Alabama arrives in New Orleans in preparation of Allstate Sugar Bowl

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By: WVUA 23 Sports Reporter Grace Brister

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team arrived in New Orleans Monday in preparation for the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Kansas State which will kickoff Saturday, Dec. 31 at 11 a.m.

The game will be held in Ceasars Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints.

Alabama Quarterback Bryce Young and Outside Linebacker Will Anderson Jr. are participating in the Sugar Bowl despite the 2023 NFL draft.

Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban said that both of these players are tremendous leaders for the team, and their respect and responsibility to the team plays a big role in their decision to play.

“I do think that both guys see the fact that you really create value for yourself when you play football,” Saban said. “There’s a lot of guys out there that would say, ‘I’m not playing because I’m going to get ready for the draft.’ Well, how do you get better ready for the draft by playing in a game against good competition? I think it’s a great example for college football that guys that are special players who have had great seasons and have won numerous awards choose to continue to play and support their team.”

Kansas State Head Coach Chris Klieman said he thinks it is great that Young and Anderson are playing in this game.

“It’s great for college football that the best players are going to play in this game,” Klieman said. “We have a handful of those guys as well that have elected to play in this game, and that’s what it’s about. It’s playing with your brothers one last time for the guys that are going on to the next level.  I think that’s really important for our game in general.”

Alabama Defensive Tackle DJ Dale discussed his feelings on Anderson and Young playing in the Sugar Bowl.

“It was a great feeling,” Dale said. “I enjoy playing with those guys, but I wasn’t surprised because that’s who they are. They love football and they love this team, so I don’t think it was a tough decision for them to make, even with everything they have to take into consideration. I’m happy to be able to play with them one more time.”

Saban said he is pleased with his team’s attitude in preparation for the game.

“Hopefully, we can continue to build on that and have positive momentum going into the game and go out and play a good game and execute well,” Saban said.

In the Nick Saban era, the Tide has made two trips to the Sugar Bowl that were not a part of the College Football Playoff and lost both games. One game was against Utah in 2009, and the other was against Oklahoma in 2014.

Saban talked about the teams approach for a game like this. He said learning how to overcome adversity and maintaining intensity will not only help them in this game but also throughout their lives.

“Sometimes you’re ready to play a game and you go out and execute very well, but you’ve got to be able to recapture the momentum in the game when things don’t go well,” Saban said. “You’ve got to be able to overcome adversity. Even though you may practice and prepare and start out really well, you’ve have to be able to maintain that intensity and that momentum for 60 minutes in the game. Regardless of what happens, whether other things go well or something bad happens, you’ve got to be able to overcome it.”

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