ARLINGTON, Texas — Alabama’s front seven is terrifying enough that opposing players and coaches can’t help but liken it to a pack of animals.
“I think I heard if they smell or see blood, they turn into wolves,” Michigan State offensive lineman Kodi Kieler said. “I guess I should be worried about that.”
Other comparisons — self-assigned and otherwise — from the past month include “savages,” “caged animals” and “creatures.”
“If they’ve got creatures on their team, we’ve got some, too,” Spartans offensive lineman Donovan Clark said.
Tight end Paul Lang said he’s a gorilla.
“They’ve gotta be strong and agile at the same time,” he said. “If you see any videos of gorillas running, they’re super fast and can move like crazy, but they’re also really strong. I think everyone’s gotta be like that. You can’t be weak to play this game.”
Josiah Price came up with his spirit animal after minutes of careful consideration.
Price: “I’m gonna have to go with a rhino. Big guy. Hard to knock over. Deceivingly fast.”
Lang: “But it can’t really move side to side.”
Price: “Rhinos are deceivingly really fast. But they’re really big, so people don’t think they’re gonna be fast.”
The team spirit animal, said linebacker Riley Bullough, is something more traditional.
“Coach (Dantonio) always used to talk about a lion,” Bullough said. “So we’re lions, I guess.
“He always says ‘Keep the lion in the cage until the game happens, and then let that lion out come gametime. I guess that’s what we’re gonna do.'”
That proclamation didn’t stop Kieler from creating his own identity.
“People think I’m a koala,” he said. “And that’s very fierce, too.”