FAU coach Carl Pelini isn't mentioning this week's opponent, top-ranked Alabama, to his team. (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Notaro/ Owl Pix)
Not talking about Tide
FAU coach Carl Pelini says he isn't mentioning the word 'Alabama' to his players this week so they will focus on themselves instead of the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic players know all about Alabama, its No. 1 ranking and the two national championships in the last three years under coach Nick Saban.
The Owls won't hear the "A-word' this week, however.
FAU coach Carl Pelini said he won't mention the word “Alabama” as his team prepares for the Crimson Tide this week.
That's his way of telling his players to worry about themselves, not the opponent.
“My biggest message to my players is that it doesn't matter what they do, it matters what we do,” Pelini said.
Pelini used a similar strategy last week when FAU faced then-No. 7 Georgia, but didn't actually utter the word “Georgia” to his team until Friday. He wants his team preparing the same way, regardless of the opponent, instead of preparing harder for some opponents.
Pelini said there is no difference in the preparation this week as the Owls face a No.1 team for the first time in program history.
“If there is, then that means I'm doing the wrong thing the other weeks,” Pelini said.
Players are doing their best to treat this week like its any other week and are trying to stay positive as they face a top-10 SEC team for the second consecutive week.
FAU defensive end Cory Henry created a mild controversy when he was asked about playing Alabama and gave an answer that some thought showed cockiness, but sounded to me like he was just giving respect to the Crimson Tide by the way they play.
“They just execute,” Henry said. “They ain't what people think. They are good and everything, but they can be beat. But they just execute well.”
He then was asked what advantage FAU has vs. Alabama.
“I'd have to say speed,” Henry said. “We've got speed against them. If you have speed you can win.”
That's not exactly guaranteeing a victory, but (get the bulletin board ready) another player did guarantee FAU would try and win the game, despite being 50-point underdogs.
“We're looking to come in and play hard and come out with a victory,” said defensive back D'Juan Smith. “Every team should feel like that.”