The Norman Transcript

National Sports

September 10, 2013

Can ’Bama take care of business?

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper insists this Texas A&M game is not about revenge.

Nick Saban said it’s important to keep the approach businesslike and that the football field is no place for trash talk. Quarterback AJ McCarron believes his friendship with Texas A&M counterpart Johnny Manziel is overblown.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 6 Aggies are finally getting together again Saturday night— this time in College Station. Alabama opened game week trying to shoot down many of the story lines, but stopping Manziel would be easier than deflating this hype.

“Yeah, it’s the only game we lost last year,” Cooper said on Monday. “To me, it’s not a revenge thing because if we wanted to get revenge, we’d have to play that same team last year with the same team we had last year.

“It’s really not a revenge thing. If you lose a fight with someone, you don’t get revenge from fighting someone else.”

Then again, Manziel was the big puncher last season in a game that might have put a reserve on the Heisman Trophy. Sure, the Tide got back up from the 29-24 knockdown and won a second straight national title.

It still seems like a game ripe for overwrought emotions and perhaps some heated smack talk. Saban says not from the Tide.

“It’s never a part of our game,” he said. “We tell our players, there’s no circumstance where you need to talk to another player, and there’s been very little of that with our team. Business-like is the way we’d like to approach this game. It’s going to be emotional, don’t get me wrong. And I’m not trying to minimize the importance when I use the term ‘businesslike.’

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