Crowd, into it.
Alabama's focus, right where it needed to be.
Saturday night, Tuscaloosa seemed to remember what fall is supposed to be like during the Nick Saban coaching era as Alabama simply destroyed Southern Miss.
Explosive plays were back, along with better execution of the play-action, and the defense looked more comfortable as well. By doing a lot of the little things better, Alabama won in a 63-14 blowout at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
This was the game that the revamped Crimson Tide needed. Nothing against Mercer two weeks ago, but Alabama was coming off a big win against Miami and its collective heads were still in the clouds.
Saban subsequently tapped on the podium at the front of the room, the equivalent of a headmaster making an announcement before the student body (listen up or else), said the magic words "Rat Poison."
Alabama got the message loud and clear, especially after nearly losing at Florida last week and feeling a sort of doomsday feeling. Granted, it was a tough matchup, and even tougher venue to visit, but the Crimson Tide gave the vibe of maybe having too much thrown at it, too soon.
It needed a chance to catch up, catch its breath, and process everything it had been through.
That's what this past week was about, and what would be the most telling thing yet about this team's potential this season.
"I'm really pleased with the intensity that our players played with tonight," Saban said. "That's one of the things we've been harping on.
"We had good energy."
Alabama came ready to play despite facing a 1-2 opponent coming off a bad loss to Troy. The Crimson Tide obviously didn't meander through practices or start looking ahead to the rematch with former offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss.
It, and the first near-capacity crowd in two years due to the pandemic, were both rewarded with a complete win as well.
If you believe in Good Omens, or just like the book and TV series by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Alabama enjoyed a great one on the opening kickoff.
Not only did Jameson Williams give the Crimson Tide a 7-0 lead before either team could snap the ball, but it was the first time Alabama had a 100-kickoff return for a touchdown since Tyrone Prothro in 2004.
A year later, he made his miraculous catch against the Golden Eagles.
Meanwhile, the defense's initial contribution came after Southern Miss got down to the Alabama 30, went for it on fourth-and-1 only to watch the Crimson Tide pick off a deflected ball. Alabama needed just six plays after DeMarcco Hellams notched the turnover to convert it into points.
At halftime, Bryce Young had connected on 12 of his first 13 attempts for 225 yards and four touchdowns (he finished 20 of 22, 90.1 completion percent, for 312 yards with five passing touchdowns and one interception off a bobbled ball). Alabama was also averaging 7.9 yards per rushing attempt, dipping below 8.0 because of a sack.
"This is something we have to build on," Young said.
Not only did tight end Jahleel Billingsley have a big night, which included a pretty 15-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown catch, but so did his counterpart Cameron Latu.
His first touchdown came after John Metchie took a 21-yard reception toward the pylon for an apparent touchdown, but replay showed he lost control before crossing the line. Latu was there for the six-point play.
You know its your night when that kind of thing happens.
"I think it's a huge asset for the offense," Saban said about his receiving tight ends, "and Cam has really come a long way.
"I think it's important that those guys are a big part of our offense."
Latu also had an 11-yard touchdown catch, but he was out-pointed by Williams. Not only did the transfer get behind the secondary for an 81-yard bomb but later had a second kick return for a touchdown, this time for 83 yards (giving him 258 all-purpose yards).
In addition to a lot of players taking advantage of their opportunities, and a lot of reserves getting into the game, Alabama did a lot of the things the Crimson Tide didn't, or couldn't do against Florida. It stemmed from everything including corrections and effort, but more than anything was due to Alabama's attitude and the previously-mentioned focus.
That's always the starting point when aiming for better tackling, an improved push up front, and the offense beginning to be in sync with its new offensive coordinator, Bill O'Brien.
Alabama was back being zeroed in about Alabama.
Was it perfect? No. There's no such thing in football, and Alabama still made plenty of mistakes.
But the No. 1 Crimson Tide finished September 4-0, with two wins against ranked teams away from Bryant-Denny Stadium, and looking like it's ready to handle whatever the regular-season has in store.
Bring on the return of Lane.
This story will be updated after the postgame press conferences. Christopher Walsh's column regularly appears on BamaCentral.