Inside Look – Preparing for the Game
Tide fans always want to know what it is like as a player preparing for an upcoming game. Do they sit around and play xbox, watch video, review the game plan, or just try to focus on the tasks coming up. What goes into their “process” as head coach Nick Saban keeps talking about? Nico Johnson, former Tide linebacker now playing in the NFL for the Kansas City Chiefs sits down with Crimson Confidential’s Tierney Jenkins’ to give us that inside look and what it is like to prepare for the upcoming game.
TJ: What did you Friday before the day of the game consist of?
NJ: I focus, going back watching film from all the mistakes that I made through out the week so when I get on the field I would feel completely confident. I would take the position test, that was long as ever, so our coach can grade it to see where we stand as far as the game plan. Having a good breakfast (was also important).
TJ: Did you have to eat a certain breakfast?
NJ: Certain players that where over weight had to eat certain foods because coach felt like to perform better you had to be at the right weight.
TJ: After classes (during the week) what was on you agenda?
NJ: After class because I played football, I practice for three hours then after that it was study hall all night. Then sometimes I would get help with my homework from a girl that inspired me to want to be the best in school so I hung out with her a lot.
TJ: Did y’all practice on Fridays?
NJ: We didn’t practice on Friday’s we had a walk through to make sure everybody is on there stuff for game and we would watch film.
TJ: What time did the team head to the hotel?
NJ: As soon as we got done with the walk through we had to rush in and shower which was about 3:30 to hurry to get our clothes on.
TJ: What was the first thing you did when you arrived (at the hotel)?
NJ: First thing I did when I arrived was take my stuff up to my room and then come straight down for dinner.
TJ: What was on the menu for dinner?
NJ: We always had mac and cheese, steak, rice, corn, chicken bake, salad, rolls, with a lot of fluids also lasagna.
TJ Did you have time to visit with family?
NJ: After dinner I’d go back to my room to sleep for a few, then we’d have team meetings, and signal callers where certain players, coach pick / tell something about our opponent. So I never had time to visit with my family
TJ: What time is curfew?
TJ: The morning of game-day, what time is your wake-up call?
NJ: It all depends on what time the game is. The earlier the game the earlier the wake up call.
TJ: Were you nervous before your games, if so what did you do to shake the jitters?
NJ: I never was nervous, I always feel like if you prepare well there is no need to be nervous.
TJ: Do you have any pregame rituals?
NJ: I listen to music and get focused! Then I pray and it’s game-time!!!
TJ: Any predictions for tomorrow’s game?
NJ: I take Alabama any day, doesn’t matter who we are playing
There are a few more questions we wanted to ask and wanted to dive more into a discussion with but in the interested of time and respect for Nico we wanted to save that for another day. We are planning to bring more of these types of articles to give you a Behind the Scenes or Inside Look at the Tide and what makes these players and overall organization function like a well oiled machine.
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