The Alabama-Oklahoma matchup has been set for just a few days. The Orange Bowl semifinal remains a couple weeks in the future and the film-room breakdowns have yet to begin in Tuscaloosa.
Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams has done some preliminary research on the challenge that awaits Dec. 29 in Miami Gardens. He’s seen a few Oklahoma games on TV and his eyes bulged talking about the high-powered Sooner offense.
“Man, the first thing I thought about was catching Kyler Murray,” Williams said with a smile Wednesday before the College Football Awards in Atlanta. “That’s the first thing, man, Kyler Murray is fast. You can see in the game, he’s really fast. But their overall offense is powerful.”
The Sooners lead the nation in scoring (49.5 points a game) and is seventh in total yards (577.9 a game). That contrasts with Alabama’s No. 9 total offense that allows 295.4 yards and 14.8 points — good for No. 4 in the country.
It’s also an Alabama defense that surrendered its highest yardage total of the season when Georgia went for 454 in a 35-28 Alabama win in the SEC Championship.
“It’s going to be a great challenge going against those guys and trying to close on the pocket and contain Kyler Murray is going to be a big thing,” Williams said. “I can’t wait to play. It’s going to be a great challenge for us just like the SEC Championship was a great college. You can’t be the best without beating the best and I feel like everybody we’re going to play from here on is going to be the best team we’ve ever played and the most physical team, so we have to make sure we’re on our 1s and 2s and be the most physical.”
Williams said all of this with Murray, Oklahoma’s Heisman finalist quarterback, on the other side of the room in Atlanta’s College Football Hall of Fame.
“No, I’m not sizing him up,” Williams said. “He’s great. He’s good. I’m telling him he’s a great quarterback but I’m not sizing him up at all. I feel like he’s the deal.”
And if he were to talk with the 5-foot-10, 195-pound quarterback?
“He’s fast,” Williams said. “That’s the only thing I can say to him. No, he’s cool, though. I feel like he’s a great quarterback. He can run. He can throw. He can make all the reads, can extend plays — a quarterback that everybody looks at as a great quarterback.”