Practice Report: Alabama Continues Preparations for No. 3 Ohio State

The Crimson Tide practiced in pads for the first time this week, gearing up for the National Championship Game against the Buckeyes
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama football program continued its preparations on Wednesday afternoon for the Jan. 11 meeting against No. 3 Ohio State inside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. 

It was the first full-padded practice of the week for the Crimson Tide at the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields. The high was 56 degrees and sunny. 

"Well, it's obviously a tremendous opportunity," Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian told the media. "We're excited to be playing in the National Championship football game. Proud of our football team and the work we've put in.Clearly super excited for Smitty winning the Heisman last night, and a lot of the awards that have already come out, the offensive line winning the Joe Moore Award. I think all those things are a really cool byproduct of the type of team that we have, and those individual successes and awards come because we're on a good football team.Clearly I'm proud of the guys. I'm proud of the work they've put in. 

"I would say just I know the questions will come. Clearly I'm excited about the opportunity at Texas. It's a tremendous one for me. Looking forward to getting started there. But like the commitment I made to Coach Saban two years ago is the same commitment I've made to these players, and that's focusing on this game, giving this game the attention that it deserves so our players have an opportunity to go out and play to the best of their abilities, and that's what we've always preached here is to put our players in the best position to be successful on the field and off the field, and this week has been no different.But definitely, I want this thing in this conference to go keeping the focus on that game, because I think this game is what this is about, and I'd prefer to keep it that way."

Kickoff is set for next Monday night at 7 p.m (CT) and will be broadcasted on ESPN.