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Alabama junior safety Jordan Battle watched his defense collect five quarterback hurries, three sacks and two interceptions in the Crimson Tide’s 41-24 victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 4.
Battle returned one of the interceptions 42 yards for a touchdown and 38-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Stetson Bennett, whose longest completion in that game was 32 yards, is still Georgia’s quarterback, and No. 1 Alabama (13-1) will likely have a similar plan for the national championship game in Indianapolis Monday (8 p.m. Eastern, ESPN). No. 3 Georgia (13-1) is a 2-point favorite, according to FanDuel.
“Basically just focusing on staying in our zones,” Battle said somewhat nonchalantly on Saturday at the College Football Playoff media day. “Not drifting out of our zones, not breaking too early on the ball, just knowing the right moment when to break on the ball and staying and trusting what our coach calls.”
Battle is tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Alabama has 15 on the season.
“Nothing different that you have to prepare for,” he said. “We prepare how we need to prepare to beat a team. We have to come out with the mentality that we’re going to get their best. “
The Tide will be without starting cornerback Josh Jobe, though, for the second straight game as he had foot surgery after making six tackles in the first Georgia game. Freshman Kool-Aid McKinstry is expected to start in his place as he did in the Tide’s 27-6 win over Cincinnati in the CFP semifinals.
“I don’t think it affected us a lot,” Battled said of the loss of Jobe, who had two interceptions on the season. “The guys behind him like Kool-Aid, and we’ve got Khyree Jackson (another freshman), they’re coming along well for us. They’ve been in the film room every day. They’ve been in the playbook, and they’re more comfortable than they were when they first got in there.”
Just not much to worry about is what Battle conveyed.
“It’s the national championship-minded standard,” he said. “That’s what you commit to when you’re coming out of high school. You know the standard is what it is. You have to do whatever it takes to get to this stage.”
Players come and go. They get injured. They get replaced.
“Just keeping the main thing the main thing and not focusing on anything outside of the facility,” Battle said when asked what was the best advice he remembers from coach Nick Saban. “We play for one another. We can go out on the field, and we trust one another to do our one-eleventh. That’s a big part of the success at Alabama.”