. They kind of play him for a two?gap scheme, playing nose guard in their Okie defense. And he does a good job with anything down the line. He's hard to move. He's short, so he has a lot of leverage. He'll be a tough assignment for me and P.J. Lonergan and Josh Williford on Monday.
Q. Let's talk about the north Louisiana family a little bit. There's a couple guys sitting over there on the big spotlight level. Have you talked to them a little bit about being a part of the team and how it all has to click to be where you are today?
WILL BLACKWELL: That's one thing we do well around here is everybody has to go through that experience. There was a time when nobody knew who Tyrann Mathieu was, nobody knew who Will Blackwell was, nobody knew who Jordan Jefferson was. And that's something about the guys that come here. They want to be that person. They want to have that responsibility on their back. And they've done a tremendous job of that this season.
Q. I know when you left West Monroe High School, your dream was to be where you are today. And you've become a spokesperson for this team. We've talked about it all season long. How special has that been for you?
WILL BLACKWELL: It's a tremendous honor for me. There's no other place that I would rather play in and spend my career. I'm truly honored to be recognized as a leader of this team, and that's all I really ever wanted to do. So go out there Monday and win this game, and we'll have a little bit more to celebrate.
Q. Talk to me about what it's going to take to write that final chapter.
WILL BLACKWELL: We're going to have to go out and execute, simple as that. We've got a good game plan. It's coming together. And we've had some great practices. So we felt like last time we missed a few things here and there that we could have done a little better. And hopefully Monday we'll be able to execute those dreams.
Q. Can you tell in your gut ?? I know you only had a week to prepare for them first time around versus a month this time, but give me a feel for how you guys feel about the game plan in your gut in comparison.
WILL BLACKWELL: We feel good about the game plan. We spent a lot of time practicing it, about a month. We've had plenty of time to go over things and adjust things. And it just comes down to who wants it more and who is going to execute things better. So we'll go out there and limit our mistakes and hope for the best.
Q. How fitting is it for you guys to decide it here?
WILL BLACKWELL: There's one place we'd rather play, and that's Tiger Stadium. And if we can't play this game in there, then what better place than the Superdome. So we're honored to be here in New Orleans. Basically our backyard. And there's no place we'd rather be than here.
Q. This is nothing more than a home game. Talk about being in the familiar surroundings and had this game been in Pasadena or Phoenix, Arizona, where it wouldn't be as much of an advantage for you. Let's face it, they're going to have their crowd here, but you're going to hear nothing but ?? and you've seen nothing but all around the city (indiscernible) LSU.
BRANDON TAYLOR: Even though everybody says it's going for a second game, LSU fans can't come in the game, that they'll be outside cheering for us and stuff like that. And we know that when we're coming up and pulling up into the game, coming to the stadium, that we see all the LSU Nation outside.
Q. You went into their home, you knocked them right in the mouth and you beat them. It was a defensive battle. You can't take anything lightly with them, because, let's face it, that first three to four series they were hitting you with the ball pretty effectively ?? as a matter of fact, you guys were on your heels ?? if you take away the ending, just the beginning, it lets you know what you're up against.
BRANDON TAYLOR: Yes. We tend to not take anything lightly. We know that everybody's capable of winning, of beating anybody in this conference. And especially a team like that, they're a very threatened team, very good team. They're coached by tremendous coaches. So you just know that we've got to come out and play our best game at the time and don't slip up for us. If you make a mistake it could cost you the game.
Q. One guy who doesn't make a lot of mistakes and he was able to get to the red zone on you was AJ McCarron. Your impressions of him as a safety, as someone who knows that he can be a tremendous threat to you having a long day or a short day, talk to me about what do you see in him that impresses you. threat to you having a long day or a short day, talk to me about what do you see in him that impresses you.
BRANDON TAYLOR: Just the way that he manages the game, doesn't make very many mistakes. It doesn't take very many sets. He's actually a great runner, and he doesn't just throw the ball just because he's under pressure. He'll get up in the line, get back to the line of scrimmage before he even takes a sack. And he's just a really good all?around player, and Coach Saban coached him very well.
Q. Question to you: Are they the best team you've played?
BRANDON TAYLOR: Yes, by far they're the best team we've ever played, and now we've got to play them again. So now we're playing the best team twice. So we just gotta go out there and try and dominate.
Q. With all the BCS Bowl games that have been played, a lot have been very high scoring, 45, 70 points, all kinds of high?scoring games, is that what the casual football fan should expect, or maybe something different?
BRANDON TAYLOR: I just think that the fans should expect two teams going head to head, trying to get the ring, bring the championship back home to their school and for the fans. So you can expect anything out of these two teams. Never know what's going to happen at any given time because we've got a lot of playmakers on both of these teams and people trying to make big plays.
Q. When Coach Miles took over when Coach Saban left, for a while he didn't really get the respect that Coach Saban had, and even when you won the championship still there was talk that Saban was looked at by some as (indiscernible). What do you think it would mean to his reputation to beat Nick Saban and get two championships in four years?
BRANDON TAYLOR: I think it would mean everything because we've accomplished so much, and then making history at LSU by having an undefeated season. There are things you don't see at many schools. He hasn't been here very long, and it just shows how good he recruits and how good of a coach he is.
Q. I've heard people kind of laugh sometimes at his postgame press conferences, some of the things he comes out saying, some of the words he comes up. Are there times in team meetings he'll come out with a word where you guys go: What does that mean?
BRANDON TAYLOR: Yeah, we don't really know where he get those words from, but Coach Miles is a down to earth guy and he's not very uptight or anything. He's a great person. And we learn to respect that because you need that as players. Don't need a coach that's mean or uptight all the time. Just need somebody you can clown around with sometimes. But he knows when it's time to do both. He does a great job managing both things.
Q. Will he be eating AstroTurf? I know he eats the grass at visiting stadiums. Does it go for synthetic grass as well?
BRANDON TAYLOR: I don't think he'll be able to pick any of this and eat it. But he might have some in his pocket.
Q. I'm asking all the players this: Are you in favor of a college football playoff?
BRANDON TAYLOR: Not really, because I think it takes a toll on our bodies. I think it makes the season a lot longer. And I just feel that the BCS is doing a great job of putting the two best teams in the game (indiscernible). I think a lot of people don't like it because like conference play, like a difficult schedule. But it shows every time that the two best teams are in the national championship, so I think it's working out very well.
Q. For LSU being in New Orleans, as far as the party situation, maybe not as a big attraction, but how do you avoid that kind of trouble when you come down here?
BRANDON TAYLOR: As a team we set a curfew at 12:00 every night. So there won't be nobody really going out. We are just going to stay in the hotel and come close as a team and family know that we're here ?? it's just a business trip for us.
Q. First of all, how excited are you to be back here playing for a National Championship and playing against kind of a friendly foe with you all, Alabama?
MORRIS CLAIBORNE: It's amazing. It's what you worked so hard for. Anytime you can get back here, play in the big game, it's amazing. I'm just fortunate to be here with this group of guys. We're trying to get the job done.
Q. A lot of fans talk about what a harsh rivalry this is and how you all carry yourself with a lot of swagger and a lot of trash talk. But Alabama players seem to say that you carry yourself with a lot of class. Talk about the trash talk, when you're playing these two teams?
MORRIS CLAIBORNE: Trash talk come with it. But I think both of these teams are both humble when it comes to each other. We both have a lot of respect for each other, and we respect each other on the field. The trash talk is just something that comes with the game.
Q. And the last game, it was a defensive battle. And so the DBs especially got to shine. Is that what you see happening again this week?
MORRIS CLAIBORNE: Well, hopefully we can ?? I know we're going to try to do our part on defense. We're trying to keep them out of the end zone and try not to let them score. So hopefully so.