The Cougars expect to hear thousands of screaming fans when they head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to face the Crimson Tide on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, but the fans won’t be screaming for them.
Bryant-Denny Stadium holds over 90,000 and is the seventh largest on-campus stadium in the nation, and senior running back Anthony Alridge can’t wait.
"I’m looking forward to all the fans booing us. The more they boo, the earlier they boo, the faster we can shut them up," Alridge said. "I want to hear silence."
Head coach Art Briles is also using the game against a Southeastern Conference opponent as inspiration for the athletics program.
"We’re working on getting people to say ‘We’re going to Houston, playing in a big game, great crowd, great tradition,’" Briles said. "So when we go somewhere else that’s like that, its an opportunity for us to see, as a program, what we’d like to be, what we need to be and what we’re working to be. That’s my goal, and that’s my dream."
Saturday’s game will cap off homecoming week for Alabama, but Briles doesn’t let that concern him.
"They want to win, we want to win, and the team that plays the best wins the football game," Briles said. "What we’ve got to do is make sure our guys are focused and intent on doing their jobs.
"Our main focus this week is taking care of us – doing the right things right," he said. "Taking care of the ball, penalties, field position, just making sure we do everything we can do to give ourselves the best opportunity to win the game and not help the other team."
Senior wide receiver Donnie Avery realizes that the Cougars will play in a hostile environment Saturday, but said it will not determine the outcome of the game.
"We’re not really worried about what’s up there in the stands, we’re worried about what’s out there on the field between the lines," he said.
Avery was named the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against East Carolina.
Avery brought Cougar fans to their feet with a 100-yard return for a touchdown Saturday, but gives all the credit for the play to his teammates.
He acknowledges the offensive line for making blocks that enabled him to make the play.
"I can talk about what our offense did. It’s all about Jeff Akeryod and Jeron Harvey," Avery said.
Despite Avery’s humility, Briles said that the award is "very well-deserved."
"Donnie’s been a very explosive player for us the last four years. He’s a proven veteran, and he played like a veteran," Briles said. "What we’ve got to have is for all the guys to step up and help us as we get into the thick of the conference race. That’s our goal from day one, to win another conference championship."