TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Alabama fans shouldn't expect to hear "Rocky Top" emanating from the Tide practice field this week. And the squad-team quarterback probably won't be wearing an orange jersey when he goes against the first-team defense.
The songs and colors of rivals don't interest Alabama coach Nick Saban.
"I haven't ever really done much of that," Saban said. "I don't have a lot of experience how that affects you one way or another.
"I don't know that there's any song or jersey color that helps you (execute better). If somebody has any evidence of that, I'll certainly try it."
No Vol Fan: Alabama senior linebacker Darren Mustin grew up in Tennessee. His family, which includes 13 siblings, pulled for UT.
But the former Brentwood Academy star wasn't influenced by his surroundings.
"I'm not a fan of UT," Mustin said. "I don't know why.
"But when they played for the national championship (in 1998), I was pulling for Florida State."
Another Ainge Fan: When opposing players talk about UT quarterback Erik Ainge, they usually mention his quick release or throwing accuracy. Alabama senior defensive end Wallace Gilberry adds to that.
"He's not a running quarterback, but he really moves well in the pocket," Gilberry said. "He feels the pressure.
"He has been that way every time I've played against him. He's hard to get to."
Gilberry said he couldn't remember ever hitting Ainge in the pocket.
Big-Play Safety: Although free safety Rashad Johnson received little recognition in preseason, he has become one of the leaders of the Alabama defense in his junior season.
"He's not going to let any obstacle stand in his way," senior offensive lineman Antoine Caldwell said. "He's playing like an All-American and is a great leader."
Johnson, who came to Alabama as a walk-on running back, is tied for the SEC lead in interceptions with four. He leads Alabama with 50 tackles.
Freshman Help: True freshmen linebacker Rolando McClain and cornerback Kareem Jackson have contributed significantly to Alabama's defense.
Jackson, who has started six of seven games, had his best game last week against Ole Miss with nine tackles and a pass break-up.
McClain, the most touted signee of the last recruiting class, ranks second on the team with 42 tackles, including four for loss.